China welcomes Pakistan with open arms
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani shakes hands with China's President Hu Jintao during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on May 20, 2011 in Beijing, China. (Getty Images)
May 30th, 2011
05:06 PM ET

China welcomes Pakistan with open arms

Editor's Note: Shahid Javed Burki, former Finance Minister of Pakistan and Vice President of the World Bank, is currently Chairman of the Institute of Public Policy, Lahore. For more from Burki, visit Project Syndicate online or through Facebook and Twitter.

By Shahid Javed Burki

ISLAMABAD – Large events sometimes have unintended strategic consequences. This is turning out to be the case following the killing of Osama bin Laden in a compound in Abbottabad, a military-dominated town near Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.

The fact that the world’s most wanted man lived for a half-dozen years in a large house within spitting distance of Pakistan Military Academy, where the country trains its officers, has provoked a reaction that Pakistanis should have expected, but did not.

The country’s civilian and military establishment has been surprised and troubled by the level of suspicion aroused by the events leading to Bin Laden’s death – many Pakistanis call it “martyrdom” – and there is growing popular demand for a major reorientation of Pakistan’s relations with the world.

Unless the West acts quickly, Bin Laden’s death is likely to result in a major realignment of world politics, driven in part by Pakistan’s shift from America’s strategic orbit to that of China. FULL POST