Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tokyo’s shift on AIIB based on economics


By Li Ruoyu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/23 19:53:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation convened in Beijing on May 14 and 15, gathering together 29 heads of state and government. However, although he is not a state leader, the head of the Japanese delegation Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, also became the focus of media coverage of the grand convention. As a leading figure of Japan's ruling party, Nikai presented a letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Chinese President Xi Jinping and said to the media that Japan should become a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at an early date. It is nothing new that countries are eager to join the AIIB considering its sound performance since its establishment, but the shift from rejection to recognition in Japan's attitude deserves deliberation in view of its resistance during China's preparation of AIIB and now the ruling party leader showing enthusiasm toward the bank. 

The primary factor behind this is the continuous growth of the Chinese economy which triggered a change in Japan's perception of China to some degree. Following the 1951 San Francisco Peace Conference, the US had long been one of the most important global order makers. Japan thus became the core country in East Asia due to its economic recovery and the Japan-US military alliance. Japan enjoyed this position in the international community. Nevertheless, China's GDP overtook that of Japan for the first time in 2010 and in 2013 almost reached twice the size of Japan's GDP. China is now the most powerful engine for development of the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, Japan is no longer the core of East Asia and sees China's growth as a challenge to the old Asia-Pacific order. 

As Japan and China are both Asian countries, overlaps in diplomatic policies are inevitable. For instance, China values relations with ASEAN while Japan also intends to woo them into its circle. China initiated the AIIB to promote development in Asia while Japan led the establishment of Asian Development Bank for similar reasons. Such policy overlap creates a strategic misjudgment in Japan that China's growth stands in absolute opposition to that of Japan. Therefore, it views competition with China as a zero-sum game, believing that China's gains mean damage to Japan's national interests. 

As a result, Japan persists in "singing the blues" on each and every issue relevant to China such as the AIIB, whereas China has stressed during AIIB's preparation that the new bank was not a replacement, but a supplement to the existing ADB. China never seeks to develop at the cost of Japan's economic interests; however, acts undertaken by Japan have cost Japan opportunities in sharing China's growth dividend. 

Nikai's visit to the Belt and Road forum and his comments on the possibility of Japan joining AIIB show that despite previous confrontation, Japan now sees China's development in a more rational way and it has accepted that the size of the Chinese economy has surpassed that of Japan irreversibly. 

On one hand this change is driven by the example set by China's commitment to peaceful development, and on the other by a change in the international situation, or put it more frankly, a change in the US factor. As Financial Times reported, it was the US that lobbied big powers not to join the AIIB during its preparation. Japan believed that the US-backed TPP was enough to generate equal business opportunities to those brought by China's development. It also held that the US rebalancing its Asia-Pacific strategy would suffice in containing China politically and militarily. However, with the Trump administration now in office, all this has gone to thin air. 

Japan's shifting attitude toward the AIIB shows a more pragmatic attitude toward China, for it now realizes that China's economic growth is an irreversible trend. This pragmatic posture, however, should not be interpreted as Japan abandoning its alliance with the US and switching sides to China. 

Judging from the content of Abe's letter to Xi disclosed by the media, Japan made positive comments on the Belt and Road and reiterated its wishes to develop friendship and good neighborliness with China. The letter, however, did not mention politically sensitive issues between the two countries, such as historical issues and the East China Sea. 

The trend of increasingly pragmatic policies by Japan toward economic and trade ties with China is irresistible, but in no way immune to fluctuations within a certain scale caused by political influences. 

The author is an assistant research fellow at the Institute of Japanese Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion




President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road plan is rooted in the past: here are five lessons from history that suggest assumptions of China’s inevitable rise are mistaken


Chinese President Xi Jinping with world leaders at the Belt and Road Forum. The initiative is rooted in the past. Photo: Kyodo

A rising China has turned us all – especially in Southeast Asia – into amateur historians.

President Xi Jinping’s signature initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes is rooted in the past, therefore the pageantry, rhetoric and indeed the substance of last week’s high-profile “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in Beijing cannot be understood if one ignores history.

Living as they do in China’s “armpit”, Southeast Asians have no choice but to learn a lot more about the Middle Kingdom.

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Given the strong maritime focus of the Belt and Road initiative – Beijing’s plan to link Eurasia through land and sea links and infrastructure into a China-centred trading network – it’s also critical to understand China’s chequered oceanic forays – stretching from the dynamism of the Han, Tang and Ming dynasties to the disastrous xenophobia of the Manchu Qing.

