Monday, May 22, 2017

Water crisis again hits Gwadar



GWADAR: Due to lack of rain and the resultant drought-like situation, this port city has again been hit by a severe water crisis, according to its residents.

🔷 The Akara dam, which supplies water to Gwadar city and its surrounding areas, has once again dried up. As a result, the people of the city — especially its women who have to fetch water from distant areas — have been facing serious problems.

“We have not been supplied water for over a week now,” said one of the residents.

“The port city is facing acute water shortage as the main source of supply — the Akara Kaur (river) dam — has dried up and we cannot supply drinking water from there to the city and its adjoining areas,” said Shakeel Ahmed Baloch, who works as executive engineer for the provincial Public Health Department.

He, however, added that arrangements were being made to supply water to the city from other sources.

The construction work on the Akara Kaur dam commenced in 1991 at a cost of Rs560 million and was completed in 1995.

At that time the dam was spread over 17,000 acres, but by now its area has been reduced to 6,000 acres. The population of the city and its surrounding areas, which in the mid-90s was around 83,000, has by now shot up to 283,000.

According to experts, the dam currently cannot meet water requirements of the people here for three main reasons: ✔the construction work on Gwadar port is still under way and it consumes a lot of water; ✔lack of rain due to climate change; and ✔increase in the population of Gwadar.

The port city faced a similar crisis i➡ 2012, which continued for about 175 days. The crisis eased after rains in the catchment areas of the dam.

➡Another water crisis hit Gwadar in December of 2015 which continued until March of 2016. In all the people had to endure the crisis for over 80 days.

A water shortage in the city began in ➡December 2016 and ended in January this year (after continuing for 40 days). To overcome this crisis, authorities supplied water to the people through tankers at a cost of Rs1 billion.

A similar plan has been prepared to overcome the ongoing crisis. Water would be supplied to affected people in Gwadar through 500 water tankers, according to a district administration official.

Water would be supplied to people living in Jiwani and Pasni, which have also been hit by a shortage, through 150 and 200 water tankers, respectively.

Water would be supplied to Gwadar district from the Sawad and Mirani dams.

The Mirani dam is located at a distance of 280 kilometres from Gwadar and for supplying 5,000 gallons of water to the port city a tanker would be paid Rs17,000.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2017

Landlocked Xinjiang feasts on fresh deep-sea fish from Gwadar

XINJIANG: More than 2 tons of seafood straight from the Indian Ocean hit dining tables around Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China's furthest inland region, on May 20.

The seafood was incredibly fresh, as only 34 hours elapsed between the time it was caught in Pakistan's Gwadar Port to its arrival Xinjiang by air, according to a report in People’s Daily.

The 16 varieties of fish--including lobsters and red and black groupers---parachuted in as part of a seafood exposition in the city of Karamay, coordinated by a Xinjiang fishing company that invested 510 million RMB in the Gwadar Special Economic Zone, built in cooperation with China.

“Gwadar’s quarantine and customs departments offered a fast channel for the seafood,” explained Ma Jinglu, a manager at Xinjiang Yufei International Fishing Company. He also said the a direct rail and sea freight service from Gwadar to Xinjiang’s capital city of Urumqi started service in April 2016, and those routes have greatly facilitated the transportation of his company’s products.

In 2015, it was announced that Gwadar would be developed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for a cost of $1.62 billion, with the aim of linking northern Pakistan and western China to the deep-water port. Construction on the Gwadar Special Economic Zone began in June 2016. It is being built on a 2,292-acre site adjacent to Gwadar's port.

The Gwadar Port is a flagship CPEC project under the Belt and Road Initiative. Nadeem Javaid, who advises Pakistan government and works closely on the CPEC program, told Reuters that the Gwadar-Xinjiang corridor should be operational from June of next year, and Pakistan expects up to 4 percent of global trade to pass through the corridor by 2020

Clear air for China’s Silk Road project

Peter WilliamsSaturday, 20 May 2017 7:43AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping, third left, walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, third from right, and other leaders.Picture: Picture: AP

When the sky’s blue and the air’s clean, something important must be happening in Beijing.

The industrial shutdown deployed during the 2008 Olympic Games came back into play this week, as the Chinese Government closed roads and mobilised thousands of soldiers, police and volunteers.

Dozens of world leaders gathered for two days in Beijing in the name of what President Xi Jinping declared the project of the century — the Belt and Road Initiative, a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure program spanning the Eurasian continent and beyond that’s been compared to the post-World War II Marshall Plan.

Acres of newsprint and hours of state television time was devoted to the glories of Mr Xi’s flagship policy, pumped out by hordes of journalists brought to the capital for the event and housed in a giant media centre. The embarrassing intrusion of North Korea’s latest missile test didn’t rate a mention in official English-language newspapers.

While intended as China’s big moment on the international stage, Western leaders were thin on the ground. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was there addressing delegates in Mandarin, but Malcolm Turnbull was nowhere to be seen.

Members of the honour guard hold flags as they wait for the arrival of visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.Picture: AP

In these topsy-turvy times of Brexit and Donald Trump, it was left to Mr Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a long list of Asian, Eastern European and African leaders to extol the merits of globalisation.

Most Australians remain blissfully unaware of the BRI, which couldn’t compete for attention at home with last Sunday’s AFL match in Shanghai.

It’s a fact which frustrates former trade minister Andrew Robb, who advises Chinese companies and sits on the advisory board of an Australian BRI organisation.

“I find in Australia 99 per cent of people wouldn’t have a clue what you’re talking about if you said Belt and Road,” Mr Robb said in Beijing. “I spend my time in the region and that’s all they talk about. Even New Zealand.”

Unlike New Zealand, Australia hasn’t signed a memorandum of understanding with China regarding the BRI.

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at the Belt and Road Forum.Picture: Getty Images

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, who represented Australia in Beijing, expressed wariness about jumping on board the BRI train in regard to domestic projects. The initiative has been flagged as a potential funding source for helping develop northern Australia.

“We take decisions about initiatives in Australia on the basis of what’s in Australia’s interest,” Mr Ciobo said.

“I think we don’t need to view everything through one lens. We will undertake involvement and engagement in the region as well as specific initiatives within Australia on the basis of what’s good for Australia, according to our national interest.”

Mr Robb said he couldn’t understand why the Government hadn’t yet committed to what was an “inoffensive” in-principle agreement, which would help put the Australia China free-trade agreement he signed into practice.

“It’s more for government in Australia to talk about the opportunities,” he said. “It’s up to business then to go and find them. I think there’s an urgency for us. It’s just to get a foot in the door in so many areas that we’re really good at.”

China Daily coverage.

He lists those as health, tourism, education and financial services, on top of Australia’s known strengths in resources and agriculture. “We can build hundreds of hospitals (internationally) ifwe want to, and own 100 per cent,” Mr Robb said.

Some Australian companies were involved in BRI projects. “They could see how this will ramp up and go for decades. It’s not a short-term project.”

Inspired by the ancient Silk Road which linked east and west, the BRI is based around building an uninterrupted Eurasian land bridge through economic corridors, as well as global maritime routes initially focused on South East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.

India, however, is not a participant and snubbed the forum. New Delhi views the BRI as a threat to its sovereignty because the China-Pakistan economic corridor traverses the disputed territory of Kashmir.

“It’s more for government in Australia to talk about the opportunities. It’s up to business then to go and find them. I think there’s an urgency for us. It’s just to get a foot in the door in so many areas that we’re really good at.”Andrew Robb

Mr Xi sought to address the inevitable suspicions of China using the initiative to expand its military and political influence.

“We have no intention to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, export our own social system and mode of development or impose our own will on others,” he said.

“In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we will not resort to outdated geopolitical manoeuvring.

“What we hope to achieve is a new model of win-win co-operation.”

He emphasised the political and social benefits of the investments. “Some regions along the ancient Silk Road used to be a land of milk and honey,” he said.

“Yet today these places are often associated with conflict, turbulence, crisis and challenge. Such state affairs should not be allowed to continue. We should intensify counterterrorism efforts, address both the symptoms and root causes and strive to eradicate poverty, backwardness and social injustice. Development proves the master key to solving all problems.”

On top of suspicions about political intentions, doubts surround the loan-based funding of projects. China has more than $US3 trillion in reserves but could not devote all of that. Then there is the risk of lending to nations with poor governance and creditworthiness.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd addresses the forum.

China’s development banks, dedicated funds and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are leading the charge. The initiative is seen as a way of finding markets for China’s excess industrial capacity. But it’s thought the realities of economics may see the BRI fall considerably short of Mr Xi’s massive ambitions.

At least, Mr Robb believes, China’s greater engagement in the world will help break down the kind of barriers that are being thrown up against Chinese investment here: “Once people know one another you get more trust, so we don’t have those endless debates in Australia about who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.”

The reporter travelled to Beijing courtesy of the Chinese Embassy in Australia

China to use insurers to close the funding gap in Silk Road projects


Procedures will be simplified for insurers to fund major projects that comply with the Belt & Road Initiative, in a move to mobilise the insurance premium that surged by a third to US$232 billion in the first quarter.

Maggie ZhangUPDATED : Monday, 22 May 2017, 10:53PM

Chinese insurers, some of whom just had their wings clipped after a boom in wealth management products went awry, are being mobilised to pour the world’s biggest pool of premium income to help close a potential funding gap in the government’s multibillion yuan infrastructure buildup along the old Silk Road.

Starting immediately, procedures will be simplified for insurers to fund major infrastructure projects that comply with the blue print of the Belt & Road Initiative, as President Xi Jinping’s vision of infrastructure-led trade is called, according to a statement by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

The latest move may help close the US$26 trillion funding gap that the Asian Development Bank said is required by 2030 for infrastructure projects in Asia. Insurance premiums grew by almost a third in China to 1.6 trillion yuan (US$232 billion) in the first quarter, according to CIRC data.

Any debt investment plan in water conservancy, energy, transportation, hi-tech and advanced manufacturing from AAA-rated projects financiers can be exempted from additional collateral or third-party guarantee, an incentive which simplifies the investment procedures and makes such investments more effective, CIRC said.

The regulator will also designate special priority channels for insurers to register debt investment plans in countries and regions along the old Silk Road, CIRC said.

“The authorities are sending a clear signal for insurance to back the real economy, by offering lower thresholds in investments in major infrastructure,” said Hong Jinping, an insurance analyst at Hua Chuang Securities.

Still, the strongest motivation for insurers is still the ability for their investments to earn returns that surpass bank deposit rates, an imperative which may be uncertain with infrastructure projects that carry long payback periods, especially those in underdeveloped countries or regions, she said.

“Insurers may be more propelled by foreseeable higher returns or preferential tax policies, rather than lower threshold,” she said.

Insurers will still be very keen on the returns and risks exposure when investing in nations alongside the trade initiative, except for a limited number of signature projects, she added.

China’s insurance industry had gone through a rapid cycle of boom and bust, since the former regulator Xiang Junbo opened the flood gates to allow companies to sell high-yielding investment products with guaranteed returns.

In order to meet the guarantees to policyholders, some insurers redirected their funds toward corporate raids, takeovers and equity investments.

The resulting furore led to several insurers being reprimanded and fined, while Xiang was ultimately fired last month, pending an investigation into possible misconduct

China’s ‘New Silk Road’ up close


 Ernesto Hilario


MAY 22, 2017

In August last year a top Chinese economist, Zhang Yuyan, director  of the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, delivered a lecture at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati City, during a forum on “The Role of  China in Global Economic Affairs”.

In his talk, Professor Yuyan said “huge opportunities” are available for trade, investments and people-to-people exchanges between the Philippines and China with the ambitious 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road projects, which Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled in 2013 and began to implement the next year, with main focus on infrastructure development.

The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that also facilitated cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent and connected the East and West from China to the Mediterranean Sea.

The 21st Century Silk Road Economic Belt now aims to connect China with Central Asia, Russia and the Baltic countries in Europe; with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and West Asia; and with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, on the other hand, seeks to link China’s coast with Europe via two routes—one through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, the other from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific.

At present, more than 100 countries and international organizations are participating in the project, with 30 of them having signed agreements with China on jointly implementing the strategy. More than 20 countries have worked with China in such areas as railway construction and nuclear-power generation.

Bilateral trade between China and countries situated along the Belt and Road reached $995.5 billion in 2015. This figure represents 25 percent of the national total. China has also expanded the scope of 50 overseas economic cooperation areas.

Also last year, Chinese companies infused direct investments in 29 countries along the Belt and Road totaling $14.82 billion, or an increase of 18.2 percent over the previous year and accounting for 12.6 percent of the total.

In a bid to explain the Belt and Road project to its neighbors in the Asean,  the Chinese government, through the State Council Information Office in coordination with the Asean-China Center (ACC) and staff of China Report, which is part of the China International  Publishing Group, conducted a tour of two central China provinces, Hunan and Jiangxi, for 20 journalists from the 10 member-states of Asean, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The 2017 media visit is actually the third of a series that started in 2015. The visits are intended to show to Asean journalists  what the various provinces in China can offer as their contributions to the One Belt, One Road project.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to join the visit along with two broadcast journalists. We arrived in Guangzhou via China Southern Airlines toward noon of Monday, April 17. From the airport, our guides from China Report brought us, along with the other Asean journalists, to the train station where we were booked to take a high-speed train to Changsha, capital of Hunan province. The train navigated the nearly 700-kilometer distance in just two-and-a-half hours. The late-afternoon high-speed train ride through the Chinese countryside offered us a first glimpse into the rapid economic development of China since the late 1970s up to the present.

The next day, our group started our three-day trip through Hunan province with an early morning visit to the Changsha headquarters of SANY Group, which is engaged in heavy equipment manufacturing. Established in 1989, SANY manufactures various kinds of machinery used in the construction, port, mining and petroleum industries, among others. This was followed by another visit to the Hunan Leopard Automobile Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the Changfeng Group, a mainstay of Hunan’s vehicle manufacturing industry. It builds the indigenous vehicle brand “Leopaard”—that’s a double “a”—with a range of passenger vehicles from sedans to sports utility vehicles that rival the more established Japanese and Korean brands.

In the afternoon, we proceeded to the headquarters of the Sunward Group, another company that manufactures construction machinery. The Sunward Group, founded in 1999, is among the world’s top 50 construction machinery manufacturers and among the top 20 of excavation machinery makers. They have already established a presence in the Philippines.

Afterward, we were ushered to the Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS), where we were given a brief tour of the facilities. The HBS produces news and feature stories on developments in both the local and national scenes, as well as television dramas that depict the daily lives of people in China.


To be continued



The Silk Road: Glorious Past and Even Brighter Future

By H.E. PANG Sen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Iran


May 22, 2017

Over 2,000 years ago, an official delegation sent by the Chinese Emperor arrived in this piece of land after an arduous long journey. The road he travelled was the original ancient Silk Road and ever since then, the two civilizations of China and Persia had been interlinked with each other.

