Rising unrest in Pakistan after Imran Khan’s ouster causes concerns for China

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New Delhi, April 13: China, which is keenly watching the developments in Pakistan as Shehbaz Sharif took over as the country’s Prime Minister on Monday after PTI leader Imran Khan lost the no confidence motion, has reasons to worry. The massive protests in several parts of the country after Khan’s ouster, leading to disruption of social order have caused serious concerns for Beijing.

Chinese news organisation Global Times said that the “internal chaos” in the country could affect the ongoing Beijing driven projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The second phase of the CPEC has already been halted due to the rising political instability in the country.

“This is a big blow to Pakistan given its critical economic situation,” an analyst told India Narrative.

Analysts said that Khan, who continues to enjoy a sizable support base, will fight back. He has already called for a massive public rally at Peshawar on Wednesday. Such protest rallies could lead to disruption in social order.

Besides Khan, threats from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have also risen. Recently, the TTP has also asked people to support jihad in Pakistan. Recently it carried out an attack in which at least three soldiers were killed and five injured.

“Shehbaz Sharif will have to address issues and threats relating to TTP besides disturbances and tensions emerging from Khan’s supporters, Anil Trigunayat, former ambassador and Distinguished Fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation told India Narrative.

Under Khan, Pakistan’s relations with the West hit a new low. Khan, who meticulously worked towards further deepening ties with China, even blamed foreign powers for his ouster.

Analysts said that though Islamabad could try to mend relations with other countries including the US, the change in political leadership in Islamabad will not impact China-Pakistan ties.

Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa recently said at a forum that Islamabad is keen to maintain ties with the US, which is the country’s largest export market.

“Pakistan enjoys a close strategic relationship with China, demonstrated by our commitment towards Pakistan China Economic Corridor. We seek to broaden and expand our ties with both countries without impacting our relationship with the other,” he said.

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