Saturday, June 3, 2017

China’s New Silk Road plan: What’s in it for Myanmar?

http://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/chinas-new-silk-road-plan-whats-in-it-for-myanmar

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing on May 16. (AFP)

 Sunday, June 04, 2017

 

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At the summit hosted by Beijing last month to promote its plan for a new Silk Road, Myanmar and China signed five agreements and two are of particular economic significance.

By SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

STATE COUNSELLOR Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was among about 30 heads of government or state who attended a summit held in Beijing last month to promote President Xi Jinping’s ambitious plan for a new Silk Road.

During the summit on May 14 and 15, Aung San Suu Kyi held separate meetings with Xi – who launched what China formally calls the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to expand trade links with Asia, Africa and Europe – and Premier Li Keqiang.

The state counsellor also signed five bilateral memoranda of understanding with China, of which two are especially interesting. One was to establish a border economic zone and the other was for cooperation within the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, which has implications for projects at Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State.

What is the significance of these two agreements and what economic impact will they have on Myanmar?

Reports in the Myanmar media made no mention of a location for the proposed border economic zone.

However, China’s state-run Global Times on May 17 quoted Mr Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing, as saying it was expected to be established on the Yunnan Province-Kachin State border.

Zhou said the likely location was the border gate at Huoqiao in western Yunnan’s Tengchong County, opposite the Kan Pike Tee border trade post in Kachin, about 70 kilometres east of the state capital, Myitkyina.

China has been preparing for many years to establish a border trade zone in the area and has built a modern trade centre at Huaqiao.

Towns on the Chinese side of the border have prospered from the trade in jade and timber from Myanmar. To facilitate the trade, an all-weather road was built in recent years to link Waingmaw, across the Ayeyarwady River from Myitkyina, with Kan Pike Tee.

(In December 2015, the government was reported to have closed the Kan Pike Tee border post to vehicle and machinery imports in a move that followed claims about illegally imported equipment being used at the jade mines at Hpakant).

The road connecting Myitkyina with Mandalay via Sagaing Region is not in good condition, making it difficult to transport goods to Kachin State. If a border economic zone was developed at Kan Pike Tee-Houqiao, China would be sure to benefit through increased exports.

But the Myanmar side of the border lacks stability because of fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army. For both countries to profit from a border economic zone, much preparation will be needed on the Myanmar side.

The new Silk Road cooperation agreement focused on Kyaukphyu involves its deep water port, special economic zone, the gas and oil pipelines that snake across the country to Yunnan, and plans for a railway.

Long before China was touting Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, it had sought access to the Indian Ocean across Myanmar for energy security reasons.

The pipelines are transporting oil and gas to China as part of a strategy to reduce dependency on supplies shipped through the Strait of Malacca.

In December 2015, consortia headed by China’s CITIC Group Corporation won separate tenders to develop a deep water port and an industrial area as part of plans to create a special economic zone at Kyaukphyu.

Plans by China to sponsor a US$20 billion project to build a road and railway linking Kyaukphyu and the Yunnan capital, Kunming, have stalled, partly due to opposition in Myanmar over a range of concerns, ranging from security issues to community consultation.

There is no doubt that the huge infrastructure plans focused on Kyaukphyu, if they are all realised, will generate huge benefits for China.

The big question for Myanmar is how much control it will have over the infrastructure and how beneficial it will be for the country.

There is not necessarily any disadvantage to Myanmar to have such trade agreements with other countries. However, the benefits they generate will be dependent on the government’s negotiating ability and long-term thinking, as well as the competitiveness, transparency and accountability of Myanmar companies

28,000 ghost employees in Balochistan

http://pakobserver.net/28000-ghost-employees-balochistan/



Staff Reporter

Quetta

A verification exercise carried out by National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) has revealed that some 28,367 ghost employees are working in various government departments in Balochistan.
An official in the Balochistan finance department said during Nadra’s verification drive involving 249,749 government employees, the identities of 28,367 employees could not be verified.
Verification of more than 278,000 employees was conducted by Nadra on the request of the provincial government, in an effort to trace out fake employees.
Information provided by the officer revealed that most of the fake employees had blocked national identity cards and turned out to be underage or working dual jobs during the verification process.
As per the documents, 2,181 ghost employees were detected in the police department. Similarly, 2,261 employees in education, 1,568 in health and 1,372 in communication and works departments were found to be fake.
“We had given two months to the employees to come forward and clear themselves, but none of them turned up,” the senior finance officer said.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri gave the credit for tracing out ghost and fake employees to the current coalition government.
Answering a question regarding fake employees at the head office of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Zehri said ghost employees were recruited in the past and his government exposed them.
“All those responsible will be brought to book over fake appointments,” the chief minister said