Later on, Persian artists and craftsmen together with Iranian products reached China by horses and camels through this road and merchant ships loaded with Chinese goods started to dock at the Port of Hormuz of Iran. This was a historic picture of mutual learning and friendly exchanges, and numerous touching stories of bilateral interactions had been passed on from generations to generations. 

Nowadays, great changes are taking place along the ancient Silk Road. Chinese President H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping in 2013 put forward the initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the B&R Initiative), calling upon countries along the B&R to build a community of shared interests and common destiny together, thus injecting new vitality to the B&R.

Since the launching of the Initiative over three years ago, tangible progress has been made. Many countries, including Iran, have voiced support to this Initiative. By focusing on policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond, the participating countries have deepened their cooperation in all these aspects and a series of early harvest have been achieved. The financing mechanism is functioning, the infrastructure connectivity is taking shape, the industrial capacity cooperation is accelerating, the construction of economic corridors is moving forward, the volume of trade and investment is growing rapidly, and people-to-people exchanges are further deepening. These achievements have laid solid basis for the further progress of the Initiative.

For centuries, Iran has been one of the most important traffic hubs and trading centers along the B&R. Located at the conjunction of the B&R, Iran enjoys an outstanding geo-strategic position. Since the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between P5+1 and Iran in 2016, the internal and external environment of Iran has improved a lot, which provides better condition for the cooperation between China and Iran.
As a Chinese saying goes, real friends feel close even when they are far apart. For a long time, China and Iran have maintained friendly relationship. In January 2016, Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to Iran and leaders of the two countries reached a series of important consensuses on strengthening bilateral ties. Chinese Vice Premier Madam LIU Yandong and Defense Minister General CHANG Wanquan visited Iran subsequently, and Iranian Economy Minister Mr. Ali Tayebnia and the Foreign Minister Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif visited China, aiming to implementing the outcomes of President Xi’s visit and deepening bilateral cooperation in all areas. 

For eight consecutive years, China remained as the biggest trading partner of Iran. Chinese and Iranians companies are now cooperating in many fields such as energy, transportation, machinery, metallurgy, hydro-power, electricity, telecommunication, construction materials, and automobile. The construction of the Tehran-Qom-Isfahan high-speed railway is underway, the Tehran-Mashhad railway modernization project is about to commence, the new line of Tehran metro goes smoothly, and the Yiwu-Tehran direct cargo train has made its initial voyage. Two important oil projects, namely the North Azadegan Project of the CNPC and the Yadavaran Project of the SINOPEC, had been completed late last year and their opening ceremony was launched at the presence of H.E. President Hassan Rouhani. Moreover, the CNPC and the NIOC had signed a new head agreement for the development of South Pars gas field. Nowadays, more and more Chinese companies are opening business in Iran and the Chinese-funded R&D parks and automobile industry zones are in operation. Chinese trademarks, such as HUAWEI and CHERY are now enjoying great popularity in Iran. The exchanges between various circles of Chinese and Iranian society are also on the rise.

“There is a road communing different hearts”, says an ancient Iranian proverb. The people-to-people exchange between China and Iran is gathering pace. In late April this year, Madam LIU Yandong, Chinese Vice Premier, paid a successful visit to Iran and exchanged views on technological, educational and cultural cooperation with her Iranian counterpart H.E. Sorena Sattari, Vice President of Iran. The Confucius Institute at the Tehran University attracts a lot of Iranian college students to learn Chinese language and it’s no longer surprising to hear a flawless pronounced “Ni Hao” (“hello” in Chinese) when strolling along the streets of Tehran today. The celebrations of “Happy Chinese New Year & Happy Iranian Nowruz” had been organized for five consecutive years by the Chinese Embassy together with Iran-China Friendship Association and received huge attendance from the local community. Last August, China for the first time held in Tehran a series of cultural events focusing on Xinjiang, China. In March this year, the 2018 World Cup Qualifier in Asia between China and Iran wrapped up in Tehran, where the Chinese and Iranian national team jointly presented a wonderful football match for an audience of more than 100 thousand fans and numerous TV viewers.

The B&R cooperation between China and Iran enjoys a bright future. We will work together to create a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful Silk Road with Iranian counterparts. Several days ago, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. Distinguished guests from various countries, including Iran, drew up the blueprint for future cooperation. I strongly believe that cooperation between China and Iran will be inspired and promoted by this magnificent event

Decoding the impact of the New Silk Road


The grand unveiling of the new Silk Road under China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project was the subject of much media scrutiny last week

Compiled by Chiranjib Sengupta, Hub Editor

16:49 May 22, 2017

‘Claims that the Belt and Road Initiative is a tool by China to expand its economic interests and dominance abroad ignore the key element underpinning the initiative — win-win results. Since China launched the initiative in 2013, it has invested more than $50 billion (Dh183.65 billion) in countries involved in the Belt and Road. A total of 56 economic and trade cooperation zones have already been built by Chinese businesses in these countries, generating nearly $1.1 billion in tax revenue and creating 180,000 local jobs,” said China’s state news agency Xinhua in an editorial.

The Straits Times said China deserved credit for laying out an inclusive vision for its modern Silk Road initiative, especially at a time when others, notably the United States, were looking inwards. “The ambitious plan to boost global commerce by linking China to Asia, Africa and Europe is off to an encouraging start, with world leaders and delegates from 130 nations and 60 international organisations participating in the two-day Belt and Road Forum in Beijing... Against the backdrop of possible American economic and strategic retrenchment, the success of this project would do much to keep alive the positive effects of globalisation,” the paper said.

The New York Times concurred, observing: “[Chinese President] Mr Xi [Jinping] held the Beijing forum to showcase his One Belt, One Road initiative, which is aimed at creating a modern version of the Silk Road, a network of trading routes from China to Africa and Europe. Dozens of world leaders, including President Vladimir Putin of Russia, attended. Many of them praised Mr Xi’s vision, which he first voiced in 2013, and were enthusiastic about locating projects in their countries, financing them, building them or managing them. The plan offers many ways countries can participate; Britain and Singapore, for instance, seem eager to handle private financing.”

The paper then went on to place the project in American perspective and said: “Like most of its western allies, the United States has been wary of Mr Xi’s initiative... American companies eager for a share of the One Belt, One Road business hope for greater enthusiasm going forward so their interests will be protected. Whatever obstacles lie ahead for One Belt, One Road, it is no exaggeration to say that if the United States and its western allies turn inward, Mr Xi could prevail by default.”

The Asahi Shimbun was more critical in its assessment of the project. “Once upon a time, the Silk Road bridged eastern and western civilisations through trading in all sorts of things, from silk to ceramics, knowledge and religious beliefs... With public opinion in the United States and Europe now leaning toward anti-globalism, there are expectations for China to spur economic exchanges. Given the sheer strength of its economy, it is only natural that China should take on this heavy responsibility. However, as the initiative is designed primarily for the advancement of Chinese investment, it is also criticised as a form of neocolonialism. And unless China modifies its traditional tendency to pursue only its own interests, questions are bound to remain about China’s suitability as the promoter of collaborative international development efforts.”

China proposes modern-day Silk Road with transcontinental infrastructure project

Jessica Mairs | Published 9 hours agoLeave a comment

Chinese president Xi Jinping has revealed plans for the world's largest-sprawling infrastructure project – the Belt and Road – which aims to develop trade links between China, Central Asia, Europe and Africa.

Billed as the contemporary equivalent to the ancient Silk Road trade routes that once spanned Eurasia, the vast multi-billion-dollar building project would see over 60 countries linked by road, railway and sea.

President Xi presented the globalisation plan, which seeks to stimulate economic growth in the region by creating free trade areas between countries, during a two-day summit in Beijing earlier this month.

