After a rather specific press conference from the Assistant Secretary Alice Wells addressing the United States’ concern for the China Economic Pakistan Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan has addressed the matter with great vigour, reinforcing not only the sovereignty of the state but also the new foreign policy vision of Pakistan for the next decade. Pakistan has suffered endlessly due to tussle between other nations and the collateral damage endured in this process was very costly. In light of that realisation, Pakistan needs to maintain its diplomatic ties without siding for anyone and putting national interest above all else.

Newly-appointed federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar commented on the lack of facts presented by Alice Wells while citing concern for CPEC. While clarifying the fears regarding the potential harms of the project on the Pakistani economy and a challenge in the next of years, Mr Umar rightly pointed out that CPEC is a long term project, divided into phases, and not each stage was meant to create jobs. The US, at this point, needs not to undermine the understanding between nations and their ability to carve out deals that they understand are in their best interests. Pakistan is perfectly aware of the economic situation, and the pay off plan to China spans the next couple of years to ensure not burdening the economy any further.

The CPEC has managed to gather quite a few critics in the region, and now the US is also chiming the same rhythm. The magnitude of the project, nevertheless, was bound to raise such voices. Pakistani economy needs investment and projects that can give it the right push and China is playing its part in doing so. The ongoing competition and animosity between China and the US cannot have an impact on the Pakistani economy. Pakistan gave up on the hopes of development due to the remnants of war in the neighbouring country - a situation our policymakers should very well avoid.

Pakistan and the US are currently working endlessly to restore their ties. However, restoration should not be dependent on Pakistan, giving in to any specific party’s demands. Pakistan is a country that has to work to fulfil its interests. Islamabad can secure these interests only by maintaining diplomatic ties with all countries without preferring one country or region over another. Pakistan cannot afford to limit itself to a particular country or group. With India successively adopting a hard stance against Pakistan, it is rather necessary to have allies like China on our side.