Triumph of bilateralism

The Chinese largesse to pitch in with cash tranches and rollover of loans has supplemented the desired breathing space

Editorial June 10, 2024


A meaningful and result-oriented visit to China by the Pakistani leadership has graduated the relationship to new heights. The rubbing of shoulders with the Chinese politburo by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir has simply confirmed the obvious: there are no irritants, and rumours of a downslide in the time-tested ties are part of vicious propaganda. The joint statement issued at the end of the visit has stated categorically that there is commonality of views from bilateralism to regionalism, and there is no distraction as far as CPEC and other innovative developmental ventures are concerned. Pakistan’s endeavour to emulate the Chinese module of modernisation and buoy geo-economics cements them into a legendary friendship, and there is no looking back on it.

This visit has come at a time when the chips are down for Pakistan as it is budgeting its figures in the midst of pestering debt-servicing and balance of payments. The Chinese largesse to pitch in with cash tranches and rollover of loans has supplemented the desired breathing space. Likewise, the resolve to go ahead with the second phase of CPEC and set up industrial zones to kick-start production, along with the opening up of Gwadar port and a new parallel railway track, is a bonanza of sorts. Last but not least, this high-powered visit has come close on the heels of Fifth Strategic Dialogue and the 13th CPEC’s Joint Coordination Committee meeting that unanimously agreed to expeditiously implement consensual projects and upgrade CPEC to new horizons.

Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate terrorism and provide fool-proof security to the Chinese assets involved in developmental works was at the heart of this interaction. This was a triumph of bilateralism as it exhibited that they are aware of extra-territorial intrusions. The nod from Beijing to go ahead in full spectrum, and its endorsement of Pakistan’s 5Es Framework based on ‘exports, e-Pakistan, environment, energy, and equity & empowerment’ is a classic case of an all-weather deal, and this should walk the talk.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2024.

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