"The glory of the ancient Silk Road shows that geographical dispersion is not insurmountable," Xi told delegates at the summit, according to The Guardian newspaper.

"This part of history shows that civilisation thrives with openness and that nations prosper from exchange."

Described as the world's biggest infrastructure project, China is estimated to be investing £115 billion ($150 billion) each year in the Belt and Road scheme, with £692 billion ($900 billion) already spent.

The project involves a sea route linking China's southern coast to east Africa and the Mediterranean – confusingly referred to as the "road" – and a road and rail network connecting the country to Europe through Central Asia and the Middle East, making up the "belt".

China has already invested in multiple international infrastructure projects that will contribute to the Belt and Road scheme, which it originally outlined in 2013.

The New York Times estimates China contributed £3 billion towards the cost of Africa's first transnational electric railway and £1.8 billion towards the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in southwest England for instance.

While The Guardian suggests there are "plans for pipelines and a port in Pakistan, bridges in Bangladesh and railways to Russia".

The plans were unveiled at a summit called the Belt and Road Forum attended by 29 heads of state including Russian president Vladimir Putin, Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

India notably boycotted the event, claiming the works would burden countries with debt and environmental damage.

Governments in Sri Lanka and Myanmar are also reportedly seeking to renege on Belt and Road projects.

While China's infrastructure scheme aims to connect countries to develop trade links, one of the most notable infrastructure projects of late from American president Donald Trump aims to sever the link between the USA and Mexico.

The US Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection recently tendered for a highly controversial 30-foot-tall wall to be built between the two countries.

CPEC: A recipe for mega disaster

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

By Allabaksh

Even as the top Chinese and Pakistani leadership posed grandly to announce the overambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) project in Beijing this week, widespread protests which broke out across Gilgit Baltistan were symptomatic of how the project runs rough shod over the aspirations of the local communities and transgress sovereign rights of the people of the region, including that of India.

Students who came out into the streets dubbed the project as an illegal attempt to grab Gilgit and see it as a "Road of Gulami or Slavery for Gilgit-Baltistan". Protestors across Gilgit suspect that the project was merely a ruse by China, in collusion with Pakistan, to take over their land and home.

Though the Chinese leadership (Pakistanis has not even made such a lip service) has, in the past, been offering assurances about respecting sovereign rights of people affected by the corridor, the country’s attitude and actions in settling some of its own territorial disputes in the neighbourhood has been anything but cordial. In fact, China has been using its military muscle to browbeat its smaller neighbours to enforce its control over disputed territories in South China Sea.

Diplomacy and peaceful negotiations are similarly unknown to decision makers in Pakistan. It is therefore difficult to digest that CPEC, which is an integral part of China’s mega dream of One Belt One Road, fig leaf to expand its military and economic influence over Asia and Europe. China is hardly interested in the development of the region through which these roads and rail networks are likely to pass through; the only mission is to make China the next United States of America.

It is not an easy objective to achieve; the pitfalls become even more acute when China wants to achieve this parity with the US in the next decade or so. In such circumstances, human rights violations and interests of local communities are hardly factors which China would allow to come in the way of its megalomaniacal ambition.

The signs are already there on the ground. Mr Alberto Cirio, a member of European Parliament, summed up the situation when he told a conference in March this year that under the pretext of ‘development’, the State (Pakistan) was indulging in corrupt practices for short-term gains, even at the cost of human rights violations against the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Baluchistan.`` He also pointed out that the charter of the Special Security Division (SSD) was highly questionable for the simple reason that the number of personnel in the SSD was higher than the number of Chinese workers in Pakistan. He cautioned that the real objective of this massive security deployment would be to suppress the local communities.

Although Mr Cirio and other speakers at the conference in Brussels did not elaborate on the situation in Xinjiang, which is the starting point of CPEC, it is well known how China has been militarily suppressing the local Muslim Uighurs with guns and diktats. The Uighur Muslims have been struggling to protect their religious and traditional way of life for years with China hell bent on changing the demography of the region and forcing the local communities to follow the mainstream. This ``mainstreaming`` has been brutal and unprecedented in recent times. Hundreds of Uighurs have either been killed without any reason or detained arbitrarily in secret prisons. All these brutalities are carried out in the name of counter-terrorism.

No less insidious has been the Chinese diktat to the community. The Muslims are not allowed to follow their religion freely; they are forbidden from doing anything in public which is religious, cannot name their children overtly Islamic names, men cannot keep long beards, women cannot wear veils and no one can observe fast during the holy Ramzan.

Sensing further trouble in future, China has outsourced the security of the corridor on its side to an ancillary security firm of the infamous Blackwater, the Frontier Services Group (FSG). This company plans to build two operational bases in Xinjiang and Yunnan province.

The next disputed territory through which the corridor passes is the Gilgit-Baltistan. It has for long been a disputed territory. India has been demanding the restoration of the area which was usurped by Pakistan at the time of Partition. It was never meant to be part of Pakistan which was carved out of the British India. Pakistan has forcibly annexed the region after its bid to capture Kashmir had failed in 1948. Interestingly, even Pakistan treats this area not an integral part of the country but a `special` (read disputed) zone where the Supreme Court and National Assembly have had little, if any, jurisdiction.

The people of Gilgit and Baltistan, who have nothing in common with Pakistan in terms of language and culture, would prefer to stay independent and not be part of Pakistan which has kept the region and its people subservient to the mainland. The region has remained on the margins of development and its people enjoy little rights under the constitution. The local communities are opposed to the project. The project takes too much of out of their land in exchange for too little or nothing in return. Several villages had to move, to make way for the infrastructure coming up for the corridor; the army forcibly annexed a large swathe of land to set up the brigade headquarters which will act as the security hub for the project. The forests, rivers, meadows and farms are increasingly getting polluted and filled up with debris which, the locals fear, might trigger massive floods and landslides during the rainy and winter seasons. The Karakoram National Highway (the heart of the project) often gets blocked for days and weeks because of landslides caused by rampant denudation and massive building activities.

To subvert the demands of the local communities and the Indian position on the region, Pakistan has been trying ways to declared Gilgit Baltistan as its new province. The people are strongly opposed to this idea and so is India. On March 23 this year, the British Parliament passed a strong resolution against such a move. The motion said “Gilgit-Baltistan is a legal and constitutional part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India, which is illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947.” The motion rightly declared that attempts to change the demography of the region was in violation of State Subject Ordinance and that the ‘forced and illegal construction’ of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) further interfered with the disputed territory.

Further down the corridor, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Sindh, there have been widespread protests against the project. In Pakistan occupied Kashmir, people are opposed to the project because it takes away their land and source of living without offering any credible alternative. In Sindh, the protests have been more loud. Led by Jeay Sindh MuttahidaMahaz (JSMM), a Sindh-based nationalist party, which has been demanding independence from Pakistan, the protesters wanted an immediate halt to the project running through their homeland. The Sindhis have for long been demanding freedom from Pakistan. A major movement to achieve the achieve was suppressed brutally several years ago; in the recent times there has been a revival of this movement with Pakistan repeating the kill and dump policy it had adopted the defeat the aspirations of Baloch people in the neighbouring province. The Sindhi community, which has been quietly bearing the brunt of the military repression, see the corridor as a ``Punjabi conspiracy to strengthen its imperialist expansionist hegemony over Sindh and Balochistan." Many Sindhi leaders, not without reason, fear that the CPEC could act as a "trigger of international conflicts and nuclear arms race in the region and strategic military design of Chinese aggression over the Indian ocean."

