WASHINGTON: Pakistan appears to be counting on China to diplomatically shield Islamabad from accountability for its terror activities while Beijing’s desire is to use terrorism as a tool to counter India, according to Public Policy Researcher Michael Rubin.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Examiner, Rubin said, “Beijing appears less committed to counterterrorism and more towards a desire to use Pakistani terrorism as a tool to harass India with whom it is locked in a border clash in Ladakh.”
“The reality of both great power competition and China’s efforts to undermine and replace the post-World War II liberal order is that they occur on a number of fronts. Increasingly, it appears the FATF is one of them. Rather than make substantial reforms, Pakistani officials appear to be counting on the fact that China will go to bat for them diplomatically and shield Pakistan from accountability,” he added.
This statement comes ahead of the conclusion of the plenary meeting of FATF, which is expected to take a decision on Pakistan’s compliance of the action plan and whether it will remain in Grey List or Black List.
The global money-laundering and terror-financing watchdog, is holding its plenary session from October 21 will decide the fate of Pakistan.
Talking about the meeting (last month) between Chinese Envoy Yao Jing with Pakistan’s special adviser for finance, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Rubin said: “both the representatives reportedly talked far less about FATF commitments and more about the USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), whose success depends on Pakistan’s economic solvency and its escape from accountability to the FATF.”
He further said China’s vote on Pakistan’s FATF status on Friday will show how Beijing subordinates the “liberal order” for its “narrow interests.”
“…China’s action and the Friday vote on the question of Pakistan’s FATF status will be as much about countering terror finance as they are about whether China will use its membership in yet another international body to corrupt it beyond recognition, the goal being to subordinate the liberal order to Beijing’s narrow interests,” he said.
Early this month, the FATF’s Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has kept Pakistan on “Enhanced Follow-up List” for its slow progress on the technical recommendations of the FATF to fight terror financing. Pakistan’s progress has remained unchanged — non-compliant on four counts.
The three-day plenary meeting will conclude on Friday. The country is in FATF’s grey-list since 2018.