Friday, June 2, 2017

CPEC: calling the shots

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1425075/cpec-calling-shots/



By Yasir Masood

Published: June 2, 2017

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The writer works as a literary editor at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad. He is a post-graduate in international relations from Kingston University, London. He can be reached at yasirmasoodkhan@gmail.com

Since 2013 when the idea of a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first conceived till date, naysayers have directed quite a bit of criticism at this mammoth set of landmark projects. By the time Beijing hosted the ‘Belt and Road Forum’ much of that criticism began to implode, leaving behind a trail of far-fetched fears.

Calling CPEC a ‘debt-trap’, the detractors continued to inject toxic trepidations into people’s minds. These adverse views — which are lapped up by our antagonistic neighbour — threaten to disrupt Pakistan’s economic leapfrog. In this piece I will endeavour to assess some of the broader contours of CPEC’s cost-benefit analysis without referring to the economic and financial jargon and make it understandable to the masses and cast off any misgivings about CPEC.

To begin with, the critics must admit, the internationally well-established economic truism, that an underdeveloped and middle-income country must attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to strengthen its ability of producing both exportable merchandise and import substitution products. This serves as the most significant economic tool for any developing economy, including Pakistan, to overcome the economic shortfalls and address the adverse situation of mounting deficit in its balance of payment schedule. Pakistan is on the deciding juncture to encourage and promote small and medium size entrepreneurship to flourish under the banner of CPEC. This economic boom will bolster work opportunities for all segments of human resource in Pakistan.

To counter the nefarious narratives of the critics against CPEC, let’s first understand that the inflow of the funds from China, now estimated to be $62 billion: (a) $36 billion as Chinese investment in power projects which will add up 7,000-11,000 MW to the national grid by 2018. This sum will have no direct financial implications on Pakistan’s external payment obligations and; (b) $26 billion in a Chinese government loan, dedicated to building infrastructure. Since the inflow of funds as loans and FDI has dissimilar financial implications; therefore, a separate evaluation is direly needed to compute some of the major benefits as under.

Pakistan’s economy has severely suffered because of the energy crisis over the last decade or so. A much-needed uptick in power generation under CPEC will help revitalise the worst-affected industrial sectors. And particularly the cotton textile production and apparel manufacturing, which are the country’s largest industries, accounting for about 66 per cent of the merchandise exports and almost 40 per cent of the employed labour force. It will also help rejuvenate the remotely located cottage industry, small size manufacturing, agriculture and mining industry businesses to become commercially viable and contribute its due share of the GDP, on the one hand, and create more job opportunities in the far-flung areas on the other.

It is a misgiving that the Chinese power companies would be availing higher tariff rates. The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has not mentioned any such concessions or exemptions and has to act according to its jurisdiction to maintain uniformity. Similarly, other regulatory bodies will also look after the environmental hazards, avert abuse of dominant positions, ensure recovery of other levies, implementation of labour laws, and above all, the vibrant and robust courts can swiftly act to protect the constitutional rights of the general public as per laws of the land.

The second part, which will be an interest-bearing loan, that constitutes about 40 per cent of the total $62 billion chunk under the CPEC framework will not overburden Pakistan’s ballooning current and future foreign payment liabilities, as dreaded by some critics unfamiliar with repayment dynamics. Pakistan has been borrowing from the IMF at an interest rate ranging from 5 to 10 per cent just to avert the default on external payments in time. Whereas CPEC loan will be carrying an aggregate interest rate of not more than 1.9 per cent per annum and even below, repayable in a period stretched over 25-30 years and even more.

Reimbursement of the loan with markup, which is estimated to be around $1.5 billion per annum, will start in 2019 and after gradual increase would remain within the range of $4.5 to $5 billion even in the peak years. This additional burden on account of CPEC’s loan would be quite nominal when compared with its eventual upshots — briefly calculated below.

Pakistan’s existing transportation network is quite dilapidated and causing a huge loss of around 3.5 per cent of the country’s annual GDP as estimated by the government. According to the IMF, Pakistan’s total GDP in 2016 was around $285.153 billion of which 3.5 per cent amounts to $9.98 billion. Improvement in the transportation network under CPEC will considerably cut down such losses, thereby reducing Pakistan’s oil import bill and related transport equipment. Similarly, Pakistan’s national exchequer will be earning around $6 to $8 billion a year under toll tax revenue, etc.

Put together, the above two explained sources of income and savings alone will be substantially higher, when matched with the disbursement of loan and debt service liability to China and that too insignificantly spread over a period of 25-30 years and even more.

Furthermore, under the CPEC portfolio, a tourism corridor stretching across 190 kilometres would be constructed in Azad Kashmir — a valley with mesmerising scenic beauty. The CPEC long route — passing through a magnificent landscape in the south and some of the world’s most scintillating peaks in the north — will be a great source of tourism. Travel tourism of Pakistan was estimated to the tune of $18.471 billion in 2015, which is likely to swell to $32.702 billion (7.0 per cent of the GDP) and even much more in a few years.

On May 13, China and Pakistan signed a MoU to fund and develop Pakistan’s Indus River Cascade which has a potential of producing 40,000MW of power. For CPEC’s naysayers, this is yet another rebuttal of their fallacious arguments.

Pakistan is on the cusp of changing its fortunes through the bounties of CPEC and opposing such a colossal economic turnaround on any grounds would be just plain silly.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2017

#Reviewing War by Other Means

https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2016/8/17/reviewing-war-by-other-means


Spencer Bakich 

 August 17, 2016

War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harris. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.

There isn’t much grand about America’s post-Cold War grand strategy. Such is the consensus among the academic scholars, think-tankers, pundits, and many former national security officials who have chastised U.S. foreign policymakers for lacking strategic sophistication, or worse, failing to craft a coherent grand strategy at all.[1] For the last twenty five years, these critics claim, Washington has sought the wrong goals, under-resourced its efforts, and failed to anticipate the likely second-order effects of its policies.[2] In the main, these critical assessments have understandably focused on the military-security dimension of grand strategy. America’s national security policies since the mid-1990s cost much blood and treasure, degraded regional security environments, and inspired hostile reactions by other powers.[3]

TO SECURE ITS NATIONAL INTEREST IN THE YEARS TO COME, WASHINGTON MUST RELEARN HOW TO EMPLOY ECONOMIC RESOURCES IN THE SERVICE OF ITS GEOPOLITICAL OBJECTIVES.