In early May this year, at a conference organised in Brussels on the subject, Dr Rubina Greenwood, chairperson of the World Sindhi Congress (WSC), raised a fundamental question--“Development for whom, and at what cost?” She said that Sindhis were never consulted on the project despite the plan to draw 75% of its activating energy from their region. She accused the Pakistani government of exploiting marginalised populations and wasting billions on projects that benefit a few business barons and politicians instead of investing in the basic needs of clean water, food, health and education for the masses.

In Balochistan, the situation is even more precarious. Balochistan has been witnessed to a continuous repression for decades with the local people living a life of fear and humiliation. As a former editor of Daily Times, an English daily published in Pakistan, Rashed Rahman pointed out at the Brussels conference, Balochistan has been blanked by the state and where a “cloak of secrecy” always meant unreported tales of torture, unlawful imprisonment, and deaths go unreported.

The gross and brutal human rights violations in Balochistan have been well documented although the media in Pakistan have been shy of reporting these incidents with as much clarity and courage as expected. The CPEC project has made the matter worse for the Baloch people with Pakistan repressing any dissent with an iron hand and a bullet and using the pretext of counter terrorism to change the demographic profile of Gwadar and nearby areas where the transnational highway is to reach its final destination—to the Arabian Sea through Gwadar Port. At Brussels, Mr NoordinMengal, a representative of World Baloch Organisation to the European Union, accused Pakistan of using the project to “usurp the wealth and natural resources” of Balochistan. He pleaded that the world must not turn a blind eye to the massive violations of human rights being perpetrated by Pakistan Army on the people of Balochistan; he called it a ``linguistic, ethnic, and religious genocide where the “military is judge, jury, and executioner.”
From the above brief assessment it will become clear that the much-touted project is a recipe for a mega disaster in the region.

(The author is a Freelance journalist based in Kashmir)

(Disclaimer: The views, observations and opinions expressed in above write up of Scoop News are strictly author's own. Scoop News does not take any onus or liability for the veracity, accuracy, validity, completeness, suitability of any of information in the above given write up. The information, facts or figures appearing in the write up in no way manifest the position, standpoint or stance of Scoop News and the Scoop News does not assume any encumbrance or answerability of the same. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent Courts and Forums in Jammu City Only

CPEC: First Orange Line Metro train to reach Pakistan in July


BEIJING: Pakistan will say goodbye to the days without subways and light rail as the first of 27 trains designed for Orange Line Metro in Lahore, would be delivered by a Chinese company to the Punjab government authorities in July this year.

The remaining 26 will be handed over to the authorities by the end of the year, according to official sources here.

China and Pakistan had signed a framework agreement in April 2015 to build the Orange Line of the rapid mass transit system in Punjab's provincial capital Lahore.

The system, the first large rail transit project within the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), was contracted by a consortium, composed of China Railway Corporation and China North Industries Corporation.

The first of 27 trains designed for Orange Line Metro in Lahore had already rolled off the production line in central China's Hunan province last week.

The train with five coaches designed for the 25.58 km Orange Line Metro, is being produced by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co Ltd.

An energy-saving air-conditioning system, suitable for the constant high summer temperature in Pakistan, has been designed and installed in the train which would have maximum operation speed of around 80 km per hour.

The design combines the national flower of Pakistan and the shape of the dome of the Badshahi mosque while heat-resistant bogies increase durability, said an engineer of the company.

The metro project is being built in accordance with the same quality requirements for high-speed railway linking Beijing and Shanghai, said project manager Wang Feng, adding that the train would be extremely smooth.

The 26-kilometer line will have 26 stations, two of which will be underground.

Adopting Chinese standards, the project will use China-made metro cars and mechatronic systems as well.

A lot of engineering and technical workers from both countries are now working in the forefront of the orange line project that carries the expectation of the Pakistani public

Pak Govt. sets aside Rs.44 billion for CPEC western route

22 MAY 2017  Last Updated at 1:41 PM

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 22 : The Pakistan Government is reported to have set aside Rs44 billion for giving a serious push to projects lined up on the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

islamabad [pakistan], May 22 : The Pakistan government is reported to have set aside Rs.44 billion for giving a serious push to projects lined up on the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The government is reported to have earmarked completion of three main schemes of the western route, including the construction of Hakla-Yarik-Dera Ismail Khan motorway, the Basima-Khuzdar road and the dualisation of Yarik-Mughalkot-Zhob project.

According to the Express Tribune, the eastern route of the CPEC is at an advanced stage of completion, and therefore, a need has been felt to divert attention to projects on the western route as well.

For 2017-18, the government has set aside Rs.180 billion for CPEC projects, including Rs.5 billion block allocations, said Minister for Planning & Development Ahsan Iqbal.

The total cost of CPEC infrastructure projects is estimated at Rs.1.08 trillion, which is about one-third higher than the previous year. So far, Rs.231 billion has been spent on these schemes, leaving a balance of about Rs.850 billion to be spent in the coming years.

In 2018, the National Highway Authority (NHA) will get about Rs.160 billion for carrying out work on CPEC projects.

The CPEC, which will be constructed from 2014 to 2030, talks about integrated links to China's One Road, One Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Route

Why Pakistan wants the US to lose in Afghanistan

by Lawrence Sellin | May 18, 2017, 12:04 AM 

Pakistan has significant economic incentive to exclude western countries from maintaining any influence in Afghanistan. (Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)

Pakistan sees China, not the United States, as its long-term strategic partner.

Pakistan has always viewed Afghanistan as a client state, a security buffer against what they consider potential Indian encirclement and as a springboard to extend their own influence into the resource-rich areas of Central Asia.

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Now Pakistan has significant economic incentive to exclude western countries from maintaining any influence in Afghanistan.

It is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is part of China's larger Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones.

CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea. That network will be coupled to special economic zones and energy projects, the latter to help alleviate Pakistan's chronic energy shortages.

As noted by Forbes, "For Pakistan it's a big infrastructure project, which could help the country make a big step forward, from emerging to a mature economy. For China, CPEC is the western route to the Middle East oil, and the riches of its 'third continent,' Africa. It also serves Beijing's strategic ambition to encircle India, something that makes Pakistan a natural ally."

An extension of CPEC to Afghanistan would benefit both China and Pakistan, whose economic goals include exploiting the estimated $3 trillion in untapped Afghan mineral resources. The withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO from Afghanistan would allow China to reap rewards from the reconstruction of the war-torn country, possibly as a quid pro quo for mining rights.

Islamic militancy has long been one element of Pakistan's foreign policy. As early as the 1950s, it began inserting Islamists associated with the Pakistan-based Jamaat-e-Islami into Afghanistan.

In 1974, then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto set up a cell within Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to begin managing dissident Islamists in Afghanistan. Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq (1977-1988) once told one of his generals: "Afghanistan must be made to boil at the right temperature."

Pakistan's present support for the Taliban is just a recent iteration of a long-held policy to influence or destabilize Afghanistan. The use of instability may have served its interests in the past, but Pakistan is holding the Islamist tiger by the tail.

It is not clear that a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would cooperate in fulfilling Pakistan's or China's international plans or, more broadly, hinder them simply by providing a Petri dish for instability. During the period in the 1990s when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they three times thwarted one of Pakistan's key foreign policy objectives, to recognize the Durand Line as the permanent border between the countries.

The success of the CPEC project depends on the stability of Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province, where the CPEC ports of Gwadar and Karachi are located.

It is an ethnically mixed transnational region spanning southwestern Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan, where the Baloch people and the Pashtuns constitute the majority of the population, while the remainder comprises smaller communities of Brahui, Hazaras, Sindhis and Punjabis.

