Xi to Khan: Will you Become my Partner?

Imran Khan (left), Prime Minister Pakistan with Xi Jinping (right), President China. (Photo: AP)

Will you join my ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) to Khan did Xi say,
“Be rest assured, this project will really and truly make your day;
As the road will run from China through Pakistan to Gwadar port
You’ll make millions by charging for all we send out and import.”
“Oh no, no” said Khan, “to ask me is in vain, and this I say
Since like Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, my Gwadar you’ll take away!”

To Khan did Xi say “I’m sure that with a defence budget so very high
Money to run Pakistan must be really hard to come by,
But the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will ensure
That you’ll have all the money you need- infact, much more
“Oh no, no,” said Khan “for I’ve heard of how Kenya is likely to lose
Mombasa port for failing to pay your outstanding dues!”

Said the cunning Xi to Khan, “Dear friend what can I do,
To make life better for  an “all weather friend” like you?”
Chinese companies will execute contracts and even lend money
So just relax and dream big, for our friendship is sweeter than honey!”
“Oh no, no,” said Khan “for I’ve heard of Nigeria’s painful groan
Due to possible consequences for defaulting on repayment of loan!”

“Khan” said Xi, “Your idea of a ‘Naya (New) Pakistan’ is really very good,
And your intelligence and capabilities need to be universally understood”
Come partner with us and see how we not only build a Pakistan that’s ‘new’
But we’ll also make a modern day Kemal Ataturk out of you”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” Khan said, “I’m pleased with what you did say,”
And bidding him good morning now, said, “I’ll call another day.”

Alas, alas! very soon did the silly little Khan return
The snare in Xi’s wily, flattering words, he didn’t discern
“You’re really an ‘all weather friend’ and our friendship’s ‘sweeter than honey’

When the Saudis demanded loan repayment, you gave us the money!”
Then Khan told Xi, “On both BRI and CPEC, Pakistan is with you
Since your proposal sounds like having the cake – and eating it too
So dismissing warnings by well-wishers as foolish and idle talk
Into Xi’s cleverly laid debt-trap did Khan foolishly walk!

Now a lesson to all those who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you never give heed:
And take a lesson from this tale of Khan and Xi
(Since it’s also applicable to you and me) –
That whenever someone magnanimously offers you something to munch
Don’t forget that in today’s world there’s no such thing as a “free-lunch’!

[Inspired by ‘The Spider and the Fly’ by Mary Howitt]
[With apologies to Mary Howitt]

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