When Shahbaz Sharif in extremely ill-founded political rhetoric called Pakistan a nation of beggars, or when Khawaja Naeem called Pakistan ‘on US ventilators’ little did they realize that in quest of an ill-gotten tuppence, they were bargaining the future of Pakistan.
They have set the ball rolling into an uncontrollable spiral and it is uncertain when it will end. Backed by the complete system, they may survive the time in power, make amendments to hide their fortunes and enjoy the elixir of raw power, but for how long?
At the end of the day, all instruments of regime change may realize that the objective of getting rid of Imran Khan once for forever, (Debatable) was not worth the effort to destabilize the strategic balance of Pakistan attained over decades in the tectonics of geopolitics.
How can removal of one man called arrogant, rigid and swarmed by bad advisers be justified by the misery Pakistan is going through? Or how can the positive economic indices produced by PTI government in past 26 months become cause of scorn?
The house of cards does not last long and the massive domino effect in collapse is bound to cause much more damage to Pakistan than expected. There is a forest on fire and everything will be consumed by the inferno. When will this horrific reality show end is not known?
Though Pakistan will take a long time to heal these wounds, a resilient nation that it is, it will bounce back stronger. Then will begin the daunting task of rebuilding and setting the strategic orientation on the correct course. Surely a phoenix will rise from the ashes but when?
Fragmentation is already at an extreme and no amount of electoral frauds can undo it.
Economy is in a steep nose dive. It may get some relief due to remittance from abroad and exports of goods in first quarter 2022. Imran Khan will haunt them everywhere. And like the shameless self-promoters, they will continue taking credit while squatting on a branch they saw down.
Such are the problems inflicted on a common man willingly, but the biggest damage is elsewhere; the dream of a self-reliant proud Pakistan.
Pakistan’s perceived advantages of appeasing USA will be far outweighed by the ripples it will create in Pakistan’s economic, developmental and defence sectors. These ripples will weaken Pakistan and I doubt USA will provide a free lunch. Changing a systems approach needs decades especially when it threatens to weaken the defence of Pakistan.
The biggest damage is to Pakistan’s emerging policy of Rising Eurasia. Not only warmth with Russia is changed to contempt, Pakistan’s most reliable friend China that stood by Pakistan in many crises since 1965 is also being tested. Whether this relationship retains its pedestal of being higher than Himalayas and deeper than Oceans has been put to test? Right now it shows signs of erosion.
China, in the past decade has assumed a dominant role in the development sectors from building networks of roads, power projects, dams, railways, industries and parks. All this is connected to the BRI projects in the name of CPEC. Influx of multilateral funding, currency swaps and loans played a major role in insulating Pakistan’s economy from global ripples. This support could likely fade away.
China was Pakistan’s biggest donor in Covid-19 management, supply of medical equipment and refurbishing laboratories. This is why both China and Pakistan emerged as the least affected economies.
China educates a large number of Pakistani students up to PhD level at a highly subsidized cost. They have also introduces a ‘Yasin Anwar Scholarship’, exclusively for Pakistan’s brightest students.
The sudden rise of Electric vehicles like motorcycles, scooters, rickshaws and electric power packs depends on import of cheap Chinese raw materials and components.
China has been a steady source of military hardware to Pakistan’s armed forces. These include naval equipment including frigates, aircrafts, tanks, electronics, surveillance systems, other armaments and munitions. Indigenization in Pakistan would never have been possible without Chinese technical assistance. Though the momentum of the systems in place would not end abruptly, modernization will be hampered.
If Pakistan moves to the US camp once again, what will be the future of technical military cooperation with China? Or is Pakistan considering making peace with India, the regional bully and became an underling? These are questions that need answers to ascertain the trajectory of a future Pakistan.
Perhaps all answers lie in the future of CPEC, Chinese investments in Pakistan and military diplomacy between the two long-time friends. Signals and images coming from China are not good. Their ambassador in Pakistan is absent for six months. It is ignoring Pakistan and including India in higher strategic forums.
For sure the world’s biggest economy bridging across the world would not put all eggs in one basket. Like a sleeping dragon China will wait out. It now has Russia, Central Asia, Iran and Myanmar as partners. China has major investments in India and their economic foot print many times more than Pakistan.
China is weary of the security of its persons in Pakistan, Pakistan’s future policy of opening sea ports to China, slow and delayed progress on dams and huge funds funneled into corruption. Despite losses, China may put all projects on hold.
In another scenario, Russia could persuade India to freeze hostilities with China and join the Eurasia project. Will Pakistan then benefit from Chinese Veto Power?
This being most dangerous, Pakistan could be reduced to a western outpost in Asia completely isolated. How will Pakistan execute a better strategic shift? I have no answer.
For USA and its allies, while Ukraine may be lost, there are efforts to pinch Eurasia with Pakistan.
Just a food for thought where Pakistan is headed?