Pak-US vs Pak-China relations

By S.m. Hali

Decision makers in Pakistan are often torn between opting for strategic relations with the US or China: ties with either of the two should be mutually exclusive. However, as Pakistanis wonder whether Pakistan is a US ‘ally’ or ‘target’, China with its quiet unobtrusive help continues to win the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan. The question here is, why is it that the US continues to pump money, train Pakistani security forces and provide technical support, yet it continues to draw flak? It is worth examining the reason for this dichotomy.

The Pak-US military relations have been like a rollercoaster ride. Historically, no US ally has faced as many sanctions from it as Pakistan. A brief history of the Pak-US military relations indicates that they commenced in 1954/55, with the signing of the SEATO/CENTO pact, after which Pakistan started receiving weapons and training from America. In July 1957, Pakistan permitted the US to establish a secret intelligence facility in the country and for the U-2 spy plane to operate from Badaber, near Peshawar. But when the plane was shot down by the Soviet army and its pilot captured alive on May 1, 1960, it embarrassed the US and brought Soviet ire on Pakistan. Since the Pakistani government was kept in the dark regarding the clandestine US operations, it asked the US to wind up its activities in Pakistan.

During the Indo-China war in 1962, the US supply of defence equipment to India, despite Pakistan’s objections, soured the Pak-US relations. On the contrary, the US did not come to Pakistan’s aid either in the 1965 or the 1971 Indo-Pak wars, despite a pact for mutual defence, forcing Pakistan to denounce its SEATO and CENTO membership. In addition, the Pak-US relations underwent a severe blow with Pakistan’s nuclear tests on May 28, 1998, and the ensuing sanctions. The ouster of then premier Nawaz Sharif in 1999 in a military coup led by General Musharraf gave the US government another reason to invoke fresh sanctions under Section 508 of the Foreign Appropriations Act, which included restrictions on foreign military financing and economic assistance.

Now let us examine Pak-China relations briefly. The relationship between the two countries began in 1950s when Pakistan was among the first countries, and the only Muslim nation, to recognise the People’s Republic of China and tried to build good relations with the newly independent country. Pakistan also helped China become a member of the United Nations and has been instrumental in helping it to maintain relations with the Muslim world. It has also played a leading role in bridging the communication gap between China and the West, through Henry Kissinger’s secret visit in 1971, which became the forerunner of President Nixon’s historic Beijing tour, establishing to the world that China was a lawful entity. Read more of this post

China has neither changed its policy on the Kashmir dispute nor would it abandon Pakistan in difficult times: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s remark, during a press conference at Beijing the other day, that his country has neither changed its policy on the Kashmir dispute nor would it abandon Pakistan in difficult times, is only an expression of the reality on the ground. The Chinese have gone out of their way to help Pakistan, even losing the lives of their citizens in the process. The construction of several crucial infrastructural projects, in economic as well as defence fields, gave a wholesome push to our industrial and commercial activity and lent muscle to our military machine. And Mr Yang’s reference to the possibility of making additional sale of arms and aircraft to Pakistan in the context of continuing to “expand practical means of cooperation” is the latest manifestation of the deep understanding existing between the two countries.

The Chinese support to Pakistan through thick and thin has never been in doubt, for one thing because the causes that the two countries pursue are of unquestionable legal and ethical validity. Islamabad benefited a great deal from the help it received from Beijing, which, unlike the rest of the aid-giving world, has invariably been without any strings. However, there has always been a strong feeling in patriotic political circles that Pakistan has, most unwisely, missed or at least balked at making full use of the opportunities that came its way to further cement the bilateral relations. Its successive ruling classes have invariably had, it is a great pity, misplaced fascination for the so-called friendly Western nations, which refused to give their help to Pakistan when it was most needed. Read more of this post

F-22 P Frigate PNS Shamsheer joined Pakistan Navy fleet

F-22 P Frigate PNS Shamsheer

KARACHI, Feb 8 (APP): Pakistan is a peace-loving country and does not want to be engaged in an arms race. Its strategic as well as conventional capabilities are focused towards legitimate defence needs and promotion of peace.This was stated by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani while speaking as chief guest at the induction ceremony of PNS Shamsheer at the PN Dockyard here on Monday.The vessel is a multi-mission frigate and is second of four ships to be acquired under F-22 P Frigate programme.

The Prime Minister said it was a matter of jubilation for the nation that a potent Frigate PNS Shamsheer was joining the Pakistan Navy fleet. He congratulated all those who are involved in the Frigate programme.

Gilani appreciated the focus and hard work of the Ministry of Defence Production, Pakistan Navy and Chinese partners for a successful programme which resulted in timely completion of the second ship of class.

The Prime Minister said it was another manifestation of Pakistan-China friendship which was rightly regarded as a model relationship based on mutual respect,trust and complete confidence.

He said ,” we are proud of our ties with China that are time-tested and all weather relationship which is higher than mountains and deeper than oceans”.

Gilani said “Our friendship and strategic partnership with China has been and will remain the cornerstone of our foreign policy.” These ties, he added,were based on the principle of non-interference in each others’internal affairs and were not directed against any country. Read more of this post

Pakistan is to launch first think tank on China

Pakistan will launch its first think tank on China on Oct.1, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, to promote, strengthen and expand Pakistan-China relations in different fields, the chairman of the Pakistan China Institute announced Thursday.

The Pakistan China Institute is the first non-governmental, non-party and non-political organization with equal number of experts, scholars and intellectuals from China and Pakistan, Chairman Mushahid Hussain said in a press briefing.

“Since there is complete unanimity within the Pakistan’s political and social fabric on the need for deepening friendship between Pakistan and China, it is my pleasure to announce the establishment of the first Pakistani think tank,” said Hussain, the former information minister.

“This think tank will work in key sectors of Pakistani state and society including political parties, civil society, educational institutions, opinion leaders, media and business community,” he remarked.

The chairman said the Pakistan China Institute will conduct policy research on promoting Pakistan-China cooperation and bringing the two countries closer in the areas of security, trade, energy, education and culture.

“With its headquarters in Islamabad, the Pakistan-China Institute will explore ways and means to further strengthening the Sino-Pak ties since Pakistan-China relations are unique in international relations,” he said.
Highlighting the key elements that make this relationship so special and so unique, Hussain said Pakistan and China have the longest depth of strategic relationship between any two countries and they have been solid and strong for the last 46 years, since 1963.

“Pakistan-China relations are friction-free, model relations between two neighbors, which are unequal in size, with different social systems. China has never interfered in Pakistan’s internal affairs and it has always provided aid and assistance without any conditions or strings attached. Moreover, China has always stood by Pakistan in every conflict and crisis and China is Pakistan’s all-weather friend,” added the former minister.

Hussain further informed that The Pakistan China Institute will be formally inaugurated on Oct. 1 with a function at the International Islamic University, Islamabad and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui will attend the launching ceremony.

He said that the Pakistan China Institute will hold regular seminars and briefings on important developments pertaining to Pakistan-China relations and will also maintain an inter-active website.

Tabling his recommendations to the government for taking initiatives to cementing the Sino-Pak ties, the chairman presented a three-point strategy to the government.

“The government should establish an inter-ministerial and inter-provincial Special Task Force to implement in a speedy, coordinated manner the ongoing projects, initiatives and MOUs signed between the two governments,” he said.

Hussain further advised the government to ensure full protection and security to nearly 10,000 Chinese workers, experts and technicians working in Chinese-aided projects in different parts of

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