Since 1948, Balochistan has been the home of a festering insurgency waged by Baloch nationalists against the governments of Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistan may someday regret using the Taliban as an instrument of its foreign policy. Stability is a prerequisite for successful economic develop and it is a more difficult condition to create than instability.

Those who live by insurgency can also die by insurgency. Pakistan would do well to remember that.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at

Counter Pakistan’s Support For The Taliban With Baloch Nationalism


Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

9:02 PM 05/22/2017

Pakistan openly admits that it uses “religious militancy” as a foreign policy instrument, such as radical Islamist groups committing terrorist acts in India or deploying the Taliban to control, influence or, as presently demonstrated, destabilize Afghanistan.

There are over forty-five domestic or transnational terrorist and extremist groups who have been operating in Pakistan.

To quell domestic unrest, Pakistan uses Islam as a tool to replace ethnic identity with religious identity. Likewise, Pakistan supports select religious militant groups to suppress autonomy or nationalism among its disaffected minorities.

One such minority is the Baloch, a people with their own language, tribal structure and culture, whose homeland spans southwestern Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan.


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The Baloch, who have a reputation for secularism and tolerance, are the majority in Pakistan’s largest province, Balochistan, a region rich in minerals and other natural resources, including gold, copper, chromite, and gas. Balochistan has also been the home of a festering ethnic insurgency since the partition of India in 1947, when the Baloch were promised autonomy and briefly gained independence from August 1947 to March 1948, but were then forcibly incorporated into Pakistan.

Despite its mineral wealth, the Baloch have been intentionally kept underdeveloped by the Pakistan government, which has been a cause for sporadic uprisings, along with oppression and alleged killings by the Pakistani military.

Due to Pakistan’s support of radical Islamic groups, Balochistan is the primary hub for the Afghan Taliban and, similar to Taliban Afghanistan of the 1990s, it has become a magnet for international terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS).

ISIS initiated major terrorist operations in Balochistan on August 8, 2016 when a suicide bomber killed 93 and wounded scores of others during an assault on the Civil Hospital in Quetta, Balochistan’s provincial capital. That attack was followed by two othersone on the Police Training Academy in Quetta, and the second on a Sufi shrine near Lasbela known as Shah Noorani. In these three attacks, over a four-month period, approximately 250 people were killed and more than 300 were injured.

Like the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Lashkar-e-Taiba, ISIS views Balochistan as a safe haven and a fertile area for recruitment because, according to The Diplomat, Pakistan has set up a network of Islamic schools known as madrassas in Balochistan, which were:

established to counter Baloch nationalists who fought the original annexation of Balochistan into Pakistan and the non-secular government that they have had to live under. Most of those religious schools in remote areas of Balochistan are already under the control of jihadi networks, and are also recruiting people.

Pakistan has lost control of its radical Islamic surrogates and its strategy of supporting the Taliban and other Islamist elements lessens, not enhances its security.

The success of the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones, depends on the stability of Balochistan because it provides a major section of the transportation route from China to the Arabian Sea and a deep water port at Gwadar.

It is an opportunity for the U.S. to exert leverage.

As noted by Julie Lenarz in her article “Balochistan: Oppressed in All Their Lands, Dreaming of a Secular State of Their Own”:

The West may find an important ally in the Baloch nationalist movement, whose dream of an independent, secular state converges with our goal of fighting religious fanaticism in the Middle East. Islamic fundamentalism, sectarianism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism are ideologies that have not yet taken root in Balochistan.

Pakistan has proven itself to be an unreliable ally in Afghanistan and in the battle against Islamic extremism. The time is long overdue for alternative courses of action. And as a bonus, U.S. support for Baloch nationalism, like Kurdish nationalism, will give Iran fits

How ISI is turning Balochistan into a mass grave

Posted on 23/05/2017 by Dailyexcelsior

Farooq Ganderbali
The notorious intelligence wing of Pakistan Army, the ISI, has been waging a brutal and relentless war against its own citizens in Balochistan. The killings and abductions of innocent Baloch men and women have been so rampant that it has become difficult to hide the figures and the anonymous graves scattered the biggest province of Pakistan. The repression—abductions and killings—have intensified once the Chinese came to the scene, demanding security and unbridled access to the natural resources of resource-rich province in the guise of building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Chinese have literally hired Pakistan Army as their security outfit to ensure that the $45 billion corridor does not run aground.
But facts are startling and cannot any longer been suppressed.In August 2016, for instance, the DIG Investigations and Crime, Balochistan informed a committee of the Senate that 1,040 people were killed in Balochistan in the last two years.Since such data rarely comes from official sources, the numbers cited by the senior police official could be taken as a reliable reference point. The Baloch people, however, contest the official figures and argue that the number of abductions and killings have been quite high in the recent past, especially after the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project picked up.
In February this year, for instance, Baloch Republican Party spokesperson Mohammad Bugti alleged that “ the Pakistani Army’s continuous military operation throughout the past week has set a new example of brutality in history.“ He said the army had locked down DeraBugti and was using gunships to terrorise the people. Many have died or disappeared in the continuing operation.
In Geneva, another Baloch leader, Ahmad Mastikhan urged the UN to appoint a special rapporteur to probe the grave human rights violations being committed by Pakistan Army in Balochistan. He alleged that it was a far more serious crisis than what was happening to Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Baloch Republican Party member Abdul Nawaz Bugti, making a similar demand, that the UN intervention had become urgent and imperative after the discovery of a mass grave in DeraBugti in February this year. The grave only had women and children.
A widely respected lawyer and human rights activist, Asma Jahangir, expressing concern, called for a swift action in the region; she said: “For Balochistan, human rights question remains as it was in the past.”
This is not the first time such a brutal suppression of Baloch people have been unleashed. The Baloch have been subjected to state-sponsored repression ever since they had expressed their demand to be free of Pakistan. There was nothing common, be it the language, or culture, or history, between the Baloch and the Punjabi Pakistanis. The Baloch always consider themselves to be a separate nation of people, like the Pathans. They were however forced into submission by Pakistan Army with the West, Britain and US in particular, supporting the new occupier than the people. Since then, Pakistan has been trying, without much success, to convert Balochistan into a subsidiary province, more like a supplier of minerals, gas and other natural resources to Punjab and Sindh.
But the people of Balochistan have been opposing the state project tooth and nail. For that, they have been over the decades terrorised through brutal military means. Thousands have died in the battle for their honour but have refused to kneel down before the military might of Pakistan Army. The army has always viewed the Baloch suspiciously, calling them terrorists and `Indian agents` to justify its kill and dump policy. Thousands of men and women have been abducted and killed and their bodies dumped by the road side or outside their homes or in mass graves. These graves continue to be discovered in different areas of the province.
The last major offensive against the Baloch was carried out by General Pervez Musharraf who was incensed by the Baloch demand to punish an Army Major for raping a Baloch doctor. The despotic General not only refused to pay any attention to the truth of the army officer brutalising a young Baloch woman, he launched a massive military operation against a popular Baloch leader, Nawaz Akbar Khan Bugti. The Baloch did not want to fight and want to sit across the table to discuss their problems with the Government. But Musharraf, drunk with power, was not interested in peaceful dialogue and he surrounded the homes of Baloch leaders with tanks and bombed them with military jets. Hundreds were killed and scores of villages and towns were razed to the ground, forcing the community to retreat into distant shelters.
The assassination of Bugti and his men created an international outcry with the West calling for a UN intervention and punishing sanctions against Pakistan. Since then, the army decided to change the tactics—from an open war against their own people, it made the war more covert. The media was banned from reporting the military operations and instead they were fed with information, false and misleading, about the military operations.
For the media, hailed otherwise as a courageous pillar of society in Pakistan, atrocities in Balochistan was not news. The Baloch were not victims but terrorists and soldiers were martyrs and the army protector of lives. This media management became even more blatant with the Chinese demanding security in Balochistan. It has been a no-holds war in Balochistan. In this war, even children and women are not spared.
While Pakistan cooks up false charges of espionage against an Indian businessmen who had strayed across the Iranian border, to deflect world’s attention from Balochistan, the atrocities against the Baloch people continue without any pause

Houses on CPEC route burnt: Baloch leader appeals nations to take notice

Geneva [Switzerland], May 22 : Criticising the "brutality" of the Pakistani forces for burning several houses in the Kech district during a military operation, Baloch Republican Party spokesperson Sher Mohammad Bugti has appealed to all the human rights organisations and the international community to take notice of the "war crimes" being committed against the Baloch people

geneva [switzerland], May 22 : Criticising the "brutality" of the pakistani forces for burning several houses in the Kech district during a military operation, Baloch Republican Party spokesperson Sher Mohammad Bugti has appealed to all the human rights organisations and the international community to take notice of the "war crimes" being committed against the Baloch people.

