China and the Western world toward Pakistan | By Prof Engr Zamir Ahmed Awan

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Prof Engr Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof Engr Zamir Ahmed Awan

China and the Western world toward Pakistan

PAKISTAN has been in the Western bloc since its establishment. It was an active partner of the US-led block against the communist threat.

Proactive and front-line state with the US against the former USSR’s intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Non-NATO close ally in the war on terror. Yet, it has faced severe sanctions, coercion, and immense pressure.

It is grateful for Western world assistance and help, what so ever it has received. There was around US dollars 40 billion-plus investment during the 7 decades from the whole western world.

There was some aid too. Most of the aid was distributed through blue-eyed NGOs to achieve their agendas.

A major part of aid was returned back to them in the form of consultants and procurements.

Only a fraction of aid was utilized in Pakistan. There was no trickle-down impact on the public and beneficiaries were only elite.

The Western aid was mostly focused on Human rights, Women’s Rights, Gender equality, democracy, etc.

This is not the problem of the masses in Pakistan, but, it is imposed agenda and they used selected NGOs to achieve it.

The role of foreign-funded NGOs was very negative in Pakistan. One of the NGOs made a video showing the use of child labour in Football industry and bared Pakistan from access to the Western world.

Another NGO reported the exploitation of women in the carpet industry and bared the export of handmade Pakistani carpets to the Western world.

Another NGO recently reported that the majority of school children are drugs addict, and so on. All such NGOs were funded by Western to achieve their agendas.

Yes, Human Rights, Women’s Rights, democracy, and Child protection are very important, but, roti (food) is even more important to most of the Pakistani public.

The rapidly growing poverty in the country has led us toward disaster and collapse. Human Rights are very important, if we are alive if people are starving and the Western world is preaching for various rights, in meaning less.

There has been no investment from the Western world for decades. No business activities, no industrialization, no economic activities and no creation of wealth from the Western world in Pakistan.

Only coercion, pressures, dictations, demands and sanctions are what we are witnessing recently.

Do more, and intervene in domestic affairs, what we have experienced.  On the other hand, China is investing in Pakistan heavily.

Since 2015, under CPEC, it has already invested around US dollars 30 billion and pledged around 62 billion.

During the last decades or more, total Chinese investment into Pakistan has exceeded US Dollars 50 Billion, much more than the whole western world invested in seven decades.

There is some aid from China like Gwadar airport, a few hospitals, schools, etc. But most of the Chinese funds are investment in commercial projects.

For example, the construction of power plants, producing electricity, meeting the requirements of the masses of Pakistan, and generating revenue and jobs for Pakistani youth.

The construction of Motorways and highways is for public use, it makes the transportation sector boost up and generates commercial activities and creates wealth.

The laying of optical fibre linkage is boosting internet connectivity and upgraded bandwidth and reliability created unlimited opportunities for the IT sector to boost up.

It is the most effective sector to enhance exports and overcome the badly needed foreign exchange.

Looking at Chinese investment and projects in Pakistan, one can conclude that the objective of all such is to promote commercial activities and create wealth for Pakistan, create jobs for youth.

The beneficiaries of Chinese investment are the general public, either in the form of ending load shedding of electricity, reducing travel distances among cities, reducing travel time and transportation cost, etc.

Chinese investment in the agriculture sector and industrial sectors will be even more useful for the masses in Pakistan.

There has been a visible increase in agricultural products in Pakistan due to Chinese assistance and industrialization is underway too.

These two sectors of the economy are vital to eradicate poverty. During the early days of the breakout of COVID, China assisted Pakistan out of the way to overcome the crisis.

China has become the number one destination for Pakistani youths for higher education. Currently, there is 32000 Pakistani youths studying in China in various programs from Undergraduate, Master, PhD, and Post Doc, in various fields of emerging technologies.

China is raising a qualified workforce for Pakistan to face the challenges of the future. Yet, China has never imposed sanctions on Pakistan, no dictation, no do more, no coercion, no pressure and no interference, just a fair and sincere friendship.

The difference in Chinese relations is very much obvious and visible. In return, there exists immense goodwill for China in Pakistan.

Shortly after the birth of New China, Chairman Mao Zedong stated on many occasions that China was ready to establish diplomatic relations with all countries which are willing to observe the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

This principle was expounded in the common Program adopted by the First Session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on 29 September 1949 as well as the Announcement of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China made by Chairman Mao Zedong at the proclamation Ceremony Marking the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

It embodied the major content of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence. China is still committed to this policy and based on win-win cooperation is expanding its relations.

The Mega initiatives of Belt and Road (BRI) is a practical demonstration of the Chinese visionary approach to global relations.

More than 150 nations have already joined BRI and Pakistan being the closest friend is the largest beneficiary of it.

CPEC is the flagship project of BRI and one of the most advanced staged projects. Its fruits are enjoyed by the people of Pakistan.

CPEC is serving as Oxygen for the ailing economy of Pakistan. It is aimed to take off economically and reduce the dependency on borrowing from IFIs.

Pakistan maintained close relations with China while remaining in the Western club in the past.

It was beneficial for China as well as for the West. It has played a significant role in bridging the relations between China and the Western world.

Sino-US relations were established through hard work and appropriate diplomacy of Pakistan.

Chinese are grateful to Pakistan for playing a positive role in establishing formal diplomatic relations between China and the US.

Pakistan has also played a vital role in bridging the relations between China and the Muslim world.

The recent visit of Chinese President Xi to Saudi Arabia and the Middle East is the outcome of Pakistan’s hard work.

Pakistan has the potential to dilute the tension between the US and China. It is desired, Pakistan will do so. One can Love China or Hate China, but one cannot ignore China.

The West understands the importance of China and cannot undermine it. It is in the best interest of the West too, to keep Pakistan close to China so that whenever it is required, they can utilize a common platform for dialogue, negotiations and understanding.

Pakistan kept a pretty balance with the West and China and is capable to do so in the future.

Our policymakers need to be smart, visionary, and open-minded. Opportunities are there it is a matter of how we utilize them.

Pakistan has no anti-West sentiments and would like to keep balance. It cannot afford to maintain relations with either one of them at the cost of another.

Decision-makers must understand the sensitivity of geopolitics and make the right policies at the right time.

—The writer is Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG.