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Sunday 25 December 2011

A true friend

Agreements worth $700 million signed by Pakistan and China provide the hope that the government is finally realising that in the present day world of hostile and indifferent Western powers and the US, our survival lies in further strengthening our friendship with this time-tested friend. The agreements including repairing of KKH, a currency swap agreement and the setting up of power plants were signed in the Prime Minister’s House and were witnessed by Mr Gilani and State Councillor of China Dai Bingguo. Mr Dai’s statement that China favoured Pakistan’s efforts for regional stability is an expression of its desire to let us play our part in the Afghan peace process with the approaching US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The history of bilateral relations proves beyond doubt that China is a friend that believes in helping us grow economically and militarily as a self-reliant country. Consider its help in the energy sector, nuclear field that includes the Chashma nuclear power plant. Besides, it is also expanding trade ties. Because of its help, we are now indigenously manufacturing the J-F 17 Thunder aircraft that is considered a formidable fighter jet. There is likewise, Gwadar seaport, a source of pride for us. The list of projects is virtually endless and it all shows that China is a country that genuinely wants Pakistan to develop into a prosperous and stable country. At the same time it strongly believes in non-intervention in our domestic affairs.
However, until and unless Pakistan reassesses the cooperation in the so-called war on terror, its financial dependence on the IMF and World Bank due its own mismanagement and plans, reforms to stabilise its economy, the foreign policy shift required will not be able to effectively come about. It is in Pakistan’s interest if it moves closer to Beijing, while keeping the US at bay. During the past decade, despite the tilt towards the Americans, their repayment in suspicion, drone attacks and accusations have driven Pakistan away. The Chinese have helped without asking for anything in return, reminded us of how friends behave. The US could do well to take a leaf out of China's book in its dealing with Pakistan.

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