Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pakistan-China Friendship: Gilani Visits Beijing

Reiterating friendship with Pakistan during the recent visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, China warned in clear terms that the international community should respect integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan and should not forget its contribution to the war on terror. China has announced to supply 50 JF-Thunder warplanes to meet Pakistan's defense requirements. It has also announced 700 million yuan as aid for reconstruction of the flood-affected area and 100 million yuan loan on soft terms. It has signed nine memorandums of understanding in banking, trade, industry, agriculture, information technology sectors, and implementation on Saindak projects.
Strained Pakistan-US Relations
The announcement and the agreement that China made during the visit of Prime Minister Gilani, where he met his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao regarding Pakistan's defense and economic assistance are the outcome of the everlasting Pakistan-China friendship that has become a strong bond over the past 60 years and it is not in the power of anyone to break or weaken this chain now. The Pakistani prime minister paid visit to China at a critical time when relations between Pakistan and the United States were at their lowest ebb because of the Abbottabad operation and drone attacks. As a result of the US intervention and its strategy to keep Pakistan under constant pressure, and its desire to use the country according to its own will in the so-called war on terror, the Pakistan-US relations have become strained.
Since it was impossible for India to remain silent in this situation, it also started hurling threats to Pakistan. The Indian Air Force chief first issued a statement that his country can launch surgical strikes in Pakistan in self-defense. At the same time, India unleashed a propaganda campaign against Pakistan. In their separate statements, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony and Home Minister P. Chidambaram strongly criticized growing relations between Pakistan and China, China's unilateral announcement about Pakistan's defense, and defense agreements. They announced to counter it by enhancing their (India's) defense preparedness. India's criticism of Pakistan-China relations and announcement to enhance its defense capabilities under the pretext of growing relations between China and Pakistan makes it clear once again that India wants to become mini-super power of the region. It has full support and patronage of the United States in its ambition and the defense and strategic agreements concluded between the United States and India during the visit of the US President Barack Obama to India last year are a clear proof in this regard.
This is a scintillating reality that China is a time-tested friend of Pakistan and Pakistan's integrity and stability is the cornerstone of China's regional strategy. However, as General (retried) Hamid Gul, former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence, has said, that in spite of being deep and close friend, China will not fight for us because it is against the foreign policy and strategy of China.
Difference between China and the United States is that the Untied States neither follows any principle or international regulation for its interests, nor does it refrain from landing its troops in any region or any country. Similarly, clandestine acts in all the concerned and important countries, through CIA under preplanned objectives and targets, are also an important part of the US policy. On the other hand, China has neither committed flagrant aggression in any part of the world despite all sorts of international pressure and expectations, nor any report about China's clandestine activities came to light. In the backdrop of this clear situation, expectation on the part of the Pakistani rulers that China will physically come to the assistance in case of any possible the US or Indian aggression will be tantamount to committing suicide.
Similarly, China's economic policy is also crystal clear. China does gladly extend technical assistance and manpower to friendly countries but making a country beggar in the name of aid is not part of its economic policy. Since China's economic and political system has its foundations in communism, and since making weak segments and countries economically and financially strong is its prime objective, China always supported Pakistan in such projects that may help it stand on its own feet. According to reports, when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani requested for immediate financial aid in view of financial deficit and fiscal hardship in the next budget, the Chinese leadership turned down this request with great love and politeness saying giving cash contribution (alms) to friendly countries is not part of China's financial policy. Since the Pakistani rulers have developed the bad habit of getting direct financial aid from the United States, the United Kingdom, World Bank, and the IMF on stringent conditions, and now that these institutions have hinted at stopping aid to Pakistan after the Usama Bin Ladin episode, and some severe conditions are being attached, for further aid, the Pakistani rulers, as usual, tried to steer the drowning boat of country's economy to safety by visiting China. However, like a good and genuine friend, China gave it the recipe of getting rid of the aid once and for all and expressed the desire to assist through investment instead of giving cash aid.
China's Support to Pakistan's Sovereignty and Integrity
It is the impact of the way, in which the Chinese leadership expressed it friendship with Pakistan in clear terms in the current testing time, like the past, that India did not take much time to change its harsh tune against Pakistan. The same change can be seen in the statements of the US leadership. The United States had persistently been talking to Pakistan in threatening tone until clear and emphatic announcement by China but once the Chinese stance came to light, many US officials, including Hillary Clinton, have stated that Pakistan had no knowledge, at official level, about the presence of Usama Bin Ladin in Abbottabad.
Similarly, the visit of Senator John Kerry and Marc Grossman, US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, to Pakistan immediately after Prime Minister Gilani's visit to China, and formal announcement about launching joint operation in future indicates that the Chinese announcement to declare Pakistan's sovereignty and integrity as cornerstone of its foreign policy played an important role in pacifying the US outrage and anger.
Lesson for Pakistan From China's Progress
Doubtless, China is our time-tested and all-weather friend but it is unfortunate that neither we learnt any lesson from China's progress and everlasting friendship nor did we make any meaningful planning to achieve self reliance. Despite excellent relations with China at official and government-level, attention was never focused to promote people-to-people contacts in t between the two countries.
Since all personal interests of our aristocracy are linked with the West and the United States, we are tied in bonds of friendship with China under strategic compulsion but unfortunately, despite all out friendship and sympathies of China, the hearts of our aristocracy throb in unison with the west and the United States in spite of their threats and deceptions. This is the very basic reason that in spite of all sympathy and sincerity on the part of China, everlasting relation of friendship could not be established between the people of Pakistan and China that should have been established.
Demand of Situation
Time has come for Pakistan to stand on its own feet and break the begging bowl of the West and the United States and make model of China's progress our ideal. By doing so, Pakistan can start journey on the great highway of progress and prosperity.
For this new journey, Pakistan will have to promote our political, defense, economic, and commercial relations with its neighbors and genuine friendly countries like China, India, Iran, and Turkey on priority basis instead of its distant relatives such as the United States and the United Kingdom.


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