Kech is one of the key districts of Pakistan where the USD 51 billion worth China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be passing through.

"State aggressions have crossed all limits. Pakistani army conducted a heavy military offensive against defenseless innocent Baloch. Helicopters, artilleries, and other kind of sophisticated modern weapons were used against the civilian population in Jahoo and other surrounding areas of Awaran, Balochistan," Bugti said in a statement.

He added that four mutilated dead bodies of innocent Baloch were found dumped during the operation.

"We are deeply concerned that other dead bodies that have not been recognised might be those of previously abducted Baloch," Bugti said, while adding that Pakistani forces looted, ransacked and burned down almost every house in Jan Mohammad Bazar of the Kech district.

Bugti said another dozens of innocent civilians, including women and children, have suffered critical injuries after being beaten and tortured by the army personnel during the operation.

He said similarly incidents are happening in Dera Bugti and Kohistan Marri area where civilians are being targeted by the Pakistan Army's constant shelling

One belt one road

So the Chinese government just had a huge party in Beijing, attended by 100 or so heads of government, where they announced the launching of the One Belt One Road initiative. They even had cute videos in English like this.

But still, nobody has any idea what this is all about. And the reason is that Chinese public PR is utterly retarded. It just doesn’t work. China’s government has absolutely no way of reaching the hearts and minds of white people.

Part of it is racial hostility. Yellow men just aren’t cool. I hate saying this, I’ve lived half my life among them, and personally I like them very much. But I gotta say the truth. They just aren’t cool. Not even physically. They’re not small, the average Chinese is probably taller than the average Italian by now. But they’re skinny and awkward and just not very alpha. You just can’t fight average T levels. There’s plenty of cool guys in the right edge of the distribution, but alas. China will never be cool. Not even Japan is cool. Look at Cool Japan and other government initiatives. Only Anime and other stuff geared to 13 year olds is cool, because the Japanese never grow out of that age, as McArthur famously said. And the Koreans are basically prostituting their teenage girls all across the world for cheap (Korean dramas and K-pop shows are sold really cheap to get access) just in order to spite Japan getting more Western attention.

So now that I’ve established my impartiality by shitting on all of East Asia at the same time: what is the One Belt One Road thing? Well I don’t really know; but what I know is why it sounds so weird. You see, Chinese has this thing where ideally any word or language unit must be 4 syllables long, in order to sounds good and be memorable. As it happens Chinese characters are all 1 syllable long, so it’s also 4 characters, 4 words. It just has to. It just sounds good. It fits. It has been like that for 3,000 years. Even Confucius spoke in 4-word units. Mandarin today is about 30% 4-word idioms, some classical idioms going back thousands of years, some neologisms made by ad agencies, some political slogans made by the Communist Party Propaganda Department. That’s how Chinese works. And it’s beautiful once you get used to it.

So One Belt One Road is exactly 一带一路 yidai yilu, 4 words. Other famous slogans would be Mao Zedong’s 造反有理 zaofan youli, “rebellion is justified”, Deng Xiaoping’s 改革开放 gaige kaifang “reform and opening”, or Jiang Zemin’s 三个代表 sange daibiao “the three represents”, which incidentally means the Communist party represents the peasants, the workers and the capitalists whether they like it or not.

So anyway, everything has to fit in 4 words, so 一带一路 it was. They couldn’t just say “Land and Sea overseas infrastructure investment plan”. That would be more than 4 words. So you get this weird “belt” and “road” thing, where the belt stands for land route and road stands for sea route, for the only reason that it sounds right. Apparently the Koran doesn’t make any sense at all when read in translation but the Arabic just sounds so incredibly good, with rhyming and stuff that it became incredibly popular. Although it really doesn’t make any sense at all. Well, welcome to humanity.

So anyway, a friend of mine just told me he’d been to a conference on One Belt One Road and that it was the most boring official speech he’d ever listen in his damn life, and that’s saying something in China. Another friend though just sent me this chain-mail sort of stuff which kinda cheers on the whole thing. I assume it was made by the government, but I’ll translate it here so you can also have the Chinese side. Or better put, what China’s government says internally. Because remember, 90% of what the mainstream western press says is also, exactly, government made propaganda, we just don’t call it that.

A lot of people can’t quite get what One Belt One Road means. In fact it’s quite easy if you make a simple metaphor: say infrastructure to a country is like a person who goes buy a house. For the vast majority of people, they do need a house, but they don’t have the money on hand. Well, China here is like a developer, a construction company and a bank all put together. China has money it doesn’t know what to do with, it has empty houses, and the construction companies have no orders either. So we have both demand and supply sides here with nothing to do. What can we do?

Easy, we make a mortgage. China lends money to all these countries, and then these countries use this very money to ask Chinese companies to build them infrastructure, paying back the money to China in installments in the next decades.

By doing this China can use it’s foreign currency reserves in a smart way. We can avoid  buying US treasury bonds like we’re stupid; those give almost no yield. By lending out the money for interest, the yield is much higher. With this plan China can also put to use its industrial overcapacity, we get orders which reactivate our manufacturing base. And all these countries which would use China’s money and rely on China to build infrastructure; their economies will grow eventually, they’ll use money to pay us back, and they will also buy Chinese products.

So everybody wins, that’s what One Belt One Road is all about. [This sentences rhymes in the original]

Also through this infrastructure we can achieve two roads to Europe, one by land and one by sea. If there is any war with the US, the US won’t be able to encircle us. At the same time this would accelerate the speed of transport from China to Europe, lowering transport costs and increasing China’s competitiveness.

All these countries would use Chinese products as the standard of their infrastructure. This means that in the future they would need to use Chinese products to service the infrastructure. This would exclude other countries’ products, giving our manufacturers an advantage when competing with foreign manufacturers.

Of course inside all this there will be some loans which go bad. It’s like a bank, there’s always someone who can’t pay back their mortgage or their car loan. But banks don’t care about that, why? Because they make enough profit to compensate for it. And with China’s One Belt One Road, China would profit twice. One through the interest on the given loans, way higher than the yield of US debt. And then again when these countries buy Chinese products, giving money to Chinese private businesses. In business terms this is a very lucrative process, if we can manage well the level of bad debt, we are sure to make a net profit.

Also if China gets to develop these countries’ infrastructure, naturally these countries will become more friendly towards China. All these countries will be our friends. And as everybody knows, it is always good to have many friends. This applies to people and to states.

