PAK-CHINA RELATIONS— To be or not to be?

By Muqeet Tahir Malik



Have you ever been perturbed by how the media portrays of Pakistan and China’s friendship? Did you ever hear of the difficulties of the countless Chinese who have entered Pakistan? Are you bewildered over growing popularity of Chinese cuisine in Pakistan? We have to evaluate the pros and the cons.

Pak -China
Pak -China

The song that rallies as Chinese dignitaries arrive in Pakistan is, “Our friendship is greater than the heights of Himalayan Ranges.” Now, this is what one calls media biased reporting or false media hype without considering the facts on ground. China is essentially tilted towards Pakistan to conceive certain policies like The Great Game.  Not only would this help establish a strong relationship between the land locked countries, it would also allow trade from the Caspian Sea and Arabian Sea – reducing the freight charges that incur from trade through Russia. In recent events, we landed our aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines at Beijing. People are oblivious to the fact that Pakistan was the first country to recognize China in the global community, I will further explain the reasons of this treasured friendship and its potential outcome.


Firstly, every relationship has a certain level of reciprocation, mainly to provide some one benefit is not free of cost.  In Foreign policy studies, the basis of any agreement is evolved on the basis of mutual consent, and reciprocity. The imperative of our relations is that it does not constitute of prejudice, hatred, or multi-faceted paradox approach. Keeping this in mind, now, China has taken a keen interest in CPEC Gwadar port as it has to diversify the market of goods. Moreover, they have always been a vibrant supporter of sharing in power, much like the American hegemonic policy of Utilitarian authority. While China may have several partners, Pakistan renders its relationship to a fine ground of trusteeship, and strategic placement in Asia. Whereas the USA is trying to incorporate itself through TAPI pipeline and has developed industrial estates. Sincerity of China corroborated itself in the Indo Pak wars of 1965, and 1971 following an arms embargo to eschew Pakistan from coming with India at Par. In addition to this, China sanctioned an aid as the economy spiraled in the aftermath of nuclear tests. USA once again popped into the issue thereby, constricting our active market efficacy by WTO legislations.


Secondly, one aspect of our ties is still yet to open up, and that is the presence of Buddhism in a limited area of North West Pakistan like Kalash in Chitral. This may also be because of the burgeoning the relationship as Buddhist monks are to be fostered in that region in view of China. Similarly, Pakistanis should also resolve certain border demarcation dilemmas with China as our citizens who have relatives on other side shall be allowed to live there. Moreover, for this steps could be taken up to punish criminals and terrorists in Chitral who are trying to force conversions to Islam of the Kalashi tribe. It is a heritage for Pakistan, a symbol of a diverse culture for Pakistan

Strengthening bonds
Strengthening bonds


Thirdly, the a balance in the consanguinity is necessary in order to assure that other envious nations do not destabilize the joint ventures in field of transport, hydraulics, education, media, and defense – for eg: like a production of a new Aircraft. Our government in consultation with the cultural committee of China shall propose a joint language exchange program between both countries. Pakistanis should learn Mandarin while Chinese acquire Urdu language to promote our national participation with their people. Furthermore, multilateralism can be brought into relationship through incorporating Chinese employees in our system for internship and vice a versa. This will enable us to be more agile, allowing the ever green technological advancements in industries. Moreover, Pakistan should impede any agreements that might be peculiarly targeting Chinese economy like the TAPI Pipeline, as the USA does not desire to witness a strategic all weather relationship with China. Pakistan can even act as a mediator for Chinese contentions with Western countries like in 1970 successfully befriended United States.  Furthermore, our diplomatic missions in countries abroad need to be informed that to arrange seminars, conferences and meetings showcasing the CPEC to summon more investments. Media Projection of corridor is essential, so that foreign investors alert themselves considering Pakistan a post 2025 Industrial hub. Dubai is increasingly growing as an economic transit state, but long before it developed, people were captivated into conceiving businesses in the island. Educating this global village about Baluchistan’s development will also mollify those who consider it as a discriminated province.


All in all, Pakistan and China both are dependent upon one another to avert the US growing influence, global overreach and Indian containment on the region. Terrorism in China through East Turkmenistan movement and in Pakistan demand joint operation. Therefore, the Chinese-Pakistan economic corridor shall be completed without any political hesitation to achieve economic supremacy in South Asia. It is vital to secure the nuclear stability of this vulnerable geopolitical region simmering into a battle ground for world way.

“No foreign policy – no matter how ingenious – has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.”  Thus, every step in determination of relations with China should be in accordance with aspirations of the people of both countries way.



Muqeet Tahir Malik, currently pursuing a degree in cvil engineering from Military college of Engineering ,Risalpur, NUST. His passion is to write well, and groom himself as a creative person who will be an asset for his country (if he goes into civil services) or becomes a part of Pakistan’s Finest. He tweets @muqeetmalik1996.

  • Kamath

    When CPEC and Gwaddar Ports are completed, Pakistan will turn out to be an economic Asian Tiger . Then China and Pakistan will strangle Historic enemy India and Kashmir will fall into the hands of Palkistan like a ripe fruit.

