Shireen Mazari’s Hilarious China Mistake

Shireen Mazari

Shireen Mazari has released another screeching tirade upon the masses, this time on the pages of The Express Tribune where she requests that we re-evaluate our ties with America.

In the first paragraph, Shireen makes a curious comparison of the Raymond Davis case to the killing of Chinese nationals.

If the whole ‘strategic’ edifice is under threat over the issue of Raymond Davis, one really wonders whether there ever was a relationship to begin with. Take the example of our longstanding strategic ally China: Has this relationship ended despite the targeted killings of Chinese nationals working in Pakistan?

But does Shireen Mazari realize that she just argued that Raymond Davis killing Pakistanis is like the killing of Chinese nationals near Peshawar?  And since the Chinese did not cut ties with us for killing their people, the logical conclusion is that we should not cut ties with Americans?

But that’s not the only bizarre part of Shireen’s article. Shireen of course invokes the Ghairat Brigade’s favourite angel of foreign relations – China, but as the American professor Dr Christine Fair recently wrote, China is not a better friend to Pakistan than the US.

What has China done for Pakistan? It did not help Pakistan in any of its wars with India in 1965, 1971 or the Kargil crisis of 1999, when it took the same line as the US and even India. It did little to help Pakistan in the 2001-2002 crisis with India and it even voted in the UN Security Council to declare Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) a terrorist organisation in 2009 in the wake of the Mumbai terror outrage.

The roads and ports and other infrastructure that the Chinese are building in Pakistan principally benefit China. Pakistanis are an afterthought. The Chinese obtain contracts on favourable and profitable investment terms, use their own employees, and contribute little to the local economy ultimately to build projects that facilitate the movement and sales of cheap (but also dangerous and poorly crafted) Chinese goods and products into and through Pakistan.

It is a sad fact that China uses Pakistan for its foreign policy aims as well. It provides Pakistan nuclear assistance and large amounts of military assistance to purchase subpar military platforms in hopes of sustaining Pakistan’s anti-status quo policy towards India. By encouraging Pakistani adventurism towards India, Beijing hopes that India’s massive defence modernisation and status of forces remain focused upon Pakistan — not China. China wants to sustain the animosity between India and Pakistan but it certainly does not want an actual conflict to ensue as it would then be forced to show its hand again — by not supporting Pakistan in such a conflict.

Shireen Mazari’s choice of China as a paragon of virtue and international friendship is also hilarious considering the recent case of Chinese captain Zhan Qixiong who bashed a Japanese patrol boat in Japanese waters.

In the end, it came down to economic ties versus national pride. Business concerns prevailed—and so did China, in a sense. A bitter feud with Japan had been escalating since September 7th, when a Chinese fishing boat ran into a Japanese patrol in waters which both countries claim as sovereign territory. Today Japan released the boat’s Chinese skipper, who had been accused of bashing into the two Japanese vessels deliberately. With the release of the captain, Zhan Qixiong, the diplomatic world breathes a sigh of relief.

And this was far from a friendly case, either. China exerted much more pressure on Japan to release the captain who certainly had no claim to diplomatic immunity, controversial or not.

Japan’s prosecutors chose not to indict Mr Zhan on the grounds that his act was not premeditated, according to Kyodo, the Japanese news agency. But the real reason was the vehemence of China’s reaction. Since the fishing crew and its captain were arrested, China has continually ratcheted up the pressure to have them returned. It cut diplomatic communications and even arrested four Japanese nationals, allegedly for filming in a restricted military area. China’s response seemed to take an especially nefarious turn when it apparently suspended its export of rare-earth minerals, which are vital to making electronics components used in everything from handheld gadgets to cars. On September 23rd China emphatically denied that it is blocking exports. And this may be true: there probably isn’t a formal directive. But in a country where informal rules abound, exporters know that it can pay to withhold shipments—in solidarity with a government that is angry at its neighbour.

China’s actions hurt its image in the world, just as America was looking somewhat callous until Senator John Kerry ensured that Raymond Davis will be subjected to a full criminal investigation and trial in the US. But China showed that it will put its national interests before any neighbor, just as all countries do. It also showed that once the Japanese returned the Chinese captain, the world did not come to an end.

Obviously, the point of Shireen Mazari’s entire article was for the First Lady of the Ghairat Brigade to sing her one-note-tune about cutting ties with America. As usual, she has no idea what she’s talking about and ends up undermining her own argument. Shireen Mazari’s work is so riddled with mistakes, is it any wonder that her by line now has each of her titles preceded by the term ‘former’?

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