After connecting the dots it is reasonable to infer that if the crisis within Pakistan tides over constitutionally and peacefully the credit will go to China. That both the Pakistan army and the civilian government are on the same page as regards China has been clear for long. Recall the offer of former Pakistan foreign minister Mr. SM Quraishi made to Beijing to arbitrate between Pakistan and India on Kashmir. Subsequently the frequent trips to Beijing by both Pakistani Generals and civilian government leaders have only strengthened ties between Beijing and Islamabad. If the report by Indian intelligence to New Delhi that virtual agreement has been reached between Beijing and Islamabad to set up Chinese military and naval bases in NWFP and Baluchistan is correct the relations between both governments could not be warmer.
Beijing could not have been indifferent to the recent crisis within Pakistan. There are clear indications that it played a decisive role to defuse differences between the Pakistan army and the civil government. While General Kayani was on a visit to China, Prime Minister Gilani gave an unprecedented interview to a Chinese news outlet alleging that the General had behaved unconstitutionally. Significantly enough the Chinese media outlet after posting the interview on its website blocked it from general domestic viewing on its print outlet. Would Beijing have raised the issue with General Kayani and given its own view on the subject?
After General Kayani’s return from China tempers of both the Pakistan PM and the army Chief noticeably cooled down. In his speech in the Pakistan National Assembly Mr. Gilani did not touch upon the topic related to his differences with the army. More significantly General Kayani after his return to Pakistan sought Mr. Gilani’s clearance before issuing a statement in response to the PM’s allegation against him. Mr. Gilani said: “General Kayani made a telephone call and told me that he wanted to issue a clarification of my statement and I allowed him to go ahead with it.” Mr. Gilani also denied reports that he wanted to sack General Kayani and ISI Chief General General Shuja Pasha.
Beijing has the muscle to intimidate governments and the money to buy them. That is a formidable arsenal. And the leaders of China have the skill and dexterity to effectively employ it. This could help achieve diffusion of the crisis within Pakistan. Ham-handed Washington has much to learn from Beijing regarding use of diplomatic finesse.