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November 9, 2018

US media houses continue to spread negative sentiments on Pak-China ties


November 9, 2018

Lahore : As Pakistani economic wizards start talking to the International Monetary Fund again over what might be the cash-strapped Islamabad’s desire to seek its 22nd bailout package since 1958 from this Washington DC-based international organization, various American media houses like the “CNBC” are of the view that Premier Imran Khan has failed to secure Chinese financing during his recent tour to Beijing and Shanghai.

Having recently received a $6 billion aid package from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is still striving to convince the IMF dish it out 13th such financial assistance since the 1980s to rescue its stumbling economy, which otherwise requires at least $12 billion to stand on its feet.

The “CNBC,” an American pay television business news channel that is available to approximately 93,623,000 pay television households or 80.4 per cent of homes with televisions in the United States, has written: “Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has wrapped up a four-day visit to China without achieving his primary goal of securing Chinese financing. As the South Asian nation scrambles for external help, it may have no choice except to approach the International Monetary Fund for what would be its second bailout in five years.”

This American media network, which was ranked as the 19th most valuable cable channel in the United States, worth roughly $4 billion, has further asserted: “Pakistan's economy, however, may not be able to wait much longer. The country urgently needs a capital boost in order to avert a looming Balance of Payments crisis. Foreign reserves held by the central bank dropped below $8 billion in late October, raising concerns about Islamabad's ability to finance monthly import bills. Beijing is one of Islamabad's closest allies and a major investor, having loaned the South Asian nation around $4 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June, according to multiple reports.”

The “CNBC” has gone on to state: “Chinese President XI Jinping has also committed billions to building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. A network of transport, energy, industrial and agricultural projects, the CPEC runs from the Pakistani city of Gwadar to the Chinese region of Xinjiang.”

In its August 10, 2018 edition, the “Washington Post” had maintained that Pakistan could be next victim of China’s imperialism.

In this context, the 140-year old Washington DC-based newspaper had cited the example of Sri Lanka, whose government had failed to repay $6 billion in loans used to build an expensive Chinese-led port and airport project in Hambantota, a once-sleepy but strategically located backwater.

The “Washington Post,” with a daily circulation of 474,767 copies, had added: “As a result, Sri Lankan authorities ceded control of the port and some 15,000 acres of land around it to Beijing on a 99-year lease. The move led to accusations that China is engaging in a 21st century style of “creditor imperialism.”

Having a staff of around 740 journalists, this esteemed American media outlet had further viewed: “It’s been barely more than two weeks since Imran Khan’s electoral victory in Pakistan, but the country’s next prime minister is already facing a geopolitical crisis. Pakistan’s current account deficit is perilously high; its foreign-currency reserves perilously low. Its external debt has ballooned after accepting some $62 billion in Chinese financing, part of an ambitious regional infrastructure project that has yet to boost Pakistan’s economy. Khan’s first major act as prime minister may be asking the International Monetary Fund for a new bailout.”

The premier American newspaper had asserted: “But that’s where the trouble begins. Critics at home lament Pakistan’s addiction to the fund — it has spent 22 of the past 30 years laboring under the terms of more than a dozen successive IMF bailouts. The austerity measures the IMF demands, they argue, have shackled growth and prevented Pakistan from making substantive reforms. Pakistan could instead turn to China for fresh loans, but that could make Islamabad even more beholden to Beijing than it already is.”

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