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Pakistan’s Army Chief General Asim Munir has reached China on a four-day tour. This is Munir’s first visit to China after taking over as Army Chief in November.

Before this he has visited UAE and Saudi Arabia. In a statement issued by the Pakistan Army, it has been said that Munir will discuss with Chinese officials to further strengthen the military relations of the two countries. During Munir’s visit, it is definitely possible that China will somehow give some relief to the terms of Pakistan’s loan. The government and the army there are silent about this.

Why the tour is so long

Asim Munir will stay in China for 4 days. Usually such visits are not that long. Pakistan’s senior journalist Murtaza Solangi said on social media – China’s military leadership is also like the government there. Not much is revealed about either of them. Secondly, China has a huge debt on Pakistan. IMF has also not made any concrete promise to release the loan installment of $ 1.2 billion. So, it has to be seen whether this matter will remain only till military relations or there are some other matters also.

Recently, Pakistan’s newspaper ‘The Dawn’ had told in a report that China’s role is also behind the cheap oil Russia has assured to Pakistan. Earlier, under pressure from India, Russia was not ready to give oil or grain to Pakistan under any circumstances. Russia decided to supply crude oil to Pakistan only after talking to India.

China’s advantage in this too

It was further said in this report – even if Russia decides to export crude oil to our country Pakistan, then China will be benefited in this. The reason for this is that Pakistan does not have any such refinery which can refine Russia’s heavy crude and make it usable. India and China have many such refineries. This is the reason why India bought huge oil from Russia at a cheap price and earned huge profit by refining it and selling it to many countries.

According to the same report – now even if Pakistan gets cheap oil from Russia, it will not be of much benefit. The reason for this is that this oil will first reach Pakistan and then China. It will be refined there and brought back to Pakistan. This means that Pakistan will not only have to pay the cost of refining, but the cost of transportation will also double. This means that despite getting cheap oil, it will be expensive.

IMF condition

IMF had made it clear in the past that Pakistan can be released an installment of $1.2 billion only if it takes a loan of at least $2 billion from another country and deposits it as a guarantee money in its foreign reserves. The Shahbaz Sharif government sought help from three countries to fulfill this condition. These were- China, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had promised Shahbaz Sharif five months back that he would give $2 billion loan to Pakistan. However, the Prince did not fulfill the promise after Shahbaz returned to the country. After this the Army Chief visited Saudi and then asked for help. Even after two months, Saudi did not give the loan. Pakistan’s newspaper, The Express Tribune, had reported last month that Saudi was asking for a guarantee for its money.

Politics is more important than country

  • There is tremendous political upheaval in Pakistan at the moment. Army and Shahbaz government are seen on one page and on the other hand, Supreme Court is seen completely with Imran Khan. Khan was granted bail in 17 cases simultaneously. Not only this, the Supreme Court has also fixed the date of May 14 for the elections in Punjab province, while this work was done by the Election Commission. Now this matter is also stuck in legal tangles.
  • Election Commission says – We do not have funds to conduct elections. The government gives us money. On the other hand, the army said that there is tension on the country’s borders, so it cannot provide security right now. Despite this, the Supreme Court is adamant on holding elections in Punjab. Imran Khan is also adamant on this. In fact, the government had told the Supreme Court that general elections are to be held in October, and at the same time assembly elections will also be held in the four states.
  • This will save the expenditure twice, because the government coffers do not have the necessary 21 billion rupees for holding elections.
  • When the Supreme Court summoned the Chief of the Central Bank of Pakistan and asked questions, an atmosphere was created in the Parliament against the Supreme Court. This tug of war continues till now.
  • On the other hand, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was to go to Washington on April 9 for the final round of talks with the IMF, but a bill against the Supreme Court was to be passed in the Parliament, so Dar did not consider it appropriate to go to Washington. He cared more about politics than economy.