In their well-crafted and important new book, War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft, Robert Blackwill and Jennifer Harris join this discussion orthogonally, arguing that the United States has altogether abandoned the economic dimension of grand strategy. Since the mid-1960s, Washington has been gripped by a debilitating neoliberal (or, neoclassical economic) dogma that works as an ideological firewall separating the operation of markets from the pursuit of international political objectives. As a result, America’s substantial and diversified economic resources have been woefully underutilized as tools of grand strategy. At the same time, the United States’ most formidable challengers (China, Russia, and Iran) are all effective practitioners of economic statecraft. To secure its national interest in the years to come, Washington must relearn how to employ economic resources in the service of its geopolitical objectives. To do otherwise would cede the contest to states whose interests and actions will continue to undermine American security and prosperity.     

War by Other Means is structured around three main themes. In the first three chapters, Blackwill and Harris examine economic statecraft generally, defining “geoeconomics” as “the use of economic instruments to promote and defend national interests and to produce beneficial geopolitical results; and the effects of other nations’ economic actions on a country’s geopolitical goals.”[4]  The authors argue that rising powers now turn first to economic statecraft because it effectively buttresses their geopolitical objectives while mitigating the risk of armed conflict.  Unlike past eras, state-capitalist challengers to the prevailing liberal order have many more economic instruments at the ready. Due to the expansion of global markets and their structural transformations over time, economic factors now impinge substantially on states’ geopolitical choices. By way of example, the authors note that “the fate of the European Union—perhaps the West’s greatest foreign policy achievement of the twentieth century and the closest U.S. foreign policy partner—for several years rested at least as much in the hands of bond markets as in European political capitals.”[5]  In sum, the current international system entails new economic and financial challenges and opportunities, offering states many powerful geoeconomic assets to employ against targets large and small.

...RISING POWERS NOW TURN FIRST TO ECONOMIC STATECRAFT BECAUSE IT EFFECTIVELY BUTTRESSES THEIR GEOPOLITICAL OBJECTIVES WHILE MITIGATING THE RISK OF ARMED CONFLICT.

Among the most insightful sections in these early chapters is Blackwill and Harris’s in-depth examination of the geoeconomic instruments available to states, including: trade policy, investment policy, economic sanctions, cyber, foreign aid, monetary policy, and energy and commodity policies. Not content merely to catalog these policy tools, the authors offer a valuable discussion of the interrelations among them—noting where synergies can be found and where tensions may lie. Most important is the authors’ argument pertaining to the sources of geoeconomic effectiveness. Blackwill and Harris maintain that effectiveness is in part a function of four “geoeconomic endowments”: the ability to control outbound investments, the particular features of domestic markets, the influence over commodity and energy flows, and the centrality of the state in the global financial system. Beyond these structural attributes are the contextual features that must factor into a state’s decision making process: the number and types of geoeconomic targets, the goals sought, and the selection of the proper economic tools that can deliver those goals.

China’s geoeconomic approach to statecraft is the second general theme taken up by Blackwill and Harris. The PRC has demonstrated remarkable capacities to employ explicit and implicit economic coercion to orient weaker states’ foreign policies in ways that support Beijing’s geopolitical objectives, to hedge against the actions of other regional competitors (namely, India and Russia), and to mount a challenge to American preeminence in the global economy. Blackwill and Harris maintain that China’s approach is a soft strategy of economic domination through its investment, natural resource extraction, development, and monetary policies. Not only does this approach pose a direct challenge to the U.S., but the indirect economic and security threats are substantial. China has “… locked up significant quantities of global energy resources, grown the coffers of dictators unfriendly to the United States; lent new momentum to domestic proponents of China’s own military buildup, and arguably have increased the odds of resource-based conflict.”[6] All of this while staying out of other states’ wars.

...THE AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY ESTABLISHMENT HAS LONG SINCE FORGOTTEN THAT THE U.S. WAS ONCE AN AVID AND SUCCESSFUL PRACTITIONER OF GEOECONOMICS.

Compounding these challenges to the U.S. are self-imposed constraints on America’s practice of geoeconomics, the subject of the book’s third theme. Despite their overall dissatisfaction with American geoeconomic performance, Blackwill and Harris’s account of America’s dismal track record can be read as cautiously optimistic. The U.S. is, after all, the largest of the world’s economies, centrally positioned in global markets, and of monumental importance, the beneficiary of technological and geological endowments that are spurring a revolution in its energy portfolio (their chapter “The Geoeconomics of North America’s Energy Revolution” is alone worth the book’s sticker price). Moreover, the United States has a rich history of successfully practicing geoeconomics. The purpose of the Marshall Plan, for example, was quintessentially geoeconomic. As George Kennan argued in 1947, American aid to the war-ravaged states in Western Europe should attempt to redress “the economic maladjustment which makes European Society vulnerable to exploitation by any and all totalitarian movements and which Russian communism is now exploiting.”[7] Despite this and many other examples from its past, Blackwill and Harris maintain that the American foreign policy establishment has long since forgotten that the U.S. was once an avid and successful practitioner of geoeconomics.  

Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harris discussWar by Other Means (Council on Foreign Relations)

The authors point to two causes of this strategic amnesia: the presumption that military-security affairs constitutes the most important component of grand strategy, and the “…widely held world view that markets are somehow apolitical, to be kept free from geopolitical encroachments, and in any case not a proper arena for state power politics.”[8] These assumptions, Blackwill and Harris argue, were not held for most of America’s history (becoming prominent only at the time of the Vietnam War), are rejected by the states that are posing the most salient challenges to America’s position in the world, and undermine the United States’ ability to forge an effective grand strategy in response. To properly rebalance its grand strategy, the U.S. must redress a number of challenges: a bipartisan deficit in presidential leadership, the reflexive overuse of economic sanctions, and the transfer of bureaucratic authority of geoeconomic policymaking out of the State Department. Most importantly, the U.S. must cultivate the intellectual capacities within the foreign policy establishment necessary to reincorporate economics into grand strategy.

War by Other Means is a well-reasoned and important book that offers useful alternatives to stale nostrums that have long dominated American statecraft. Notwithstanding its strengths, the book’s analysis suffers at times by not engaging fully with the literature it challenges. For example, Blackwill and Harris contend that the economic dimension of statecraft has been largely buried by an overriding focus on military-security considerations since the 1960s. This view is not universally shared, however. According to both Christopher Layne and Andrew Bacevich, American foreign policy has long sought to keep “economic open doors” ajar, a policy objective requiring the conjoined use of military and economic resources to make states and regions amenable to American economic and geopolitical influence.[9] Economic open door logic was evident in America’s Cold War grand strategies and was later manifest in Washington’s response to the crises in the Balkans in the 1990s. Further, as Richard Haass points out, “The U.S. interest in the [Middle East] region’s oil is strategic, one of ensuring American and world access to adequate supplies, not tied in any way to gaining financial advantage.”[10] This strategic imperative informed the first Bush administration’s decision to wage war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. In sum, economic instruments and objectives are seen, in this line of reasoning, as mainstays of U.S. statecraft, working hand in glove with military power.  