During this process, you may notice that China outright gives aid to some countries, without expecting payback. Some people don’t understand this, how can we give stuff away for free? It’s very easy. When you get some business from someone, you gotta give them some advantage. When shopping in a store, many shops give regular discounts, they’d give you coupons if you buy a lot, or even free products. Countries do the same. You’re making money out of someone, if you don’t give them something in exchange, well the business won’t go anywhere. All these aid packages are in fact discount coupons of a sort. Because besides us there’s also Japan or Germany giving loans, helping others build infrastructure. We have competition.

This kind of plan was in fact invented by the Americans. When the US wanted to open up foreign markets, they didn’t do like other countries and use military force to conquer colonies and their markets. What the US did was use what they called “open-door policy”, they used loans, the Marshall plan, etc. They gave loans to other countries, and these countries then used the money to buy American products. By doing so the US occupied these countries’ markets without shedding blood, which helped America become wealthy, and the US dollar become the world’s reserve currency. Thus the US became the world’s factory and ultimately the boss of the world. China is actually learning from America’s path to greatness, growing through peace, and not force.

So, you see, One Belt One Road is a very farseeing policy, it is precisely the path for China’s rising. If you have any friends who still don’t get it, send this piece their way. Let everyone get it. The Great Renewal of the Chinese Nation is just around the corner!

Original below

Trump stirs Islamist terror pot

Trump trains guns at Iran, terrorism and completely ignores Pakistan

By Sandhya Jain -


May 22, 2017


Trump trains guns at Iran, terrorism and completely ignores Pakistan

Trump Speech completely ignores Pakistan

The sensational events of 11 September 2001 for the first time awakened the United States and the West to India’s lonely decades-long fight against Islamist terror, whose menace has only grown since. India, however, found only a mention among victims of Islamist terror in US President Donald Trump’s 33:58 minute speech in Riyadh. Addressing a virtual summit of 50-plus Sunni leaders (mainly from the Gulf and Africa), Trump explained his vision of US-Muslim equations and demanded de-radicalisation of (Wahhabi) Islam, and continuing the policy of predecessor regimes, identified Shia Iran as Washington’s main enemy.

The unchecked Saudi export of Wahhabi ideology all over the Muslim world (currently to Bangladesh) has created offshoots in response to local politics;

As Shia Iran and Sunni Afghanistan share India’s vexation with jihadi groups nurtured by Pakistan, de-radicalisation of India’s neighbourhood seems a remote possibility. On the flip side, Pakistan, which is changing western masters for Chinese overlords, was cold shouldered at the summit; Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not invited to speak and Pakistani victims of terror not acknowledged.

Although extreme versions of Islam threaten even Muslim regimes, it is difficult to see how these can be tackled without striking at the root of the Wahhabi ideology from which the Saudi monarchy derives legitimacy. The unchecked Saudi export of Wahhabi ideology all over the Muslim world (currently to Bangladesh) has created offshoots in response to local politics; the plethora of terrorist organisations (Al Qaeda, Taliban, Islamic State) all have had links with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Gulf potentates want to de-radicalise their domestic populations, but without investing in democracy it is impossible. The intolerance to bloggers demanding freedom of speech (Raif Badawi) reduces the effort to a non-starter. Although President Trump urged his audience to stand up against the “murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians”, he ignored the issue of human rights. He also took no notice of India’s Saudi-backed preacher, Zakir Naik, who has radicalised Muslims in India, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

He(Trump) lauded the Saudi kingdom for pledging $400 billion of investments in both countries, which would create thousands of jobs in both America and Saudi Arabia.

By equating Hezbollah with Islamic State and Al Qaeda, President Trump sent a pointed message to Iran which sees itself as guardian of the Shia world (Syria, Lebanon, Yemen). The $110 billion arms deal with Riyadh underwrites US commitment to Sunni dictatorships; this will trigger a reaction from Iran, which recently held the region’s freest election.

Extolling his first foreign visit “to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith”, Trump vowed, “America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust”. He lauded the Saudi kingdom for pledging $400 billion of investments in both countries, which would create thousands of jobs in both America and Saudi Arabia. In short, Washington, like London, finds security with Muslim despotisms.

Trump appreciated King Salman’s new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology as an important initiative to combat radicalisation in Muslim-majority countries. He dodged the issues of democracy, human rights and tolerance for different faiths and sects (Shia), asserting, “We are not here to lecture – we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all”. The common goal “that transcends every other consideration”, he insisted, is “to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism”.

He(Trump) studiously ignored Pakistan.

But can Wahhabism enable young Muslim boys and girls to grow up “innocent of hatred”? What kind of “peace” can the Middle East have if Iran is designated enemy number one?

Recalling the terror attacks suffered by the United States, countries of Europe, Africa, South America, India, Russia, China and Australia, as also the deathly tolls inflicted on innocent Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations, President Trump piously noted that perhaps 95 per cent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim. He studiously ignored Pakistan.

The Middle East with its natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and historic treasures should be a global centre of commerce and opportunity, a place where people flock, not flee. He mentioned Egypt as a thriving centre of learning thousands of years ago, as attested by the wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria; extolled the beauty of Petra (Jordan) and Iraq, and the modern rise of the United Arab Emirates. Lying at the centre of the world’s key shipping lanes – the Suez Canal, Red Sea, and Straits of Hormuz – the region has a rich demography with 65 percent population under the age of 30. The battle, he said, is not between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations, but between barbaric criminals and decent people, between Good and Evil.

The unexpected victim of the summit, however, was Islamabad. Pakistan’s role (whatever that might be, seen from India) in the ‘war against terror’ was totally eclipsed…

Getting down to nuts and bolts, Trump said the first task for Muslim countries is “to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil…. ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil”, and also deny access to funds (ISIS sells oil, jihadi fighters are paid, and reinforcements are smuggled into jihadi theatres). For this purpose, Washington set up the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, to be co-chaired by the US and Saudi Arabia, and joined by all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC and Saudi Arabia have designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and placed sanctions on one of its senior leaders.

Trump’s tour encompasses Riyadh, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the Vatican, the holiest sites of the three Abrahamic Faiths (Mecca-Median ruled out to non-Muslims); he professed hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But his core concerns exclude large swathes of the world, from non-monotheistic societies such as China, India, Japan and Buddhist Asian nations, Orthodox nations like Russia, and the Shia world.

In fact, he blamed Iran for much of Muslim terrorism, which is simply untrue, though Tehran is protecting Shias in the region. Nor is the crisis in Syria the handiwork of Iran or even Russia. It is clear that all talk of ISIS notwithstanding, Washington and Riyadh are gunning for Iran.

The unexpected victim of the summit, however, was Islamabad. Pakistan’s role (whatever that might be, seen from India) in the ‘war against terror’ was totally eclipsed; apparently Washington realises that Pakistan has no interest in helping it in Afghanistan. Yet, Pakistan’s former army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, is heading the Saudi Arabia-led 34-nation military alliance ‘against terrorism’. Worse, the targetting of Iran has the potential to plunge Pakistan in sectarian Shia-Sunni conflicts as 20 per cent of its population is Shia and it shares a 900-mile border with Iran. Its new godfather, China, is unlikely to be of use in this fight.

1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 66.16 Rupees.
2. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
3. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain is a writer of political and contemporary affairs. A post graduate in Political Science from the University of Delhi, she is a student of the myriad facets of Indian civilisation. Her published works include Adi Deo Arya Devata. A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface, Rupa, 2004; and Evangelical Intrusions. Tripura: A Case Study, Rupa, 2009. She has contributed to other publications, including a chapter on Jain Dharma in “Why I am a Believer: Personal Reflections on Nine World Religions,” ed. Arvind Sharma, Penguin India, 2009.