Pakistan’s political change ‘will not affect strong friendship with China’
China Pakistan Photo: VCG
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from office in a no-confidence vote in the country’s parliament on Sunday, but such a major political upheaval in Islamabad will not affect the strong friendship between China and Pakistan. Chinese and Pakistani experts are confident in the future of China-Pakistan relations, as they believe the new government will continue to uphold the country’s long tradition of ensuring that friendship with China and all China-China cooperation projects -Pakistanis will be maintained. unaffected.
A new government will likely be formed under opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, after parliament convened on Monday to vote for a new prime minister, according to the media.
Chinese and Pakistani analysts believe that the strong China-Pakistan relations will not be affected by the internal political change in Pakistan because safeguarding and developing bilateral relations is the common consensus of all parties and groups in Pakistan. Khan’s potential successor comes from the Sharif family which has long promoted China-Pakistan relations, and cooperation between the two countries could be even better than under Khan.
Although the United States has always tried to stir up or create problems for China-Pakistan relations, particularly targeting the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China, China need not worry, experts noted.
The current internal political struggles in Pakistan have been caused by economic problems mainly brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, while the CPEC and the BRI, as well as China-Pakistan cooperation in other areas, including the fight against the terrorism and the fight against the coronavirus, are important for Pakistan to overcome its difficulties. current challenges. This means China is the most reliable, trustworthy, powerful and irreplaceable partner for the country, analysts said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a routine press conference on Wednesday when asked about the current political situation in Pakistan that “China follows the principle of non-interference in other countries. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners.” History has proven time and time again that China-Pakistan relations have always been unbreakable and rock-solid, regardless of changes in the international landscape and their respective domestic situations.
Zhao added, “We believe that the overall situation of China-Pakistan cooperation and the construction of the China-Pakistan economic corridor will not be affected by the political situation in Pakistan. As Pakistan’s ironclad friend, we sincerely hope that all parties in Pakistan will remain united and work together for national development and stability.”
Solidarity and friendship
The latest political change in Pakistan is mainly caused by political party struggles and people’s economy and livelihood issues, said Qian Feng, director of the research department of the University’s National Institute of Strategy. Tsinghua. Qian added that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in the country believe that Khan’s administration has failed to prevent the economic situation from deteriorating,
In general, the current internal problems in Pakistan have nothing to do with its strong ties with China, so there will be no significant impact on China-Pakistan cooperation. Khan hails from a rising political party, the Pakistan Justice Movement, and when the main traditional political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) or the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) return to power, cooperation Sino-Pakistani could be even better because these big traditional parties have much closer and deeper ties to China, Qian noted.
When Sharif was regional chief of the eastern province of Punjab, he entered into numerous BRI cooperation agreements with China directly to improve local infrastructure and economic development, and his family has long-standing ties with China as his brother Nawaz Sharif is a three-time prime minister and leader who started the CPEC project, experts said.
Rana Ali Qaisar Khan, an executive member of the Standing Central Committee of the National Party of Pakistan and an expert on China-Pakistan relations, told the Global Times that “China is Pakistan’s friend in all weathers, so no matter who leads the government, they cannot affect relations” with China.
Very limited American influence
Khan’s government had strained relations with the United States, especially after his visit to Russia on February 24, with the United States seeing it as a clear signal of a stand between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian crisis. Khan had previously accused the United States of backing moves to oust him because he visited Moscow in February. Washington denied his accusation, Reuters reported.
Rana Ali Qaisar Khan said that the United States has always tried to influence the internal affairs of many countries including Pakistan, but its role should not be exaggerated and the current political situation in Pakistan is mainly caused by internal reasons.
Qian echoed the fact that Pakistan is an independent major regional power and that over the past decades, the relationship between Pakistan and the United States has seen top-down changes from close allies to removal almost every 10 years. Pakistan has learned the nature of the United States, and Washington’s image in Pakistan is still very bad.
Some voices have said that the Pakistani army does not like Imran Khan’s diplomatic position, which they say has impacted the country’s neutrality and caused unnecessary friction with the world’s superpowers, because the army of the country also cooperates with the United States. “This is another reason why Imran Khan’s administration was ousted, but we must remember that the Pakistani military also attaches great importance to relations with China,” Qian said.
The latest major defense cooperation announced by China in February on the export of advanced J-10C fighter jets to Pakistan has significantly improved the combat capability of the Pakistani Air Force, analysts say. .
“China has strong and friendly ties with all groups in Pakistan, including the military and all parties, whether in power or not,” Lin Minwang, a professor at the Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday. of International Studies from Fudan University.
China has never acted like the United States in interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, and the reason why China can have an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership with Pakistan is let China deal equally with all parties that come to power and respect their reasonable request and stay away from their internal affairs, Lin said. He noted that the United States should understand that it cannot boost strong China-Pakistan relations, and that all it can do is use NGOs or the media to spread negative misinformation about cooperation. Sino-Pakistani, but the impact would be limited.