FBR creates taxation officer posts in all Balochistan districts

https://www.dawn.com/news/1337347/fbr-creates-taxation-officer-posts-in-all-balochistan-districts

Saleem ShahidPublished about an hour a

Chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue Dr Mohammad Irshad speaks to media persons after the inauguration ceremony on Saturday.—PPI

QUETTA: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has created the post of district taxation officers in all 32 districts of Balochistan aiming to provide facilities to people of the province in connection with tax collection.

Speaking at a ceremony held for the inauguration of a new office of the regional tax officer, Quetta, here on Saturday, FBR Chairman Dr Mohammad Irshad said that appointment of district taxation officers in all districts of the province would create job opportunities for the educated youth at district level.

Chief Commissioner Income Tax, Baloc­h­istan, Nazeer Ahmed Shoro, Commissioner Income Tax, Balochistan, Sahabzada Abdul Mateen, Collector Customs, Quetta, Saeed Ahmed Jadoon and a large number of other officers were present on the occasion.

Dr Irshad said that the FBR was making all-out efforts for expanding the tax net so that maximum taxes could be collected and the government could have enough financial resources for solving problems being faced by the poor people. He said the government through its efforts was promoting the tax culture in the country.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

He said that with joint efforts the government and FBR would create job opportunities and provide health and education facilities to the people of Balochistan.

Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the FBR chairman said Balochistan would be the main beneficiary of the mega project.

“New ways of development and prosperity would be opened with the implementation of the CPEC,” he said, adding that the mega project would generate more resources for the speedy development of Balochistan.

He said under the CPEC many projects had been launched in Balochistan.

Taking about shortage of human resources in the FBR’s Quetta office, Dr Irshad said the issue would be resolved soon. He said when his attention was drawn towards the requirement of new offices he worked on it seriously and now the issue had been resolved.

He said the aim of his visit to Quetta was to get awareness about problems being faced by the people of Balochistan, especially the business community.

He lauded the performance of the Quetta Customs Collectorate and said that nobody would do injustice with the business community of Balochistan.

Earlier, inaugurating the State Customs Warehouse in the Luck Pass area, Dr Irshad said the issue of human resource shortage in Quetta’s Customs Collectorate would be resolved so that effective steps could be taken against smuggling in Balochistan. Smuggling was affecting the country’s revenue target. The FBR, he added, was taking steps to discourage informal economy as without stopping smuggling the country’s economy could not be revived.

“We will provide human resources and other facilities to the Quetta Custom Collectorate to curb smuggling,” Dr Irshad said, adding that establishing the customs warehouse in the Luck Pass area would help in curbing smuggling. He appreciated performance of the Model Collectorate Customs, Quetta, and said it had collected more revenue than the target.

He said local people would be recruited in the customs department because it would be helpful in curbing smuggling in the province.

Director Customs Intelligence Ashraf Ali, Additional Collector Customs Dr Fareed Ahmed Khan and other senior officers were present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2017

CPEC future of Pakistan: FBR chief

http://nation.com.pk/national/04-Jun-2017/cpec-future-of-pakistan-fbr-chief

June 04, 2017

QUETTA -  Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Dr Muhammad Irshad Saturday termed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor future of Pakistan, Balochistan and coming generations of the nation.

Talking to media persons at the inaugural ceremony of a new building of the FBR regional office in Quetta, Irshad told traders and citizens that stern action would be taken against those who were found harassing them.

The FBR chairman was flanked by Customs Collector Dr Saeed Jadoon, the chief commissioner, the RTO and other senior officers.

Later, the FBR chairman held a meeting with the members of Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Speaking on this occasion, he said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would open new vistas of prosperity and uplift in the province. It would revolutionise the economy of the country and the region, he added.

