Pakistan Victim of U.S. Meddling to Contain China’s Rise

“Yes, I feel the change has been abetted by USA, but even they must be surprised how easily they did it”, a highly placed source in Islamabad tells DesPardes. He adds: Given Pakistan’s internal fissures, any outside power needs only little nudging.” The gentleman spoke on condition of anonymity as he’s not authorized to comment officially.

Amb. Gholam R Baluch, a foreign relations expert and columnist, agrees political meddling may have happened. “Pakistan has a unique geostrategic location,” he says, “hence is always part of Global Great Game.”

Zhao Gancheng, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies (SIIS), told the Global Times (GT) that Washington failed in its attempts to rope in Khan, so it is possible it now has meddled in Pakistan’s politics to topple Khan’s government. Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the Research Center for China-South Asia Cooperation at the SIIS, also believes the West, and particularly the US, didn’t want to see Khan remain in power since he has gotten tougher on them.

According to the report, the US has started to feel a sense of crisis due to China’s rise and its close cooperation with other countries. Thus, the US is making all efforts to hinder the engagement between China and its neighbors in every possible way. For example, it smears the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as setting “debt traps” in neighboring countries. It also keeps playing up the “China threat” in the hope that some regional countries tilt away from China and toward itself.

Illustration by Sadia Tariq

In Zhao’s opinion, the US will not stop meddling in the politics of some of China’s neighbors to undermine China’s development and neighborhood diplomacy. It will therefore disrupt the peace and stability of both the region and regional countries, something that countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka desperately need at the moment.

Sri Lanka’s turmoil
Sri Lanka’s embattled Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has offered to sit down for talks with protesters as demonstrations continue against his leadership and that of his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, with the country facing a dire economic crisis. The talks may yet go nowhere, as the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) alliance has threatened to bring a no-confidence motion in parliament if the brothers do not resign within a week.

Foreign Policy Brief

GT adds: it will not be easy for these countries to deal with the attempts of interference and infiltration from the external forces. Liu sees the ongoing turmoil in the two South Asian countries as inevitable consequences of intense domestic political struggles, leaving a seam for other forces to take advantage of the situation to creep in. “Only by resolving internal conflicts and stabilizing their societies first will these nations be able to protect themselves from external forces,” said Liu.

The senior official in Islamabad says the current political environment in the country suggests “elections at the earliest is the best course of action for all stake holders.”