Pakistan determined to develop ties with China

By Zamir Ahmed Awan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/26 21:23:40

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

There have been some misleading reports recently about Pakistan and its relationship with the US and with China. It is important to be clear that Pakistan knows where its interests lie and that the US and China are developing their own policies toward the country.

Pakistan is situated in South Asia, next to the Strait of Hormuz and near the energy-rich Middle East. It is the fifth-most populous country in the world with a population of roughly 200 million and it is the 33rd-largest country in terms of area, spanning 881,913 square kilometers. Pakistan is in a geopolitically important location at the crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Pakistan is rich in natural resources. Agriculture is one of its potentially vital strengths. The country's climate and topography allow almost all kinds of crops to be grown. Pakistan is also blessed with various mineral resources. The Thar coalfield can meet the energy needs of Pakistan for the next 500 years. There are also abundant reserves of gold, copper, iron and other metals.

Human resources is another strength of Pakistan. Out of the country's 200 million people, around 70 percent are under the age of 40. This means a huge productive work force is available. However, due to certain obstacles, they may not be contributing as much as they could to national socio-economic development. A large number of Pakistanis are working in the West in various important positions and are contributing greatly to the socio-economic development of those countries. The West has provided them with an enabling environment and as a result they are working hard and playing a vital role in society. English is widely understood in Pakistan, which means there is no communication barrier with the international community.

Due to Pakistan's potential, many world powers have long taken an interest in it. During the Cold War era and after the September 11 terror attacks, Pakistan was a close ally with the West. But during the last few years, the US has been paying more attention to India than Pakistan. In a recent visit to India by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the US and India signed a major military communication accord. The agreement signed was obviously intended to give India supremacy in the region. The US' unilateral and unjustifiable cancellation of military training for Pakistan's armed forces and the cancellation of aid in the form of Coalition Support Funds amounting to $300 million are an obvious indication of US policy toward Pakistan. However, the US still wants Pakistan to offer assistance in Afghanistan.

But now, Pakistan enjoys a strong friendship with China. Our relations have kept growing and the two nations have never had any disputes or disagreements. We complement each other and support each other on all fronts.

The Western media has been trying recently to spread mis-information and confusion about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). However, the government of Pakistan has clarified that the CPEC will not only be maintained, but that its scope will also be widened. The CPEC is our strategic path and the whole nation stands behind it. It also offers benefits for both nations. We reject all negative propaganda and are determined to overcome all resistance. We will face all challenges and move forward. China and Pakistan are on the same page and are committed to turning the CPEC into a success story and making it a role model for cooperation and development that the rest of the world can follow.

The author is a non-resident fellow with the Center for China and Globalization and a professor at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Posted in: INSIDER'S EYE

blog comments powered by Disqus