France freezes assets of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar

France has decided to freeze the assets of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) founder and leader Masood Azhar, the French government said on Friday.

A joint statement issued by the French interior ministry, finance ministry and foreign ministry added that France would discuss putting Masood Azhar on a European Union list of people suspected of being involved in terrorism.

Pakistan is under pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed at least 40 CRPF personnel.

France said it has always been and always will be by India’s side in the fight against terrorism. “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,” the statement said.

France led the latest move to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security with the backing of the US and Britain in the wake of the Pulwama suicide bombing. The move was blocked by China on Thursday, the fourth time Beijing has done so.

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