Monday, June 19, 2017

India wants to be a trade, transit hub; inks UN pact in bid to counter China’s OBOR

By Indrani Bagchi, TNN | Updated: Jun 20, 2017, 10.16 AM IST

NEW DELHI: India became the 71st country on Monday to join the United Nations TIR Convention, the international customs transit system, to position itself as a regionaltrading and transit hub. 

The TIR system is the international customs transit system with the widest geographical coverage. 

As other customs transit procedures, the TIR procedure enables goods to move under customs control across international borders without the payment of the duties and taxes.

TIR Convention is more than a transport agreement and has a strong foreign policy element. 

In a world where China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) is the dominating project straddling economics and geopolitics, India has no option but to play a better game if it wants to be counted as a serious rising power. 

Welcoming India into the global transport arrangement, Umberto de Pretto, the secretary general of IRU which manages the TIR Convention, told TOI from Geneva that India’s accession would have a big impact on regional connectivity. “TIR can help implement the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement by addressing policy incompatibility among the BBIN group. For example, Bangladesh does not recognise insurance policies made in India, Nepal or Bhutan. With TIR, there would be no need for bilateral arrangements as guarantors are covered by the global guarantee chain.” 

One of the persistent problems for India’s connectivity projects has been the disconnect between transport and customs systems with different countries. 

Once the systems are integrated with global norms, India reckons it will become easier to service African and Asian markets when the DMIC (Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor) comes online. 

It will breathe life into the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Chabahar project that India has been working on for some time. 

China joined the TIR in 2016 when its giant inter-regional connectivity projects began to take off. As India ramps up its connectivity ambitions this is a necessary step. For instance, the BBIN motor vehicles agreement needs this convention to make it operational.

“BBIN MVA lacks any guaranteeing mechanism to protect customs revenue in the event of goods getting diverted to the national territory of the state through which it is passing. Without such mechanism, the MVA could not be operational,” he said. 

Joining the convention “would be a major economic boost to South Asia, eventually connecting the region to the rest of the world. It could become a key link between South and South-East Asia, particularly as China is already a TIR member, and connects transit routes east to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and beyond”. 

He added it can link India to maritime transport routes across the entire Asia-Pacific region. 

A statement from IRU (International Roads Union) said this was “part of India’s multi-modal transport strategy that aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks”. 

(This article was originally published in The Times of India

China, Pakistan and the challenges of Silk Road connectivity

Scepticism fuelled by Pakistan’s latest anti-dumping ruling against Chinese steel products complicates Beijing’s goal of an integrated trade strategy

Wendy WuUPDATED : Tuesday, 20 Jun 2017, 10:01AM


Connectivity is seen as a good thing for nations, but sometimes achieving it can be far more difficult and complex than expected, even for close allies, as Pakistan’s latest anti-dumping ruling against Chinese steel products shows.

Islamabad’s latest ruling against China – its “all-weather friend”, according to the official rhetoric – may fuel scepticism about China’s massive “Belt and Road” globalisation initiative. If China can’t persuade its close ally that Chinese exports of steel and infrastructure is a good thing, it will find it much more difficult to convince others.

Europe’s suspicion of Beijing’s top economic-diplomacy play was on view for the public after European Union delegates refused to fully endorse Beijing’s statements at the first Belt and Road summit in Beijing last month. That non-action came on top of a wary view from Washington, Tokyo and New Delhi on Beijing’s ambitious push.

“Pakistan, like every Belt and Road partner, wants its own industries to succeed,” said Jonathan Hillman, a fellow with the Simon chair in political economy at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies. In particular, Islamabad hopes the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project for the Belt and Belt push, will develop its own manufacturing and exporting operations and have two-way trade flows with China, he said.

Pakistan scrambles to protect China’s new Silk Road pioneers

China, Pakistan’s biggest trade partner, has a huge trade surplus with the south Asian country.



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Construction on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which connects Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Pakistan’s Gwadar Port at the Hormuz Strait, started in April 2015. Total investment in the 3,000-kilometre corridor is estimated at US$45 billion, with power plants, dams, airports and highway projects in the pipeline.

As a result of the investment push, steel products from China, which produces half the world’s steel, are flooding into Pakistan. According to a report in Pakistan’s Daily Times last year, the country’s steel melting and rolling factories were running at less than 30 per cent of capacity, partly due to local steel mills’ being unable to compete against cheaper Chinese imports.

The National Tariff Commission of Pakistan preliminarily ruled on May 23 that China was “dumping” exports of steel bars into the country, selling them at prices below reasonable costs and hurting local steel companies. The commission will decide whether to impose anti-dumping duties of up to 52.5 per cent when it makes its final determination in six months.

It was not the first time that Pakistan’s steel industry requested a national investigation on the influx of manufacturing products from China; if a stiff tariff is eventually levied, it won’t be the first time that happens, either. Last February, Pakistan imposed a five-year anti-dumping duty on Chinese exports of galvanised steel coils and sheets.

India snubs China’s ‘new Silk Road’ summit, underlining mounting tensions between Asian rivals

“The key is ensuring that trading partners are playing by the rules and that there are domestic programmes in place to help workers adjust,” Hillman said. “That’s especially important when your trading partner is China, which is a manufacturing powerhouse and the world’s second largest economy.”

The massive infrastructure package is expected to create 2.3 million jobs for Pakistan from 2015 to 2030 and drive local economic growth by up to 2.5 percentage points. For China, the corridor will offer Indian Ocean access and reduce China’s reliance on the Strait of Malacha for shipping oil and other commodities to enhance energy security.

But concern is growing that the projects serve China more than Pakistan. The steel investigation refuelled speculation about the purpose of China’s economic diplomacy.

“The key rationale for the Belt and Road initiative is very much China’s export of overcapacity,” said Jan Gaspers, head of European China policy at Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is just a vehicle for that” and remedying China’s long-time capacity problem, he said, citing trade conflicts with the EU and US. “It is alleviating some pressure in China to reform those industries.”

Press on with China-Pakistan new Silk Road flagship project, Xi Jinping urges

Sceptism and distrust have persisted during Beijing’s New Silk Road push. In March, Australia rejected China’s invitation to connect with the globalisation strategy during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit there. The European Union has been investigating a China-funded railway project connecting Budapest and Belgrade because it may be violating the bloc’s public procurement rules. And while refraining from directly confronting Beijing, officials in Brussels nervously have been taking note of China’s increasing influence in central and east Europe.

“It is in China’s long-term interest to make sure that competition is fair and within international rules,” CSIS’ Hillman said. “For the Belt and Road to succeed, it will need enough domestic support within the Belt and Road partner countries, including its closest partners like Pakistan.”

Even in the north, Russia, which is seeking closer ties with China to offset western sanctions, has remained cautious about China’s growing influence in central Asia, Moscow’s geopolitical backyard.

“That’s certainly not the thing Russia likes,” Gaspers said. “There is quite a concern in Moscow. Kremlin doesn’t talk to Beijing about the engagement in central Asia.”

Despite those difficulties, Beijing is expanding the frontier of the Silk Road to Latin America. Brazil has been the scene of political turmoil and a presidential corruption scandal, but China still launched a capacity cooperation fund with South America’s largest economy.

🔴“Almost everyone supports greater connectivity in theory,” Hillman said. “But in practice, it is more complicated. Connectivity, whether through trade agreements or hard infrastructure like the Belt and Road, often brings greater competition

CPEC boost Pakistan economy

By Syed Kamal Hussain Shah

Monday, 19 June 2017 12:09


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will pass through the beautiful Gilgit-Baltistan province in the north which will connect Kashgar in China’s western province Xinjiang to rest of the world through Chinese-operated Gwadar port in the country's south.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a 3,218 kilometer long route, to be built over next several years, consisting of highways, railways and pipelines. The actual estimated cost of the project is expected to be US$75 billion, out of which US$45 billion plus will ensure that the corridor becomes operational by 2020.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor is expected to opening doors to immense economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but will physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. Almost 80% of the China’s oil is currently transported from Strait of Malacca to Shanghai.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road – will result in land and sea routes that will connect countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Gwadar’s potential to be a deep-water sea port would be an advantage to China.

Gwadar Port occupies a great location, according to experts, because its proximity to the Arabian Sea gives China and Central Asian countries access to the Persian Gulf and the markets of the Middle East.

For Pakistan, the combined value of the CPEC's infrastructure projects would be equivalent to 17 percent of Pakistan's GDP in 2015, a report by Deloitte predicted. The report estimated that the economic corridor would create some 700,000 direct jobs between 2015 and 2030, and add up to 2.5 percent to the country's growth rate.

The CPEC project has been divided into phases, the first phase being the completion of Gwadar International Airport and major developments of Gwadar Port. This phase is expected to be completed by the year 2017. The project also includes the expansion of Karakoram Highway- the road that connects China with Pakistan and placement of fiber-optic line ensuring better communication between the two countries.

The region of Baltistan is known for its fresh fruit exports, like cherries, apricot and apples, CPEC will be a game changer by opening business opportunities for the region's traders. This will provide local traders with an advantage and help them double their sales by tremendous saving in cost of transportation. Presently, fruits are being exported through air-cargo via Dubai it would be faster and cheaper if the same could be sent by road to China via Xinjiang.

The CPEC, some believe, will also boost tourism in the 73,000 square km region. The region is considered to be a mountaineer’s paradise, since it is home to five of the ‘eight-thousands’ (peaks above 8,000 meters), as well as more than 50 mountains over 7,000 meters. It is also home to the world’s second highest peak K2 and the Nanga Parbat

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a game-changer for Pakistan. CPEC will bring large opportunities for Pakistan and living standard of people of the country will be improved significantly in near future. According to a report by international rating agency Moody’s, the corridor will boost economic activity in Pakistan. The project will boost economic activities in the entire region. 

CPEC projects include roads, power projects, Railway tracks and other economic schemes. CPEC project will help provide jobs to locals. Take agriculture, for instance. Not only will Chinese enterprises provide seeds, fertilizers, pesticide and credit for farms in Pakistan, they will also offer processing facilities.

Agriculture must make the most of ‘free capital and loans’ from the Chinese ministries as well as China Development Bank. Pakistan has been divided into zones, including specific focus on mineral extractions, potential for chrome ore, and diamonds. One of the zones has been earmarked for textiles, household appliances, and cement

Senators concerned over PAF’s land occupation in Balochistan



Senators say there is difference in a voluntary donation of land and forced occupation


Senate Standing Committee on Defence during a meeting, on Monday, formed a sub-committee on the matter of occupation of land by the military and Pakistan Air Force in Quetta district.

Senator Lt Gen (r) Abdul Qayyum has been appointed as its convener and Senator Hidayatullah and Senator Farhatullah Babar were given a task to hold meetings with the air force, ministry of defence, Balochistan government, and the owners of the land in Quetta to prepare a substantive report on the matter.

The committee was told by the air commodore that the PAF is using land in Samungli as an air base, in Nohisar as an airfield, and in Maslaikh as a firing range. He said that these three lands were acquired in 1942, 1978 and 2008 respectively; all due procedure was followed and documents are also available, he elaborated.

He told the committee that the air force intends to set up a new city, Yunusabad, in Quetta named after a PAF Captain Yunus following the pattern of Rashidabad, a city set up in Sindh.

The representative told the house that the area and the facilities therein will be primarily aimed for the underprivileged and no benefits will be entertained to those related to the air force.

The sub-committee was formed as in the meeting it was discussed that the adjournment motion of Senators Muhammad Usman Kakar, Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel and Gul Bashra regarding an alarming rise in the occupation of land by the military and the air force in Quetta, which was a source discontent among people.

The committee meeting was chaired by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services in Islamabad.

The movers of the adjournment motion Senator Kakar and Senator Musakhel while giving their view said that there lies a difference in a voluntary donation of land and forced occupation of land.

Senator Usman Kakar said that the land for Rashidabad was donated by the father of late captain Rashid Khan, while in the case of Quetta it is being forcibly acquired. He said that much of the land in Balochistan is still undivided and is a collective property of tribes.

Senator Azam Musakhel also referred to three resolutions of the Balochistan Assembly which had condemned this forced occupation in 1999, 2002 and 2014.

The committee also heard two landowners from Balochistan and after deliberations and suggestions formed a sub-committee on the matter

Campaign against CPEC


June 20, 2017

There is little doubt that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a landmark event in the history of Pakistan-China friendship rooted in the convergence of the strategic interests of the two countries.
The CPEC plan involves over 60 billion dollars of Chinese investment in the various sectors of the Pakistan economy by 2025.
But it may lead to a much higher level of Chinese investment in Pakistan in the longer time frame work according to the proposals being considered by the two countries.
CPEC besides providing the much needed resources for accelerating Pakistan’s economic growth would also provide to north-western China a shorter and much more economical route for maritime trade with the rest of the world than what has been available so far.

Above all, it would strengthen Pakistan-China strategic partnership which serves the best interests of the two countries.
The importance of this partnership for Pakistan’s security can hardly be over-emphasised considering the enduring threat posed to it by India.
As for China, its trade route to Gwadar through Pakistan would enable it to bypass attempts by the US and India to block the expansion of China’s influence and power in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

It would not be surprising, therefore, for India and the US to use all the resources at their disposal to launch a concerted propaganda campaign to discredit CPEC in the eyes of the people of Pakistan and among its influential circles.
This is precisely what is happening right now.
Rumour mills are working overtime through media and otherwise to create all sorts of doubts among the Pakistani people about the real intentions of China and effects of CPEC on Pakistan.
A ridiculous rumour that is being bandied about is that through CPEC China would acquire a controlling influence in Pakistan turning it into a Chinese colony.
There couldn’t be anything more preposterous than this charge which has no basis in reality.
CPEC has been voluntarily agreed between two sovereign nations and is designed to serve their best strategic and economic interests.
Its projects would bring badly needed investment in Pakistan in such sectors as energy, which has been facing a huge power shortfall, transport, communications, agriculture and industry.
Many of those making the above mentioned outlandish accusation because of their well-known Western leanings would have been quite happy to support the plan if it were US or some other Western country offering to invest on such a vast scale in Pakistan.

▶▶▶▶▶Another charge against CPEC is that the Chinese investment under it is being obtained at too high a cost.

🔴On the face of it, the charge again appears to be baseless.
It would be reasonable to assume that the government of Pakistan and its officials took all the relevant factors into account in the negotiating the terms and conditions of the planned Chinese investment in Pakistan under CPEC.😁😁😁😁😁

Nevertheless, some commentators keep on referring to alleged negative consequences of Chinese investments in Sri Lanka and Venezuela to substantiate their criticism of CPEC.

The charges of those alleged negative consequences are probably debatable.
If the local authorities mess up their affairs, the blame for it cannot be placed at the doorstep of the Chinese.

🔴At the same time it is incumbent upon our government to come out with a detailed exposition of the terms and conditions of the Chinese investments under the various CPEC projects to satisfy the sceptics amongst us that they are in our best economic interests.

Transparency should be the order of the day in such matters of national importance.

The foregoing point also underlines the imperative of efficient management of our economy by our economic managers.
We need to remember that foreign investment, whether from China or anywhere else, while welcome, is not a substitute for our own efforts to put our economy on an even keel and to accelerate our economic growth.
It is primarily our responsibility to raise our national saving and investment rates to quicken the pace of economic development.

Other things remaining the same, it is the national investment rate which determines the economic growth rate.
The higher the national investment rate, the higher would be the economy’s growth rate.

Right now our national performance both in savings and investment areas is miserably poor.

Our national saving and investment rates are likely to be about 13% and 15.
8% of GDP respectively in 2016-17 according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan.

By way of comparison, India’s national saving and investment rates are over 30% of GDP while China’s corresponding rates are around 50% of GDP.

Chinese investment in Pakistan is most welcome on the right terms and conditions.
But our policy makers must not be oblivious of our own responsibilities in improving our economic performance.
It would be counterproductive if the promise of Chinese investment leads us to slacken in the discharge of our own responsibility to promote economic development in the country.

Besides propagating various accusations against CPEC, India can also be expected to take steps for increasing external pressure on Pakistan to divert the attention of our authorities from the massive task of accelerating economic development and the efficient execution of the various projects under CPEC.
Indo-Afghan coordinated pressure on Pakistan is an obvious indicator of India’s evil designs against Pakistan.
Another target of India’s nefarious intentions would be Pakistan-Iran friendship which generally has been a source of great support and strength to Pakistan in critical moments of its history.
Needless to say that we should take all possible steps to preserve and strengthen our friendship with Iran and to resolve amicably our problems with Afghanistan so as to promote the peace process in that country and strengthen Pakistan-Afghanistan cooperation in various fields.

New Delhi would not desist even from sponsoring acts of terrorism in Pakistan to frustrate the successful execution of CPEC projects as shown by the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian spy who was arrested in Balochistan in March last year on charges of involvement in terrorism and espionage in Pakistan on behalf of RAW.

In addition, India would not miss any opportunity to destabilise Pakistan politically both for preventing the successful implementation of CPEC and to weaken Pakistan for the fulfillment of its hegemonic designs in South Asia.
It is a source of great disappointment that at this critical moment in our history when we should be united in facing the daunting internal and external challenges, we give the impression of a house divided because of the short-sighted and self-serving policies of some of our politicians.

It is high time we focused on the really pressing internal and external issues facing the country instead of wasting our energies on frivolous matters of little concern to the security and economic well-being of the nation.

Our politicians especially need to show some maturity in dealing with national issues.

The daily spectacle of unseemly fights and quarrels among the politicians in TV talk shows and press conferences to score personal points does not show them in good light besides having a demoralising effect on the nation as a whole.

Similarly the different institutions of the state need to show circumspection in their conduct and in offering comments on important issues of national interest.
Our civilian and military leadership must avoid any step, which has the effect of derailing or weakening the democratic process in the country, as it would aggravate political instability and indirectly support the machinations of our arch enemy, India.


The writer is a retired ambassador and   the president of the Lahore Council    for World Affairs.



 October 30, 2016 Abbasaly 


“Balochistan is my heart, my soul, and, a cure for all conceivable pains of life.
Why should I not sacrifice, or hesitate to suffer, indignities of confinement,
When, my motherland is facing poisonous bullets”.
(Ghulam Rasul Mullā).

Before, we deal with our legendary hero Mir Hamal Hot Kalmati Baloch; let us give a brief account of the essential events, which previously had changed the entire world and which help provide context for the major events of his life.

During fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the several European nations were very curious for exploration of overseas trade and their supremacy in distant seas and Lands. , in 15th Century, Manuel 1the King of Portugal decided to send a naval mission to the profitable ports of the Indian Ocean. He selected Vasco de Gama a Portuguese the first Admiral of the Seas, who was the first among the Europeans, who sailed off on July 8,1497his historic voyage from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal to Calicut(Kolkata) on the south Indian coast. The voyage traveled through various ports and finally, reached Calicut (Kolkata) India. establishing a trading station at Goa, India on August 29, 1499,he returned home back to Portugal. Thus he laid the foundation of the Portuguese Empire in Asia.

Indeed, Da Gama was the first European to reach India by sea, connecting Europe and Asia, for the first time, by an ocean route. This also connected the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, as well as, the West and the Orient. All of this was accomplished on his first voyage to India.

According to the Portuguese chronicles, his first return voyage to India, by way of the Equator, was the longest Ocean voyage ever made. In the Battle of Diu(a sea port of India),in 1509,the Portuguese defeated the joint Muslim forces and by doing so, dominated the Indian Ocean trade route down to the Cape of Good Hope, through the traditional spice route, (which was constantly under the control of Arabs and Venetians),through the Red Sea and into the Persian Gulf. Certainly, this was a most significant victory, opening the way for an age of global imperialism and enabling a long-lasting Portuguese colonial empire in Asia.

According to the Portugal chronicles His first voyage to India in and outward and return around the world by way of the Equator was the longest Ocean voyage ever made. Thus the total distance of his voyage covered his expeditions was the longest Ocean voyage ever made until at that time.

For his great contributions to the empire, Da Gama was appointed Governor of India in 1524, under the title of Viceroy and granted the towns of ‘Vidigueira’and ‘Vila dos Frades’, in Portugal, along with the revenues and privileges related to his new position.

It is also worth mentioning that, in 1612, during the Dutch-Portuguese War, in the Battle of Swally, (a village near Surat village near the city of Surat, Gujarat, India) the Portuguese were defeated by the Dutch Forces. Certainly, the victory of the Dutch marked the beginning of a new European colonization in Asia and the rise of the East India Company in India.

Mir Hamal Hot Kalmati.

According the historians and Balochi “Daptar Sha’ar” (Ballad of Genealogies)Kalmati is one of the clans of Hot Tribe of Rind Baloches. It is said that during the rule of Hots in Kech Makran,some Kalmati people settled in Kalmat Bandar (port) situated near to Pasni Port Coastal Area of Balochistan. Thus they derived their name as Kalmati.

Ballad of Genealogies describing as below;
“Ash Halaba phadh-khayan,Go Yazida jherav-en.
Kalbala Bompur ma-nyama,Shahar Sistan munzlil-en.
Niki Badr-din dar-akhta, Naghumanen shiddat-en.
Ma-sara Merin Jalal-Han,Chhilo-chyar bolaken.
Hot Makurana nindi,Khosagh ma Kech-edh-en.
Hot, Korai awar-en, Ema Lashar-ghar-en.
Drishak, Hot, Mazar,Ego Rinda yagsar-en.

(The translation by M.L. Dames),

“We are residents of Haleb (Aleppo, in Syria). We started from there, and fought battles with Yazid at Kerbala (61/680), thereafter, we moved towards Bampur. Our last destination being the towns of Seistan Our king at Seistan was Shamas-u-din, who had good relations with the Baloches. But after him, when Badr-u-din became king, he became the enemy of the Baloches. Mir Jalal Han, was then the Chief of the Baloches, he left Seistan, and led them along with forty-four Balaks (tribes), towards the east of Kech (in Makran) and Harin Bunder.The Hot tribe settled down at Makran, and Khosaa in the land of Kech (on Makran Coast). Hot, Korai, Nohani Dodaisand Mazari tribes are a part of a Rind Baloches”.

Let us now give a brief glimpse of our legendry hero, Mir Hamal Kalmati, who resisted and fought vigorously with meagre resource against the mighty forces of the Portuguese.

Undoubtedly, throughout centuries the Baloches have always been engaged in war for their, existence, national identity, culture, traditions, Language, pride and honour. History is witness that they have always fought the battle of resistance, against the powerful rulers and foreign invaders.

It is fact that in the 15th century the Portuguese conquered many parts of India and Oman, including the Coastal Area of Makran. They frequently attacked Gwadar but were defeated each time by Baloches. They of course, looted and set the coastal villages on fire, anyhow, they failed to capture Gwadar and they never established their supremacy, nor they penetrate inland.

Proudly, we may mention that their snatched Cannons are still lying near the central Jail of Gwadar. Their snatched weapons are also preserved in the Pasni Port of Balochistan.

Unquestionably, the Baloches have always taken pride in being Baloch in the true sense of the word and show bravery against all enemies. They have never, ever, tolerated foreign ascendancy and have always engaged in the constant war of resistance against alien forces. This has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and heavy damages to both property and livestock. They have a deep sense of national independence and a restive spirit of resistance to any dominating forces.

Thus, in accordance with the Baloch charisma and The Baloch Mayar’ (The Baloch Code of Honour), Mir Hamal organised powerful bands of committed Baloch comrades, with resolute determination, and vowed to fight to the death against Portuguese aggressors. He resisted them from the Gulf of Oman to Goa. Thus, many sea battles took place between them.

The legend of Mir Hamal and his heroic battles against the Europeans developed after the Portuguese raids on the Baloch coast. His most famous escapades probably occurred during one of the actions taken by the Portuguese against the pirates who were disrupting Portuguese operations in the Persian Gulf.

Hence, in 1581, Lowes Dee Alma, a Portuguese, raided Tiz, Gwadar, Pasni and the port at Kalmat. After heavy fighting, the Portuguese were defeated and failed to capture the Makran Belt. Every time they were faced the fierce and bloody resistance by Mir Hamal. Afterwards, a treaty was made between Lowes de Alma and Mir Hamal, in which, the Portuguese agreed not to attack the Makran coastal area again. However, they dishonored their agreement and attacked Mir Hamal when he was with some friends at sea and kidnapped him. According to one source the Portuguese took him to an unidentified place from where he never returned.

Another reliable source also mentions that one day Mir Hamal set out to hunt at sea with his companions and friends. They started sailing on a yacht, unfortunately, a tidal wave arose with such a great intensity that his yacht was taken to the remote cost of India and reached the coast of Gujarat, which was already in control of Portuguese. The Portuguese blocked his yacht and asked Mir Hamal for surrender, which he refused, and a ferocious fight ensued. The Portuguese managed to arrest him, dishonoring their agreement, and took him to an unidentified place, from where he never returned.

Some trustworthy sources also assert that after the abduction of Mir Hamal, the Portuguese offered Mir Hamal the opportunity of marrying a woman in their country, with many concessions, but he refused their offer.

It is historical fact that the Baloches prefer to die as warriors and die an honourable death, on the battlefield, rather than seek quarter or ‘cow-down’ to others.Without doubt, they are a simple and honest people. They believe in any Eatbar ((Trust); one of the main pillars of the ‘Baloch Mayar’), made with enemies or friends and always honor a ‘Qual’ (promise) once they have made it, even at the risk of their own life. The ‘Baloch-Mayar’ expects, from every Baloch, irrespective of class or cadre, to be loyal to the word or promises he has made.

Indeed, the Baloch history is testamentto the fact that many lost their lives by honoring ‘Eatbar’ or ‘Qual’ including: Mir Hamal Kalmati; Mir Mehrab Khan, the Khan of Kalat; Prince Abdul Karim of Kalat; Babu Naurz Khan, the Nawab of Zahri; Nawab Akber Khan Bugti and many others.

It is also fact that, the Baloch and their poets condemned the egotism of the Portuguese and praised the bravery of Mir Hamal, who fought violently whilst, resisting them.Indeed, the resistance of Mir Hamal, against the Portuguese, is one of the most significant events in the history of the Baloch resistance. He is a celebrated and legendary Baloch hero and will always be remembered for centuries to come.

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of
the mind next to honor”.

In fact the courage and bravery of Mir Hamal which earned for him a great name in Baloch history as he was a courageous person who fought violently in defending his ancestral land.
Indisputably, Mir Hamal was the legendary hero of the sixteenth centaury, who no doubt became the source of inspiration and symbol of Baloch Resistance.He was patriot Baloch. We must not hesitate ourselves to pay our homage to him ashe is the ‘symbol of patriotism’.
Note: The statue of Mir Hamal Khan Baloch, constructed by the Portuguese, is to be found in an island museum in Goa, India.

Abstracts are taken from the forthcoming book, “The Baloch Resistance

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Gwadar airport to be closed in July for runway renovation

The runway will be inoperable form July 1 - 31

by Dawood Rehman | Published on June 19, 2017 🔗

QUETTA – The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has decided to close down the under-construction Gwadar International Airport in July due to expansion work on the runway.

CAA sources said the runway will be inoperable form July 1 to July 31. An alternative runway has not been designated by the authority as yet.

Following the refurbishment work, the Airbus A-320 will be able to land at the airport.

A weekly Gwadar-Kashgar flight is also expected to start after the runway renovation.

In February this year, Balochistan Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatta said construction work on the Gwadar International Airport, costing Rs22 billion, would be completed in October.

Talking to Radio Pakistan, he said the Gwadar airport would cater to the needs of the Gwadar deep-sea port as it would become the prime venue of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC has also increased passenger traffic in the area, he added.

“It will be the largest airport in Balochistan that will facilitate domestic and international passengers with facilities of international standards,” he further said

Gwadar: 2 Naval officers gunned down in Gwadar gun attack

Syed Ali ShahPublished 34 minutes ago

Two Naval officers were martyred and at least three others wounded when their vehicle was attacked the Jiwani area of Gwadar district on Monday.

The naval officers were transporting iftar items during a routine run from Jiwani city when their vehicle was ambushed by four assailants on two motorbikes, a senior local administration official told DawnNews.

The assailants opened fire on the vehicle indiscriminately, leaving one officer martyred and five wounded, he said.

A spokesman for the Navy, however, said that three Naval personnel had been injured.

The five wounded were shifted to Karachi for medical treatment. One of the wounded succumbed to his injuries, bringing the death toll to two, the official added.

Security was tightened after the incident and a search operation was launched in the area to apprehend those involved in the attack.

Taking note of the incident, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri condemned the incident, directing the levies and police to submit a report about the terrorist incident.

"We will not bow down before the terrorists," Zehri said in his condemnation statement.

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Security challenges facing Balochistan and CPEC

The shooting incident occurs after Pakistan and China have inked agreements aimed at boosting cooperation in various sectors between the two countries.

China is also developing the warm water Gwadar port, a prominent feature of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan. The CPEC project — with an investment of $57 billion and the Gwadar port as its lynchpin — is billed to be a 'game-changer' and manifestation of a strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.

Though the road where the labourers were working was not a specific CPEC-funded project, it was a part of a network of connecting roads that are part of the corridor ─ a common target for separatists militants who view construction projects as a means to take over their land.

The need to tighten security in Balochistan has grown over the years as separatist militants continue to wage their campaign against the central government for decades, demanding a greater share of the gas-rich region's resources.

In May, at least 10 labourers were killed in Balochistan's Gwadar district when unidentified assailants opened fire at the construction site where they were working, Levies sources said.

Unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on a group of labourers working at a road in Gwadar's Pishgan area, killing eight of them on the spot, Levies sources confirmed.

Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui

Pakistan Navy under attack in Gwader 8 killed

Pakistan Navy under attack in Gwader district 8 killed and many injured it includes 2 officers
[6/19,  گوادر: مسلح افراد کی فائرنگ؛ پاکستان نیوی کے 8 اہلکار ہلاک

پیر 19 جون, 2017
گوادر( ہمگام نیوز) جیوانی گرلز اسکول کے قریب نیوی کے گاڈی پر نامعلوم مسلح افراد کی فائرنگ، 8اہلکار ہلاک و متعدد زخمی، زرائع کے مطابق پاک نیوی کے اہلکار جیوانی شہر سے افطاری کے سامان لیکر نکل رہے تھے کہ اچانک نامعلوم مسلح افراد نے اُن کے گاڑی پراندھا دھند فائرنگ کرکے 8اہلکاروں کو ہلاک کردیا،حملے میں پاکستان نیوی کے 2اعلی افسران بھی شامل ھیں

Hind Baloch Forum : Press coverage in Local media

Hong Kong firms join forces to make deals under Silk Road plan

Companies will draw on their experience to initially establish infrastructure projects and industrial parks in Thailand and Vietnam

Josh YeUPDATED : Monday, 19 Jun 2017, 8:55PM

Hong Kong companies will form a consortium to build infrastructure projects and industrial parks in Thailand and Vietnam under mainland China’s Silk Road project, the Trade Development Council says.

Council president Vincent Lo Hong-sui said over 40 business leaders from Hong Kong and Shanghai formed a delegation while visiting the two countries last month and met both prime ministers.

He added that this was one of many steps in further involving Hong Kong companies with the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Hong Kong needs youth power in its role as a belt and road super connector

Lo said the statutory body was now forming “a consortium of local companies” to help them enter these developing markets as a collective force.

“We are looking to build infrastructure projects and industrial parks in countries under the belt and road initiative.”

The initiative was launched by Beijing in 2013 to promote the building of railways, roads, power plants and other infrastructure projects in 60 countries from Asia to Europe on its old Silk Road to promote trade and economic growth.



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SFC to ease Hong Kong listing conditions for firms linked to Belt and Road

The council has identified eight countries out of the 65 under the scheme as the initial destinations for Hong Kong investment – Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Nicholas Kwan, research director at the council, said Hong Kong investors were seasoned in managing supply chain systems across countries.

Lo said the development level of many of the belt and road countries reminded him of mainland China three decades ago.

“Hong Kong investors have garnered a lot of practical experience in developing mainland China,” he said. “This experience is unique and will definitely benefit other countries.”

He said the council aimed to close several deals this year and estimated some projects were worth more than US$10 billion.

Lo added that chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had told him the next administration would fully support the council in furthering deals with countries linked to the trade initiative.

The council also announced that it would host its second belt and road summit later this year, which looked to introduce more concrete plans for local firms to enter relevant countries

China offers to make Diamer-Bhasha Dam project part of CPEC

June 19, 2017, 5:29 pm

China has offered to bring Diamer-Bhasha Dam project as a part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reported Radio Pakistan Monday.

Chairman WAPDA Muzamil Hussain told the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms that the project has been pending since long, as Asian Development Bank has declined to fund it, raising objection on its location.

He said, "Currently, no mega hydro-power project is included in CPEC, therefore, the governments of both Pakistan and China are seriously mulling over including this project in CPEC."

The chairman WAPDA said, "Other hydro-power projects including Neelum Jehlum and Tarbela extension will be completed by May next year providing additional 2500MW electricity."

"Work on Dasu project would be started next m

Western routes of CPEC to be completed by June next year

File photo

03:32 PM, 19 Jun, 2017



National Assembly Standing Committee on Communications was informed today that Western Route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be completed by June next year.

The meeting of the committee was held in Islamabad today under the chairmanship of Muhammad Muzamil Qureshi.

The Committee was informed that Western Route of CPEC has been divided in to five zones and the work has been started on all five zones and contractors are being working on the sites.

The meeting directed that Motorway Police be equipped to meet the needs of CPEC.

The Committee was briefed that more than ten thousands human resource is needed to meet the requirements of all newly built Highways, Motorways and CPEC.

It also directed that creation of the required posts and appointment against vacancies on merit should be completed by December this year

China’s ‘Belt and Road’ offers Middle East opportunities galore

June 19, 2017 11:38 am

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (2nd-L) meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (2nd-R) at Great Hall of the People on March 17, 2017 in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang

With an eye on expanding its economic prowess, which could in turn fuel its global agenda, China has been investing billions of dollars on infrastructure development around the world.

The latest pledge of $124 billion was announced at the ‘Belt and Road’ Summit in Beijing in May. Focusing on trade, telecommunication and infrastructure connectivity and cooperation, the plan is oriented to reviving the ancient Silk Road project linking China to Persia and the Arab world.

The 2013 initiative (also known as One Belt One Road or OBOR) involves the land-based ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the sea-based ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’. Together, the routes cover more than 60 countries across Asia and Europe via Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and the Middle East.

Given the scale of the plan (at least $2 trillion) and its expansive reach, the plan offers interesting opportunities for the countries in the Middle East.

To fund this ambitious project, China instituted the New Silk Road Fund with $40 billion and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) contributing $100 billion.

The AIIB board includes representatives from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Further, the AIIB provided $300 million finance in 2016 to expand Oman’s Duqm Port and to kick-start the Sultanate’s first railway system.

These developments must be seen in the context of Beijing unveiling its first ‘Arab Policy Paper’ in 2016, which set out the country’s development strategies with Arab countries to ensure a win-win situation.

Soon after, President Xi Jinping toured the Middle East. By visiting Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt, especially during the height of the Riyadh–Tehran feud, Beijing demonstrated that the region is part its strategic focus.

This led many to wonder if these moves indicated a ‘Chinese pivot’ to the region.

Motivating the newfound interest in the region is the fact that China’s trade with the Middle East surged by a whopping 600 per cent during the 2004-2014 period.

In 2015, China surpassed the United States as the world’s top importer of crude oil. More than half the 6.2 million barrels per day of crude that China imports is extracted in the Middle East.

As a way of enhancing this synergy, the Arab Policy Paper stated that China and Arab countries will adopt a three-pronged strategy – one, energy cooperation as the core infrastructure; two, construction and trade and investment facilitation; and three, innovative technologies in nuclear energy, space satellite and renewable energy.

As a result, although not directly along the Belt and Road routes, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries could harvest high stakes in the project.

The GCC countries possess high quality infrastructure, especially seaports and airports, which could serve as facilitators for the initiative. The GCC countries could also benefit from joint investment in infrastructure projects in some of the countries that are part of the initiative.

Saudi Arabia has welcomed China’s attempt to revive the ambitious ancient trade routes since it complements the Kingdom’s equally ambitious Vision 2030.

Given that a substantial part of China-UAE trade is re-exported to Africa and Europe, which are the core destinations of the initiative, the UAE could serve as a hub for Chinese companies.

For a start, DP World facilitated the first direct freight train from Britain to China in April. The journey that revives the Silk Road is reportedly cheaper than air cargo and faster than sea cargo, which increases its potential.

DP World reportedly operates 20 terminals across China, Southeast Asia and South Asia, which makes it an important player in the Belt and Road initiative.

According to the chief of the Dubai-headquartered ports company, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem: “We will work with the Chinese to prepare our ports.”

Since there are a number of hotspots along the Belt and Road routes in the Middle East, Chinese-GCC cooperation in the counterterrorism and security arenas acquires prominence.

The key, however, is how the GCC countries come to terms with the Chinese-Iranian partnership.

By virtue of its geographical location, Iran is a key player in China’s effort to connect Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In February 2016, the first direct Chinese cargo train arrived in Tehran through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in about two weeks, compared to 45 days by sea.

Likewise, Beijing is equally enthusiastic about the “Red-Med” railway proposal that it is keen to construct across Israel, which could complement the busy Suez Canal.

Globally, the Belt and Road initiative has received mixed reviews.

On a positive note, some view it as a genuine tool to promote trade. There is also a view that “the Silk Road is not only for trade of goods…Roads transfer culture, religions and technology as well,” hence promoting peace.

On the other side, the United States, Japan, and India, among others, are worried that the Chinese project is loaded with ‘expansionist’ designs.

Countering its critics, however, Beijing clarified its stand at the recent summit of world leaders: “In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not retread the old path of games between foes. Instead we will create a new model of cooperation and mutual benefit.”

Thus, despite the challenges, the GCC and other Middle East counties could devise strategies to make China’s Belt and Road an economic, political, diplomatic and security win-win initiative

China: Navigate the New Silk Road" Investor Roadshow: Belt and Road

Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at Bloomberg's "China: Navigate the New Silk Road" Investor Roadshow: Belt and Road - A New Chapter of China-UK Cooperation

(From Chinese Embassy in UK)


Bloomberg European Headquarters, 15 June 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Before I begin, I want to express deep condolences on the tragic loss of life in the massive fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington. My heart goes out to the injured and all those who have lost loved ones.

It is a real pleasure to join you for the Bloomberg's "China: Navigate the New Silk Road" Investor Roadshow in London.

It is also good to know that this event has been held in major global financial centres over the past years. It has become one of the most well-known brands in the international financial community.

There can be no better example than this to show Bloomberg's strength and influence in global business, financial information and services.

Our host has asked me to talk about three topics:

The Belt and Road

The prospect of China's development

And China-UK financial cooperation

These are very pertinent topics. They are the main themes of today's event as well as the focus of world attention.

Let me go through them one by one.

First, the Belt and Road.

In mid May, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in China. This international gathering brought together 29 heads of state and government, and 1,500 representatives from over 130 countries and 70 international organizations. The participants represent countries and regions around the world.

President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the Forum, which was highly acclaimed by the participants.

The Forum produced a long list of deliverables. They are divided into five categories, including 76 agreements and 270 specific outcomes. At the Forum, China signed 85 inter-governmental agreements with 69 countries and international organizations.

A Joint Communique was adopted at the Leaders Roundtable. It sets out the objectives, principles and measures for the Belt and Road cooperation. And it sends out a message that all parties are working together to create a community of shared future for mankind.

The Belt and Road Initiative signifies a new era. I believe there are at least four aspects that are key to understanding what this Initiative truly means to the region and to the world.

First, the Belt and Road Initiative points out the way to peace and prosperity.

The Belt and Road projects can only be built in a peaceful and stable environment.

