It is very difficult for a country to maintain balanced relations with its neighbor countries when most of its neighbors are super powers of the world. Pakistan is situated in such a geographical area that it has China, Russia, India, Iran and Afghanistan as its neighbors. India is a political rival of Pakistan ever since partition while its huge population presents it a a big market in world business and hence an upcoming power in the map of the world. Iran is a relatively small country but one which is energy rich but its stance against the USA has an effect on Pakistan. Afghanistan is currently the epicenter of war against terrorism in which USA and NATO are involved so we have the world war in our neighbor country which has also induced in our country specially Waziristan and northern areas. Russia is also like our neighbor and we have a history in cold war against Russia which is not the topic of the article.
China without doubt is a bellwether friend of Pakistan in the world. China has stood with Pakistan through thick and thin. China got its independence after civil wars and against fight for freedom from imperial forces of Japan and Britain. At that time, China was rife with loot, war lords and smuggling with it being considered as one of the worst country in the world with the largest population. The books of that time show that China was considered as a burden on the world by rest of the world. Being associated with the communist bloc, China had little or no friends in the non-communist bloc. Pakistan became the eyes and ears of China and established relations from the very beginning. PIA for a long time was the only international airline operating from mainland China and Pakistan provided the most important aerial access to and from the then Peking.
Mao Tse Dong led China forcefully but with vision to reach big heights. He is without doubt he is one of the most influential leaders in modern history of the world. In the mid 1960s, China regained its honor and got rid of drugs and narcotics. They also started to control their population which favorably altered their financial and economic condition. Now China was emerging as a new power, an Asian tiger in the world but China was still alone in the global world. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the minister of external affairs at that time, thought to take the friendly relations with China to the next level. The genius mind of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto thought that future of this world especially Asia lies in the hands of China.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was instrumental in bringing China to the world stage. He was one of the first non communist official to visit China. He gave China a new hope and pleaded China’s to come forward in the United Nations. Then the next step Bhutto did that he managed many meetings between officials of China and USA, and it was for the first time that China and USA came close and some relations started between 2 super powers. Because of it, China was given Vito Power after some time in United Nations.
After 1971, when Bhutto became the head of the government in Pakistan, then our relations with China became very vast and everlasting as Bhutto was relying on China. Bhutto was aware that in the war of 1965, no country helped Pakistan in the time of distress except Iran and China so he developed belief in the relations of Pakistan with these countries. Different type of technologies was exchanged between China and Pakistan. There was rapid increase in Pakistani business and trade when Karakorum Highway (Silk Route) was built with great difficulties but it was a miracle to build that road by cutting mysterious mountains of Karakoram.
We were alone in United Nations and in global world before, but then we found a sincere friend in the shape of China. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Bhutto were welcomed by millions of Chinese public when they visited China and it is still the biggest external visit in China. The shape of world order was changing due to mind of Bhutto.
When Bhutto was murdered judicially, then our relations with China continued but didn’t increase in Zia’s regime. Then in 2 reigns of Benazir Bhutto our relations with China flourished again. China always welcomed PPP government in Pakistan. China always feel good with PPP government as they find believe the party of Bhutto who gave then new spirit and acknowledgment in the world politics and economy. Our missile technology exchange with North Korea was due to efforts of China in Benazir Bhutto’s reign.
Now, after winning 2008 elections, we are watching new strides towards stronger relations with China. Asif Ali Zardari visited China first of all after taking his presidential seat. It showed our trust and belief in China which resulted in Chinese belief in Pakistan. Pakistan is facing its worst time in its history in present so we need support from our friends. China is offering its good support to us and it is great work of Asif Ali Zardari. It is great relief for Pakistan in the time when our Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, and Qatar etc are away from our support at all. Asif Ali Zardari is adopting the same policy that was adopted by Bhutto and his daughter. New agreements have been signed between 2 friends in the recent visit of Asif Ali Zardari to China. Now the situation has been changed from Musharraf reign in which we were going totally in American hands due to lack of vision in external policy at that time. We were going away from China in that time but now we are back again in giving first of all preference to China.
There is a famous quote: – “You can change your enemy, you can change your friend, but you can’t change your neighbor.” So it should be our foremost preference to establish strong relationships with our neighbor countries specially China because it is our great friend and supporter. Pakistan and China are friends geographically, politically, economically and socially too. We back up our government and our president for giving preference to China in world affairs.