name='verify-v1'/>"> MediaTrial: Xi postpones Pakistan visit, Sharif blames anti-government protests - The Hindu

Friday, September 05, 2014

Xi postpones Pakistan visit, Sharif blames anti-government protests - The Hindu

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Since 1965 and 1971 wars fought with India, we are still waiting the promised aid from our "friend" China.

to the friendship defination: a state of mutual trust and support
between allied nations. "because of the friendship between our
countries, we had a very frank exchange"???

What do a Communist
state and an Islamic republic have in common? Not much, perhaps, and yet
in the fast-changing world of international relations, China and
Pakistan have managed to maintain a strong friendship from the 1960s
onward. Today, despite its growing isolation on the international stage,
Pakistan can still counts on China as its closest ally. Particularly as
the country’s troubled relation with the United States seems to
deteriorate by the day, China has emerged in the eyes of many Pakistanis
to the image of a
peaceful, supportive neighbor. As a recent survey
has shown, 81 percent of Pakistanis view China favorably, second in this
special chart only to China itself. Recurrent protestations of
friendship and reciprocal approval seem to reinforce this view, as do
public announcements of triumphal development projects such as the
China-Pakistan economic corridor, the Gwadar Port, and other

On a different note, however, some analysts have
pointed out that the waters beneath the surface of this relation might,
in fact, be much more agitated than the public displays would suggest.
In particular, it has been argued that the alleged presence of Uyghur
militants in North Waziristan, which Beijing hold responsible for
several terrorist attacks on its soil, might represent a source of
tension between the two countries. In this sense Mushahid Hussain, head
of the Defense Committee of the Pakistani Senate and chairman of the
Pakistan China institute, in a recent interview seemed to imply that
Chinese pressure played
some kind of role in the ongoing military
operation in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, where several ETIM militants
are allegedly based. And yet, in this as in other public statements by
Pakistani and Chinese officials, always the “convergence of interest”
between the two countries, and a mutual appreciation of each other’s
efforts, are underlined. The issue of Uyghur militants in Pakistan,
moreover, seems of little concern for Pakistan’s general public, rather
concerned with an Islamist threat in its own country and with the US’s
activities along its borders.

Recently, however, a few stories
show a different side to this relationship, one that is not always
considered when it comes to the heights and depths of the two countries’
“allweather” friendship. The first is the story, widely reported and
discussed in Pakistan, of the Chinese government banning Xinjiang
officials from fasting during Ramadan. The news sparked an array of
surprised and angry responses, but also a more interesting debate on the
value of Pakistan’s friendship with China. Many, like Rafia Zakaria for
Dawn, have called out Pakistan’s hypocrisy in its relations with China,
accusing the country of being eager to stand up to injustices committed
against Muslims only when those are not perpetrated by its “friends.”
In a late – and rather paltry – move, the Pakistani government
eventually adopted a public stance, in which it allied itself, once
again, with the Chinese government. Asked about the issue, Foreign
Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam was reported as saying that “The
Chinese have clarified that there is no such ban on fasting and that
they respect the freedom of religion,” adding that these reports were
just rumors and factually incorrect. Few, however, seemed convinced by
those words.

The other two news items, on the other hand,
didn’t attract much attention either within Pakistan or abroad, perhaps
because they originated from the remote (geographically and politically)
Gilgit-Baltistan region, near the Chinese border. The first was
reported by Pamir Times, a small internet blog established in 2006,
which has rapidly become the most important online news portal in
Gilgit-Baltistan. The article, entitled “Locals in Gojal Valley demand
more responsible behavior from Chinese workers” raises an important
issue for many inhabitants of Gilgit-Baltistan, where many Chinese
workers are involved in construction projects, such as the realignment
of the Karakoram Highway. As I had the chance to hear personally during
my fieldwork in the area in 2013, many locals accuse the Chinese workers
of not respecting the local cultures, of selling alcohol, causing
incidents and, at times, of not bringing anything to the local economy.
As I was often told in the region, if the Chinese workers’ attitude was
to be taken as an indicator of the quality of China’s friendship, then
Pakistan shouldn’t really trust its “all-weather” ally. The second bit
of news, first reported by an even smaller internet blog, Sost Today,
was on the other hand centered on the Sost Dry Port “drama,” as Pamir
Times defined it. The Dry Port was set up in 2001 in Sost, Pakistan’s
border town along the Karakoram Highway, to facilitate and enhance trade
relations with the People’s Republic of China. The administration of
the Dry Port is for the 60 percent in the hand of the Chinese Sino-Trans
Company, and for the 40 percent in the hand of local investors, a
situation which had led to numerous scandals in the past. On this most
recent occasion the Dry Port was closed by its Chinese administrators
demanding protection of the “interests of Chinese” in a note posted on
the sealed gates. The note, allegedly, followed a brawl which saw the
new Pakistani chairman of the Dry Port assaulted by – or assaulting,
it’s still not clear – a Chinese official in his office. The incident,
although it remains quite murky, signals a certain tension between the
two parties, and seems to point toward well-established mutual
accusations and suspicions. The Express Tribune, running the story a few
days later, significantly titled it “bad for business,” a concern that
seems shared by many in the area.

In the course of my fieldwork
along the Karakoram Highway, in both Xinjiang and Pakistan, I was often
confronted with similar issues. Some Chinese traders and officials were
eager to highlight the laziness and inefficiency of the Pakistanis;
while on the other side many Pakistani businessmen despised the Chinese
for cheating and for their arrogance. On a more general level, the
situation appeared complex and multi-layered. For many Pakistanis, China
remained a trustworthy fried. For others: it is another external power
that simply aims at using Pakistan for its own advantages. For many, at
least in Gilgit-Baltistan, it appeared as a necessary evil, an economic
power with the ability to develop infrastructure and trade, yet with the
potential to eventually lead the whole region toward unpredictable, and
negative, future outcomes. On the ground, then, the trope of
“China-Pakistan friendship” seems more complex than anything revealed by
the official statements of the two governments. As these recent news
items suggest, Pakistani’s favorable attitude toward the PRC should not
be taken for granted. On the other hand, it could be argued that for as
long as Pakistanis see the United States as the overarching cause of
almost all of the country’s problems, China’s position is not likely to
change. And yet, as Germany and the United States have recently
demonstrated over the espionage row, even a long-lasting friendship can
abruptly take a turn for the bad. Maybe it’s time for somebody to start
worrying about the possibility of losing a friend.

A stragen
diplomatic statement was issue by the Chinese side is wonderful: Chinese
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang sidestepped a question about the
postponement, saying the visit hadn't been formally announced.

In this critical time of giving hand to Pakistan, China was spose to be... But as in past, the friend future is obvious!

has almost no real allies. "Friendship" with China as equal partners
doesn't exist. Besides, it is observed on the ground that there is a
huge cultural clash of values and customs. If we would have to choose
between two "necessary evils" I wouldn't choose China.

In contrast to the public posturing,the relationship on the ground is more complex and multilayered.

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