Further, Blackwill and Harris lament the removal of American economic instruments from its grand strategic toolbox. Not only has this contributed to the winnowing of the range of responses the U.S. can make in response to geopolitical challenges, but the widespread belief that economic logic is fundamentally apolitical has done real strategic damage. The authors are on solid ground in diagnosing the current problems confronting the U.S. Still, a case can be made that by giving markets a freer hand (liberal trade and financial policies), the American economy benefitted both absolutely and relatively vis-à-vis the Soviet Union in Cold War’s final years. In particular, liberal economic policies championed by the U.S. fostered globalized inter- and intra-firm alliances that enhanced the efficiency of supply chains, allowed for greater access to capital, distributed risk, and fostered innovation. The results were profound: a decrepit and uncompetitive Soviet economy forced the Kremlin into retrenchment and strategic reorientation toward the West. As Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth pithily note, “globalization was not global: it took sides in the Cold War.”[11] Geoeconomics, as Blackwill and Harris understand it, was not explicitly practiced in this case.  But in light of the international economic determinants of Soviet behavior in the late 1980s, it is difficult to argue that a wiser approach was on offer.  

However one may quibble with its historical analysis, War by Other Means is fundamentally a book about present challenges and future responses. According to the authors, American policymakers must come to terms with a stark reality, that the “rules-based system… is delivering less and less in the way of strategic returns as rising powers (often through geoeconomic attempts of their own) undercut it.”[12] Furthermore, the present order does little to enhance U.S. strategic interests because it is flimsy and disproportionately advantages a growing China.

G. John Ikenberry on illiberal alternatives to the present order: "...on a global scale, such a system would not advance the interests of any of the major states, including China."

Yet to effectively make the case that an explicit and assertive brand of geoeconomic statecraft is necessary because the American-led liberal order is failing to deliver, that global architecture needed to be thoroughly analyzed and shown to be wanting. Specifically, Blackwill and Harris needed to tackle the arguments which understand the liberal international order to be both durable and powerful in its socializing effects on rising challengers. According to this view, the order fashioned by the United States and its allies in the aftermath of World War II is loosely rules-based, nondiscriminatory, and densely institutionalized. Within this order, rising powers can gain substantially—but in ways that powerfully shape their interests and limit their revisionist tendencies. In other words, because it has grown within the order, China can neither abandon it without substantial penalty nor induce others join an alternative Sino-centric order. As G. John Ikenberry notes, there is no illiberal alternative to the present order, “…on a global scale, such a system would not advance the interests of any of the major states, including China.”[13] While the terms of ownership of the order may need renegotiation, the underlying logic is stable and mutually beneficial.[14]  

Furthermore, the existence of the liberal order adds to China’s current strategic dilemmas.  As Edward Luttwak posited, the PRC’s simultaneous pursuit of economic growth, military expansion, and international political influence, will ultimately be met with a forceful geoeconomic reaction.[15] Should Beijing’s case of “great state autism” not be mitigated over time, other states will find intolerable Beijing’s selectively coercive and discriminatory brand of economic statecraft, and the existing liberal order more attractive. The upshot is that China’s economic statecraft may prove successful, but only for a time. Far better for the U.S. to demonstrate to China’s geoeconomic targets that the prevailing order offers them more benefits and less costs over the long term. The point is not to say that Blackwill and Harris are wrong in their descriptions of how China is using geoeconomics to challenge the U.S. Rather, that there are good reasons to believe that China is hemmed in by broad normative, institutional, and strategic features. In short, a more thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the prevailing liberal order would have benefited the authors’ arguments in a number of ways.

War by Other Means is a significant contribution to the literature on economic statecraft and grand strategy. Blackwill and Harris provide a great service by inviting their readers to look at America’s past, present, and future through the lens of geoeconomics.

Spencer Bakich is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Virginia Military Institute and the author of Success and Failure in Limited War: Information and Strategy in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars.

Australian Parliament : China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook45p/ChinasRoad


Geoff Wade, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security

Key Issue
The ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative is a Chinese economic and strategic agenda by which the two ends of Eurasia, as well as Africa and Oceania, are being more closely tied along two routes–one overland and one maritime. Supporters suggest that the initiative permits new infrastructure and economic aid to be provided to needy economies.  Critics claim that it facilitates Chinese economic and strategic domination of the countries along these routes. OBOR provides a global context for China’s growing economic links with Australia.

The ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative is a foreign policy and economic strategy of the People’s Republic of China. The term derives from the overland ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the ‘21st-Century Maritime Silk Road’, concepts introduced by PRC President Xi Jinping in 2013. These are the two major axes along which China proposes to economically link Europe to China through countries across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean. The OBOR initiative also links to Africa and Oceania. In March 2015, the PRC issued an action plan for realising this initiative. While the OBOR initiative is being coordinated by China’s National Development and Reform Commission, it also heavily involves the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce.

The initiative envisages the building of six major economic cooperation corridors and several key maritime pivot points across Eurasia:

On land, the plan is to build a new Eurasian land bridge and develop the economic corridors of: China-Mongolia-Russia; China-Central Asia-West Asia; the China-Indochina peninsula; China-Pakistan; and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar ... On the seas, the initiative will focus on jointly building smooth, secure and efficient transport routes connecting major sea ports along the belt and road.


Formally, OBOR emphasises five key areas of cooperation:

coordinating development policiesforging infrastructure and facilities networksstrengthening investment and trade relationsenhancing financial cooperation anddeepening social and cultural exchanges.

But it is infrastructure such as railways, roads, ports, energy systems and telecommunications networks which is receiving most attention.

The overland ‘Belt’ involves the creation of an economic and trade corridor extending from China’s west through Central Asia, and finally to Europe. The first step is to further link Central Asian states to the Chinese economy, while the longer-distance initiatives include railway connections between China and Europe. The ‘Belt’ initiative calls for the integration of the Eurasian land mass into a cohesive economic area.

