Great Powers Competition: Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan

From Laiba Saher

International Politics is on the brink of another great powers competition in which a decades old super power—US and the emerging power—China are in head to head competition in every sphere. To highlight this competition Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN) recently held a one-day seminar on the topic of “The Great Powers Competition: Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan” in which speakers from different Think Tanks and Universities delivered their speeches.

For newbies, BTTN is a platform that purposes to promote research, analysis, and discussions on assorted topics by uniting scholars, expertise, youth and stakeholders to interchange thoughts and ideas, promote education, provide awareness on global and regional issues and collaborate on initiatives that can contribute to the development and progress of Balochistan and Pakistan. Additionally, the BTTN’s role in generating awareness and advocating for the rights and interests of the people of Balochistan is undeniable.

The event that took place on 2nd May, illuminated the topic of US-China relation. The panel talked over the US-China relation and answered a major question that how it exerted an influence on Pakistan. Speaker tried to highlight whether it created opportunities or problems in Pakistan’s tactic. The seminar was held in two consecutive sessions.

The opening address was given by Brigadier (R) Agha Ahmed Gul, who presented an introductory perception of the subject matter, providing a general insight of the topic. Then the inaugural session commenced, with a panel of five speakers, each bringing their unique expertise and insights to the forefront. The panel discussed the topics such as US- China Growing Geopolitical, Geostrategic and Geo-Economic Competition, Global Hegemonic Tussle between US and China, The US-China growing Trade, Technology, and Economic Rivalry: Implications for the Allies, Multidimensional Military Force Modernization of the US and China: Prospects of an Arm Race and Escalation and Emergence of the QUAD and AUKUS: Containing the Rise of China and Reinforcing India. The speakers of 1st session were Ambassador Qazi Khalilullah, Bilal Zubair, Dr Usman Chohan, Hananah Zarrar and Haleema Sadia.

Moreover, the event was full of knowledge. Being a Student of basic Science, I lack information about International Relations, so this session contributed in a fascinating way by broadening my knowledge about ongoing competition between major powers. The session was followed by the Q/A in which the participants asked thought provoking questions about the role of Pakistan in choosing sides between the US and China.

Following the engaging inaugural session, the second segment commenced with a focus on the compelling theme of the US-China rivalry and its implications for Pakistan. This session provided us with a deeper understanding of how the external conflicts play an undistinguishable role in Pakistan’s progress. Ambassador Dr. Raza Muhammad, President of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in his role as Chair, set the stage for the discussion by providing a clear and comprehensive overview of the complex topic of US-China relations, aiming to simplify the intricate dynamics for all participants. The topics of the 2nd session included; The US- India Growing Strategic Partnership: Implications for South Asian Strategic Stability, CPEC: Prospects, Challenges, and Opportunities for Pakistan and The Rise of Competing Regional Rivalry in the Post- US withdrawal from Afghanistan: Challenges and Options for Pakistan. The speakers of the second session were Dr. Naeem Salik, Executive Director of Islamabad Based Think Tank Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), expert of Pakistan China relations Dr. Fazal Rehman and Professor Syed Rifaat Hussain.

To quote some arguments of the speaker the one said by Prof. Riffat was instrumental: “National factors play a greater role than external dynamics in Pakistan’s progress”, which prioritize the internal matters over the external. By the end of this session, the participants were able to link the foreign conflicts with our nation’s development and a major question was answered that the CPEC which is considered a flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, does fulfill the expectations of both the nationals or not. Later it was followed by a Q/A session with an Epilogue by Lt. Gen Khalid Ahmed Kidwai and concluding remarks were presented by honorable Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai.

This experience broadened my vision of global issues, international relations, bipolar and multipolar world, which will undoubtedly add to my overall growth. Additionally, the speakers served to me as true inspirations, each holding a strong grip in their respective fields, making me set their personalities as role models. Lastly, the knowledge provided, insights gained, perspectives shared, and the discussions held, have equipped me with a deeper understanding of the subject matter, making me apply this knowledge in the existing world so that I can make informed decisions in my personal and professional life. Looking forward to more such events organized by BTTN.

–The write is student of Bachelor’s in Biochemistry at Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University and can be reached via email at