Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in China on Tuesday morning for an official visit ahead of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) meeting, that could potentially lead to his country being placed on the Black List. He was received by China’s Minister of Culture, Luo Shugang, Chinese envoy to Pakistan Yao Jing and Pakistan’s ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi. He would engage with various stakeholders on issues of regional and bilateral importance such as the Kashmir issue and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Khan will hold separate meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his counterpart Li Keqiang. The Pakistani delegation includes Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Railway Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Minister for Planning Khusro Bhaktiar and Finance advisor Hafeez Shaikh.
This will be the Pakistani premier’s third visit to China since assuming office in August 2018. This comes at a juncture when the country’s economy is in a dire condition. Moreover, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff Qamar Bajwa has already reached China for talks with the nation’s military leadership. According to the military spokesperson, he will accompany Khan for his meetings with the Chinese President and PM. This does not come across as a surprise as Bajwa has engaged with the world leaders even in the past. However, this visit is significant due to a couple of reasons. First, most of the CPEC projects have been stalled due to the prevailing fear among Pakistan’s bureaucracy of action being taken by the National Accountability Bureau. The other big concern for India’s western neighbour is to avoid being placed on the Black List. Furthermore, the Chinese President will soon depart for a visit to Nepal and India.
The meeting of the FATF will take place from October 13 to October 18. Islamabad has tried to lobby hard with China, which holds the presidency of the FATF this year. In June 2018, the FATF had placed Pakistan in the Gray List, giving it a period of 15 months to fulfil a 27-point agenda. Due to its failure to stem terror financing, the Asia Pacific Group- a body of the FATF placed it on the Enhanced Follow Up List in August 2019. It failed on 30 out of the total 40 parameters. Judged as low as 10 on 11 effectiveness parameters, Pakistan has been in the dock for supporting terrorist outfits such as 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiba, Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed, Haqqani network, etc.