The Chinese saying, “it is better to have a good neighbour than a distant relative,” that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao cited before our policymakers on Sunday, was followed by a concrete move that must have left the sceptics of the future of Pak-China friendship virtually speechless, as those given to reading between the lines have deciphered. The currency-swap agreement the two sides signed during Mr Wen’s visit to Islamabad is an instrument of historic nature, with far-reaching implications, extremely beneficial to Pakistan, but equally extremely disturbing to the United States. The benefits of “a good neighbour”, obviously standing for China, and the disadvantages of “a distant relative”, connoting the US with which our ruling leadership is, unfortunately, obsessed, as if we have relations of kinship with it, form a highly expressive call, so subtly and diplomatically made.
The currency-swap agreement would enable holders of Chinese or Pakistani currency to buy goods in each other’s land; and, similarly, the business communities could have their dealings without the need to first have them converted into dollar. While the idea would make for a free expansion of bilateral trade, it constitutes a severe blow to the monopoly of the dollar, tending ultimately to the emergence of one or more than one alternative currency in the world’s financial market, sharply impinging upon Washington’s clout.The West’s Islam bashing, attributing the false notion of the promotion of terrorism to this glorious religion of peace and love for all mankind, was roundly rebutted by Mr Wen when he said that terrorism had no religion. To the exponents of waging wars against whom they call terrorists, there could not be a saner counsel than the call for the removal of the root causes of this troubling phenomenon – Nation