For the maritime ‘Road’, China’s development of ports and hubs across the Indo-Pacific is a key aspect of the initiative. Purchase and construction of port facilities and associated economic zones in AustraliaMalaysia,IndonesiaBangladeshSri LankaMyanmar, PakistanKenyaTanzaniaOman and Djiboutiare intended to provide China with maritime access and economic benefit across the Indian Ocean. These will connect to Piraeus, Greece’s major port, which has been bought by Chinese shipping group COSCO and which will allow direct access to the markets of Europe.

Foremost among the key projects which have been promoted as focal parts of the OBOR initiative are the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which provides China’s western provinces with access to the Indian Ocean through the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and the Bangladesh China India Myanmar Corridor, which will give Yunnan Province access to the Bay of Bengal.

Funding for the initiative is a key issue. China’s policy banks are providing massive funds for Chinese enterprises to operate along these axes, while further funding will be provided through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), funded by countries globally. The AIIB was created precisely to service projects under OBOR. The projects funded by the first loans issued by AIIB were in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Tajikistan, all countries which China is trying to include within its OBOR initiative.

Hong Kong is also being tapped. In his policy address in January 2016, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, CY Leung, underlined that Hong Kong would play an active financial role in OBOR and would facilitate educational exchanges between Hong Kong and ‘OBOR countries’. A ‘Hong Kong Belt and Road Summit’ was also convened in May 2016 to allow Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, to outline ‘Hong Kong's Four Unique Advantages’ as a hub for OBOR projects. Then in July 2016, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority launched the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, a new entity to facilitate fundraising for projects related to the OBOR initiative. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council has also arranged visits to Thailand for Chinese investors to promote OBOR investment.

Singapore is also essential to promoting offshore economic activities by Chinese entities. The China Construction Bank signed an MOU with International Enterprise Singapore in April 2016, providing S$30 billion in financial support to Singaporean and Chinese companies jointly investing in OBOR projects. A new centre in Singapore to provide project financing and related services to projects is also being planned.

While China claims that OBOR will ‘include 65 countries, 4.4 billion people and about 40 percent of global GDP’, the current realities are much more pedestrian. China has reportedly established 75 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in 35 countries as part of the OBOR initiative. OBOR, however, remains inchoate and still strives for external endorsement and support.

China’s other OBOR interests

It is clear that China has broader uses for the increased influence it hopes to enjoy through the OBOR initiative.

The Bank of China has clearly noted that OBOR is intended to make the Renminbi the main trading and investment currency in the countries involved. The expansion of Chinese banks into new OBOR markets to serve the globalisation of the Chinese economy is also being promoted. OBOR is further intended to facilitate online retailing and the collection and use of big data across OBOR countries. China has also been stressing the role of Overseas Chinese in promoting OBOR projects.

The expansion of China-controlled telecommunications networks is an important aspect of OBOR. CITIC Telecom CPC recently acquired Linx Telecommunications, which services Russia, Kazakhstan and the ‘Stan’ region, the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe. This will provide China with telecommunications services across much of its targeted ‘Belt’ region. Visits by journalists from OBOR countries to China, and publishing arrangements with newspapers abroad are intended to promote China’s views over a broader sphere.

Mining and energy projects are also central to this endeavour, with China widely purchasing mines as well as generation and transmission projects across OBOR states. Chinese companies now own almost a quarter of Kazakhstan’s oil production, while over $15 billion of oil, gas and uranium deals have recently been signed with Uzbekistan.

And in this year’s white paper on its satellite navigation and location service, China says that it plans to launch another 30 Beidou satellite navigation system satellites over the next five years, with the first 18 satellites being launched before 2018 to cover OBOR countries.

Reactions

Reactions to the OBOR proposal have varied globally. Ethnic Chinese business figures in Southeast Asia and their political representatives have generally been enthusiastic about the business possibilities. Malaysia has been active in accepting and promoting the idea, with a 162-member Malaysian delegation heading to Beijing in July 2015 to participate in an OBOR dialogue.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have also been particularly welcoming of Chinese capital and infrastructure projects, as have the various Central Asian states. Vietnam, meanwhile, has expressed grave doubts about the initiative. With few exceptions, India has been stridently suspicious of the overall OBOR initiative and has repeatedly expressed its concerns about China’s growing economic and strategic power being pursued through OBOR. Russia needs funding assistance for developing its resources and appears to see OBOR as an avenue for this.

Western reactions have been mixed. Business people are generally positive, while strategists have been less sanguine. In Europe, China has talked up OBOR’s possible integration with the EU’s 315 billion investment plan (the Juncker plan). China is simultaneously pushing for an EU-China FTA that would make it easier for PRC companies to invest in European markets. Central and Eastern Europe are a major focus for OBOR programs, with the Czech Republic, Serbia and Poland receiving major financial inputs.

Australia and OBOR

Within Australia, enterprisesbanks and law firms are promoting the OBOR initiative as an economic opportunity for the country and, with Chinese endorsement, an Australia-China OBOR Initiative has been established to promote Chinese engagement in the Australian economy. China is also utilising the concept to promote its growing economic engagement with northern Australia. Another avenue for encouraging Australia’s further engagement with OBOR is China’s funding and support of various related local academic conferences and seminars.

Criticisms

Not all reactions to OBOR have been enthusiastic. Former World Trade Organization chief, Supachai Panitchpakdi, has stated that the OBOR initiative and, specifically, its projects along the Mekong River, all serve China’s own interests.

On the economic front, China has been criticised for using its massive financial assets to dominate smaller economies through long-term control of infrastructurenatural resources and associated land assets, and through offering less than desirable credit terms for infrastructure loans. Further, the ‘production capacity cooperation’ which China lauds as an integral aspect of OBOR, often involves the simple transfer of Chinese-owned production capacity to countries where production is cheaper and markets are closer. Such processes can also result in China exerting some control over local markets, labour and export policies.

Despite the claimed economic nature of the OBOR agenda, critics see the initiative as being simultaneously a strategic program. China clearly portrays OBOR as both being premised on and further validating China’s claims to the islands of the South China Sea, while on the other side of the Indian Ocean, Djibouti is providing China with both a trade port as well as its first overseas military base. It has been repeatedly noted in China that OBOR is also intended as a regional security mechanism, and the future role of the People’s Liberation Army in protecting China’s OBOR facilities abroad has been widely discussed. The two ‘economic corridors’ now being developed provide China with direct access to the Indian Ocean. 

