All eyes will be on China as by next week it will be taking a call on banning Masood Azhar. However, reports have now emerged saying that China might not take any action against him as doing so would make the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) vulnerable to attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) which holds sway in the region.
The proposal on proscribing Azhar as a global terrorist under UNSC 1267 resolution was moved by France and it received backing by other the United States, United Kingdom and Russia – three permanent members of the UNSC.
China is weighing its options ahead of the crucial March 13 vote and it is possible that it will be tying down Pakistan with security guarantees if it decides to support the proposal, reported ET.
The CPEC passes through POK and Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Balakot is located and as per local media inputs most of the terrorist training camps are located in this district. China had recently purchased vast swathes of land near Balakot for the CPEC and the Karakoram Highway that connects Pakistan with China through POK also passes through Mansehra district.
Ayjaz Wani, a Research Fellow at ORF, calls Azhar Beijing’s “go-to man to ensure the security of its geostrategic investments under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)”. China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to get Azhar banned repeating its oft-repeated stand saying that the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council has set norms on the listing of terrorist organisations or individuals.