France today banned Jaish-e Mohammad chief Masood Azhar at the national level, putting a freeze on his assets. The government of Emmanuel Macron also said it would "raise the issue with our European partners" to include him in the list of people involved in terrorism. The move of France came days after China blocked a resolution of the United Nations Security Council to name the Jaish chief a global terrorist. France had moved the resolution, which came be sponsored by multiple nations.
"France has always been and always will be by India's side in the fight against terrorism," read a statement from the French government, which cited the Jaish suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama.
"France has decided to sanction Masood Azhar at the national level by freezing his assets in application of the Monetary and Financial Code. A joint decree of the Ministries of the Interior, and Economy and Finance was published today in the Official Gazette," the statement read.
The statement further said, "We will raise this issue with our European partners with a view to including Masood Azhar on the European Union list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, based on this decree".
China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council and a self-described "all-weather ally" of Pakistan, had blocked India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee in 2009 and 2016. In 2017, Beijing also blocked a move by the US, the UK and France to designate Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
About its technical ban this time, China had said saying it would give more time to all parties to find a "lasting solution" acceptable to all.
"Our action is to make sure that the committee will have enough time to study the matter so that the relevant sides will have time for dialogue and consultation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.