Zardari in China

Posted: September 13, 2008 in Political
Tags: , , , , , ,

President Asif Ali Zardari’s trip to China will be significant because it proves Zardari intends to play an active national role, and also because of the attempt he seems likely to make to strike a nuclear deal with Beijing. Based along almost precisely the same lines as India’s agreement with the US, Zardari will attempt to persuade China to provide Pakistan with nuclear raw materials to enable it to meet its energy shortfall. With Pakistan facing renewed allegations of failing to tackle militancy, the issue will inevitably give rise to controversy. This is all the more true given the new strains in relations with New Delhi, with allegations certain to come in of the risks such exports pose. Nuclear energy is a proven way to generate relatively cheap energy. Pakistan and India’s mutual concerns about increased nuclear capability revolve around fears that raw materials brought in will be covertly diverted towards manufacturing weapons.

But successful talks in Beijing will obviously mark a significant triumph for Zardari on his first outing. The signing of an MoU on nuclear materials will also of course offer some hope that the crippling energy crisis we face may indeed be solved. So far, there has been little evidence that we are moving towards improvement. Industries, smaller factories and workshops have quite literally been paralyzed. Closures are reported to be taking place almost each day. The loss of productivity caused by the lack of energy also affects offices and indeed all work places. Reports that the crisis could yet worsen, due to water shortages, have created yet more panic.

Zardari’s visit to China will of course help strengthen unity with a country that has consistently stood by Pakistan through good times and bad. Many also hope that more than this will be achieved, and a nuclear agreement reached, raising the hope that, in time, machines will once more whirr through the day across the country and the waste of time caused by the lack of power will be staunched. The deal assumes still more significance given that no final oil facility accord appears to have been reached yet with Saudi Arabia, making it all the more essential that all available options be looked at.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s