Broader concerns relate to the longer-term aims of China, with the possibility that the OBOR agenda is aimed at creating a Eurasia-wide, China-led bloc to counter the US. At the June 2016 Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, Professor Xiang Lanxin, director of the Centre of One Belt and One Road Studies at the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, spoke of OBOR as being an avenue to a ‘post-Westphalian world’. As such, some see this initiative as a profound challenge to the current global political and economic status quo.  

Conclusion

China’s wielding of this economic statecraft strategy derives from several collocations. On the political front, since late 2012, President Xi has been promoting the ‘Chinese dream’   (中国梦), involving the ‘great revival of the Chinese nation’. Such revival requires a restored global position and identity for China. Earlier iterations of OBOR involved the catch-phrases ‘common development’ and ‘win-win cooperation’ to characterise the relations between China’s development and that of its neighbours. China also promoted a ‘China-ASEAN community of shared destiny’ (中国-东盟命运共同体). But these smaller initiatives have burgeoned into the Eurasia-wide OBOR, bringing into play the PRC’s massive capital reserves—both state and private—achieved through 40 years of rapid economic growth, and offering an outlet for the vast excess production capacities which exist today in China.

Regardless of the credence which one assigns to the various interpretations of the OBOR initiative, progress thus far makes it clear that as Australia becomes increasingly tied economically with China, there is a need to maintain a close watch on the progress of the OBOR initiative globally. It also suggests that Australia needs to adopt a more economically and strategically prudent attitude in determining how the Australia-China economic relationship is to further develop.

Further reading

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Prospects and challenges on China’s ‘one belt, one road’: a risk assessment report, EIU, London, 2015.

WT Wilson, ‘China’s huge ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is sweeping Central Asia’, The National Enquirer, 27 July 2016.

RD Blackwill and JM Harris, China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative Belknap/Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.), 2016

Have you read about #Hambantota port of Sri Lanka?

Have you read about #Hambantota port of Sri Lanka?

China sold Sri Lanka a plan to develop Hambantota Port during tenure of previous regime of Sri Lanka. China gave them a big loan (did not spend their own money) to Sri Lanka for developing Hambantota. With all their clout in Colombo, Chinese ensured that all the contracts of construction of Hambantota  were secured by Chinese companies only. In a way, most of the money came back to China. Now the Hambantota is ready but not able to gather any revenue because it never could have....but Sri Lankans have a big debt which they cannot repay. Now the real game begins. Chinese are  negotiating with Sri Lankans that they lease the port to them for forgoing the loan. What will happen now? Chinese will get Hambantota port and 2000 acres of land around it, and they will turn it in to military base. Hambantota is a good site for a military base but not for a maritime port. China gave a loan to Sri Lanka, which Sri Lanka gave to Chinese companies to build a port which will be used as a naval base by China. And China will get Hambantota port plus 2000 acres of land around it for free for 99+99 years. Sri Lanka lost their sovereign land for nothing. This has been called Debt Trap Diplomacy by foreign policy experts.

I recommend you all read the CPEC Long Term Plan (LTP) document on Dawn's Exclusive on CPEC, and then every Pakistani should ask themselves the following:

1) Why was port of #Gwadar leased out to the Chinese for 43 years for free? If not, how much money did China pay for lease of Gwadar?

2) How much tariff shall China pay for containers passing every year through Pakistan? Or has a lump some amount been decided?

3) Why is Pakistani taxpayer paying more than $11 billion for construction of highways under CPEC scheme when China is going to be a primary beneficiary of those highways? Why cannot China pay at least half of that amount? And why is China charging interest rate that is higher than market rate? Why didn't China give an interest free loan?

4) Why shall China be acquiring large pieces of agricultural land in Pakistan to set up the so called demonstration parks in Pakistan, as mentioned in Dawn's exclusive on CPEC? Won't that acquisition give tough competition to small farmers and eventually make Pakistani farmers landless labourers in Chinese farms on Pakistani farmlands.

5) Coal power projects would produce electricity at a very expensive price. And all the projects are guaranteed by Government of Pakistan. Any loss or inability to buy expensive coal based power shall be of Pakistani taxpayers'. Why is that so?

The CRUX is that Pakistan hasn't negotiated #CPEC in its favour. Slowly, Chinese will be running all the enterprises in Pakistan and they will have an extraordinary clout in determining the policy of various governments in Pakistan.

Earlier, it was America and now it shall be China in future. You guys have changed the client state, not the habit of having a client state.

Some Memorable pictures of Dr.Allah Nazar

CPEC & OBOR: Portents of progress

http://pakobserver.net/cpec-obor-portents-progress/



Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

 

THE announcement of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) vision accentuated Pakistan’s pivotal position in Eurasian economic connectivity. Consequently, Pakistan has become an attractive country for the foreign direct investment since 2015. The accomplishment of a few early harvest projects of CPEC not only manifests both Islamabad and Beijing resolve to materialize all the projects within deputed years, but also signifies Pakistan’s prominence in the OBOR initiative. The Gwadar port, today, is viewed as an emerging economic hub of Asia.

Ironically, a few analysts deliberately or inadvertently have been articulating concocted stories against the expectant benefits of the OBOR project. The negative propaganda against OBOR directly undermines CPEC project. Admittedly, objective debate on both CPEC and OBOR is indispensable for revamping the policies for the economic prosperity of Pakistan. For instance, the demand for the transparency of the projects is a practical approach. Notably, both the Government of Pakistan and the Chinese diplomats have been explaining the nature, cost and outcome of the CPEC projects.

Conversely, the subjective or prejudice judgments on the OBOR and CPEC projects are not in the national interest of Pakistan. Without investigating or examining the details of the projects expressing opinion is a destructive approach. Hence, it’s imperative to generate explanatory discourse to reveal the reprehensible agenda of the forces, which always desire to keep Pakistan economically underdeveloped and instable country. The informative discourse definitely increases the people of Pakistan’s confidence in the CPEC projects.

Since 2013, the Chinese have been striving to set up an intercontinental infrastructure network between Europe, Africa and Asia. It is because, without the regional connectivity the sustainable economic growth is a mere wishful thinking in the 21st century. The primary objective of OBOR is to bring Asian countries closer and establish new accesses with Europeans and Africans countries. On May 15, 2017, China’s President Xi Jinping while highlighting the aim of OBOR stated: “We need to seek win-win results through greater openness and cooperation, avoid fragmentation, refrain from setting inhibitive thresholds for cooperation or pursuing exclusive arrangements and reject protectionism.” Chinese ruling elite seems convinced that through sustainable multinational economic projects, China would economically advance. Precisely, it marked that Chinese believe in collective progress.

