China’s relationships with Pakistan are unlikely to suffer as a result of Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s removal from office by a historical no-confidence vote in the midst of a massive political situation in the South Asian country.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Beijing has been closely monitoring the political crisis in Pakistan. “As Pakistan’s close ally and staunch friend, we earnestly wish that all parties in Pakistan would retain unity and collaborate to defend the general condition of the nation’s development and stability,” stated ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
“Regardless of how the political crisis in Pakistan develops, China will maintain its friendly stance toward Pakistan.”
Zhao’s statement came as Pakistan’s parliament, the National Assembly, assembled on Monday afternoon to elect the next PM, after a no-confidence motion late on Saturday finished Khan’s four-year tenure, marking him the 1st Pakistani PM to be toppled in this method.
After his lone competitor withdrew from the race earlier in the day, Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, and the younger brother of 3 Time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif take charge.
China’s relations with Pakistan have been a top priority for Beijing and a pillar of Islamabad’s foreign policy. Chinese officials, especially President Xi Jinping, have frequently referred to the two nations as “iron brothers,” while ties with China are commonly described in Pakistan as “higher than the mountains, deeper than the sea, and sweeter than honey.”
Given that the neighbours have “kept a fairly stable relationship and great strategic mutual trust since the 1960s,” as Lin Minwang, a professor of South Asian studies at Fudan University, put it, “the power transfer in Pakistan will have minimal influence on bilateral ties.”
“China has strong connections with Pakistan at all levels,” Lin stated, referring to the military, political, and social realms. “Regardless of whether party takes power in Pakistan, it will have minimal influence on China-Pakistan ties.”
Last week, Khan claimed the US of plotting to destabilise his regime by supporting a no-confidence motion against him, an accusation refuted by US State Department spokesperson Ned Price. Days later, Pakistan’s army leader, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, told a forum in Islamabad that his nation wanted to strengthen ties with both the United States and China
Lin says Sharif will try to restore Pakistan’s strained relations with the United States while also seeking an improvement in relations with India, particularly in resolving the Kashmir territorial dispute, but he will have his work cut out for him because the next legislative election is scheduled for October 2023.
“There is much ambiguity about Sharif’s ability to retain power till the next general election,” Lin stated. “As of now, Khan has pledged to fight back, thus Pakistan may face a time of political crisis.”