A section of Delhi newspapers has quoted the Pakistan Press to say that during his recent four day China visit Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was told by his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao that an attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan would be considered an attack on China. He said this message had been delivered to the United States during his recent visit to the country by the Chinese Foreign Minister. When Mr. Gilani left for Beijing an impression was created at home by a section of media that the visit was being undertaken in the context of the US commando’s May 2 operation in Abbottabad to kill Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Till today Pakistan civil military leaders are sheepish and self contradictory about the presence and death of Osama in Abbottabad. Their reaction to Osama’s death had started with welcome of the killing of Osama (“it is a great victory- Gilani”), to remorse (“Osama’s presence in Abbottabad was a shame”-ISI), to injured innocence (“America did not take Pakistan into confidence”-Foreign Secretary, Salman Bashir), to blame game (“The present civilian government never discussed security matters in the past three years”-Army), to anger (Gilani tells Time magazine that Pakistan was upset at US unilateral action in Abbottabad), and outright condemnation of the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by the US commandos in Abbottabad in the dead of night of May 1-2. Thus, a camouflage of anti-US frenzy was created to cover up the guilt about Osama’s presence in Pakistan, his death and paid secret understandings with the US. Mr. Gilani was sent off to Beijing on May 17 amid great hopes that China would not only accept to become an alternative to the US as an ally but will also agree to be a bulwark against it (US). It may sound comic, but it looks real that the Islamists in Pakistan’s Army, ISI, political parties and a section of the media believe the Chinese leaders read only the rightist Urdu newspapers of Pakistan and look at the region from the fundamentalists’ anti-US and anti-India angle as if they do not have their own national interests and world view. Pakistani fundamentalists don’t seem to appreciate that as world’s second economic power, China has to strengthen its economic relations with the United States, Europe and India, a rising economic world power. China cannot sustain its economic present status without peace with these countries. Of course, Pakistan is very important for China as it can be used as a counterweight to India for its natural resources, its land mass which it wants to use for reaching the Arabian Sea and the territory in occupied Kashmir. China knows Pakistan’s weakest point in India (US President Barack Obama calls it self-destroying obsession) in the sense that it is ready to hug anybody who supports its paranoia about India. For example, in the 1950, General Ayub Khan wanted then India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to sign a Joint Defence Treaty without mentioning against whom. But it was very clear that as part of the US-led defence alliances against communist countries, he meant China. But when China committed aggression against India in 1962, Pakistan and China became “all weather” friends with India as their common target. But over the past 49 years – since 1962-China has emerged from hateful fuming of Chon En Lai and has become world’s second economic power while Pakistan has become a social, political and economic rack-an international basket case. The only thing the poor Pakistanis are told to be proud of is the nuclear bomb. The Chinese have a vested interest in building up Pakistan’s defence and nuclear capability vis-à-vis India. They are not the only ones to exploit Pakistan’s animosity against India: the United States and Europe had been doing this since the 1950, to fight the cold war against the communist. They dangled before the Pakistani ruler arms, dollars and support for Pakistan’s case on Kashmir. The Pakistani rulers, it appeared, wanted nothing else for their people. Political stability, economic prosperity and literacy, health etc in Pakistan were never the concerns of the exploiters – America or China. Americans talked of democracy in Pakistan only when they wanted to blackmail or frighten the ruling generals. The Chinese, of course, won’t talk of democracy. The common sense says there is a limit to the Chinese support to Pakistan. Its talk of all-weather friendship with Pakistan, notwithstanding China will not go on war with any country for the sake of Pakistan. One may recall that before the 1965 war, Pakistan’s then Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had assured General Yahya Khan that China would defend East Pakistan. It is said it was for this reason that Pakistan left its eastern wing undefended in the 1965 war. In 1971, Pakistanis felt let down by China for not fighting India in East Pakistan on behalf of their country. As said earlier, China’s status as the world’s second economic power has made it more responsible and circumspect. It will not like to alienate its major trade partner, India, beyond a limit for the pleasure of Pakistan. Similarly, China cannot oblige Pakistan by agreeing to replace the United States in the terrorists’ infested Pak-Af region. It knows that will mean confrontation with the United States which has vowed to clear Pakistan of elements who pose a threat to the United States. President Barack Obama has made it very clear in his recent BBC interview that his troops would attack anywhere in Pakistan where they find terrorists who conspire against his country. He has shown this done in Abbottabad. The US continues drone attacks despite Pakistan’s protests. Some reports of Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani’s China visit suggest that the Chinese leaders tried to advise him that Pakistan mend its relations with the US and India and eradicate centers of terrorism in the country. English language daily, The News has quoted diplomatic sources to say that during Mr. Gilani’s visit the Chinese leadership expressed “unflinching support” for Pakistan’s security, integrity and solidarity but “advised Pakistan to mend its fences with all of its neighbours and try to win international blessings for its national and international goals”. It asked Islamabad to make efforts for the removal of “irritants with Washington and New Delhi”. China was the only country which defended Pakistan when the whole world condemned it for having sheltered Osama bin Laden, while denying his presence in the country. But during Mr. Gilani’s visit, China made it very clear that it did not approve of Pakistan’s policy of treating terrorist groups as its assets. The diplomatic source told The News that the Chinese leadership expressed regrets that “terrorists were flourishing in various centers and Pakistan had yet to take an effective action to remove such centers”. The News report said it was an obvious reference to Madarsas in Pakistan. China Daily also said that China wished to see improved relations between Pakistan and the United States. As for economic aid, The News quoted diplomatic sources to say that the Chinese leaders agreed in principle to help Pakistan bridge its deficit and provide a soft loan for rescuing its economy. During Mr. Gilani’s visit, the Chinese agreed to expedite the delivery of 50 fighter jets to Pakistan, each jet costs about 15 million dollars. At some stage the Chinese may ask if Pakistan is a liability – not only as an economic but also security and diplomatic. China knows that the US has begun to feel that Pakistan is a liability perhaps it is for this reason that Mr. Gilani was advised to remove irritant with Washington and New Delhi. The Pakistani Press reports that China has warned the United States that an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty will be considered as an attack on China is Pakistani fundamentalists’ wishful thinking. During and after Mr. Gilani’s China visit American drones have pounded North and South Waziristan without causing a squeak in Beijing. *******

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