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China Prevents UN Blacklisting Of Pakistani JeM Leader

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.

China has blocked a bid to designate as a terrorist the leader of the group behind an attack last month that dramatically escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.

China prevented the United Nations Security Council on March 13 from blacklisting Masood Azhar, the leader of Pakistan-based group Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM), which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 40 troops in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have soared following the February 14 attack in disputed Kashmir, stoking fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Britain, France, and the United States had requested Azhar to be subject to an assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.

But China placed a "technical hold" on the request, saying it needed more time to examine it.

China, a Pakistan ally, had previously blocked attempts to have Azhar blacklisted.

India said that it will continue to pursue "all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice."

Azhar founded JeM in 2000. The group, which is officially banned in Pakistan, was blacklisted by the Security Council in 2001.

Based on reporting by the BBC, Reuters, and AFP
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