Paris-based 39-member Financial Action Task Force (FATF), against
money-laundering and terror-funding, strongly urged Pakistan last month to
comply with its demands by February 2020 or face being included in the FATF
“black list” — meaning sanctions. It said: “To date, Pakistan has only largely
addressed five of the 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on
the rest of the action plan.”
has been on the “grey list” of FATF because many of its “non-state actors” used
in proxy wars belonged to other states like Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and China.
China is heading the FATF these days through Xiangmin Liu of the People’s Bank
of China, now the president of FATF. It’s not only Afghanistan and Uzbekistan
that complain about Pakistan keeping their terrorists on its territory; China
too is a complainant. In 2017, China got together with Brazil, Russia, India
and South Africa in the BRICS trading bloc to express “joint concern” about
Pakistan-based terrorists listed as “Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement,
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Tayba,
Jaish-e-Muhammad, Tehreek Taliban Pakistan, and Hizbut Tahrir”.
has had to act on FATF’s directions because of China. It can’t afford to offend
China and knows it has not been very mindful of the Uighur Muslims from Chinese
Xinjiang on its soil engaging cross border terrorism. Pakistan has, therefore,
put the leaders of the major terrorist organisations under house-arrest and
taken over their madrasas where hundreds of thousands of young men learn how to
become “pious warriors” in the service of Islam. Much of this takeover is credible
but a lot more remains to be done, as FATF observed; although, it remains
doubtful if Pakistan can run the madrasas competently when its own schools are
in bad shape.
Small in his book, The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics (2015),
revealed that the Red Mosque of Islamabad was attacked by Pakistani commandos
in 2007 after China warned that the mosque, a watering hole of al-Qaeda and its
affiliated terrorists right in the heart of the capital city, was sheltering
Uighurs from China who had attacked and captured some Chinese working in a
massage parlour in Islamabad. When the assault on the mosque was over, 14
Uighur terrorists were found among the dead. No one in Pakistan got to know
that the attack on the mosque was triggered by a Chinese protest.
Rashid in Pakistan on the Brink (2012), the third book of his trilogy on the
same subject, observed: “China now faces the threat of Islamic militancy.
Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, from Xingjian have long journeyed to Pakistan to
trade and to perform hajj in Saudi Arabia along a route that was part of the
ancient Silk Road. But in the 1980s, Uighurs went to study in Pakistani
madrasas and then went on to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now some are
fighting along with the Taliban. Uighur nationalism is becoming much stronger
in Chinese Xinjiang but the greater fear is that Uighur Islamic extremism will
grow; it is still a minor threat, but China blames Islamic groups for unrest in
its eastern province.”
most upset over the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) — declared a
terrorist organisation in 2002 by the UN. In October 2003, it got the Pakistan
Army to kill ETIM leader Hasan Mahsum, and, in January 2010, his successor,
Abdul Haq Turkistani — the latter, reportedly, by a US drone attack, both in
Pakistan’s tribal area, FATA. An earlier outfit not ousted by Pakistan is the
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, that grew into a pan-Central Asian group and
was ensconced in FATA recruiting Uighurs into terrorism. Another group upset
China too: This was the Turkistan Islamic Party which, in September 2011,
claimed responsibility for some attacks in Chinese Xinjiang.
In 2009, al
Qaeda in Pakistan too started attacking inside China. It called for attacks on
Chinese interests after riots in Urumqi left 200 Han Chinese Uighurs dead.
After that, one couldn’t blame China for getting alarmed by the shadowy Uighur
warriors taking refuge in FATA. The Pakistani military intelligence, the ISI,
has regularly informed the Chinese about Uighurs operating out of Pakistan,
which has helped its Chinese counterpart in fending off the attacks. The ISI
finally captured and extradited to China 14 Uighurs in 1997, seven in 2002,
nine in 2009, and five in 2011, “including a woman and two children”.
2011, the Uighurs attacked a police station in Hotan — or Khotan — inside
China, killing 20, and thus leading China Daily, on August 2, 2011, to reveal
that the attackers had taken their training at some ETIM camps in Pakistan.
Ahmed writes: “This prompted ISI chief General Pasha to rush to Beijing, where
he reassured the Chinese that Pakistan would counter the ETIM”. And it was also
in 2011 that China demanded the return of Uighurs settled in Malaysia,
Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal and Kazakhstan.
Ahmed is consulting editor, Newsweek Pakistan
Headline: Pakistan, China and a grey area
Source: The Indian Express