    So start learning how to use chop-sticks to begin withdrawing!

    Congratulations on your thoughtful futuristic colomnist.

  • Nuree

    China-Pak Economic Corridor: Why Gwadar Is An Overrated Port

    The China-funded Gwadar port in Pakistan is unlikely to provide any meaningful economic or strategic advantage to the Chinese
    Most likely, it is only a ploy by Beijing to extract funds from the Pakistani government with tacit approval of the latter’s army
    Having served in the Merchant Navy before joining the IAS, I can claim to have visited almost all the ports in the Persian Gulf, specially the oil terminals. At the height of Iran-Iraq conflict, we were picking up crude from Kharg, an Iranian island in the upper reaches of the Gulf, which is its major oil export point, just as Ras Tanura is for Saudi Arabia. So I claim an expertise in the area of analysing ports, specially from the point of view of logistics, and through my present calling, I can also now lay claim to understanding a bit of the strategic compass.

    With that caveat, let us have a closer look at the frenzy which has gripped Pakistan. CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) to them, is the panacea for all their economic ills and Gwadar is the best port in the world.

    The frenzy is such that a even a reasonably sober twitter handle, @karachipost, came up with this:

    Karachi_Post @Karachi_Post
    After Gwadar and Chahbahar ports become functional the port of #Dubai will become a lot less relevant, somethings that the Arabs understand

    Similarly, I read a piece today in The Diplomat by Muhammad Daim Fazil giving five ridiculous reasons for the supposed superiority of Gwadar over Chabahar.

    Let’s find a framework for this. What are the qualities a port needs to become a great one?

    As per the Gwadar port website, it has 3 berths at present with a plan to add 3 more (a multipurpose, a grain, and an oil berth). Its projected draught is 12.5 metres with which it claims it will be able to handle 50,000 DWT (Dead Weight Tonnes, which denotes carrying capacity) vessels.

    Chabahar has 10 berths already, and is expanding to include a deep water berth which would be able to handle VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) of 22 m draught or more.

    Let’s look at some of the other ports. Mumbai port has 26 cargo/container berths and 6 POL/chemical berths; Karachi has 12; Nhava Sheva has more than 10, and Dubai (Jebel Ali and Port Rashid), which Gwadar is supposed to be threatening commercially, has 102 berths, with VLCC POL supply terminals as well.

    So we can quite clearly see that logistically, Gwadar is just a little dot.

    Let’s now see the hinterland that the two ports would serve. Gwadar can have cargo headed for either Xinjiang, or for Pakistan’s internal consumption. The back of the beyond location of this port means that for a private business to switch from Karachi to Gwadar, comparable stevedoring and clearing agencies would be required along with a reliable rail link. That’s not happening any time soon. Even if the infrastructure is complete, the soft support system in a hostile terrain would remain hobbled for a long tie to come.

    Comparison with Chabahar is not even warranted, as Chabahar is coming up as a transit port for all of Central Asia and Afghanistan. Muhammad Daim Fazil posits it as a port for India to access Afghanistan and Central Asia through Afghanistan. Only if he had looked at maps.

    The route to Central Asia from Chabahar doesn’t have to go through Afghanistan at all. Moreover, it gives India an alternative route to Russia and the republics to its east, as well as to the 5 ex-Soviet nations. After Ukraine became independent, Odessa has come to be used less and less. Crossing the Suez has its own costs. So, the Iranian north-south corridor would be very useful for India and most south-east Asian countries. As a post on Quora said (Joseph Boyle):

    “Gwadar is simply unlikely to ever be profitable. It means going an unnecessarily long, long way over the world’s highest mountains and through rebels to get to nothing – after all that you’re still separated by water. If you look at a globe and great circle routes instead of the deceptive Mercator projection, you see a direct, low, feasible route between China and the Middle East is going directly through Central Asia to Iran. Turkmenistan already has pipelines selling large volumes of gas to China, and is right next to Iran.”
    Singapore PSA found Gwadar unviable in the long run and left. China stepped in not because it found Gwadar viable, but because it looked at Pakistan as a client state and it was sure it would make Pakistan dance to its tunes. China does not even have much of a use for operating this kind of port because it is already operating a ten times larger terminal in Fujairah, UAE, just across the Gulf of Oman. China will use it only to exercise its hegemony over its willing client state.
    I do not foresee a gas or oil pipeline from Gwadar to Xinjiang as a part of the CPEC, at least not yet. China is concentrating on pipelines from Kazakhastan. Its principal silk route runs via Urumqi-Kashgar-Almaty-Tashkent-Ashkabad-Tehran. From Ashkabad, Chabahar is directly connected.

    So, Chabahar connects everybody to everybody. That’s the reason Iran offered a connectivity to Pakistan as well, which I am sure Pakistan would find offensive. Gwadar by comparison is just a provincial port for Pakistan over high mountains which even China would not find viable.