The international community is equally cognizant about the potential of OBOR, i.e. to establish connection among the 65 countries across three continents with China, which would influence the lives of 4.4 billion people with a total gross domestic product of US$2 trillion once the vision is realized. Indeed, it would boost the global trade. Therefore, 29 heads of state and government, besides delegates from around 130 countries participated in the Belt and Road summit held in Beijing on May 14-15, 2017.

The CPEC is a flagship project of the OBOR initiative. Therefore, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, senior Federal Ministers and four Chief Ministers of the provinces participated in the recent Road and Belt Summit in Beijing. Prime Minister Sharif categorically stated: “Let me make it very clear that CPEC is an economic undertaking open to all countries in the region. It has no geographical boundaries.  It must not be politicized.” During the Summit, Pakistani participants underlined their country’s ability and capability to facilitate the Central, West and South Asian nations to benefit from OBOR through CPEC. On May 15, 2015, Premier Sharif stated: “take this historically unique opportunity to build a peaceful, progressive, inclusive and sustainable world.” He once again said the government of Pakistan ensured the international community that CPEC is not against any country.

Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly opposed CPEC, yet Pakistani and Chinese leadership is determined to engage the South Asian states including India for the prosperity of entire region. The economic connectivity, certainly, assists in replacing the enmity with amity between the belligerent neighbours.

The sovereign development is perquisite for sovereign defence of the country. Since 2015, Pakistan has been endeavouring to improve its economic situation with the cooperation of China. Indeed, economic prosperity is not acceptable to Pakistan’s adversaries. They have been hatching conspiracies to malign the CPEC project by spreading fictitious analysis. Hence, the people of Pakistan ought to act as the vigilant custodian of the CPEC for the sake of a sovereign defence of the motherland

Belt and Road remains open to India despite absence at recent forum

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1049599.shtml


By Liu Zongyi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/1 19:43:39

4

The two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in mid-May held in Beijing attracted more than 130 countries. Even the US and Japan sent high-level delegations to participate in China's biggest diplomatic event of the year. India was the only country among those along the Belt and Road that skipped the meeting on this signature project. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decline to make appearance despite the invitation of the Chinese government has set off a storm of public clamor. 

As a sovereign state, India has complete freedom to choose whether to attend the forum or not. India's Ministry of External Affairs released a statement on May 13 elaborating the reasons for India's absence, which was found farfetched by many Chinese observers. 

India's presence would not have exerted any influence on the success of the forum, but some Chinese observers worry that its suspicion over the Belt and Road initiative would worsen China-India relations. 

One week after the forum in Beijing, India held the 52th Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank Group in its western state of Gujarat. 

At the meeting, Modi pitched an "Asia-Africa growth corridor," in actuality a duplication of the "freedom corridor" designed by his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during his Japan visit last November. In the eyes of Indian media outlets this Asia-Africa connectivity initiative is a counter to China's Belt and Road. 

Moreover, the Indian press has also given much coverage to the US plan to restart the New Silk Road and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor initiatives, both of which they claim will rival Beijing's Belt and Road and New Delhi will play an important role in. 

Indian government functionaries and media outlets have been displaying desperate strategic anxiety as they take all international cooperation aimed at interconnectivity as a countermeasure to the Belt and Road, when even Washington and Tokyo dispatched delegations at the 11th hour to  Beijing. 

Rolled out by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton in 2011, the New Silk Road initiative focuses on Afghanistan as a main hub and was designed to link Central Asia and South Asia through trade and energy cooperation in an effort to find a solution to the intractable Afghanistan issue. 

The Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor plan was proposed in 2014, similar to the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation initiative by India in 2001. Beijing does not repel these designs and, if there is any possibility, hopes to integrate them with the Belt and Road. 

In addition, neither the so-called "freedom corridor" nor the "Asia-Africa growth corridor" collides with the Belt and Road. Over the past three years, the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative has largely promoted connectivity in South Asia, the Indian Ocean and the African continent and ramped up their economic growth. 

The connectivity projects by New Delhi and Japan, though raised either to compete with or contain China's sphere of influence, have objectively facilitated trade cooperation, which is exactly China's original intention. 

India's soft power through wide economic collaboration and people-to-people exchanges with African nations is worthwhile for China to learn from.  

New Delhi was among the proponents of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. The third joint study group meeting on the corridor was concluded in Kolkata last month, which despite a failure to make substantial progress demonstrated India's expectation for more interconnection in its northeastern region and with Southeast Asia through a land bridge over Bangladesh. China is pleased to see this progress. 

In actuality, Beijing and New Delhi have a slew of cooperation projects already in store. China's investment has contributed significantly to India's infrastructure and socio-economic development; private and local cooperation between the two sides have seen dramatic progress. On the other hand, it is difficult to push forward a number of shovel-ready projects due to the Indian government's political concerns. 

The Belt and Road initiative remains open to India. As Chinese President Xi Jinping noted as the Belt and Road forum came to a close, "the Belt and Road initiative is not set by ideology. We won't set a political agenda. It's not exclusive." Therefore, as long as the leaders of other countries do not impose self-reclusiveness or take suggestions from ignorant advisors in order to win elections by inciting nationalism and populism to create estrangement, the Belt and Road project will, as always, be welcoming with open arms to them. 

The author is a senior fellow of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies and a visiting fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion

INTERVIEW-Pakistan to open up mineral-rich Baluchistan to China "Silk Road" firms

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-interview-pakistan-to-open-up-mineral-rich-baluchistan-to-china-silk-road-firms-2459491


Fri, 2 Jun 2017-05:18pm , Reuters

Pakistan's resource-rich Baluchistan province wants Chinese companies to kick-start a boom in its mining industry by including the sector into Beijing's "Belt and Road" initiative, a senior provincial mining official said.

Beijing has pledged $57 billion for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship "Belt and Road" project that first focused on Chinese firms building roads and power stations but is now expanding to include setting up industries.

Mineral extraction is a deeply contentious issue in Baluchistan, where many indigenous people are angry that the province remains Pakistan's poorest despite its vast mineral wealth.

Much of the province's population is suspicious of both foreign companies and the central government in Islamabad, while separatist groups cite exploitation of mineral wealth by outsiders as one of their main reasons for waging war.

Baluchistan has a significant natural gas industry but large-scale mining has failed to take off.

Foreign firms have been put off by security fears and a high-profile litigation case with Canada's Barrick Gold and Chile's Antofagasta over Reko Diq, one of the world's biggest undeveloped gold and copper mines, in the province.

Saleh Muhammad Baloch, the province's top mining official, said the plan is for Chinese companies chosen by Beijing to team up with local firms to mine marble, chromite, limestone, coal and other minerals, and set up steel mills and other plants.

"They will come as partners and technically support us," Baloch, who is the province's secretary for mines, told Reuters in the provincial capital of Quetta this week.

Baloch said the province wanted the projects to be set up close to the source of raw materials and near the new CPEC roads that will connect western China with Pakistan's Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, in Baluchistan.

A profit-sharing formula will also be negotiated.

Baloch said the finer details of the province's proposals were being worked out in Islamabad, where officials are finalising plans for special economic zones and greater integration of Chinese companies into Pakistan's economy.

He cited the Saindak copper and gold mine, operated by a subsidiary of state-run China Metallurgical Group Corporation, as an example to follow. The mine has been given export privileges and enjoys big tax breaks.

However, extraction of precious metals, such as copper and gold, will not fall under the CPEC remit.

"As far as precious metals are concerned, we will go for competitive bidding internationally," Baloch said.

Baluchistan is seeking formal expressions of interest by international companies for an exploration block in the Tethyan belt, which boasts big copper and gold deposits.

The H4 block has estimated deposits of 148 million tonnes.

"Chinese, Australian, Turkish (companies)...are all interested," Saleh said.

The H4 block is nearby the much richer Tethyan belt blocks mired in a legal dispute in international courts between Pakistan and Tethyan Copper Company, which is owned by Barrick Gold and Antofagasta.

Barrick Gold estimates a $3 billion investment would be needed for the mine. Baloch said he could not comment on the Reko Diq case due to the legal cases.

(This article has not been edited by DNA's editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.

Commander among 7 ferraris lay down arms in Dera Bugti

http://pakobserver.net/commander-among-7-ferraris-lay-arms-dera-bugti/

Quetta

Seven ferraris including a commander Nehalan alias Langri on Thursday surrendered their arms in front of security forces and tribal leader Basheer Chandarzai Bugti in Dera Bugti. According to local administrations, surrendered ferraris were involved in different subversive activities including blowing gas pipelines and attacking on security forces in the area.
These ferraris have expressed regret over their anti-state activities in the past and pledged to remain loyal to Pakistan and province in future. They said they were misguided against state by enemies. It was reported earlier that in the year 2016 800 suspected militants lay down their arms in Balochistan under the government’s reconciliation process.
Anwarul Haq Kakar, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said the Ferraris belonged to various militant organisations and surrendered from Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Khuzdar, Mekran and Quetta. He added that a large number of separatists from various militant organisations are ready to surrender to the provincial government and return to their normal lives.
The largest province of the country in terms of area, Balochistan has been experiencing incidents of violence and targeted killings for over a decade. Al Qaeda-linked and sectarian militants also operate in the province, which shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran.—APP

Encouraged by CPEC, Pakistan’s cement industry to increase capacity by 56pc: report

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/208193-Encouraged-by-CPEC-Pakistans-cement-industry-to-increase-capacity-by-56pc-report

oday's Paper

Web Desk

June 2, 2017

KARACHI: Encouraged by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan’s cement industry is expected to increase its capacity by 56 % to 70 million tons in next five years, a Bloomberg report cited Karachi-based brokerage.

According to BMI Research report published last month, Pakistan is among the world’s fastest-growing construction markets and is expected to grow an average 12% annually for the next five years.

Pakistan’s cement capacity utilization increased to 88 percent in the 10 months through April, the highest in 11 years, while exports declined 19 percent, indicating an increase in local consumption, according to the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturer Association, the Bloomberg report said.

The anticipated demand has been a boon for Pakistan’s cement industry. The demand is not going down because of a boom in the construction sector. The mega projects are being built and the CPEC is a key factor for this boom, the report said.

The cement industry is aiming to even increase its capacity, riding a wave of Chinese-financed infrastructure projects across Pakistan.

Announcing the future plans to boost capacity by some major cement industries, the report said Power Cement Ltd. is boosting its ability to churn out 10,700 tons a day; Cherat Cement Co. announced plans to build a third unit days after completing a second, with a capacity of 7,100 tons a day; Gharibwal Cement Ltd. is doubling capacity to more than 13,000 tons a day by August.

It added that the cement stocks have also outpaced the nation’s benchmark stock measure, with a group of 21 companies rising an average 47 percent in the past year

Let me Dream Freedom

https://allpoetry.com/poem/6579807-Let-me-Dream-Freedom-by-Ahmar-Mustikhan

A poem by Ahmar Mustikhan

Let me imagine that fine morning when sun brings warmth to hearts
As the iron gates of grave-like prisons break open in Balochistan

Let me demolish torture cells, Muchch jail[1] gone and thousands freed
Return home the sarmachars [freedom fighters], as every family celebrates

Let me feel my mother's eyes once more moist with tears of joy
Brave sons and daughters proud they freed their land from alien yoke

Let me mock the slogan that Allah is great, but kill humans as infidels
Warships perched on sacred Zikri [2]ports of Gwadar, Jiwani and Sonmiani

Let me wish all ideas of hate drown in what for us is the Baloch Gulf
For our ports must bring peace for the world and progress for us

Let me condemn the bastard Ayatollahs, male prostitutes in dirty beards 
Thanking Uncle Sam that Regi [3] is dead and the movement is crushed

Let me pray all kings are gone and their ass-licking mullahs dead
Parasites who demand their title, cake and pie with nothing to share

Let me think of that day when people will go to a sacred monument
In a place called Dera Bugti [4], a holy grave draped in scent of roses

Let me read the lives of Balach [5] and Ghulam Mohammad [6] in history class
Where toddlers are taught they are offspring of a Nation of Martyrs [7] 

Let me see in the mountains of Bolan, Three Shining Stars rise
The guiding lights we call Hyrbyair [8], Brahumdagh [9] and Allahnazar [10]

Let me hear the Baloch anthem being played amid 21-gun salutes
This will be reality was a prophesy I could tell in Lala Munir [11] eyes

Let me dream of a day when girls and boys will sing chukain Balochani [12]
And their tiny feet will have decent shoes like in Europe and the U.S.A.

Let me say that day will come whether I am here on earth or maybe not
For countless heroes wrote with their blood Balochistan shall be free

1 - Muchch Jail is an infamous prison in Balochistan where Baloch freedom fighters are lodged.

2 - Most port on the Baloch coastline are under the control of a minority, mostly secular Zikri sect.

