Even though there are over 3,000 athletes from over 80 nations taking part in the Beijing Winter Olympics, Team Pakistan wanted to be seen supporting its most trusted ally in the aftermath of the United States and its allies’ decision not to attend the massive event.
While the Pakistani group was not officially on a bilateral visit, they utilised it to address important subjects of mutual interest, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Amid a recent wave of extremist assaults, the Prime Minister’s staff intended to take advantage of this occasion to reassure China about CPEC and Gwadar Port. A $3 billion loan from China was also intended to help the country get through this tough period, as well as a push to private Chinese investors to see Pakistan as a great business opportunity.
There has been a pall over the athletic event itself cast by the ongoing epidemic and political climate. Because of the strict health rules, there was no way for the public to take part, and the diplomatic boycott reawakened memories of world chaos.
In terms of sport, Pakistan had only one participant: Muhammad Karim, an alpine skier who made the cut. The prime minister of Pakistan was the only member of Team Pakistan in the political arena, although he had a team of advisors and ministries to support him.
Despite the assumption that China has a frigid approach toward Pakistan, analysts and business leaders are optimistic about the upcoming visit.
An influential journalist-turned-politician, Mushahid Hussain Syed, was convinced that the visit would be a success. He stressed, “China has always delivered to Pakistan, diplomatically, politically, economically and militarily. China has always been a reliable partner for Pakistan. There’s no reason to think differently given the rapidly shifting regional landscape right now.”
Many international leaders, including the UN secretary-general, were there for the inauguration event that displayed the finest of the emerging world power. Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed called the Western boycott “a pointless exercise.” As far as he was concerned, Pakistan had to be there to show support for a long-standing strategic partner.
Balochistan’s resurgent nationalist groups pose a threat to the CPEC, according to a former president of the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), who spoke anonymously to Dawn.
Security concerns have been highlighted by the Chinese community in China, and the latest assaults might be seen by them as a failure of the Pakistan government. Words will not suffice to relieve these people’s anxieties. CPEC and China-Pakistan friendship are in jeopardy, with rising violence.
That PTI-supporting business lawyer was a little nervous. “We’ve never been good at negotiating with our allies, but the ruling party has broken all records. This has resulted in more expensive transactions since it has alienated everyone. It is easier to deal with American antagonism since we are familiar with the situation. China, on the other hand, is a very different case, because we only know China as a friend. I sincerely hope that we are not exposed to what it means otherwise.” He, too, declined to be identified.
When it comes to China, the Asian giant, Ehsan Malik, CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, urged the government to play its cards more carefully. A blunder in desperation might be too costly to bear for the country’s economy. Malik added that the current conditions were so compelling that we can not let any opportunity pass by. He also made the implication that China owes Pakistan a better deal.
With commodity headwinds expected to endure for another six months and the Saudi deposit being spent, Pakistan will require extra support even with the $1bn each from the International Monetary Fund and the Sukuk flotation. It’s safe to say that China gave the go-ahead for the public announcement of the $3 billion loan request. It is important to remember that $3 billion is a fraction of China’s annual exports to Pakistan.
After the successful completion of the first phase of CPEC, Mr Syed expects a reaffirmation from both sides to consolidate the second phase. He added that there is a lot on the bilateral agenda, including the second phase of the CPEC, Pakistan-China coordination on regional problems of mutual concern like Afghanistan and India as well as regional connectivity and support for each other on their fundamental interests.
If Pakistan creates a suitable atmosphere and reduces bureaucratic red tape, China’s private sector will invest in Pakistan, according to Mr Syed. According to him, 37 permits are required before a foreign investor may make an investment in the country.
According to Mr Malik, a lack of workforce skills and productivity are major hurdles to China’s move. In addition, the increase in security breaches is a huge deterrent for Chinese professionals who will be required to teach the local workforce.
“We also need to be vigilant about the sort of investment we seek from China,” he said. He added that there are 220 million people in Pakistan who buy goods and services, making it an appealing market. The vast majority of the country’s existing FDI is driven by the desire to make a profit and seek more market. Further investment from China of this nature will undermine the existing local and foreign investments. Pakistan needs FDI to generate value-added exports and import substitution.”