Pakistan: A colonial vassal of China

Pakistan has now become no more than a colony of China, says an American expert and cautions that Islamabad will soon “realize—if they have not already—what a devil’s bargain their country has made.”

Writing in The National Interest, a bi-monthly, Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official, lashed at Pakistan for ignoring that “China thinks nothing about killing Pakistanis and humiliating Pakistan.”

He remarked that Pakistanis may soon recognize that China seeks not a partner, but a colonial vassal, the deaths of whose citizens it sees as wholly irrelevant.”

The magazine is published by Washington based Center for the National Interest, a public policy think tank established by former U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1994.

Rubin, who had a long innings in West Asia, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11, gave three reasons for the surge in Pakistan- China relations while noting that for China, Pakistan can be a major market, provide land links into West Asia, and a strategic port at Gwadar.

Karakorum Highway, photo by by Shimshalee, Wikipedia

“Pakistani leaders see in China strategic depth, an ally able to deter Indian retaliation across the line-of-control, and a partner unlikely to criticise Pakistani corruption, its poor treatment of religious minorities and its internal human rights record”, observed Rubin, who had lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, and both pre- and post-war Iraq and authored several books on the region.

Analysing reasons for Pakistan dumping the United States, he says, Pakistan thinks that the US has acted as “a fair-weather friend”, who imposed, waived or re-imposed sanctions depending on the level of cooperation needed.

“Whenever Washington needed Islamabad’s assistance, however, the U.S. government waived sanctions only to reimpose them once it no longer needed Pakistan’s help.”


Pointing out that Washington too had its grievances. Michael Rubin, who did his PhD from Yale University, said Pakistan played foul on terrorism front.

“Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups remains inexcusable, and all countries should be outraged at Pakistan’s removal from their lists of almost four thousand terrorists in recent years, including Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of the masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and Ahmed Omar Sheikh, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s murderer”, he wrote, and ticked off Pakistan saying it played a double-game with the Taliban and sheltered Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Turning to Pakistan’s quest for N-bomb, the former Pentagon official wrote: “The FBI has repeatedly disrupted Pakistani attempts to illegally acquire restricted goods and technologies. In January 2020, for example, the United States formally charged five Pakistani businessmen of running a network of front companies to illegally acquire U.S. technology to advance Pakistan’s nuclear program.” He noted that Pakistan never fully accounted for the activities of nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan.


About Corona virus impact on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the American egg-head cautions that CPEC may be becoming a major road for transmission into Pakistan and, more broadly, South Asia.

“… Communities living along the corridor in Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan are fearful that Chinese trade and traffic along the corridor as well as its expedition of internal Pakistani commerce across regions, could enable the epidemic to spread like a wildfire,” Dr. Michael Rubin wrote.

Remarking that the full danger of virus spread along the CPEC will be apparent after spring sets in, he said there is no indication that China has set up any testing and quarantine sites for his CPEC workers in Pakistan.

“Several hundred Chinese workers have now returned to Pakistan to work on the project, bringing the total numbers of Chinese workers on different CPEC projects to between ten thousand and fifteen thousand. There is no indication that China has set up any testing and quarantine sites for his CPEC workers in Pakistan.”


Gilgit-Baltistan, the American expert said, is suffering for the sake of Pakistan’s China partnership.

“It is one of Pakistan’s harder-hit regions. It has only one testing center and can test only fifteen people daily. While there are reportedly nine ventilators in the region, local doctors estimate they need at least two hundred of them. Pakistani officials who have long neglected the region, even while working to strip away its right to self-rule.

“Pakistani authorities in Islamabad may accept Chinese assurances in order not to hurt Pakistan’s bottom line and insult Beijing, never mind that it was Chinese lies and obfuscation that enabled the epidemic to spread so far in the first place, the former Pentagon official said in his article.

And concluded with the observation: “China has simultaneously courted Pakistan as Islamabad looked for new partners. Pakistanis may soon recognize, however, that China seeks not a partner, but a colonial vassal, the deaths of whose citizens it sees as wholly irrelevant.”

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