By S. M. Hali
Sino-Pak relations have withstood the test of time and signify the expression of mutual respect, deep sentiments of affinity and natural political alliance. Relations between the two are based on righteous policies and principled pledges, which have culminated in each nation providing support to the proposals, plans and interests of the other at regional and international fora, including conclaves and conventions at the United Nations, global trade moots, resolution of regional and international disputes and initiatives to espouse ethical and legal issues while endorsing initiatives having political implications for both China and Pakistan. China has been unequivocal in its support of Pakistan’s righteous stand on Kashmir and the related UN Resolutions on the subject. Both countries have complete unity of thought regarding each other’s strategic thinking and policy framework. Wise leaders on both sides have framed superlatives to describe the Sino-Pak relations but the depth and strength of the ties are even beyond words since they are a manifestation of the feelings of two nations and not just their governments or leaders.
The new leadership, which took up the mantle of control in both China and Pakistan, keeping with the traditions, gave preference to visiting each other and reiterating the iron-clad bonds as well as examining fresh avenues of development and economic opportunities with divergent spread of commerce, trade and business in regional and international arena.
The all weather strategic partnership between Pakistan and China is sometimes viewed with envy and at times petty jealousy by some regional as well as international powers like India, Japan, the US and some other powers of the Occident. The region, including the Indian Ocean is rich with natural resources and an energy starved world is vying to acquire control of the mineral reserves as well as oil, gas and coal reserves. Their ambitions know no bounds and in keeping with their colonial philosophy and bid to dominate the energy sources, they are tempted to try and create a wedge between China and Pakistan by igniting mistrust and planting seeds of doubt between the two friends.
A recent analysis titled “China in Pakistan: An Awkward Relationship Beneath the Surface” published by Royal United Strategy Institute (RUSI Newsbrief, 15 January 2014) is a clear example of such intrigues. USA and other western powers, being economic rivals of China, are trying to create suspicions between China and Pakistan, which are planning to undertake mega economic projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting Pakistani port of Gwadar with Kashgar in Xinjiang region of China, construction of dams for Pakistan, which has been badly hit by energy deficit and Chinese investment in Pakistani textile, energy, banking, commerce, telecommunication and industry sectors and numerous other development projects. It appears that the evergreen friendship between China and Pakistan has become a major source of concern for anti Pakistan elements and economic rivals of China. An article titled “Cheen Ki WikiLeaks” in a leading Pakistani Urdu daily, published on 27 January 2014, also expressed similar sentiments over Pak-China cooperation, claiming that rampant corruption in China will be hazardous for Pakistan. The Op-Ed recommended that the Government of Pakistan should not place all its eggs in the Chinese basket. The article maliciously implied that the Chinese are likely to cheat their Pakistani counterparts. It is not a mere coincidence that all the sources quoted by the author of the article are western websites (The Global Mail and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists), thus casting a shadow of doubt on the veracity of the report.
The leadership as well as the people of Pakistan must be cognizant of the mindset of the protagonists, who are bent upon perpetrating a game plan, which is aiming to drive fissures between the Sino-Pak relations. The rapid growth and development of China, which has propelled it to become the second largest economy of the world and poised to take the leading position has caused the Occident to be wary of the Chinese. Pakistan’s endeavour to benefit from Chinese deep rooted friendship and largesse to come out of the current morass of economic catastrophe is also viewed with misgivings. The detractors of Pakistan would like to see Pakistan unstable and weak.
China’s other neighbor; India, that itself has a variety of unsettled territorial disputes with China and is adamant in not solving them while it is exporting violence and terrorism to China via the Tibetan fugitives and handpicked members of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Xinjiang region of China, is trying to join forces with China’s enemies and simultaneously block Sino-Pak alliances by casting aspersions on Pakistan linking the ETIM issue in Xinjiang to Pakistan and Taliban.
The antagonists of Sino-Pak relations must realize that Pak-China friendship is based on special bonds and both countries wish to see these relations to grow further and remain everlasting.