China continues to stand by Pakistan on issues such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). A senior foreign ministry official in Beijing has once again warned member countries against politicising the global watchdog under the influence of individual countries.
“China does not want the FATF to be politicised by any single country. There are some countries which want to include Pakistan in the blacklist. They have political designs which China is against,” Deputy Director General Yao Wen at the Department of Asian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a group of Pakistani journalists.
In a rare public admission, Yao Wen informed journalists that “black-listing” of a country goes beyond the purpose of FATF. “We made it clear to the US and India that we cannot do it,” he added.
This was a direct snub to the Indian attempts to nudge FATF plenary into putting Pakistan on the black list of the global watchdog.
Much before the plenary gave another four months to fully comply with the June 2018 Action Plan the FATF have given to Pakistan, India’s electronic media had been talking of the possibility of Pakistan getting blacklisted. Mainstream tv channels such as Times Now had in fact on August 23 ran tickers and news reports that Pakistan would be black-listed in view of the recommendations by the Asia Pacific Group (APG) of FATF.
The desperation of the Indian leadership became evident even on October 3 – over two weeks before FATF’s decision, when defence minister Rajnath Singh, spoke of the possibility at a Defence Accounts Department event at Delhi.
“International agency FATF can blacklist Pakistan for terror financing,” he had said.
Rajnath’s statement drew a strong reaction by Pakistan, which has repeatedly questioned about India’s credentials as the co-chair of FATF’s Asia-Pacific Joint Group that quarterly reviews Pakistan’s progress to implement the FATF Action Plan given what ministry of foreign affairs. A foreign office spokesperson called it an “incessant smear against Pakistan.
“Pakistan was effectively pursuing its National Action Plan and China encouraged it to act against terrorists and strengthen its system…instead of pressuring Pakistan, FATF member countries should assist Pakistan to improve its system,” Yao Wen suggested, resonating similar sentiments by Malaysia and Turkey.
Both seem to have earned the Indian ire by throwing their weight behind Pakistan and thus blocking the anti-Pakistan campaign at FATF, which will now review Islamabad’s compliance to the Action Plan in February next year.