The PAF never bought a new platform only to stick to 36 planes.If J-10 C numbers remain only at 36 then yes it would mainly be used for Air to Air role. But if the number increases then yes it would be used for strikes.
Everything is going according to schedule. Inducting a new plane whether J-10 C or some other jet was always part of the plan. It didn't happened a year or two ago that we realized that oops we need a new plane. The plan for J-10 C was made several years ago.
If not for Pressler, the PAF was looking to have 150 F-16s (read it here).
Otherwise, every fighter bought on Pakistan's dime came with a procurement plan for at least 90 units:
- F-6 was ~180 units
- Mirage III/5 was ~90 units (before the used planes in the 1990s)
- A-7 Corsair II plan was 110 units
- F-16 plan was ~100 units plus an option for 50 more (pre-Pressler)
- JF-17 was 150-200 units
This is a big reason why they didn't push for the Typhoon, Rafale or Su-35. It wasn't that they couldn't afford to acquire 1 or 2 squadrons, but to get the most out of the platform, you need it in numbers: 90+. But at that scale, not every fighter is feasible enough to acquire.