China and Pakistan are ‘Iron Brothers’ who have been working together for mutual gains. While the People’s Republic is poised to lead the world, the Islamic Republic seriously is lagging behind. So far the exchange has been in technology transfer and trade which is not enough, an ideological change is also needed in the motherland.

After his recent visit to People’s Republic of China (PRC) the Prime Minister (PM) decided to send a delegation of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to learn from the framework of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The 20 member delegation was led by Engr. Arshad Dad the Secretary General of PTI to spend time ( Nov 19-26 ) at the CPC training institutes. Every province has 80 to 90 such institutions where party members and civil servants are trained to serve the people. There are about 100 professors who teach here, half of them hold Ph.D. degrees. There is a weekly performance evaluation for the students and the staff.

CPC has a membership of 90 million individuals who are the backbone of the Chinese Revolution. Membership is through a very strict criterion. Party card holders command authority and respect. It is widely believed that Maulana Abul Ala Maududi the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami introduced a similar membership criterion as practiced by CPC, which is why it is a well-knit political outfit that continues to survive despite limited political appeal.

China and Pakistan have been involved in technology exchanges since the seventies. The heavy industries complexes in Taxila (HMC,HEC,HFF) were built with Chinese assistance. Recently the JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft has been developed by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra with collaboration from our ‘Iron Brothers’. Pakistan has also assisted the People’s Republic in certain specialised sectors including business negotiations with the West. The USA – China linkage was also established with mediation of the Islamic Republic. Bhutto was the last international leader to meet the founder of the Chinese Miracle which has changed the lives of 1.4 billion of its citizens. Chairman Mao-Tse Tung and Comrade Chou-en-Lai stand out as the most important personalities of the 20th century.

I am confident that a detailed visit report will be prepared by Comrade Aizaz Asif who was a member of the PTI team. Like PTI, the All India Muslim league also had a progressive group led by Mian Iftikharuddin who then founded the The Progressive Papers Limited that published the Daily Pakistan Times. The Progressive Movement continued till the brutal crackdown by the third dictator who introduced an era of ‘Retrogressive Politics’ which hopefully is finally coming to an end with imprisonment of its key players. In order to combat poverty Pakistan has to pursue a pro-people progressive ideology. After the breakup of Soviet Union, PRC stands out as beacon of progress and leader of a new social order. While USSR stood for ‘United Soviet Socialist Republics’ the Chinese have used the nomenclature of ‘People’s Republic where the focus is on the uplift of the masses.

China has a single party system. Then there is an effective network of ‘Think Tanks manned by professionals. Policy frameworks are prepared and then sent to the party leadership. After debate and discussion with the rank and file of the party, the implementation phase is started. These party’s training institutions then train both its members and the implementers to achieve a smooth transition.

Most change initiatives fail due to poor transition. Half hearted, ill-planned projects eventually strengthen status-quo. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been a victim of this approach. Honesty and good intentions are not enough to ensure positive results. An effective project team is needed to achieve the desired outcome. Foreign experts and expatriates can play a role but it is the team on the ground that has to deliver. Local team building is vital for meaningful progress that is why China has set up a network of training institutions on the lines of National Defence University of Pakistan.

Political parties in Pakistan are disorganised and personality driven. China gained freedom in 1949 two years after us, yet their progress is remarkable mainly due to their ideology. Their human development efforts have paid off. No society can function without uplifting each one of its member. In the words of Iqbal:

“Har Fard Hai Millat Ke Muqaddar ka Sitara” (Every citizen has to shine for the nation to rise).

In the People’s Republic of China every citizen has been catered for while in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan only a handful have been served. A major change of direction is needed. As a constitutional democracy our options are limited. Either we strictly follow the consensual document or prepare for a revolution, the middle ground no longer exist.

As a party of change PTI can organise itself on the lines of CPC to build a structure and cadre of workers to serve the masses. From 2006 to 2011 PTI under the guidance of Comrade Ahsan Rashid was moving in this ideological direction. There were four functional Think Tanks and a sixteen member shadow cabinet. Now that the party is in power it has formed its own team, it urgently needs the “Think Tanks” to formulate the way forward. In the words of “Habib Jalib”, More than assistance, Pakistan should understand and then implement the Chinese system of governance. The PTI visit report is anxiously awaited to set the future course of the country. It will also revive the memory of the late Ahsan Sahib a founder member of PTI who worked tirelessly to organise the party at the gross root level. In his very first speech as PM, Kaptaan talked about the selfless innings of Ahsan Sahib, now his vision for the party can be implemented by adopting the approach of CPC to serve the people of China; their ideology has worked for them, it can now help build ‘Naya Pakistan’ as envisioned by the founding members of the party. The PM House in Islamabad and the four Governor Houses should be converted into Centres for Public Policy to train the future civilian leadership of the country on the lines of the People’s Republic.


The Writer is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation.