Given the economic situation of the country; Prime Minister’s visit to China has seen much limelight. After securing a reasonable aid package from KSA, help from China was considered the only hope to soften the strict restrictions, of the possible IMF bailout package. Imran Khan went on a four-day ascent to secure an aid package from China. The rising global economy warmly welcomed Khan, reiterating the fact that China and Pakistan are long-lasting friends.
Prime Minister Khan met with significant dignitaries including the Chinese President Xi Jin Ping and discussed issues of mutual interest. But to secure a financial aid package was the main concern. IK highlighted the potential, and the bright future of Pakistan economy in front of many at the China international Import expo. He also had the honor to speak before hundreds of students at central leadership school of the Chinese Communist Party. Apart from this Pakistan government also signed several MOUs with the Chinese; stretching from industrial to agricultural sector. The importance of CPEC was mutually rehearsed. The important thing to note is that China agrees to revisit the projects of CPEC, on the demand of newly elected Pakistani government.
IK’s visit to China has been criticized by the opposition parties of the country. As Khan left for China, day after delivering a speech, awaited by the nation for years. But unfortunately, actions spoke softer than words, that day. Criticism by the opposition gained weight because of the fact that the PM is also the interior minister of the country; this happened for the first time in the history of Pakistan. The country was without the PM and Interior ministry at the very crucial moment. Some advised Khan to cut short the visit and come back.
Naya Pakistan government has allegedly been accused by its rivals of foul playing with CPEC, just to please the West in this ongoing US-China trade war. And the statements given by IK himself and his party members had a very severe effect on the trust between China and Pakistan. China modestly refused to provide any immediate financial help, stating that it is willing to help Pakistan deter its fiscal crisis but more talks are needed. A national newspaper allegedly reported that Khan’s previous statements during his role as a member of opposition, and recent careless statements by his team members, averted the immediate financial help. Opposition termed it as failure of Khan government to convince the neighboring state for help, pointing mainly at lack of legitimacy.
It is worth noting that China is the only neighboring country which stands with Pakistan through thick and thin. But Pakistan has every capability to disturb its relations with China. Such capabilities need to be taken care of. As to counter the American heavy-weight, India, China provides Pakistan with required needs to keep the balance of power. Pakistan government should avoid any step that will add to the existing trust deficit, if any.
Contributor: Muneeb Khan