Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar faced a backlash on social media following his address at the US think-tank Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, likening Pakistan's relationship with China to that of the United States with Israel.
“Pakistan enjoys a strategic relationship with China. We are very clear that there are people who would qualify Pakistan as ‘China’s Israel’. It is probably more a good analogy for American audience, because you do understand and appreciate the value of Israel for United States,” he said when questioned about Pakistan's ties with China.
“Pakistan and China have a lot in common in terms of the emerging threats within region. There are commonalities on certain issues, such as One-China policy, be it in Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, we do share … the stated goals that we would stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, and it is reciprocated by China.”
Regarding the United States' scepticism towards Beijing, he emphasised the necessity of comprehensive engagement with China on economic, political, and social fronts. He expressed hope that reconciliation akin to the diplomatic efforts led by Henry Kissinger in the 1970s via Islamabad would materialise in the near future.
As some observers have noted, the premier’s analogy in his statement bears a resemblance to a quote attributed to Chinese General Xiong Guangkai, as cited in the introduction of Andrew Small's book "The China Pakistan Axis: Asia's New Geopolitics."
Pakistan is China’s Israel. pic.twitter.com/7W63GriiiI
— bookscache (@bookscache) September 21, 2023
“Why would I want my country to be like ‘China’s Israel’? Why can we not just define Pakistan as Pakistan itself, and make it a prosperous example for the world to follow?” wrote PTI leader Taimur Khan Jhagra on his X handle.
Why would I want my country to be like "China's Israel?" Why can we not just define Pakistan as Pakistan itself, and make it a prosperous example for the world to follow?
Shockingly poor language to compare Pakistan with an apartheid state Pakistan doesn't recognise. https://t.co/7RqYGG7jUn
— Taimur Khan Jhagra (@Jhagra) September 22, 2023
“Shockingly poor language to compare Pakistan with an apartheid state [that] Pakistan doesn’t recognise,” he added.
“I did not expect better from Mr. Kakar. But, I did expect better from [Foreign Minister] Jalil [Abbas] Jilani,” wrote Supreme Court lawyer Zahid F. Ebrahim.
I did not expect better from Mr. Kakar. But, I did expect better from @JalilJilani. The caretaker FM should have vigorously opposed this outrageously wasteful foreign jaunt by a caretaker PM. pic.twitter.com/r9kmwCMod2
— Zahid F. Ebrahim (@zfebrahim) September 22, 2023
He said that the caretaker foreign minister should have vigorously opposed this “outrageously” wasteful foreign jaunt by a caretaker prime minister.
However, lawyer Dr Alizaan clarified that PM Kakar was not talking about the responsibility of any state, adding that he was trying to establish that just as Israel is a blue-eyed child to the US, Pakistan is to China.
He is not talking about the responsibility of any state (Israel or Pakistan); rather, he is trying to establish that just as Israel is a blue-eyed child to the US, Pakistan is to China.
— Dr Alizaan (@YourLegalPals) September 22, 2023