Dr Irshad announced formation of an advisory committee which would be tasked to chalk out a joint strategy for solution to the problems of importers and exporters

'CPEC can help solve regional disputes': Gen Zubair speaks at Shangri La Dialogue

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/208406-CPEC-can-help-solve-regional-disputes-Gen-Zubair-speaks-at-Shangri-La-Dialogue

June 3, 2017



SINGAPORE: Pakistan on Saturday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can help resolve the regional disputes.

This was said by General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, who was speaking at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Pakistan facing grave internal security challenges due to presence of large number Afghan refugees, he noted.

Gen Zubair was a keynote speaker at a session titled ‘New Challenges For Crisis Management In The Asia-Pacific’ along with Malaysian and Canadian defence ministers at the Asia Security Summit.

Commenting on the security threats he said, in South Asia millions are unemployed, which is a huge HR management task and adding that cyber space is emerging as a new challenge for the global community for which close diplomatic ties are needed to cope with.

The Asia Security Summit is an annual conference attended by defence ministers and top military officials from across the world. However, India has skipped this year’s conference owing to domestic engagement of Arun Jaitley

CPEC and undeveloped Gwadar

http://dailytimes.com.pk/letters/04-Jun-17/cpec-and-undeveloped-gwadar

04-Jun-17by DailyTimes


Sir: It is indeed puzzling that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is considered a game-changer which is poised to boost development in the port city of Gwadar, but unsurprisingly, its natives are still confronting serious problems such as power, loadshedding, extreme water shortage, lack of hospitals, free medical facilities, etc.

Authorities have failed miserably to take timely measures and eradicate the chronic issues that are rendering the life miserable for the citizens. Therefore, I request to make sustainable economic changes for provision of these fundamental amenities in order to facilitate the local people so that they can lead their lives in peace and prosperity.

SHEER MUHAMMAD

Turbat

Chinese entrepreneurs keen to explore JVs, investment in CPEC projects

http://pakobserver.net/chinese-entrepreneurs-keen-explore-jvs-investment-cpec-projects/


ICCI signs MoU with China Council to promote int’l trade

Observer Report

Tianjin

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has signed an agreement of cooperation with China Council for the promotion of international trade, Tianjin Sub-Council to promote business linkages between the private sectors of Pakistan and China.
The agreement was signed by Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President, ICCI and Zhao Feng, Vice Chairman, China Council for the promotion of international trade in Tianjin during the visit of Khalid Malik to China, said a statement issued here on Saturday by the chamber. Khalid Malik visited China to attend some important forums related to CPEC where he was the key note speaker.

By signing this agreement, both sides have agreed cooperate with each other for enhancing exchange of trade missions in order to explore new areas of mutual collaboration between Pakistan and China. Both sides will make efforts for developing understanding among the private sectors of both countries with the aim of promoting trade, joint ventures and investment. Both sides will coordinate for holding seminars on trade policies and regional development.

Speaking at the occasion, Khalid Malik said that Pakistan and China have tremendous potential to improve bilateral trade and economic relations. He said there was a great need to develop direct interactions between the entrepreneurs of both countries to explore untapped areas of mutual collaboration.

The Chinese entrepreneurs showed keen interest in exploring joint ventures and investment in CPEC projects in Pakistan. Zhao Feng, Vice Chairman, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Tianjin Sub-Council thanked Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President ICCI for signing agreement of cooperation with his organization and hoped that it will contribute positively towards developing mutual understanding among the entrepreneurs of both countries and will ultimately lead to further strengthening bilateral trade and economic relations between China and Pakistan

U.S. Passivity Towards Pakistan has Prolonged the Afghan War


by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD June 2, 2017

Each year the United States sends Pakistan billions of dollars in aid.

In return, Pakistan provides safe haven and material support for our enemy the Taliban, while, through Pakistan's network of radical Islamic schools "madrassas," a continuous supply of jihadi recruits is produced to fill the ranks of the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

The policy towards Pakistan that U.S. politicians have pursued is not only stupid, but it could be considered willfully negligent.

It is a strategy based on bribery and submission, not unlike jizya, a tax historically levied by Islamic states on non-Muslim subjects known as "dhimmis" or, in our case, dummies.

It is a form of insanity, repeatedly giving Pakistan money in the vain hope that the Pakistanis will change an approach which they consider successful, the use of terrorism as an instrument of their foreign policy.

The U.S. cannot win in Afghanistan unless there is a significant change in the strategic environment, addressing the root of the conflict, which our politicians have refused to acknowledge.

