CORPORATE WINDOW With strings attached.

Impassive towards Pakistan's cries for help, the reluctant world watches on as the country continues to crumble under the weight of past mistakes. The atypical toughness of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has left the nation teetering on edge. While others were occupied with guessing the future, the Chinese changed gears and came to the rescue.

The billion-dollar question is: what China asked in return? Most officials approached were either unaware or not ready to share the details of recent interactions with the mighty power of the East. When pressed, they deflected from the issue and started singing praises for the friendly nation that historically stood by Pakistan in thin and thick. They also mentioned the massive Chinese investment - China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - under its 'One belt one road' initiative to reaffirm its trust in Pakistan as a dependable ally.

Currently, instead of waiting for the revival of the IMF programme (a pre-condition conveyed to Pakistan earlier), it seemed to have decided to bail Pakistan out of the current economic morass. The expected momentum in the rejuvenation of CPEC projects under Prime Minister Shahbaz's government has not yet been visible, but China rescheduled loan repayment deadlines and dispatched the first tranche of $700 million of the $2.3bn loan. Last Friday, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd disbursed another $500m to the State Bank of Pakistan.

Last month China gave a call to support Pakistan in its time of need. Whatever the motivations, the recently Chinese-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran was also expected to open up new avenues for Pakistan to gainfully build on its ties with energy-rich Iran. The distressed energy minister has already visited Tehran to explore the possibilities.

'Even in better times, Pakistan takes its sweet time before responding to geo-political realignments. The swiftness with which the energy ministry pounced on the opportunity as soon as it emerged made one wonder if Pakistan knew about the deal beforehand. I would not be surprised if the minister simply acted on Chinese advice.

All kinds of speculations are circulating about Chinese demands and Pakistan's offers in exchange for the recent support provided by the Asian superpower

'Multiple studies (including Pakistan Business Council's bilateral trade report) confirmed the trade between Pakistan and Iran has been a tiny fraction of the actual potential. Despite the common...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT