Pakistan will not be "pressured" by anyone on the issue of banning Masood Azhar, a top official in Islamabad said on Thursday, a day after China dismissed reports that the US, the UK and France have served an ultimatum to Beijing to lift its "technical hold" on designating the JeM chief as a global terrorist by the UN.
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan has a clear stance on Azhar.
India says Pakistan-based Azhar's Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group was behind the deadly February 14 attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Asked about China putting a technical hold to prevent Azhar from being designated a global terrorist at the UN, Faisal said: "Whatever decision Pakistan takes in this regard will be in its national interest. Pakistan will not be pressured by anyone".
China Wednesday dismissed reports that the US, the UK and France have served an ultimatum to Beijing to lift its "technical hold" by April 23 on branding Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN but claimed the vexed issue was "moving towards a settlement".
After the Pulwama attack, a fresh proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, the US and the UK.
However, China, a close ally of Pakistan, blocked the bid by putting a "technical hold" on the proposal. Following this, the US, backed by the UK and France, moved directly to the UN Security Council (UNSC) to blacklist Azhar.
China, a veto-wielding member of the UNSC, opposed the move, saying the issue should be resolved at the 1267 Committee itself which also functioned under the top UN body.
China, which has previously blocked bids to blacklist Azhar thrice, stalled it once again at the 1267 Committee of the UN on March 14 by putting a "technical hold".