Pakistan pulls out of US-led summit in bid to woo China

Pakistan announced on Tuesday that it will not participate in this week’s US-led Democracy Summit, seen in part as an attempt by an impoverished Islamic nation longtime ally of Chinawho was not invited.

The Biden administration has invited 120 world leaders to the summit Wednesday and Thursday in Washington. It is organized by the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia.

The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement, thanked the United States and its co-owners for the invitation. Pakistan also did not participate in the first and only summit held in December 2021.


Pakistan is the fifth largest country in the world with over 220 million people. It has a functional democracy, although critics say Pakistan ranks among the worst democracies in the world.

“Pakistan will engage bilaterally with the United States and the co-hosts of the summit to promote and strengthen democratic principles and values, and work to advance human rights and fight corruption,” the statement said.

Pakistan did not participate in the 2021 summit due to growing tensions between then Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and the US administration. President Joe Biden. Relations between Washington and Khan further escalated when Khan visited Moscow in February 2022 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Two months later, Khan, who had served as prime minister for over 3.5 years, was brought down in a vote of no confidence in parliament by an alliance of major political parties.

Khan has since maintained that the vote that removed him was a US-orchestrated conspiracy, an accusation that Washington and Khan’s successor Shahbaz Sharif denied.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sharif’s foreign ministry said Pakistan values ​​friendship with the United States. “Under this Biden administration, that relationship has grown and expanded significantly. We remain committed to further strengthening these relations for the sake of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Pakistan announced on Tuesday that it was pulling out of a US-led summit to which longtime ally China was recalled.

Pakistan announced on Tuesday that it was pulling out of a US-led summit to which longtime ally China was recalled. (Fox News)

The summit comes just days after a leading international human rights group expressed concern in its annual report on ongoing human rights abuses in Pakistan. These include enforced disappearances, restrictions on peaceful assembly, and tighter controls on free speech. Amnesty International said “blasphemy allegations continued to fuel violence against both religious minorities and Muslims” in 2022.

Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader of Pakistan’s Khan Tehrik-e-Insaf party, released a report at a press conference in Islamabad describing how the current Sharif-led government continues the crackdown on Khan’s supporters that began with his ouster in April. He said hundreds of Khan supporters have been detained in recent weeks.

Pakistani analyst Imtiaz Gall, executive director of Islamabad’s Center for Security Studies and Studies, said Pakistan’s decision to skip the summit was due to multiple factors. One is Pakistan’s desire to allay concerns from China, which was not invited.

While relations between the US and China have been strained, China has helped Pakistan through its deepening economic crisis.

China has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan, most of which is in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a vast package that includes everything from road construction and power plants to agriculture. Its estimated cost is up to $75 billion. The largest component of the CPEC project is a 3,200 kilometers (2,000 mi) road linking China to Pakistan’s deep water port of Gwadar in the southwest. Pakistan hopes that the project will bring prosperity to this South Asian nation.

China has also injected much-needed millions into Pakistan’s central bank to boost its rapidly shrinking foreign exchange reserves to save Pakistan from default amid the country’s worst economic crisis.


Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance have been suspended since last year. This irritated Pakistan, which tried to get help from Washington to influence the IMF and issue a loan to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s prime minister told parliament on Tuesday that the IMF wants external financing commitments made by several friendly countries to be met in order to receive a $1.1 billion tranche of $6 billion in aid. Sharif expressed hope that the commitments made by Pakistan’s friends would be fulfilled.

Gall also cited the growing instability in Pakistan amid the intensifying crackdown on Khan and his political party as a factor in Pakistan’s withdrawal from the summit.

“Democracies don’t do what happens in Pakistan, where the country’s former prime minister, Khan, was implicated in more than 127 cases and hundreds of his party workers were arrested on a range of charges, including terrorism,” he said. .


“What would you present there if you go to participate in the summit on democracy and democratic values?” He said.