- The resolution by the US was drafted with British and French support
- Masood Azhar-led JeM claimed responsibility for Pulwama terror attack
- China has put a "technical hold" on designating him as a global terrorist
The United States, Britain and France stepped up a push for the United Nations Security Council to blacklist the head of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on Wednesday after China prevented an earlier move two weeks ago.
The United States circulated a resolution - drafted with British and French support - to the 15-member council that would designate JeM leader Masood Azhar, subjecting him to an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze, diplomats said.
JeM has claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama that killed at least 40 CRPF personnel, making it the deadliest in Kashmir during a 30-year-long insurgency.
The United States, Britain and France initially asked the Security Council's ISIS and al Qaeda sanctions committee, which operates by consensus, to blacklist Azhar. However, China prevented the move.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that China had conducted a "comprehensive and thorough evaluation" but still needed more time to consider the proposal. China had previously prevented the committee from sanctioning Azhar in 2016 and 2017.
Instead of consensus, a resolution only needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain to pass. It was not immediately clear when the draft resolution to designate Azhar could be put to a vote.
The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the draft text.
JeM was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2001. In December 2001, Jaish fighters, along with members of another Pakistan-based terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, attacked India's parliament, which almost led to a fourth war between the two countries.