Imran Khan, strategic chess and stalwarts

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Naveed Aman Khan

Afghans have been bearing proxies of the {erstwhile} Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 80s of the previous century. Then we saw proxies of India and Pakistan on Afghan soil. But Pakistan presently has become proxy war field of USA and China and Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both the USA and China are in serious political, economic and strategic run in our region. The United States of America is the only acknowledged superpower yet while China sooner or later is believed to be another. In economic and strategic matters China is giving tough competition to USA. Chinese are very wise nation. They focus on their strategic, economic, diplomatic and political objectives without making undue statements. United States of America on the other hand is teetering teeth to China. For its strategic objectives America is present in Afghanistan. From here it is focusing and monitoring China. For this purpose America is strengthening India against Pakistan and China. On the other side in the sea water of South China-America has long been there with its local proxies.
Chinese visionary President Xi Jinping very wisely has designed alternative approach of China to the water of Pakistan along Gwadar. President Xi’s economic policies are not only for Chinese but for other beneficiary countries of several One Belt One Road projects. These routes are China-Indonesia, China-Malaysia, China-Russia, China-India-Bangladesh-Myanmar and China-Pakistan. Along all these routs all the connecting countries will get huge and permanent direct economic, cultural, diplomatic and political benefits. Eventually all these countries will overcome their poverty and avoid to indulge in serious conflicts. That is why China-India-Bangladesh-Myanmar route will address poverty of around three billion people of this region. Because of economic interests China and India will avoid serious conflicts and focus on bread and butter of their billions of inhabitants. This visionary design of President Xi Jinping will automatically diffuse American hostility against China using India. America believes that it could not yet get hold in Afghanistan because of Pakistan.
It also believes that this situation is strengthening China in its advancement towards Gwadar and onward. In the past, Pakistan has been the frontline ally and proxy of America in Afghanistan against USSR and then Afghan Taliban. Now America believes that we are proxy of China and American opponent. In the past China has been of the view that Pakistan is its ally against India but now they believe that we are their front line state against India and America. In the past, in Balochistan enemies of Pakistan have been active but enemies of China and CPEC are also active there now. Similarly in the past Afghan soil has been used against Pakistan but now it is being used against China also.
In the past, China has not been taking interest in the internal matters of Pakistan and Afghanistan but now seems worried about their circumstances. In the past, Pakistan has been bridge between America and China but now it is their proxy Warfield. In the past Americans believed that Pakistan was their ally and strategic asset but now they have given this position to India in the region. In the past the role which Pakistan played for America against the Soviet Union now India is playing the same role for America against China. China till this time has not become superpower. After widening distance from America, Pakistan has come very close to China but China itself has not annoyed America seriously till date. China too suggests Pakistan to keep balanced bilateral relationship with America. China very successfully has increased its trade and business volume {worth billions of dollars} with America too so that it could not think against China at any stage. India has not gone far away from Russia at brisk pace but tactfully it has moved close to America so quickly. We have given impression to America that we have gone very close to China and Russia not establishing strong relationship with Americans any longer. At the same time, Russia is against America but it is still very close to India and Iran as compared to Pakistan in the region. In the regional strategic power game of Russia, America and China, Iran could become our close ally but because of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran are not enjoying ideal relationship and Iran is much closer to India than Pakistan.

With the change of government in Pakistan in the first month Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif, American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi have visited Pakistan. Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost has met Prime Minister once and Saudi Ambassador Admiral Nawaf Ahmad Al-Maliki has met Prime Minister Imran Khan several times in this short time. Prime Minister Imran Khan himself has met Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa four times. Pakistan is facing gigantic strategic issues of power game in the region. Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi has the capability of understanding and resolving international issues.
Prime Minister has shown concerns over CPEC and this has defiantly annoyed Chinese leadership. We have seen that Chinese Prime Minister has talked to Pakistani Prime Minister only while Chinese President has still kept quite. We should keep in mind that China is a Presidential farm of government where all the powers lie with great visionary President Xi Jinping. On diplomatic level we have already mishandled phone call matter from French Embassy. We don’t afford such blunders at any level. Cricket is over now. Now Prime Minister Imran Khan will have to play complex political, diplomatic, economic, cultural and strategic Chess with the stalwarts of world. On this chess his one unwise move will turn the tables around.
— The writer is political analyst based in Islamabad.

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