The U.S. military has been largely relegated to killing the expendable foot-soldiers of the Taliban inside Afghanistan, Pakistan's madrassa cannon fodder, but only occasionally attacking the inner circle of the Taliban inside Pakistan.

In other words, we have been whacking the wrong moles.

In the relatively rare instances when terrorist leaders have been targeted, they have been killed in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. Those include members of the Pakistan-based Haqqani network and Osama bin Laden, who was sheltered in Pakistan from 2005 until his death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs in 2011. The new al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is in Pakistan and, like bin Laden, has been protected by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, Emir of the Taliban was killed in the Nushki district of Balochistan, Pakistan in May 2016 by a drone strike on his car while he was returning from a trip to Iran where he was conferring with Iranian officials. Mansour was carrying an official Pakistani computerized national identity card and a Pakistani passport under the name Muhammad Wali.

The main Taliban group that was led by Mansour is known as the Quetta Shura, whose headquarters is in the Pakistani city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province.

The time is long past to change U.S. policy, to take the war to Pakistan in ways that will alter the strategic conditions.

A first step to doing so would be for the U.S. Department of State to designate the Afghan Taliban as a terrorist group. Many Americans may be surprised to learn that the Afghan Taliban is not on that list, but the Pakistani Taliban, the Tehrik-i-Taliban, is, a group that directly threatens Pakistan's internal stability.

The Afghan Taliban, without any doubt, meets the criteria for being declared a terrorist organization, that is, to engage in terrorism, deliberate attacks on civilians, and threatening the security of U.S. nationals or the national security of the United States.

The reason the Afghan Taliban is not on the list is political expediency, "a concern that applying the terror label to the group would restrict U.S. and Afghan government diplomatic contacts with the Taliban, making peace talks more difficult."

Declaring the Afghan Taliban a terrorist organization would allow the U.S. to begin to apply pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the Taliban infrastructure inside its territory.

Additional steps could include cutting off foreign aid to Pakistan, declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, tilting towards India and supporting a Balochistan independence movement.

Pakistan has made Balochistan both an incubator and operational base for the Taliban and other terrorist groups like the Islamic State, which now has established a presence there and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a fully owned and operated subsidiary of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI.

It is in our interest to assure that Balochistan does not remain a Pakistan-sponsored launch pad for terrorist attacks into Afghanistan or internationally, perhaps by reversing the flow of insurgency.

I do not blame Pakistan for pursuing what they consider their national interests, but I do blame American politicians for agreeing to conditions in Afghanistan that are so lethally detrimental to our own.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of "Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution ". He receives email at lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.

Bloody military operation in Mastung and Kalat areas: BNM

(Sangar News)

The central spokesperson of Baloch National Movement (BNM) in his statement said, it has been three days since Pakistani military started aerial and ground operation in Mastung and Kalat districts, due to which a large number of civilian casualties are feared.

He said, as in past, Pakistani military is using chemical weapons and poisonous gas excessively again on civilians and has poisoned all the available sources of water. Last year, security forces also poisoned sources of water in the same area. According to the initial reports, the villages are sieged, many have been abducted and live-stocks have been destroyed by the military. Due to the siege and blockade of communication systems, the situations remain unknown. Johan, Narmuk, Kabu, Kohak, Talkhawi, Dilband,Dashtadi, Sarshar, Ispilanji, Koh-Siya and Koh-Maran areas are under intense military operations, since yesterday, all the areas are under military control, all the routes are blocked and leaving no one to enter or exit from the area. According to the locals in surrounding areas, aerial bombardment and heavy sound of explosions are being heard from distances. More than ten gunship helicopters and nearly 100 military vehicles participating in the operation. Today early morning, the military intensified the operation and used indiscriminate artillery shelling on civil population. Last year, same kind of military operation was conducted in the same areas and more than 135 innocent civilians were abducted, from which some of the abductees' dead bodies were later found dumped in the mountains. We fear Pakistani army will repeat it's crimes once again, innocent farmers and shepherds living in the mountainous areas will face Pakistan army brutalities and will be abducted. Recently, Pakistan army intensified killings of innocent civilians in fake encounters in different areas of Balochistan. We appeal to the international community to interfere for stopping these war crimes and genocide of Baloch nation, and hold Pakistan accountable.


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