13 Dec 2017: In the First Essay on the topic titled “Is China True Friend of Pakistan?” was published on 22 Nov 2017. We have already established the hidden Chinese goal in the earlier article. We have already proved that China is not a True friend of Pakistan but Pakistan happened to be there when China needed. Here we are reiterating the same once again using global economic scenario.
China’s relationship with Asian neighbors, especially in South Asia, is the weakest. With Sino-Japanese tensions increasing over south-china sea encroachments of China all the neighbors have become more suspicious of Chinese true intentions. Thus these relations with smallest of the countries have come to prominence in 2017. South Asia has gained focus on China’s regional strategy, as can be seen with President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the region.
Within the region, China has an all-weather friend in Pakistan. However, in international politics past and present do not guarantee the future. Pakistan has been having testing times with common neighbor India which is one of the major trading partners of China. To see if Pakistan is of any importance to China in future we have to answer only one question which one is more important for China. This will also dictate the reverberating question across the corridors in Islamabad, “Is China True Friend of Pakistan?“.
The Chinese government recently has shown maturity and showed international audience in “Doklam Crisis” that it favors economy over the military machine. The crisis was a misunderstanding between both the countries as can be seen and they resolved without firing a single shot. The Chinese generals also believe that there is no point in using the military force unless it runs out of options. With India which has no first use of force policy options are always open, China just had to open a door. The crisis between the two nuclear neighbors faded as days passed behind closed door negotiations. It was a win-win situation for both India and China.
Moreover, Indian GDP in 2013 was $1.9 trillion when compared to Pakistan at only $236 billion, roughly at 12% of Indian Side. In other words, India is the 10th largest economy in terms of GDP in 2013 and has moved up steadily to 7th position with $2.1 trillion in 2016. China is seen maintaining its second position behind the US. This year it is expected to grow at a rate of 7% above world average. By 2050 India is expected to be a second largest economy.
The Chinese know that India will ultimately become a major power on the international stage. The question hanging in front of China is “Will it (India) necessarily be friendly toward China?”. As Pakistan is embracing CPEC and its debt burden, Sino-Indian international cooperation is outweighing the disputes between the two counties. Chinese top brass knows this. Its only Pakistan which wants to reign in China with the CPEC. The Chinese have already sensed that Pakistan is leeching on it for its own agenda in Kashmir. With deteriorating Sino-Japanese ties, Japan has proposed Asia-Pacific Quad between US, Japan Australia, and India. After resisting for many years India was persuaded by Japan and the Quad has been officially announced recently. China looks at this development as a snub to its regional dominance.
Recently during the US elections, Russian hand in creating manipulations in social media has been highlighted. However, Trump administration ignored the role of Chinese in manipulating its educational system for a long time. The educational institutions are largely turning towards Chinese for financing their projects. As Russians, the Chinese are also exerting their authoritarian influence on developing countries and are not targeting the US on a large scale. The US institutions are largely resisting Chinese pressures and showing academic integrity. However, there is a large gap between Chinese efforts and response from the US side. Recent retreat of Trump administration’s promotion US values, China has increased its efforts in this direction. In the same fashion, China is already trying to influence civilian government in Pakistan through Pakistan Army. This raises a serious question if China is a true friend of Pakistan?
Pakistan rupee dropped a record low on 12 Dec 2017. Falling 1.9 percent to 109.5 a dollar at 4:57 p.m. in Karachi. Though Islamabad promotes its currency as one of the most stable the real story is different as can be seen in the chart below. This is not due to a power play by an enemy of Pakistan but the State Bank of Pakistan initiated the devaluation.
The five-year chart shows that Pakistan’s Rupee eroding its value especially from 2008 till 2013. Then it stabilized in 2015 after a turbulent intermediate period. Investors and economists have called for the abandonment of central bank managed float after widened Pakistan’s current account deficit and dwindling foreign-exchange reserves this year. The situation got out of hand due to recent corruption charges and stoppage of CPEC loans by the Chinese authorities. The foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to 12.9 billion and an international debt of 2.5 billion has already been taken to boost it. The Chinese government knew this and could have stopped this devaluation had it not stopped the CPEC funding. This stoppage is also going to fuel and promote Pakistan Military’s engineering and construction company, Frontier Works Organisation (FWO). Had China been a true friend of Pakistan it would not have taken this step.
China has cited its concerns over corruption in the CPEC projects as the reason for the move, but apparently, it is “an effort to boost the Pakistani military’s stake in the country’s economy at a time when the Pakistan Army, in particular, is flexing their political muscle.” This also coincided with the Pakistani Army brokered a deal between the government and Sunni Muslim group. The immediate aftermath of this Hafiz Saeed declared that he is contesting general elections and former Military dictator announced the formation of the grand political alliance and praised the role of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
This seems to be a grand plot to contain Indian growth and promoting Pakistan’s Military role in its country over the democratic alliance. All this aids Chinese on all fronts whereas it demonizes Pakistan as a state of evil in front of the global audience. Already Pakistan has lost its image in the eyes of the world as terror heaven. All this aims at Chinese reaching the top to become a global power and there is no place for Pakistan. Pakistan is just another step for it to reach the top. This is finally the grand plot of China where Pakistan is mere a ladder to success.
This Grand Plot is nothing but a plot to ensure that China leaps forward in the future to be the unchallenged superpower in the world. This is no friendship but being a greedy merchant of Venice, who is extracting his pound of flesh from a friend. This again forces us to question our selves “Is China True Friend of Pakistan?“.Hence, the people of Pakistan have to decide on the course of our country in the next general election by answering the following six questions before deciding on whom to vote: –
1. Should Pakistan support Chinese centric CPEC promoted by Pakistan’s Military Regime?
2. Should Pakistan be enslaved by the Chinese into a un-Islamic debt-ridden country?
3. Should Pakistan be just a ladder of success for Chinese to attain their goal of becoming an economic and military superpower?
4. Should a Pakistani vote for a religious fanatic/terrorist/militant such as Hafiz Saeed?
5. Should a Pakistani elect a former military dictator such as Gen Musharraf?
6. Should Pakistan support corruption in Pakistan’s only pious and pure organization i.e. Pakistan Army?