masood azhar
Indian Muslims hold a scratched photo of Jaish-e-Mohammad group chief, Maulana Masood Azhar, as they shout slogans against PakistanIndranil MUKHERJEE / AFP

The deadline to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist ends on Wednesday, March 13. In tune, India is said to have reached out to many allies including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia for support. However, all eyes are now on China, who had earlier blocked the move and its decision remains uncertain this time as well.

Several nations spoke up against Pakistan-based terror group after the suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14, which resulted in the death of over 40 CRPF personnel and injured many others. After JeM claimed responsibility for the attack, the US, the United Kingdom, and France charted out a fresh proposal asking the United Nations Security Council to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.

The proposal was moved by the three members on February 27, and the chair of the UNSC sanctions committee has now said that Azhar will be designated as a global terrorist on March 13, if there is no objection by 3 pm. If this happens, the JeM chief will join the likes of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Al Qaeda, which were earlier added to the sanctions list.

Being designated as a global terrorist means that Azhar will face a global travel ban, freezing of assets and arms embargo.

Will China block the move again?

JeM is known to be functioning out of Pakistan and training hundreds of recruits to carry out terror attacks. Despite the group claiming responsibility for several attacks in India, China has not really spoken up against the terror group. Even on March 11, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that the nation had adopted a "responsible attitude" to the issue and the only solution was a "responsible discussion."

"China's position on the designation of a terrorist by the 1267 committee is consistent and clear. China adopted responsible attitudes, follows rules and procedures of this committee and participates in these discussions in a responsible manner. Only through responsible discussions can we come up with a responsible solution," the Indian Express quoted Kang as saying.

Beijing 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.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang speaks during a briefing in BeijingGREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

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 in its fight against terrorism.

JeM and Azhar being named in the statement surprised many, considering China is a part of the UNSC, but 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."