In this respect, Lincoln Payne’s 744-page tome The Sea and Civilization: a Maritime History of the World provides a superb overview of how the great civilizations faced sea-borne challenges.

Tracing the ups and downs of China’s maritime engagement, the reader comes away with five key points.

A Chinese louchuan, or towered warship, pictured in a 16th century edition of the ‘Collection of Most Important Military Techniques’ by Wu Ching Tsung Yao, written in 1044. Photo: The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine

🔴🔴 First: there has been no discernible consistency in China’s relations with Southeast Asia. Over the centuries, it has veered from great interest to isolationism, sometimes within a space of a few years.

Witness the speed with which the great Ming armadas under Admiral Zheng He (1405-1433) were abruptly followed by stringent prohibitions on foreign trade.

What this means is that Southeast Asia cannot depend on China’s long-term interest in the region.

🔴This leads to a second point: history has proven that China’s leaders are easily distracted when its internal stability is threatened. Given its size, the resources needed to manage such challenges have been a huge and constant drain on the exchequer.

The vulnerability of China’s northern and western borders (as well as threats of peasant revolts), have necessitated a degree of constant military preparedness, sapping even further precious resources.

Consequently, internal policing has always been a fact of life – something that remains the same even in the Xi Jinping era today.

🔷Third, the strategic importance of China’s rivers – which have long been an essential part of internal connectivity as well as domestic security and trade – feed its inwardness.

The Yangzhou section of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Photo: Xinhua

Over the centuries, the great rivers – the Yangtze, Pearl and Yellow – have been developed to enhance irrigation, prevent flooding and ease transportation. A web of canals and domestic waterways have been built, thereby uniting the country; with the most famous of these – the Grand Canal – linking the rich agrarian South to the parched North around Beijing.

A lesser-known example but perhaps even more extraordinary is the 36.4km Lingqu Canal which was built with immense loss of life during the Qin Dynasty from 219–214 BC.

This strategic waterway connected the Yangtze and Pearl River basins, providing a means of travelling by ship from Chang’an (the Imperial capital at that time) to Guangzhou – a distance of more than 2,000km.

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It’s important to remember that the emphasis on river-going craft negated to a large extent the need to develop a strong sea-going shipping industry and this stymied trade with the Southern Seas for many centuries.

🔷Fourth, in the era before the steam engine, shipping had to follow the all-important monsoon winds. In the winter, when land is colder than water, the Northeast Monsoons would blow from China and Japan southwards, reversing in the summer, as the land warmed, creating areas of higher pressure and bringing torrential rains from the South.

As such, the monsoons determined the sailing schedule and imposed a particular time frame on trading routes between China and Southeast Asia.

A passenger ship at Kaifeng, China – one of 28 vessels depicted in Zhang Zheduan’s 5.25-metre scroll painting Qingming Shanghe Tu (Along the River During the Qingming Festival). Photo: Palace Museum, Beijing

The monsoons across the Indian Ocean weren’t in any way synchronized, meaning that travellers hoping to reach the wealthy Malabar coast and or beyond were forced to wait in Southeast Asian ports for the winds to shift, thereby slowing down pan-Asian trade routes.

This in turn led to the steady build-up across Southeast Asia of Chinese traders who would remain for a few months before returning to the ports of Guangzhou and Quanzhou.

It’s important to note that the Chinese never sought to occupy and monopolise the ports they visited. They traded, sojourned and then they departed: this is in marked contrast to the Portuguese, the Dutch and British who sought to use their firepower to dominate trade.

A Chinese postage stamp commemorating the 600th anniversary of the first Ming Dynasty expedition to the Indian Ocean under Zheng He. Photo: China Post

Indeed, the Hokkien people were to be major beneficiaries in the 11th and 12th centuries with the formation of the zealously pro-trade Southern Song Dynasty based in what is now Hangzhou.

Honing their navigational skills and trading skills, they grew to dominate Asian trade travelling as far as East Africa and the Gulf of Persia.

🔷Finally, indigenous Chinese thinkers – most notably Confucius – have been stringently opposed to commerce.

In the Analects, Confucius states dismissively: “The gentleman is conversant with righteousness, the small man is conversant with profit.”

As such, when Confucian scholars and mandarins held sway as they did for much of the Ming dynasty – controlling access to the Emperor – trade and diplomacy always suffered.

Porcelain wares were being exported to Europe by the time of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Photo: Karim Raslan

It’s also worth noting that Buddhism (an alien and largely sea-borne faith) also constituted a major challenge to Confucian orthodoxy and dominance. The tension between Buddhism and Confucianism may well have been an added reason for the distrust and at times, active suppression of the South Sea trade.

In the 9th and 10th centuries, trade between China and India boomed as religious scholars and monks moved backwards and forwards between the great seat of Buddhist learning, Nalanda on the Ganges and China, providing an enormous boost to Southeast Asia, especially the Sumatran trading entrepot of Srivijaya as religious texts and sacred artefacts were shipped to China.

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Nonetheless, Confucian mandarins were extremely vocal in their criticism of the importation of tropical luxuries – sandalwood, cloves, tortoise shells and rhinoceros horn – seeing them as frivolous.

Typically, Chinese-made silks and ceramics were insufficient to pay for the imports and copper coinage was exported in large amounts to pay for the purchases, contributing in turn to inflation, the scourge of the country’s economic life.

As such, it would be mistaken to assume that China will inevitably become a global, even regional hegemon.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is the apogee of calm; US President Donald Trump is a ‘pumped-up reality TV star’. Photo: AFP

Current awe of China’s mounting power is directly linked to the incompetence of US President Donald Trump’s administration.

Xi is the apogee of a calm, dignified global leader, all-too aware of the scale of his responsibilities. Trump, by contrast, is nothing more than a pumped-up reality TV star.

Separately, although China’s infrastructural achievements – the toll-ways, railways, ports and cities – are dazzling, these are a mere snapshot in time.

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The underlying reality is of a fundamentally indebted, extremely unequal and vastly over-built society that is going to be knocked sideways by its own demographic earthquake – as decades of the one child policy come home to roost – and China’s population growth starts to falter.

The best advocate for this astonishing but entirely plausible argument is the former New York Times Shanghai bureau chief, Howard French, whose book Everything Under the Heavens: How The Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power is a masterful explication of its barely hidden demographic woes.

An elderly pedestrian in a traditional hutong neighbourhood in Beijing, China. Photo: Bloomberg

French’s core point is that China has squandered its demographic dividend. Birth rates (projected to stand at 1.51 per cent in 2020) have fallen below replacement levels and median age rates (forty-nine years old by 2050) are climbing quickly.

Why China has just 15 years to secure its place in the world

All this means that China will grow old before it grows rich and that the resources needed to care for its elderly alone (it is projected to have 329 million people over the age of 65 by 2050, equal to today’s combined populations of France, Germany, Japan and Britain) will sap its capacity to project internationally.

So while the Belt and Road conference may have made China seem like a rising giant, let’s not lose sight of the fact that it has feet of clay

Spotlight: How China's Belt and Road is making the world smaller


Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-23 15:04:39|Editor: Mengjie

by Xinhua writer Chen Shilei

BEIJING, May 23 (Xinhua) -- As a high-level forum on the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative took place in Beijing on May 14-15, the China-proposed initiative has again become the focus of the world.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond ancient trade routes.

The initiative, which embraces the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations, among which more than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China.


Amid skeptics questioning China's intentions behind the initiative, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: "We have no intention to designate a clear geographic bound for the Belt and Road Initiative, because it is an initiative for international cooperation in its essence, and should be open to all like-minded countries and regions."

Critics have likened the Belt and Road Initiative to the politically laden post-war Marshall Plan.

However, unlike the Marshall Plan, the Belt and Road Initiative will never lead China to form a military alliance, and the economic cooperation it purposes will not change the current security landscape.

In fact, the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed during the post-crisis era when the world urgently needed a more open and inclusive global economy.

Almost nine years after the 2008 financial crisis, the world economy is still struggling to recover. According to a UN Conference on Trade and Development and World Bank report last year, foreign direct investment around the world dropped by 13 percent, while global trade grew by slightly more than 1 percent, the worst performance since the crisis.

Meanwhile, fragmented international cooperation makes it difficult to effectively integrate resources to address global challenges.

Against such a backdrop, Xi put forward the initiative offering opportunities for cooperation and development for all.

"The Belt and Road Initiative, though initiated by China, is not only about China," Xi said. "I hope people in all countries along the Belt and Road will actually feel the benefits brought by the initiative."

"While taking care of our own interests, we will give more consideration and care to the interests of other countries," the Chinese president said.

"The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping shows that he attaches great importance to cooperation between Europe and Asia," former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told Chinese newspaper People's Daily. "It will inject vitality into global development and shows his global vision."

Raffarin said the initiative is a creative one which shows China has the capability to create a new era for global development.

China's proposals, from the Belt and Road Initiative to the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), from the setup of a 1-billion-U.S.-dollar China-UN peace and development fund to a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops, shows the giant is assuming responsibilities as a major country, said Raffarin.


Three years on since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched, China and countries along the ancient trade routes are witnessing positive results in infrastructure connectivity, production capacity, trade, investment and finance.

Remarkable progress has been made in the construction of land and maritime routes.

For instance, construction is underway for phase II of the Karakorum highway connecting China and Pakistan, the Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi highway in Pakistan, the China-Laos railway and the Yakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia.

Furthermore, the port city in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo is starting to take shape, while Chinese shipping giant China COSCO Shipping took over the management of the Piraeus Port Authority last year.

Regarding production capacity, China is cooperating with nearly 20 countries, with 51 important projects confirmed with a total investment value of 27 billion U.S. dollars.

Just last year, trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road hit 6.3 trillion yuan (913 billion dollars). China's direct investment in those countries exceeds 14.5 billion dollars.

There's also financial support to ensure Belt and Road projects see the light of day. The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank now has 70 members. The first projects under the 40-billion--dollar Silk Road Fund have begun, with a value of 5.3 billion dollars.

Amid uncertainties in the world economy, Belt and Road cooperation is key to kickstarting global growth.

"What is the most attractive in the Belt and Road Initiative is that it not only spurs China's development but also benefits other participating countries," said Spanish Ambassador to China Manuel Valencia.


The ancient Silk Road was where Chinese civilization met with Indian, Arab and European cultures. Today, the Belt and Road Initiative seeks to once again bring East and West closer.

"The ancient silk roads are not just routes of trade, but routes of friendship," Xi said.

By the end of 2016, China signed more than 300 cultural agreements with countries along the Belt and Road and set up 11 centers on Chinese culture in those countries.

Meanwhile, people-to-people ties related to the initiative, such as international art festivals, fairs, and forums, are in full swing.

The Chinese government also set up the Silk Road Scholarship to annually sponsor 10,000 students in countries along the Belt and Road to study in China.

"The initiative of the Belt and Road is not just economic," said Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, high representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, "but also builds and promotes intercultural exchanges

Third maritime patrol ship inducted for security of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor


By: ANI | Karachi | Published: May 23, 2017 11:18 AM

The induction ceremony was done in the presence of Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo.(Representative image Reuters)

Pakistan has inducted PMSS Dasht as the third Chinese-built maritime patrol ship for the protection and security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The other two ships are the PMSS Hingol and the PMSS Basol, reports the Dawn. The induction ceremony was done in the presence of Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo.

Speaking on the occasion, Bizenjo said major challenges have been witnessed and experienced by Pakistan and with the inception of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the nation has become a centre of global attention. The PMSS Dasht has been built for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) and arrived in Karachi earlier this month.

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Bizenjo was quoted, as saying, “The CPEC has the potential to change the regional canvas and the world. The importance of the project for Pakistan’s strategic strength and economic prosperity needs no elaboration. Every effort is being made to secure the important trade lifeline both on land and at sea.” He added,“The government allocated over USD 150 million to enable the PMSA fleet to protect our maritime area and sea lines of communication.

This will add a great deal to the security fibre not only for the CPEC but for all maritime zones of Pakistan.” He said that he had met a few Chinese engineers and technicians associated with the project and appreciated their valuable contribution and shows the strength of deep-rooted friendship between Islamabad and Beijing. Meanwhile, two more ships are under construction at the Karachi shipyard

Women in Balochistan must be given due representation in politics


By Hizbullah Khan

Published: May 23, 2017

Social and cultural factors have left little options for women politicians in the province. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Article-25 of the constitution claims that “all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection before the law: there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex.” But can women in Balochistan’s political sphere, let alone women in the province, also say that they are being treated fairly?

Balochistan – a violence-ridden province in Pakistan – is dominated, overwhelmingly, by conservative attitudes where discrimination against women is arrant. Here, social and cultural factors have left very little space for women in politics and, therefore, there is almost no space for them to scream and demand their rights.

Balochistan gender exclusion: Not a single woman on 1,450 seats


Out of the eight major political parties in the province including Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), National Party (NP), Balochistan National Party (BNP) and Awami National Party (ANP), only PML-N issued tickets to women during the last general and local bodies (LB) polls. Some 1,450 contestants – all male – fought during the LB polls.

Balochistan Assembly passes Women Harassment Bill 2016. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PkMAP’s Rahila Hameed Durrani, in 2015, was unanimously elected as the first-ever female speaker of the Balochistan Assembly. PML-N’s Central Executive Member, Saidal Khan Nasar, however, emphasises that only one female Balochistan assembly member, Rahat Jamali, was elected through direct voting on a PML-N ticket.

“We have made [Rahat Jamali] the first woman speaker of the Balochistan Assembly and made history in the province as it is not easy to provide such huge space to women in the province’s tribal society.”

Interestingly, only NP, PML-N and PPP in Balochistan have women’s wings in their party’s forums.

Rahila Durrani elected first woman speaker of Balochistan Assembly‏

The National Party in Balochistan has been serving women, within the party and across the province, through a women’s wing since the 70s. “We raise women issues in the assembly. Even in 2014, when a group threatened girls to stop going to school in Panjgur district, we took a stand,” says NP’s Woman Affairs Secretary Dr Shama Ishaq Baloch.

The lack of female representation in Balochistan, however, is still a persistent obstacle.

Women in Pakistan’s least developed but resource-rich province are constantly made to live under the shadow of poverty, joblessness, illiteracy and radicalisation. Even fundamental health facilities for women are insufficient and substandard. They desperately need their voices to be heard.

Rahila Durrani, Balochistan Assembly’s first elected woman speaker. PHOTO: EXPRESS

In a male-dominated provincial cabinet of 12 ministers and four advisers, there is no major representation of women. Interestingly, even departments meant to be platforms for women are being operated and governed by male MPAs.

The Balochistan Assembly, on the other hand, is home to 13 women lawmakers out of whom 12 were elected on reserved seats while one through direct voting. A majority of the women elected come from influential families with no real awareness of varying issues involved in politics. They are also criticised for not making use of their positions in the assembly and addressing issues plaguing women.

Additionally, women do not make any breakthroughs in politics because they have never been given the opportunity to hold a position of authority that could influence policies. When such positions are, by chance, awarded to women, even within their own political parties, the socio-culture ethos of the political sphere does not allow them to possess any decision-making powers – thus, rendering their designation a farce meant to placate them. There is, however, a growing realisation amongst women in Balochistan that their political rights are being increasingly undermined and something has to be done about it.

Baloch women say they want to go to universities and not fear for their lives

PkMAP’s MPA Spozmi Achakzai is an elected MPA who won a reserved seat for the first time in 2002. She grabbed the very seat again in 2013, but complains that she “just has a party membership without any designation.”

She stresses that women will never be able to express their opinion in local politics unless they get due representation through party designations in both provincial and central cabinets.

“Women should have a right to hold half the seats during general elections. We believe in equality and only a fair representation of women can address their issues,” says Achakzai.

According to Quetta-based women rights activist Rani Wahidi, women have a lot of potential in politics and it is high-time they are made a part of Balochistan’s conventional political structure. “A politically learned and skilled female politician can relate more to women-centered issues than any man.”

A report by FAFEN (Free and Fair Election Network) points out that from June 2013 to February 2017, the Balochistan Assembly passed three bills pertaining to women. Two resolutions were also submitted by female lawmakers, but the house passed only one demanding the establishment of a Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in the assembly. A resolution proposing the establishment of diagnosis centres in the province for breast cancer was not addressed.

“We have passed two bills. One of them was against women harassment at workplaces and the second dealt with domestic violence against women, children and vulnerable persons. A third bill on the prohibition of child marriage is in the process of planning. The legislation, especially in a tribal society, is a big achievement for us,” says MPA Achakzai.

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Many believe, however, that the women in Balochistan need to become more politically active to be able to gain traction towards women’s issues so they are adequately addressed by politicians. Displaying her disappointment, Wahidi also stated that she didn’t understand why female members of the provincial assembly had, so far, failed to advocate women issues in the assembly.

“The submission of two women-centered resolutions by female members in four years is nothing,” she insists. These women support their party’s stance in the assemblies and look to male members for guidance instead of taking an individual stand for issues pertaining to women.

“Male members [within a political party] do not give us the facilities and confidence we deserve if we want to do something for women. Neither do they, themselves, pay any attention to women’s issues.”

An assembly is a place where policies are discussed and made. But in the case of women in politics, especially in Balochistan, women’s issues are not discussed with the women. In fact, women in politics are still hesitant in making their presence felt because they think their male-dominated party leadership will never support them if they do.

“The attitude of male leadership towards female legislators is not good. They do not give opportunities to them to grow and instead, disregard their issues,” Wahidi continues.

Before 2000, female participation in the assemblies was minimal. It was in Pervez Musharraf’s era that women earned 33 per cent representation at local government levels for the first time. The number of women in the national and provincial assemblies surged to 17 per cent ahead of the 2002 elections.

According to FAFEN, women make up 46 per cent of the population in Balochistan while their representation in the provincial assembly is a mere 20 per cent. With 13 female lawmakers in the incumbent provincial assembly, one female lawmaker is to represent nearly 358,292 women, whereas each male lawmaker represents 105,186 men.

Rationalising the notion, PkMAP’s Senator Kakar says “except the reserved seats, women should also be given space for direct voting. Unfortunately, our society and voters have not reached the awareness levels [in Balochistan] where they can vote for female candidates.”

Only when religious parties in the province come up with their own explanation for why women should not be given freedom in politics, is when the debate on women rights suffers a setback. For them, women are supposed to live in their homes, and their participation in mainstream politics will decimate the entire social system of the province.

“Women do not represent our political structure at any level and until now, we have not made any space or provision in this regard as far as Jamiat’s constitution is concerned,” says JUI-F’s Balochistan Information Secretary Abdul Bari Achakzai.

“We are convinced of women’s politics but within Shariah law and in those areas of life where their participation is helpful.” JUI-F not only appreciates women but also provides options for them, claims Bari Achakzai.

Invisible and silent, the suffering of the women in Balochistan will not end until they are given enough representation in the province’s political framework. Their presence will make a significant impact on the socio-cultural fabric of society and will help raise the quality of life of the people of the province as a whole as well. One can only hope that political parties soon realise the gravity of the subject

A short history of the relationship: China-Pakistan, bhai-bhai


Written by Nirupama Subramanian |Updated: May 23, 2017 1:13 Am

Hoardings in Islamabad of Presidents Xi Jinping and Mamnoon Hussain, and PM Nawaz Sharif. (Source: AP photo)

The countries describe their friendship as being ‘higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, sweeter than honey’. To this, CPEC might well add, ‘stronger than steel’. It’s a relationship that has endured nearly 7 decades of changes in geopolitical and strategic interests. It’s a layered, complex story — in which considerations about India have often played a dominant role.

On the night of July 12, 2007, hours after Pakistani commandos stormed Lal Masjid, the mosque in the heart of Islamabad that had become a militant stronghold, General Pervez Musharraf, then both President and Army Chief, made a sombre television address. He explained why the operation that killed 103 people inside the mosque had become necessary. His speech contained a valuable insight into the Pakistan-China relationship, and how the two countries conducted it.

“The worst example [of the extremist takeover of Lal Masjid] is that 7 nationals of our friendly country China were abducted,” Musharraf said. “This shameful incident happened to the people who belonged to our best friend, who always supported us, stood by us in troubled times and also helped us in economic, trades and defence fields. To hold hostage Chinese nationals was a very shameful act. The Chinese President called me over the telephone and asked me to ensure security of its citizens. So, in my mind this is extremely shameful for our country and citizens… If [Chinese] citizens are not secure in a country, for which they did a lot and [are] still doing, [it] is so regrettable for us.”

China did not make a public spectacle over the hostage crisis, it preferred to quietly work the phones instead. Among the militants holed up in Lal Masjid were Uighurs, fighting the Chinese state in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but Beijing made no public demand that Pakistan act against them. Later, Chinese officials flatly denied having forced Musharraf’s hand in the decision to storm the mosque.

Imagining how the United States might have responded in the same situation helps understand better how Pakistan and China view their relationship, and the rules of their engagement.


Pakistan-China is the only bilateral relationship, other than with Saudi Arabia perhaps, in which Pakistan is happy to play the junior partner. Islamabad, which is wont to cast ties with China emotionally, describes the friendship as one that has no parallel in the world. “Higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans” is the usual description for it from both sides — but how they have built this “all-weather” (and all terrain) relationship is a layered story of several highs and lows. And through all of it, India has been the dominant theme.

The Chashma nuclear power plant was built with Chinese help.

Pakistan was among the earliest non-communist countries (India was the first) to recognise the People’s Republic of China. But while the two established diplomatic relations in 1951, Pakistan’s eager membership of the two United States-led anti-communist military pacts, SEATO and CENTO, soon afterward, was not the perfect starting point for their relationship in the same decade in which India and China celebrated Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai.

It was only after India’s defeat in the war with China in 1962 that the Pakistan-China relationship really took off. If Beijing had by then identified Pakistan as a country through which it could contain India, home since 1959 to the “splittist” Dalai Lama, China’s tacit support for Pakistan in the 1965 war was a turning point — the beginning of their enduring defence and, some would say, nuclear, cooperation.

While there is much speculation about the Chinese role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, in 2016, China acknowledged assistance to Pakistan in building 6 nuclear reactors. Two of these, at Chashma, were declared at the time it joined the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group in 2004, and China was allowed to “grandfather” them as part of an agreement that predated its membership of the elite group; since then it has helped Pakistan build 2 more reactors at Chashma, and has declared assistance for another 2 at Karachi, despite protests at NSG.

China, which last year vetoed India’s membership to the NSG, did not oppose India’s civilian nuclear deal with the US, but has on occasion argued for the same kind of nuclear exceptionalism to Pakistan, which the US allowed for India.


Despite the money and military hardware the US pumped into Pakistan over the years, Pakistanis see China as a far more reliable ally. They see the US as using their country to achieve strategic goals in the region, and ditching it at will, constantly asking it to do “more”, and publicly humiliating Pakistan over its “terror factories”.

China, on the other hand, provides Pakistan the security of constant backing by a big power, while Islamabad acts as its unquestioning ally at a strategic crossroads of Asia. Indeed the idea of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — India’s primary objection to China’s staggeringly ambitious Belt and Road Initiative — did not come about overnight. The first bit of brickwork was perhaps laid by the Sino-Pak agreement of 1963, under which China ceded 1,942 sq km to Pakistan, and Pakistan recognised Chinese sovereignty over thousands of square kilometres in northern Kashmir and Ladakh. India contests the agreement, which includes land that is part of Jammu & Kashmir.

Possibly the first person to articulate the idea of a “trade and energy corridor” from Gwadar overland into China, was Musharraf. The Pakistan-China relationship, he was arguing, should be about more than simply providing an easy market for Chinese goods. At the time, China was sinking money in Gwadar port, but many dismissed much greater Chinese involvement in Pakistan’s economy (other than in defence production) as a pie in the sky because of Pakistan’s security situation. The CPEC, with its energy, finance, information technology and communications components, along with security and political dimensions, is an upgrade many times over of that basic idea of Pakistan offering its strategic location in exchange for investment.


Pakistan’s great moment in international diplomacy came when it facilitated Henry Kissinger’s secret ice-breaking visit to China in 1971, laying the ground for a visit by President Richard Nixon the following year. It went on to also act as the bridge between China and the Arab world, starting with Saudi Arabia.

But through the years, Pakistan has also learnt not to take China for granted. It suffered a stunning blow in 1971, months after it had helped the US and China find each other again, when contrary to expectations of both Pakistan and the US, and to the dismay of both, China kept out of the war that led to the birth of Bangladesh.

Though Nehru, seen in Beijing with Chairman Mao in 1954, enthusiastically embraced China, it was the relationship with Pakistan that the Chinese quickly came to value much more.

Pakistan also watched with worry as India and China re-established diplomatic relations in 1978 after a long hiatus. Through the 1980s and ’90s, as India-China relations improved through trade even as they talked on the boundary dispute, the Chinese leadership’s firm casting of Kashmir as a bilateral dispute was a bitter pill for Pakistan.

