Islamabad: Pakistan has apparently been
secretly lobbying for a defence pact with China though the
initiative has been met with caution in Beijing, which feels
that such an agreement could put the two `all-weather` allies
in trouble with the US and India, a media report said Tuesday.
Pakistan made overtures to China regarding the defence
pact early this year when its relationship with the US was weakened by several controversies, `The Express Tribune` quoted unnamed diplomatic and military officials as saying.
However, there is "little hope" for an immediate
breakthrough, it said.
Islamabad used "backdoor and regular" diplomatic channels
in an attempt to convince the Chinese leadership that the
agreement would be "mutually beneficial", the officials said.
"Our view is, and it is also shared by authorities in
Beijing to an extent that this will send a strong signal to
the world that Pakistan is not alone ... an emerging world
power is standing behind it," an unnamed official was quoted
Pakistan formally raised the issue during a visit by
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to China immediately after
al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in a covert US
military raid on May 2 in Abbottabad, the official said.
"He put forward Pakistan`s desire formally," said an
official privy to the development who requested his name not
be mentioned due to the sensitivity of the issue.
However, the Chinese leadership advised Pakistan not to
push for an agreement that could put Islamabad and Beijing in
trouble with Washington and New Delhi, officials said.