China, reportedly in "consultation" with Islamabad, Thursday thwarted India's bid at the United Nations to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist and ban him. China was the lone country among 15 nations to block India's proposal, even as the United States, the United Kingdom and France backed India, according to ANI News.
India had submitted a formal request to the United Nation's 1267 committee in February to include Azhar's name on its sanctions list. India has accused Azhar of masterminding the Jan. 2 Pathankot terror attack that left seven Indian security personnel dead, but Pakistani officials have maintained there is no evidence against the JeM leader.
However, China requested the U.N. committee to hold Azhar's name from the list just as the deadline for the proposal was to end Thursday, according to the Press Trust of India. China reportedly took the decision to block the Indian request in "consultation" with Pakistan, which is not on the U.N. Committee.
"Hours before the deadline, China requested the Committee to hold up the banning of the JeM chief," a source told the agency. India's bid had reportedly been reviewed by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, which then put it up for the member states to check.
India had released Azhar from jail in 1999 in exchange for 155 passengers on board a hijacked Air India plane. Azhar was freed along with two terrorists Dec. 31, 1999.
Thursday's development is likely to further strain relations between India and Pakistan, which put aside foreign secretary-level talks following the Pathankot terror attack. The reports come even as Pakistan's Joint Investigating Team (JIT) is in India probing the attack and recorded statements of the Pathankot witnesses Thursday.