masood azhar
Indian Muslims hold a scratched photo of Jaish-e-Mohammad group chief, Maulana Masood Azhar, as they shout slogans against Pakistan during a protest in Mumbai on February 15, 2019, the day after an attack on a paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in the Lethpora area of Kashmir.Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP

The United States, United Kingdom, and France have charted out a fresh proposal asking the United Nations Security Council to designate Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. The proposal was moved by the three members on Wednesday, February 27, and a decision is expected once France assumes the Presidency of the UNSC next month.

The rotating monthly presidency of the 15-nation UNSC is currently with Equatorial Guinea and France will take over on March 1.

The UN Security Council Sanctions Committee now has 10 working days to consider the fresh proposal and if passed, Azhar will be designated as a global terrorist leading to a global travel ban, freezing of assets and arms embargo, reported the Press Trust of India. While the three nations, which are permanent members of the UNSC, have moved the proposal, the biggest question remains — will China back the move?

Pakistan-based JeM is known to be functioning out of Pakistan and training hundreds of recruits to carry out terror attacks. The terror group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in India in the past, the latest one being the Pulwama suicide bomb attack that killed over 40 CRPF personnel and injured scores of others. Before this, the JeM had also claimed the 2016 Pathankot attack and the Uri attack in the same year.

Despite this, China has blocked previous proposals to designate Azhar as a global terrorist. In 2009, China had blocked India's move to designate Azhar as a global terrorist and the same happened in 2016, when India submitted a proposal with the US, the UK and France to ban Azhar.

In fact, the P3 nations — the US, the UK and France — themselves had made a similar proposal in 2017, but China, which is a member with veto power, had blocked the move even at the time. While everyone hopes that China is willing to come on board and finally designate Azhar as a global terrorist, the step may seem unlikely considering Beijing is known to back Pakistan and also refuses to call JeM a Pakistan-based outfit.

Just a few days ago, the UNSC condemned in the "strongest terms" the "heinous and cowardly" attack in Pulwama and also spoke about how organisers and financiers of such "reprehensible acts" must be held accountable. The UNSC also named Azhar and the JeM in the statement and said that it will fully support India against its fight against terrorism.

JeM and Azhar being named in the statement surprised many, considering China is a part of the UNSC, and it was later said that Beijing had indeed objected to a few parts in the statement. It reportedly did not want the JeM to be referred to as a "Pak-based" outfit and also wanted Jammu and Kashmir to be called "India administered Kashmir," reported the Economic Times. A consensus was reached when the UNSC agreed to its first demand and said that it would not call J&K "India administered Kashmir."