Political change in Islamabad will not harm Iron Brotherhood between China and Pakistan

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online) 17:48, April 12, 2022

A few media outlets and social media platforms are spreading rumors that a change of government in Islamabad might adversely impact relations between China and Pakistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Both sides have denied such rumors and confirmed that the deep relations between the two “Iron Brothers” are time-tested and all-weather, and will have no change despite the political change in Pakistan. 

First, let’s review the history of the Pakistan-China relationship before replying to such rumors. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations with China on May 21, 1951, we Pakistanis have gone through a series of political ups and downs. Unfortunately, our democracy has its own way of dealing with its complex political nature, and one of its aspects sometimes involves deviations from national and developmental policies due to changes of governments, but international agreements and commitments are nonetheless always honored.

Regardless of different political ideologies and manifestos, one policy in particular, however, has stood its ground, namely: “China is our all-weather and time-tested friend and strategic partner.” This is not only true for civilian governments but is also true for the military governments of the past. Simply speaking, changes of government or leadership in Pakistan have never had any negative impact on our relations with China.

Similarly, China has experienced its own ups and downs in domestic politics – from the Long March and the Cultural Revolution, to the period of Reform and Opening Up – none of these changes have had any negative impact on Sino-Pakistani relations. Whoever reached the top leadership role in China never reneged on China’s “all-weather friendship” with Pakistan.

Why are Pakistan and China such close friends? Why don’t we have border tensions? Why do we trust each other and help each other without any reward in mind? It is because the basis of our relations is so principled and our foundations are so strong that our relations will never be shaken.

We are friends, neighbors, and partners, and believe in non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, respecting each other’s sovereignty, supporting and complementing each other. Our relations have been described as “higher than the Himalaya,” “deeper than the ocean,” “stronger than steel,” and “sweeter than honey.” We are, in these respects, true “Iron Brothers.”

Of all of China’s neighbors, Pakistan is unique in that it has never had any dispute or problem in the last seven decades with China. Our relations with China are based on a very solid and durable footing.

The CPEC is an artery of the Belt and Road Initiative. Because of its importance, Pakistanis have declared it to be a flagship project. We have intended to make it a fine example and role model for the rest of the world to follow. So CPEC is critical and very important for the BRI’s overall success, too.

Entering into CPEC was a strategic decision made by Pakistan and it represents a legal agreement between the two countries. Projects covered under CPEC are based on a strong legal footing, and relevant ministries, departments, and institutions in both countries oversee its implementation.

CPEC is a consensus-built initiative wholly backed by both China and Pakistan. It is the future of this whole region and particularly for the future of Pakistan. It is a guarantee for our economic growth as well as our security

The importance of CPEC is very well understood by the 220 million people of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country ruled by law and its constitution, and its courts are guaranteed to protect Chinese investments in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s constitution protects all foreign investments, as does such legislation as the Foreign Private Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act of 1976 and the Protection of Economic Reforms Act of 1992. It also receives reciprocal protection for investments through bilateral agreements along with pacts for the avoidance of double taxation as signed with other countries and regions.

In particular, China and Pakistan can be considered one family, and any issue can therefore be resolved within the family amicably.

A change of government is a routine matter and the beauty of democracy in Pakistan. Many other democratic countries in the world are also changing their governments legally and some leading examples include the UK, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, among others, where a change of government is even more frequent. The present change in government precipitated by a non-confidence motion is a domestic matter in Pakistan and will not harm its ties with any country, and that is especially true of its relations with China. All international commitments and agreements will remain valid and the new government will honor them all as before.

Based on this background, we have a firm belief that China-Pakistan relations will remain unchanged. CPEC will move forward, projects under CPEC will continue, and Chinese investments in Pakistan will remain safe. We request that our Chinese friends place their trust in the state of Pakistan, trust the constitution of Pakistan, trust the courts of Pakistan, and trust the judicial system of Pakistan. Stay calm and confident looking forward, and keep your business plans in motion as usual. CPEC and the Chinese people, in keeping with your investments, will indeed have a very bright future in Pakistan.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a non-resident fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected].

The opinions expressed in this article reflect those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of People's Daily Online. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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