News Analysis |
India congratulated China on its election as vice-president of the global money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on February 25, 2018. Political analysts claimed that China has been attempting to gain membership status in various international organizations; it did the same at the FATF meeting.
On February 25, 2018 Indian External Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “Congratulations to China on its election as Vice President of Financial Action Task Force at the#FATF plenary mtg. on 23 February 2018. We remain hopeful that China would uphold & support the objectives & standards of FATF in a balanced, objective, impartial & holistic way (sic).” The 37-nations FATF had held its plenary meeting in Paris last week (20 Feb) where they positioned Pakistan on a watch list of the countries that are assisting terror outfits.
Each country follows its own national interests so China does the same. Till June when FATF will revise its decision, Pakistan must strive hard to gather diplomatic support during this period to be out of this greylist.
The most recent development occurred on Friday February 23, 2018 when the group issued an updated grey list in which Pakistan was placed, bringing it into intense scrutiny by the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) on financing terror outfits and demanded it to further review in June 2018. This decision came after when China and six Gulf countries of Gulf Cooperation Council led by Saudi Arabia detached their objection to Pakistan being included in the blacklist.
It is indeed a surprise for Pakistan’s traditional rival India, that China withdrew its support for Pakistan not to be placed in the black list because China’s stance over Pakistan always remained supportive in all international forums. For instance, China supports Pakistan in getting membership in Nuclear Supplier Group and does not support India because the latter is a non-Non Proliferation Treaty member.
Read more: Is FATF a tool reflecting US, UK hypocrisy?
Moreover, in the past, China, as a permanent UN Security Council member, has single-handedly blocked resolutions to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar designated a terrorist, despite resolutions moved by India and the US.
The impact of Pakistan’s inclusion on the “grey list” would be adverse on its economy. Pakistan may suffer because of strict policies made by IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank etc by having a bad international image. Eventually Pakistan’s economy would be affected significantly.
It is indeed a surprise for Pakistan’s traditional rival India, that China withdrew its support for Pakistan not to be placed in the black list because China’s stance over Pakistan always remained supportive in all international forums.
It is interesting to know that three votes from 37 FATF members are needed for a country not to be placed in the greylist. Initially China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were supporting Pakistan not to be put on the list. However, under US pressure, Saudi Arabia changed its stance and China also withdrew its position. Now it is just Turkey that is supporting Pakistan. The FATF plenary sessions are held in February, June and October every year. Earlier, Pakistan was on the greylist from 2012 to 2015. But a country’s listing can have an impact on its international transactions, as it would come under greater scrutiny.
China changed its stance after Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to Beijing on February 23-24, 2018 during which both countries agreed that “sound development of relations” between them will help in bringing stability to today’s world. But India must realize that Indo-China bilateral cooperation won’t be at the cost of China-Pakistan relations.
One could speculate that China had been elected as vice-president of FATF after leaving its support for Pakistan not to be placed in the greylist. It seems to have gained support from the other members of FATF after going back on its initial decision. Each country follows its own national interests so China does the same. Till June when FATF will revise its decision, Pakistan must strive hard to gather diplomatic support during this period to be out of this greylist.