By Haider Abbas

The three immediate fallouts of the regime change in Pakistan, after PM Imran Khan was sent packing on April 11, are that there may be renewed US attacks on Afghanistan, via Pakistan, a full-stop to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and then the ultimate breaking of Pakistan’s nuclear teeth? Pakistan which has rallied with US  for over seventy-years, stood with US in the fight against terrorism during which thousands of its own army-men died, while US ravaged a war inside Afghanistan for 20 years, was into a bitter-sweet relations under Imran Khan, who was trying to navigate Pakistan independent of US, but US even without a ‘single drop of blood shed’ orchestrated a regime change, and the immediate fait accompli  was coming ;  Pakistan, within a fortnight disbanded CPEC authority, reported ANI  1 on April 23, attacks on Afghanistan seem to be a cake-walk and everything today is all set to boil down towards the nuclear-assets of Pakistan.  The outgoing Imran Khan, had expressed his fears that Pakistan nuclear assets were not safe, informed TOI on April 15, which was rebuffed by the Pakistan army.

The ensuing scenario is that Imran Khan will take to streets to seek early elections and there might be an all out ‘spilling of things’ which may result into a civil-war situation, which may,  ultimately catapult Pakistan into penury and a total economic meltdown, as has been forewarned by India’s Ex. Envoy Vivek Katju, that Pakistan would then change into a ‘Nuclear Somalia’, in The Print 3 on May 1, which the world financial institutions won’t let happen.  But, then there are also theories that International Monetary Fund, World Bank etc also have their agendas, as has been witnessed in cases with so many countries in South America etc, and plus, there is a scepter  of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) hanging on Pakistan head which it is yet to scoffed-off.

While the doomsday scenario looms on Pakistan, its immediate neighbour India, is all into making everything to its advantage, and this, may rightly be attributed to the great display of diplomacy by New Delhi, as Pakistan which was eyeing over India for a two-front war with China, is in disarray and China too is in hot waters, for not condemning Russia over its war against Ukraine.  Interestingly, Imran Khan was in Moscow on February 24 when the war started.  China has also displayed its support for Russia.

India has as yet kept the tightrope walking and did not side openly with US or condemned Russia, while making hay with Russian offers of its crude oil supplies to India at a discount of 35 USD/bbl from pre-war prices,  reported Live Mint 3 on April 1.  India did draw some flak over it but it did not mattered much, as proven by the first-week May visit of PM Narendra Modi to three European nations Germany, France and Denmark. On the contrary, the touted Imran Khan energy-agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin, annulment may not at all surprise anyone.  There are now even suicide attacks inside Pakistan against Chinese citizens.

If in case there is any ‘escalation in situation’ between India and Pakistan, it can be anyone’s guess that Pakistan has by now ‘quite lost’ its Russian-support, and its all-weather-friend China is also ‘getting internationally isolated’.  The latest spanner thrown at China by India, as per a report in Hindustan Times  5 on May 8 is the accusation that China is amassing unaccountable money, and Rs 5,551 Cr. amount has been seized by Enforcement Directorate, This amount was  found inside Chinese Xiaomi India account, allegedly in violation of foreign exchange laws, according to ED, which has triggered China to accuse India of ‘physical violence and coercion’ , a charge denied by India. But, this is what may lead India to pitch against China at FATF to out China into the grey-list which Pakistan is already into. India very doggedly is pursuing its neighbours which have border disputes with it.

What is the likely Indian position just cannot be predicted but the outcome of the Russian-Ukraine war is what the world is waiting for, but according to NYT 6 report on May 4, there is an admission that US had supplied digital satellite intelligence to Ukraine which resulted into killing of Russian generals, and obviously this will make Putin to seek revenge, not only from Ukraine but may be from US too. Now US is in denial of it, as per CGTN 7 on May 10, as US wants to avoid any repercussions on it, and if that is to happen, then the likelihood of the third-world-war is all what will be the resultant.

Pakistan, however, is to be left behind, as in case Russia wins then the next Russian step would be a Russian-China bloc and here is where Pakistan will lose the seat, and this new bloc is also to groom the Crown Prince of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Muhammed Bin Salam, who too has been made to brush-shoulders with CIA Chief William Burns after his unannounced visit to the oil kingdom within days when Imran Khan was dislodged.  The message was clear, US wants MbS to toe US line as MbS had lately started to court China. Imran Khan had brought the two together. Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit KSA, which US just cannot fathom for at the moment. This visit, if happens, may change the course of politics in the Arabian peninsula as China will make KSA and Iran friends, and also, thereby, make strides into the Arabian markets, which were all previously US and European monopoly.

India is to keep a very precarious eye on anything which happens next.

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international issues.

References:

1-https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/pakistan-likely-to-dissolve-cpec-authority-due-to-its-poor-performance20220421225441/

2- https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-pakistan-nukes-not-safe-under-shehbaz-sharif-govt/articleshow/90856693.cms

3- https://theprint.in/diplomacy/pakistan-will-be-kept-afloat-as-no-country-wants-a-nuclear-somalia-says-ex-envoy-vivek-katju/938345/

4- https://www.livemint.com/news/india/russia-offers-oil-to-india-at-35-bbl-discount-from-pre-war-price-11648704105136.html

5- https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ed-rejects-xiaomi-coercion-charges-101651948696490.html

6-  https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/04/us/politics/russia-generals-killed-ukraine.html

7-https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-05-10/U-S-denies-its-intelligence-helped-Ukraine-to-kill-Russian-generals-19Vi57SIdCU/index.html

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