China’s escalating interference in Pakistan’s domestic affairs in an attempt to protect its huge CPEC-linked infrastructure projects and investment initiatives over there, is making the Chinese increasingly unwelcome.
According to an article published by the Hong Kong Economic Journal recently and the web site www.ejinsight.com, this change in Beijing’s policy of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, has resulted in it being entangled in ethnic and religious conflicts in Pakistan.
While the Chinese government has flagged the safety of its diplomatic staff and citizenry as the main reason for them being seen as unwelcome in Pakistan and with suspicion, Western media has a different take on the emerging scenario.
According to them, the local population sees China as aggressively milking their country for huge economic profits by imposing “unequal treaties” on their government.
Western media cited the Gwadar Port as an example, pointing out that under the existing 40-year lease concluded between Beijing and Islamabad, the Pakistani port authority would only get 10 percent of the total profits.
For instance, according to a recent article published by the Financial Times, Beijing has bypassed Islamabad and directly reached out to the separatists in Balochistan in order to seek guarantee of the safety of its huge investment initiatives along the “One Belt One Road”, an act that could have upset many Pakistanis.
There is a fear, according to the article, that the Chinese are likely to become more and more susceptible to terror threats with Beijing getting increasingly involved in the country’s domestic affairs.
Pakistan has remained one of China’s most steadfast allies for decades, and it is also a key partner as Beijing now implements its One Belt One Road blueprint. In the past few years, the Chinese government has invested billions of dollars in major projects in Pakistan such as the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” and the Gwadar Port, in an apparent effort to set Pakistan as an example so as to attract more countries to join the Belt and Road program.
Meanwhile, it is on record that the Chinese embassy in Islamabad has issued a rare warning of possible terrorist attacks against Chinese official organisations, enterprises and travellers on Pakistani soil, and urged Chinese citizens over there to stay vigilant and reduce outdoor activities.