China Courting JeM Chief Masood Azhar to Protect Interests in Pakistan: Think Tank
JeM chief Masood Azhar (Photo Credits: PTI)

Washington D.C, March 2: China is courting Maulana Masood Azhar, the founder of terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), since that fulfills the aim to protect its economic projects and Chinese workers in Gwadar port city in Balochistan province of Pakistan, says MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), a U.S.-based research organization.

Analyzing the strategy of different states behind protecting terror outfits, the report quoted Roznama Ummat, a Pakistan based Urdu newspaper, which revealed in September 2018 that Iran, Pakistan and the Taliban have evolved a tripartite plan to be implemented following a settlement resulting from the U.S.-Taliban talks. India-Pakistan Tension: Blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar, UK, US and France Tell UN Security Council.

These developments mean that in a post-settlement scenario, the eastern and southern borders of Afghanistan will be managed by the Taliban and Pakistan jointly as part of the likely Iran-Pakistan-Taliban deal.

"Such a deal or understanding will suit Pakistan and China, which hopes to station half a million Chinese nationals in Gwadar port city in Balochistan province of Pakistan by 2022 and is therefore courting Maulana Masood Azhar, the emir of Pakistani jihadi organization Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), to ensure security", said a MEMRI report.

China, a close ally of Pakistan, has consistently blocked moves first by India and later by the US, the UK and France to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the 1267 Committee by putting technical holds.

Asked whether China will block the move to designate Azhar as a global terrorist, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang almost reiterated Beijing's oft-repeated stand at a recent media briefing.

"As we have said on many occasions, the 1267 committee of the UN Security Council has clear norms on the listing of terrorist organisations or individuals and relevant procedures," he said.

China's approach this time is closely watched in view of the transformation of India-China relations after last year's Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China has taken a more guarded approach since the Pulwama terror attack claimed by Pakistan-based JeM which killed 40 CRPF soldiers. Though Beijing has backed the recent strong statement issued by the UN Security Council condemning JeM for the attack, it is to be seen what stand China would take this time about the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist.