Modern day China under President Xi Jinping either lacks subtlety or is in a desperate hurry for some reason. What seem to be its ‘strategic goals’ have alienated almost all countries it has engaged with it. These goals have, on the ground, amounted to little more than friction, such as that with India on Ladakh, but forced others to wake up to the threat it poses. The increased energy in the Quad, for instance, to counter China politically, militarily and economically, is the direct result of the brazen disregard for bilateral and multilateral niceties. Only those countries that are hoping to benefit financially from its overflowing coffers are ready to line up on its side.
However, the heavy-handedness is also beginning to alienate the long term allies. In the case of Pakistan, for instance, a situation has been reached where resentment against China might even lead to major strife between the ruling establishment and the general public. Developing CPEC as a means to obtaining access to the Arabian Sea is cutting Pakistan into three with its eastern and western routes. This, more or less, comprises a takeover of Pakistan, rendering ineffective what little autonomy the provinces enjoy. For a nation already divided because of the Punjabi domination, this is proving to be the last straw.
Like the East India Company, the Chinese are increasingly obtaining the rights not just to finance and own projects along the Corridor, but also the responsibility of protecting it. This has led to a growing colonisation by the Chinese, bringing it into conflict with the local people. The Pakistani Army and its stooge, Prime Minister Imran Khan, are so compromised that they can only collaborate with the Chinese. The handover of Sindh islands to the foreign power, divesting the provincial government of any control, has been the latest aggravation.
This has led to eleven parties forming a ‘grand alliance’ named the Pakistan Democratic Movement under the leadership of Maulana Fazlur Rehman. It intends to launch a movement from 18 October similar to that led by Imran Khan. Matters have come to such a pass that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is presently in the UK, has directly targeted the Army for running a ‘sham democracy’ from behind the scenes. Till now, the Army has been considered a holy cow, but the long felt sentiment of the people has finally been expressed by a mainstream politician. Leading political pundits have begun to express concern that this could cause a further break-up of the nation. The public’s grievances could no longer be ignored, particularly in Balochistan. The Establishment, however, does not seem to be taking heed, much like before the war of liberation broke out in former East Pakistan.