Blinken-Zardari Meet: A Tightrope for Pakistan with USA and China

During the May 18 meeting, both Blinken and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari focused on strengthening not just US-Pakistan security ties but also economic linkages. The US could nudge IMF towards imposing less stringent conditionalities on Pakistan in order to prevent political instability. The US remains an important destination for Pakistani exports and this is one of the reasons why the business community in Pakistan, along with the Pakistan army as well as the political class, was not particularly comfortable with former PM Imran Khan’s rhetoric against the West, in general, and the US, in particular. There is a growing realization in Pakistan that while ties with Beijing may be important, it can not afford to allow relations with the US to deteriorate any further.

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Political Turmoil and Strained Ties with the West: A Double Whammy for Pakistan’s Economy

Apart from Pakistan’s army and opposition political outfits, the business lobbies in Pakistan have been flagging the point that strained ties with the US and the EU will have an adverse impact on Pakistan’s economy. While the Pakistan Army Chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, had alluded to the importance of Pakistan’s ties with the US in his address on April 2, 2022, Pakistan’s business has expressed its apprehensions with regard to the current political situation and the potential souring of ties with the West, in general, and the US, in particular. The current economic crisis in Sri Lanka also underscores the pitfalls of being excessively dependent upon China and the need for an astute foreign policy.

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