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May 19, 2011

Wen will not give what Gilani wants


May 19, 2011

ISLAMABAD: On 21 May 1951, Pakistan, after breaking relations with the Republic of China, was among the first few countries that established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Premier Wen Jiabao are ostensibly participating in the year-long observance of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Pakistan, with its prime minister 3,876 kilometres away from Islamabad, is in a state of war on economic as well as half a dozen military fronts. On May 18, Gilani and Premier Jiabao met on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary for a meeting, which is being termed as strategically important for both countries.
Less than ten days from today, our Ministry of Finance is expected to publicly disclose that the government of Pakistan intends to spend around Rs3 trillion during fiscal 2011-12. The ministry, at the same time, will acknowledge that government’s internal resources will be a full trillion rupees less than government’s stream of expenditures.
Gilani is in Beijing for budgetary support. Pakistan’s traditional lenders are the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) each contributing 44 percent and 37 percent, respectively, to our entire loan bowl.
Gilani is in Beijing with the biggest begging bowl Jiabao has ever seen in his sixty-eight years. Historically, the highest grant assistance that comes to Pakistan comes from the US that contributes around 38 percent of our entire grant pool. Next comes Saudi Arabia that donates 19 percent followed by the UK at 18 percent and Japan at 8 percent.
Jiabao will not give what Gilani wants — budgetary support. China has foreign exchange reserves of over $3 trillion and Gilani is asking for only a couple of billions but China, as a matter of policy, does not dole out dollars for budgetary support.
China built the 1,300 kilometres Karakoram Highway and China doled out $198 million for the Gwadar Port. Jiabao is

willing to invest even more in Pakistan’s infrastructure but Jiabao will not give what Gilani is asking for.
Gilani has air defence equipment — especially for our western borders — on his agenda as well. To be certain, Pakistan is critically short on modern air defence systems. Our man-portable air defence systems, like FIM-92 Stinger and FIM-43 Redeye, depend on the US manufacturers. Our Oerlikon 35mm twin cannons have an effective range of only 4,000 meters.
Since 2004, Uncle Sam’s MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers have been raining hellfire missiles into Pakistan’s wild west. So far, there have been a total of 241 strikes and some of those strikes have killed IMU (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) fighters along with Uighur militants. Would Jiabao help Pakistan down a drone? Would Jiabao go against the rest of world to help us out?

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