    Another oft-repeated argument in favour of the CPEC is that it is a good strategy by China to bye-pass the Malacca choke. This makes no sense either, as China’s consumption areas lie nearly 6,000 kilometres to the east from Kashgar, the northern point of CPEC. In the event of a war, both China and Pakistan would do well to remember that Malacca straits at its narrowest choke point below Car Nicobar is 200 km wide, but the CPEC is just 75 kms away from north Kashmir – well within the range of BVR missiles, Prithvis and Brahmos. Gwadar lies directly in the line of Indian Navy, and would be the second one to be blockaded – After Karachi that is.

    China would definitely factor that in its strategic calculations. The CPEC infrastructure is passing through a territory which legally belongs to India, and it would be easy for India to blockade Gwadar.

    Now, let’s discuss CPEC’s economic calculations. China plans to put in $46 billion over 10 years. $34 billion would build up a power capacity of around 17,000 MW (though I have also heard figures of 7 and 10K MWs). The agreements are not on the table (so much for transparency). We don’t know whether there is any element of a grant involved. From whatever sketchy information is available, it looks like a combination of loans for road and rail infra, and power plants to be built by the Chinese for which Pakistan has given a sovereign guarantee to buy all the power produced at a fantastic rate of PKR 18 per unit (INR equivalent 11.53). Even the power plants which are going to be all thermal variety are going to be put up at a minimum of $2 billion per GW (1 GW=1000 MW).

    India routinely builds its thermal power plants at less than $ 1 billion per GW. The average rate per unit on the India power trading exchange has been INR 2.50 for over a year. Bangladesh is buying 1100 MW from India at INR 6 per unit. This is a classical colony-making exercise by China, which Pakistan establishment and the Army is quite excited with.

    So, it looks to me as if the CPEC is purely a marketing exercise by China to rip off some good money from Pakistan for its thermal power companies which have to dismantle their old plants in the mainland to meet the emission norms agreed to by China at the Paris meet. It gives an excuse to the Pakistan Army to rip off more money from the exchequer in the name of providing security and strengthening its occupation of Balochistan. It has got an 11 percent raise in its budget in a year in which GDP grew by 4.7 percent.

    India need not even discuss this. The CPEC route passes through a treacherous terrain prone to landslides. All India needs to do is to target its missiles on N35 of Pakistan, otherwise better known as the Karakoram Highway.

    So my advice to my Pakistani friends is – please don’t parade the CPEC and Gwadar to the world. It’s not your salvation, it’s your cross.

    This piece was first published on Sanjat Dixit’s blog and has been republished here with permission

  • Muqeet

    Sir the issue is that you are wrong about the berth,I have the statistical data , Gwadar has 4 working berths and expansion to 120 berths in coming.yeard, you csn reevaluate your analysis,
    Plus my upcoming piece om Global shifting trend and Pakistani policy would further revise your argument,Kashmir issue is what ypu so called liberals do not get to see. How can you throw pellets at the people?

  • Harun

    Typical Pakistani reply. Bring up Kashmir, without any relevance.

  • Muqeet

    Kashmir is a refutation for the logic of Mr. Narun that Pakistan is committing genocide. There is no greater genocide than Kashmir corroborated by the long curfew

  • Harun

    Till you solve Kashmir problem, enjoy Pakistan’s great journalism.

  • Harun

    Some hotels in Chinese city block people from five Muslim countries

    BEIJING (Reuters) – Police have ordered some low-end hotels in the Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou not to allow guests from five Muslim-majority countries to stay, though China’s foreign ministry said it had never heard of the policy.

    Three hotels with rooms costing about 150 yuan ($23) a night told Reuters that they had received police notices from as early as March telling them to turn away people from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan.

    What happened to “deeper than the oceans, higher
    than the mountains” dosti?

  • Harun

    Reuters: Explosion at Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan leaves several dead, wounded – Interfax cites local emergency ministry

  • Soledad

    “People are oblivious to the fact that Pakistan was the first country to recognize China in the global community, I will further explain the reasons of this treasured friendship and its potential outcome.”

    The first country to recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was the former USSR, on October 2 1949, followed by Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, North Korea, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Mongolia, East Germany, and finally Albania, on November 23, 1949. These were all communist countries at the time.

    The next country to recognize the PRC was The Dominion of India (January 1, 1950) followed by the UK, Switzerland, Vietnam, Indonesia, Sweden, Denmark, Burma, Lichtenstein, Finland, and, finally, The Dominion of Pakistan, on May 21, 1951, nearly 18 months after India. Late Lateef indeed.

    If you cannot find the time to check your claims, you should not post them at all. In fact, this piece is symptomatic of a lot of Pakistani journalism: On matters Chinese, fall flat on your face in servile supplication.

    Pull up your socks! Pakistan is home to the Indus Valley Civilization, older than China’s much vaunted civilization. There is no need to grovel before people who are more likely to exploit Pakistan financially than to help.
    Read this ––2.html

  • ramanan

    When a one year old learns to walk, it walks all over the place, for it would have just learnt that it can also walk like elders, This is the case with this writer, who has just learnt to write. The artificiality of writing is in equal measure to the shallowness of analysis. What does he want to say ?