China has held on to this position, reiterating it time and again, including after its ambassador to Pakistan suggested last year that his country supports Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

China also refused to offer nuclear guarantees to Pakistan after India’s 1998 nuclear tests, which Beijing condemned in harsh language, and dismissed contemptuously India’s position that its nuclearisation was to counter the threat from China. When Pakistan tested its own devices, China expressed “deep regret”.

During the Kargil conflict, China refused to give Pakistan any overt lift.

Seeking to balance its growing relations with India, China signed a Treaty of Peace, Co-operation and Friendship with Pakistan in 2005 during the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao, which one former Pakistani ambassador to China described as “a legal framework that has converted an old friendship into marriage”.


Andrew Small, author of The China-Pakistan Axis, contends it was China that kindled Pakistan’s interest in the use of proxies against India, quoting from a meeting between Zhou Enlai and Ayub Khan, at which the Chinese Premier urged Pakistan to take up guerrilla warfare. He also cites China’s own use of proxies in the Northeast, and how Pakistan, when it still had the eastern wing, collaborated with the Chinese on building these up. China also supplied arms and ammunition to Pakistan and US-backed mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Where it comes to protecting its interests, Beijing has drawn a red line on Islamist irregulars such as the East Turkestan Independence Movement, which it has held responsible for terror attacks in Xinjiang. But as was evident from the Lal Masjid episode, it does not publicly denounce Pakistan for Uighur safe havens in north Waziristan or Afghanistan.

In the wave of international condemnation after the Mumbai attacks of 2008, China was unsympathetic to Pakistan, lifting its technical hold on the Security Council 1267 designation of Jamaat-ud-dawa and its chief, Hafiz Saeed. But it has refused to do this in the case of Jaish-e-Muhammad founder Masood Azhar.

In India, each Chinese rap on the knuckle for Pakistan, or each episode of Chinese protection for its client, tends to be viewed as representative of the whole of their relationship. In reality, the China-Pakistan relationship is greater than the sum of these parts, one that has endured nearly 7 decades of changes in the geopolitical and strategic interests of both countries.


In recent weeks, an advertisement for a famous Pakistani masala brand was viral on social media. It showed a Chinese couple in Karachi, the husband telling the depressed-looking wife that she should try and make friends in the neighbourhood. The wife then makes a biryani using the said masala, and takes it across to the neighbours’, where she is received like a long lost family member. The ad isn’t inaccurate in depicting Pakistanis as being emotional about their relationship with China.

Most countries in South Asia and beyond now view ties with China as a strategic necessity, but remain distrustful of the Asian superpower. In Sri Lanka and Myanmar, people are putting tough questions to their governments on deals that seem to benefit the Chinese more. Never so in Pakistan. Despite the obvious absence of cultural bonds, it is only in Pakistan that there is so much people love for China. When Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Islamabad in 2005, such was the “people’s” welcome that he was moved to add “sweeter than honey” to the usual frothy allusion to mountains and oceans. CPEC might well add another: a relationship stronger than steel.


Third maritime patrol ship inducted for security of CPEC


Karachi [Pakistan], May 23 : Pakistan has inducted PMSS Dasht as the third Chinese-built maritime patrol ship for the protection and security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

karachi [pakistan], May 23 : Pakistan has inducted PMSS Dasht as the third Chinese-built maritime patrol ship for the protection and security of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The other two ships are the PMSS Hingol and the PMSS Basol, reports the Dawn.

The induction ceremony was done in the presence of Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo.

Speaking on the occasion, Bizenjo said major challenges have been witnessed and experienced by Pakistan and with the inception of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the nation has become a centre of global attention.

The PMSS Dasht has been built for the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) and arrived in Karachi earlier this month.

Bizenjo was quoted, as saying, "The CPEC has the potential to change the regional canvas and the world. The importance of the project for Pakistan's strategic strength and economic prosperity needs no elaboration. Every effort is being made to secure the important trade lifeline both on land and at sea."

He added,"The government allocated over USD 150 million to enable the PMSA fleet to protect our maritime area and sea lines of communication. This will add a great deal to the security fibre not only for the CPEC but for all maritime zones of Pakistan."

He said that he had met a few Chinese engineers and technicians associated with the project and appreciated their valuable contribution and shows the strength of deep-rooted friendship between islamabad and beijing.

Meanwhile, two more ships are under construction at the Karachi shipyard.