Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said,
Pakistan’s future is with China. We should be clear about this… Our country’s progress and development is linked with China… We’re lucky that it’s currently the world’s fastest growing economy, I don’t see any country challenging it in the future.
This line of thinking represents not just Imran Khan and his party, but rather the entire political and military leadership of Pakistan. However, it should not be believed uncritically. These leaders often prioritize their short term political gains over the long-term well-being of the country, so it’s possible that being so closely linked with China will end up being bad for Pakistan.
In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the China-Pakistan relationship. I’ll start by laying out Pakistan’s priorities, and I’ll show how China hasn’t helped much except a little. I’ll then discuss CPEC, and demonstrate that it’s a one-sided project that doesn’t significantly benefit the Pakistani people. After that, I will discuss the US-Pakistan relationship and point out why it’s important for this relationship to expand in the future. I’ll end by pointing out historical parallels with the Pakistan-China relationship and the warnings they might provide.