A few days ago, it came to light that global terror financing watchdog, FATF warned the Islamic Republic of Pakistan of blacklisting if it did not promptly complete the full action plan that was given to it in order to check terror financing by February 20. China which is considered Pakistan’s all-weather ally has come out in its support. China has stated that the aim of FATF is not to sanction or punish any country and that it will work with all global parties of the FATF to bolster the domestic anti-terror financing system of Pakistan.
This comes after senior Chinese officials made it clear that the dragon is opposed to the blacklisting of Pakistan by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). China also sought to play down the Deputy Director General for Policy Planning of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affair, Yao Wen’s remarks to the Pakistani press that Beijing has a trust deficit with India, when compared to its close relations with Pakistan. Yao Wen also tried to accuse India of politicising the Paris-based global terror financing watchdog, without making a direct reference. He said that China does not want the FATF of being politicised by any “single country”. He said, “There are some countries, which want to include Pakistan in the blacklist. We consider they have political designs. That is something China is against. China stands for justice.” It does not take much intellect to understand which country the Chinese official referred to when he said “some countries” are trying to get Pakistan blacklisted.
China has come out in support of Pakistan at a time when countries across the globe have come to see it as the most prominent manufacturer and exporter of terror. This raises apprehensions that China might obstruct attempts to blacklist Pakistan at the Paris-based body, just like it had blocked attempts to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief, Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. China finally relented this year following the outrage after the Pakistan-sponsored terror outfit carried out the Pulwama terror attack and the US threatened to take the issue of Azhar’s blacklisting to the UNSC. China has major economic interests and investments in Pakistan. If China takes a stance against the influential Islamic extremists and terror outfits in Pakistan, Chinese investments 46 billion dollars under the CPEC project could come under an imminent threat. Therefore, China not only refuses to take a strong stand against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, but it has also made it a point to tactically support Pakistan against any stern action at multilateral forums.
After Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Ijaz Ahmed Shah made shocking remarks spending billions of rupees on terror organisation, JuD chief Hafeez Saeed, there is not much left to be discussed about Pakistan’s role in nurturing the terror industry. Pakistan’s Interior Minister had explicitly stated, “We have spent millions of rupees on JuD. We need to demotivate the members of the proscribed organisation and bring them down to the mainstream.” Pakistan has been actively raising the terror industry and has also misused, to fund terror, the massive amount it received in form by the US for decades. Pakistan does not even hide its nefarious designs.
By suggesting that the FATF should refrain from blacklisting Pakistan, Beijing has actually attempted to whitewash the proactive role played by Pakistan in funding terror. Moreover, the argument that the FATF’s object is not to punish or sanction any country is altogether absurd. This renders the terror financing watchdog futile, if it cannot punish or sanction a country, then why will any country, and particularly a country like Pakistan listen to it. It is clear that China is trying to find excuses in order to support Pakistan against stern action by the Paris-based FATF.
The Chinese must be seen in the light of its investments and interests in Pakistan. China has invested extensively in Pakistan and fears that the terror establishment which continues to enjoy enormous influence in Pakistan could harm it in a big way, if the dragon takes a stern stand against Pakistan’s terror exporting industry. China’s attempts to protect Pakistan from blacklisting are not based on any justifiable principles, rather they is a manifestation of Chinese attempts to safeguard its own economic interests in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.