While India expressed “disappointment” over China blocking the listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN Security Council for the fourth time Wednesday, officials privately admitted that they were expecting the veto, given China’s “deep political and economic commitment”  to Pakistan.

“Given the fact that the block was announced at the last minute, we assume China undertook a major evaluation of its decision, particularly the international pressure and the growing relationship with India, but eventually decided that their long-term commitment to Pakistan was worth more,” said one analyst.  

Earlier reports had indicated that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou who met senior Pakistan leaders —including PM Imran Khan, Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi— in Islamabad last week, was told that allowing Azhar to be listed by the UN might force the Jaish to attack projects linked to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. This would hike up the security costs of not just the projects but also the large number of Chinese working on some of them in Pakistan.

“The attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last November is just one example of growing public discontent against the CPEC, particularly among the residents of Balochistan who believe their resources are being stolen,” said a former official who has served in both China and Pakistan.