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Pakistan asking China to allow Masood Azhar ban only if India agrees for bilateral talks and military de-escalation: Report

The Trump administration has reportedly conveyed to China that the listing of Azhar and India-Pakistan's bilateral dialogue are not linked with each other. USA, France and the UK are reportedly seeking to explore other options to ban Masood Azhar, including taking up the issue in UN general assembly.

According to the sources quoted by Hindustan Times, Pakistan has asked China to lift its technical hold on Masood Azhar’s UN listing as a global terrorist if India agrees for a military de-escalation along the border and resume dialogue with Pakistan on all pending issues including Kashmir.

Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad had claimed the responsibility of Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives. Masood Azhar is founder and leader of JeM. The motion to designate him in the list of global terrorists was thwarted by China after it used its veto power to stop his listing for the fourth time.

The time offered to China to provide a reason for putting its technical hold on Masood Azhar’s listing in ending this week after which the US may seek other means to get the terrorist banned, including an open discussion in the UN General Assembly, that might be potentially embarrassing for China.

According to diplomats based out of New York, China has conveyed the Pakistani demands to the US but it has not gone down well with Washington. Echoing the belief that a nation cannot use terrorists in its backyard to negotiate with other countries, the Trump administration has reportedly conveyed that the listing of Azhar and India-Pakistan’s bilateral dialogue are not linked with each other.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had slammed China for its “Shameful hypocrisy” of protecting dreaded terrorists in the UN and subjecting millions of Uighur Muslims to abuse and detention in its territory.

With China obstructing Azhar’s listing 4th time now, 3 countries of the P-5 group have asked Beijing to furnish specific reasons for the technical hold in two weeks. The deadline is going to expire this week and as per sources, the US is in no mood to relent on Azhar’s listing this time around.

Pakistan’s response to the Pulwama attack had been rather controversial. Initially, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi admitted to Pakistani establishment’s links with JeM in an interview to the BBC. Pakistan PM Imran Khan had asked India to provide evidence of Pakistani involvement in the attack. However, yesterday Pakistan rejected the dossiers presented by the Indian government and denied its involvement in the attack.

Following Pulwama attack, India has stationed its troops along its western border. Indian Air Force had also conducted surprise airstrikes deep inside Pakistan, in Balakot and killed hundreds of terrorists belonging to JeM. Most countries have backed India’s stance against terrorism and its response at Balakot.

Pressure is mounting on Pakistan from all directions and it finds itself increasingly in an uncomfortable position. The desperation is palpable as Pakistan seeks to utilise its leverage against India by asking its all-weather ally China to force India on to discussion tables and end the hostilities along the border.

However, as PM Modi had asserted before, India has been firm on its stand that no bilateral talks will be held with Pakistan as long as it continues to shelter and sponsor terrorists working against India.

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