In the past week, as Pakistan’s global image plunged to a historic low in the rest of the world, at least there was one country willing to stick its neck out to support Islamabad. Even down to criticizing India. China has lessons for the world about how to treat Pakistan, even as it acknowledged that sometimes, Islamic terrorists do come across from Pakistan to “disturb” China.
On Sunday, China’s Global Times, which has a strong military presence, took its criticism to the West about their treatment of Pakistan. India came in for particular censure as a country with “extremist” views.
Blaming the western media for setting a “bad” example for India, the state-run newspaper (which is monitored to get an idea of the establishment’s opinions) said, “The media seems to lack restraint. Indian society’s geopolitical observations about this region are worrisome. Extremism in India may stunt its efforts to become a more responsible power in South Asia.”
On a more cryptic note, India’s media is criticized for its “distortions”. “Hard-won compromises between India and other governments are often distorted,” it said, without reference to which these might be.
After the initial silence following the US raid and kill of Osama bin Laden, China used its Xinhua news agency to suggest that Pakistan’s ISI was connected and had participated in the operation. That, unfortunately, did not find many takers. So China has given lessons on how to treat Pakistan, not as the West does by beating up on it but by “respect” and not “oppression.”
Global Times said, “Being a populous country with nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s stability is vital for the whole region. It would be ridiculous and wrong to force Pakistan to bend before external pressures: Respect rather than oppression from the West is what would help the nation realize modernization.”
It went on, “Standing at the beachhead of the war on terror, the Pakistani government has taken risks beyond the imagination of the West in recent years. Pakistan has suffered huge losses from the war, making it a victim of social disruption and numerous violent incidents as well as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, who was one of the most outstanding leaders of the nation.”
It concluded that it was the infusion of American money into Pakistan that made the West treat Pakistan as “nothing but a country that has been bought and maneuvered by US dollars”.