China defends Pakistan, says finance shouldn't be used to force action on terrorism

China defended Pakistan even as it continues to raise issues with security of its citizens and investments.

China defends Pakistan, says finance shouldn't be used to force action on terrorism
Representational image.

China has sought to refute reports that it is unhappy with Pakistan's efforts to clamp down on terrorism financing, and tried to release the international pressure that is building up against Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that finance should not be used to raise pressure on Pakistan.

China's effort to hedge against the pressure on Pakistan came at a press conference of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Its defence of Islamabad comes even as China increasingly raises the safety of its citizens and investments from extremist forces in Pakistan.

"The Pakistani government and its people have contributed and sacrificed enormously for the fight against terrorism… All relevant parties should view Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts in an objective and fair way, instead of just pointing fingers at Pakistan," said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang, in a near-verbatim repetition of the stock response Pakistan uses whenever it is questioned on its commitment to fighting extremism and radicalisation within its borders.

He also addressed the looming formal international recognition of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. China has shielded Pakistan from action at a number of international organisations. Recently, it reportedly backed off from blocking a motion at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to grey-list Pakistan.

"In recent years, Pakistan has made important headway in actively strengthening financial regulations to combat terrorism financing… We also oppose using finance as a political means to impose pressure on Pakistan," Geng said.

"As an all-weather strategic cooperative partner for Pakistan, China will continue to enhance coordination and cooperation with Pakistan on counter-terrorism. The two sides enjoy impregnable political mutual trust and any attempt to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan is doomed to fail," he said.

However, China has found out first-hand the frustration of trying to get Islamabad to do anything. China has repeatedly raised the safety of its citizens who are in Pakistan to work on projects in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). They have also run into unexpected opposition from Pakistani lawmakers on control of a dam project, and faced protests by locals against CPEC jobs going to Chinese citizens rather than Pakistanis.

China has also faced a number of its citizens being abducted, attacked or killed. Last year, two Chinese language teachers were abducted and killed. Just months back, a Chinese engineer working on a power plant project went missing. And, buildings housing Chinese workers in Gwadar were attacked.

Response to China's efforts to seek increased security are yet to effectively take root in Islamabad.