3 - Abdolmalik Regi, a young Baloch militant leader from Western Balochistan opposed to Shia theocracy who was recently tortured to death by Iran. Teheran announced he was hanged. There is widespread suspicion the Saudis and the C.I.A. played a role in his assassination.

4 - The lasting resting place of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, 80, former governor and chief minister of Balochistan, who sacrificed his life so that Balochistan could win freedom. He is idolized by the Baloch as reincarnation of the mythical warrior Chakar Khan Rind.

5 - Mir Balach Marri, a Baloch folk hero, martyr and son of legendary leader Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri. Martyred on November 20, 2007, he was also known as Che Guevra.

6 - Ghulam Mohammad Baloch, the Tiger of Mekran and chairman of the Baloch National Movement, who had actively participated in the liberation struggle of Balochistan for three decades. He was tortured to death by the Pakistani Military Intelligence in the first week of April, 2009. At least one bad egg each from among Baloch [Florida] and Sindhis [Washington. DC] in USA to make fast bucks have been engaged in a character assassination campaign of slain Baloch leaders and activists.

7 - To advance the cause of freedom, thousands of Baloch have sacrificed their lives since March 1948. As such, the Baloch like to call themselves a Nation of Martyrs.

8 - Balochistan national hero and resistance leader Hyrbyair Marri, 41, and political heir apparent of Nawab Marri.

9 - Balochistan national hero and resistance leader Nawab Brahumdagh Bugti, 30, political successor of the slain Nawab Bugti.

10- Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch, a former torture victim and chairman of the Baloch Students Organization, now engaged in a guerilla struggle to free Balochistan.

11- Lala Munir Baloch, comrades in arms of Ghulam Mohammad Baloch and leader of B.N.M.; the two along with Sher Mohammad Baloch were tortured and killed by Pakistan's Military Intelligence. Since Pakistan is a rogue state, Interior Minister Rahman Malik announced a reward for those who would "provide information" about the killers.

12- A patriotic Balochi song and eulogy to the heroic struggle of the Baloch people.

Baloch literature is the repository of love and romanticism

https://www.google.co.in/amp/nation.com.pk/blogs/26-May-2017/baloch-literature-is-the-repository-of-love-and-romanticism/amp

May 26, 2017, 11:36 pm


by Masood Hameed Baloch

    

Sometimes it is argued that the only poetry written in Balochistan is about resistance. The term poetry of resistance is often associated with the poetry penned by Baloch writers. While the Baloch intellectual class oppose this hype, they recount how love and war have always gone side by side in Baloch history. It is not just about resistance, but most of the poetry is linked with love, human entanglement and nature.

It has related to nature, drought, tribal conflicts, nightmares, or watching a spiritual being, and of course love. Baloch writers grew emotional feelings and had deep insights into the natural backdrops. In the days of yore, they were the ones who fought with their swords and pens. They didn't leave the people alone at time of sorrow and pain, instead they appeared as source of vigour to guide them not to escape but to face the difficulties and discern a ray of hope out of them.

Most of the poetry was about love resulting in war or war resulting in love. Writing about love and romanticism is a recognized and highly developed genre of the Baloch literature. The graceful genres provided wonderful taste to the readers and lost them in excessive fondness with the literature and poetry. It sets many precedents of unimaginable and deep love like Mastwakali fell in love with a married woman named Sammo. This love tale was to be remembered for the days to come. It has grabbed interests of many Baloch writers to have their say in prose and poetry about Mastwakali and Sammo.

As the first era of poetry, in the 14th and 15th century, revolved around bravery and heroism of personalities like Mir Hammal Jihand, who fought Portuguese and protected Gwader from invasion.

Mir Gul khan Naseer in twentieth century was known for his revolutionary poetry and style of prose, some of outstanding works about love and romance.

Syed Zahoor Sha Hashumi in his poetry, always symbolized a beautiful girl named Hanul. Critics say it is still a mystery whether Hanul was his imaginary love, or the love that something related to real life. In most of his poems he ignited the youth for their roles in the national workforce. He made the youths think that not to bow down to life storms, but instead, procure safe sails out of the rough seas. One could cheaply infer upon his poetry that the kind of message he wanted to convey, was about motivation and devotion to human cause. He says,

Dààn key jàhl mààn dàryàen dilàn ààch bith

tài banooràn guleen tàngaen pàrdach na bith

In this poem he directed the youths that there is no room for escapism in life. The need is to work and perspire rather than to sit indolently.

Atta Shad, the famous poet says,

Méri zàméén pàr

Ik kàtorày pàni ki qimàt so sàl wàfà hài

Aào hum bi pyàs bujàhàin zindàgiyyon sodà kàr lén

On my land

A bowl of water

Is worth loyalty of hundred years

Let us quench our thirst too

And let's unify our lives.

It depicts the primitive Baloch society. A pure Baloch, at time of thirst receives a bowl of water from anyone and, in return, it won the hearts and felt himself indebted for hundred years of loyalty to the one who quenched his thirst.

There are many epic love stories in Baloch history. Hani and Shey Mureed is the most famous love story of Balochi folklore. The writers compare this tale to Romeo and Juliet. Hani and Shey Mureed, is to Baloch people what Romeo and Juliet, is to English speaking people. Hani and Shey Mureed love epic dates back to 15th century, which is considered to be the heroic age and the classical period of Baloch literature. They are symbols of pure and tragic love. Shey mureed could not rest until Hani was his, and Hani too had the same feelings about her love.

Sassi and Punnu another tragic love story that has enthralled the literature lovers to know something about unimaginable and real love that had actually happened in human history, Sassi and Punnu love story is the example of its own. Punnu (Mir Punnun Khan) was the descendant of Hoth, a famous Baloch tribe in Kech. Sassi (meaning moon) was the daughter of the Raja of Bhambore in Sindh. Punnu's father Mir Aali Khan was a mighty Sardar, always insisted his son to wed a girl, but Punnu defied his father, said there still did not born a girl of his choice.

Punnu said, "I wed the most beautiful girl that must be as charming and good looking as I am". Punnu's father ordered his courtiers and servants to go and find his son a beautiful fiancée. They travelled to Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt but couldn't find a girl as such that could match Punnu's choice. Finally, they entered in Bahmbor Sindh, Sassi was the girl, her beauty caught them what they had been looking for. The interests and path of Sassi and Punnu crossed often. Prince Punnu and Sassi fell in love and began to blossom as lovers, but ended at tragedy which will always evoke the minds for days to come.

Baloch literature is the repository of wisdom and knowledge, love and romanticism. It imparts pure lights that feed our souls if once we read at depth

Pakistan power crisis