China says ties with Pakistan remain ‘friendly’ after Imran Khan ouster

Chinese state media insisted on Sunday that the ousting of hardline Islamist Prime Minister Imran Khan in neighboring Pakistan – a close friend and ally of the Communist Party – would have no effect on bilateral relations.

the world times speculated that diplomacy between China and Pakistan could get “even better” under Shehbaz Sharif’s successor, the prime minister’s brother before Khan, Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan’s parliament officially elected the young Sharif as the country’s head of government on Monday after using a vote of no confidence to impeach Imran Khan on Sunday.

Khan has used his time in power, which began in 2018, to bring Islamabad deep into China’s orbit, greenlighting heavy Chinese investment in the country through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). ), the Chinese program to offer poor countries predatory loans that they then use. pay China to build roads, ports, railways and other infrastructure projects. Although he is an outspoken Islamist who has used his platform at the United Nations to call for global blasphemy laws, Khan has also supported the Chinese genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in occupied East Turkestan, a border region of Pakistan.

China’s Foreign Ministry made muted comments in response to Khan’s abrupt removal from power at a regular press conference on Monday.

“As a close neighbor and staunch friend of Pakistan, China sincerely hopes that all parts of Pakistan can stand together and jointly uphold national stability and development,” the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters. Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian. “I would like to stress that no matter how the political situation in Pakistan develops, China will unswervingly follow the policy of Pakistani friendship. We believe that the political change in Pakistan will not affect the whole China-China relationship. Pakistani.

the world times newspaper, a state-run propaganda outlet, argued much more enthusiastically that Pakistan would continue to be a close and dependent ally of China even without Khan, even in light of Shehbaz Sharif recently calling his countries to stop antagonizing America because “beggars can’t be breeders. The Time noted that the Sharif family, which under Nawaz faced numerous corruption charges, expressed as much interest in the BRI as Khan, even without adopting the former prime minister’s belligerent attitude towards America.

“Khan’s potential successor comes from the Sharif family which has long promoted China-Pakistan relations, and the cooperation between the two countries could be even better than under Khan,” he added. Time observed on Sunday, before Shehbaz Sharif officially became prime minister.

the Time insisted that any concerns about Khan’s leadership that led to the vote of no confidence were “provided mainly by the [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic” and other domestic issues unrelated to Khan’s foreign policy. The state media does not seem to see any reason for Pakistanis to blame China for the pandemic caused by its mismanagement.

In a take seemingly opposed to Sharif’s view expressed this month that Pakistan is too economically vulnerable to walk away from America, the world timesciting “experts” approved by the Chinese regime, insisted that the country’s economic turmoil made a divorce from Beijing impossible.

“This means that China is the most reliable, trustworthy, powerful and irreplaceable partner for the country, the analysts said,” according to the newspaper.

“Chinese and Pakistani experts are confident in the future of China-Pakistan relations, as they believe that the new government will continue to uphold the country’s long tradition of ensuring that friendship with China and all cooperation projects Chinese-Pakistani will continue unaffected,” the outlet insisted. “In general, the current internal problems in Pakistan have nothing to do with its strong ties with China, so there will be no significant impact on China-Pakistan cooperation.”

In a separate editorial, the world times suggested that the United States was to blame for Khan’s removal – an accusation Khan himself first made. the Time quoted a so-called ‘researcher’ as saying, ‘when the United States is dissatisfied with a certain government, it will chain opposition by offering promises or money – using these coup-like measures of State to incite the opposition”.

the Time then asserted that America would not benefit from the appointment of a new prime minister by Pakistan, “Chinese scholars argue that even if the United States plays tricks behind the scenes, it cannot sow discord between the China and Pakistan”.

Another ‘expert’ told the newspaper: ‘Whatever party is in power in Pakistan in the future, it should not be called pro-American. ”

Khan’s exit from the prime minister’s seat follows months of attempted rallies against his rule that have faced coronavirus social distancing guidelines and other government challenges. The coalition supporting the Sharif family first tried to stage a no-confidence vote against Khan in March, but the prime minister used his power to dissolve parliament, stopping the vote and safeguarding his position until the court supreme of the country reverses its decision, which led to this. weekend.

Before the vote of no confidence, Khan claimed that America had set in motion a sinister plot to remove him from power. He cited an alleged letter sent by the US State Department to Islamabad in which Washington “threatened” to force Khan’s ouster as evidence of foreign interference in the country’s government. When Sharif, as newly elected prime minister, offered to investigate the contents of the letter on Monday, Khan’s political party PTI angrily declined the offer.

Khan’s tenure as prime minister has been largely defined by a push for global Islamic law, particularly the implementation of blasphemy laws so that any sentiment that offends Muslims can be prosecuted anywhere. in the world.

“Muslims continue to be targeted with impunity in many countries. Our sanctuaries are destroyed; our Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) insulted; the Holy Quran burned – and all in the name of freedom of expression,” Khan said during his 2020 address to the United Nations General Assembly, calling for global punishments. “The incidents in Europe, including the republication of blasphemous sketches by Charlie Hebdo, are recent examples [sic].”

The United Nations General Assembly passed an anti-“Islamophobia” resolution soon after.

A year later, Khan called on all Muslim-majority countries to impose trade embargoes on Western countries until they pass Islamic anti-blasphemy laws.

“I want Muslim countries to draw up a common line of action on the issue of blasphemy with a warning of commercial boycott of countries where such incidents will occur,” Khan said. “It will be the most effective way to achieve the goal.”

As prime minister, Khan did not have the same passion for opposing the genocide of Muslims as he had for opposing verbal remarks against Islam. As recently as February, Khan endorsed China’s genocide of the Uyghur people taking place across his country’s border during a meeting with Chinese dictator Xi Jinping.

“Because of our extreme closeness and relationship with China, we actually accept the Chinese version,” Khan said of the Uyghur genocide in July. “There are far worse human rights abuses happening in other parts of the world, like in occupied Kashmir. But the Western media hardly comment on this.

Kashmir, a region contested by Pakistan, China and India, is the scene of constant violence but is currently not experiencing anything that international scholars would consider genocide.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


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