A lot of fuss has been created over the Chinese President’s visit. The government has bemoaned the cancellation, and has cited the billions being lost as a result of President Xi Jinping’s decision. Nawaz Sharif even went as far as saying that the regime’s entire plan to end the energy crisis had been thrown off course by the protests. Protesting parties, always sensing conspiracy, have questioned whether the visit was even on the cards, and blame the government for lying to the people, as usual.

For PTI and PAT to deny the visit altogether only on the basis of no finalised dates is beyond ridiculous. And this came after both Qadri and Khan first implored their workers to shower the Chinese President with flowers on his arrival. Pandering to the crowd is one thing, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, and there is little difference between factual inaccuracies and lying to please one’s fan following.

The government also should realise that any sensible person would question their claim of losing billions of dollars’ worth of projects only because one visit was postponed. The Chinese government has already confirmed that the President will be visiting Islamabad at a later date. The promised investments, reportedly worth as much as $ 34 billion, will not go up in smoke because of one hiccup caused by logistical issues. Our alliance with China is no different. Pakistanis assume that China’s goodwill towards Pakistan has to do with nothing other than their passion to help an underdog, but China has much to gain.

Additionally, Nawaz Sharif’s claim about the energy policy being thrown off course is fabricated at best. The first steps of the energy policy were to do with short term adjustments, such as preventing line losses and cutting power theft, which the government failed to do in the past year, and conveniently moved on to the next step of investing heavily in new projects. In no way does the postponement of one visit mean that the government can use this to alleviate themselves of the responsibility to stick to their program. None of this takes away from the fact that the economy relies heavily on perception, and the delay in the visit will not help investor confidence. Yet, one visit will not mean the end of the world, and all those claiming otherwise should be more realistic.