There are still uncertainties and instabilities around the world. Economic globalization is moving forward despite twists and turns.

Problems such as governance conundrum, uneven development, digital divide, income disparity remain unsolved.

Regional conflicts, terrorism and large-scale movement of refugees and migrants continue to pose daunting challenges.

But lessons of history and practical experience tell us that in time of changes and challenges, we need more than ever to shore up confidence, stay focused and find the right way.

The Belt and Road Initiative offers an answer and points to the way forward.

This Initiative envisions a community of shared future for mankind.

It focuses on the fundamental issue of development.

It seeks to promote shared development and common progress by means of stronger connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people.

It provides an answer and a solution to a series of acute problems the world is facing today.

In this sense, the Belt and Road Initiative will not only promote economic integration and create opportunities in time of changes and challenges. More importantly, it will be our anchor and compass in safeguarding regional stability and world peace.

Second, the Belt and Road Initiative is helping to shape open, global cooperation.

Progress comes with openness. The Belt and Road Initiative aims to safeguard and promote open economy of the world.

The vision of this Initiative is a massive growth belt unprecedented in span and coverage.

It will link up the vibrant Asia-Pacific in the east with well-developed Europe in the west.

It will encourage openness and stimulate growth.

It will facilitate the orderly flow of production factors, enable efficient allocation of resources and lead to a higher degree of market integration.

It will create new and effective demand and build up new value chains.

Let me take financial connectivity as an example.

So far, we have put in place an initial network of financial cooperation for this Initiative.

Going forward, more efforts will be needed. This include:

mutual opening-up of financial markets,

a bigger role for development-oriented financial institutions,

and a stable and sustainable financial security system that keeps risks under control.

At the Belt and Road Forum, China, together with British Government and governments of other countries, formulated the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road. This includes prospective suggestions on a bespoke financing system for the Belt and Road. And this paves the way for future cooperation.

China will also join hands with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, the World Bank, and many other multilateral development institutions to support projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Third, the Belt and Road Initiative sets up a new stage for exchanges and innovation.

Civilizations have become richer and more colorful thanks to exchanges and mutual learning. And the ancient Silk Road is the best example and the embodiment of exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations. This is a valuable heritage passed onto us.

Today, in the Belt and Road Initiative, exchanges and mutual learning are important contents.

This Initiative aims to explore multi-level and wide-ranging cooperation in the field of culture and people-to-people exchange.

It seeks to enhance ties in education, science and technology, culture, health, tourism, and sports.

It is committed to strengthening mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual trust between different countries.

This Initiative believes in diversity and creativity. Everyone can be a partner, whether it is a country, an international organization, a multinational company, a financial institution or an NGO.

At the Forum in Beijing, participants reached a number of agreements on innovation-driven development.

They agreed to explore new models and platforms of investment and financing, and to improve financial services.

They agreed to support innovation action plans for e-commerce, digital economy, smart city and hi-tech park.

They agreed to protect IPR, to encourage experience-sharing on innovation and start-up models in the Internet age and to create new growth engines.

Fourth, the Belt and Road Initiative demonstrates China's down-to-earth approach and sense of global responsibility.

This Initiative is China's idea but China does not monopolize it. It is for the world to share.

After four short years, this concept is turned into action. This vision has become reality. It is now a widely acclaimed global public good.

At the May Forum in Beijing, China rolled out a number of pragmatic measures, including:

Synergize policies and development strategies

Advance the building of economic corridors

Strengthen cooperation on major projects

And step up financial support

Here are some of the specifics:

China will contribute an additional 100 billion RMB to the Silk Road Fund.

China encourages financial institutions to conduct overseas RMB fund business with an estimated amount of 300 billion.

The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes worth of 250 billion RMB and 130 billion RMB respectively.

China will host the China International Import Expo starting from 2018.

All these will provide strong support to the building of the Belt and Road.

I would also want to stress what this Initiative is and what it is not:

China is ready to share with other countries its development practice and the benefit of growth. But China has no intention to interfere in other countries' internal affairs. Nor does China want to export its own social system and model of development.

The Belt and Road Initiative contains no military or geo-political, or geo-strategic intention.

The objective is not regional dominance or sphere of influence for anyone but a family of harmonious co-existence for all.

The Belt and Road Initiative is not meant to replace or to exclude. Rather, it aims to build on what is already there and help countries along the Belt and Road routes to align their development strategies for common development.

Now, let me turn to the prospects of China's development.

At present, China is the world's second largest economy, the biggest trading nation, the biggest destination for foreign investment and the second largest international investor.

This means China has considerable influence on global trade and investment. With regard to the prospects of China's development -- I have three observations to share with you.

First, the momentum of China's growth is robust.

In recent years, China's economy has been steady and growing, with improved quality and efficiency.

In the first quarter of this year, GDP growth was 6.9% .

Import and export of the first five months grew by 26.5% and 14.8% respectively.

A recent OECD report raised its estimate of China's growth forecast for this year and next year.

Yesterday, IMF revised up China's growth to 6.7%. This is the second upward revision for China.

The Belt and Road Initiative will have a highly significant role in many aspects of China's economy, such as supporting the economic transition and upgrading, creating new growth points and building new growth hubs to boost regional development.

On the whole and in the long run, the fundamentals of China's economy remain positive. China will keep growing at a mid-to-high speed and steadily move up to become a mid-to-high income economy.

My second observation: China's commitment to reform and opening-up is steadfast.

China is advancing comprehensive deepening of reforms at home.

We are working to streamline administration, delegate more powers to lower-level governments and improve regulation.

We are working to improve government services.

These are all reform measures adopted in order to transform government function.

We are also working to reduce procedures subject to government review and approval. This will further lower the institutional cost for businesses.

With regard to foreign investment, China is now adopting the negative list approach in its administration. This will make doing business in China much easier.

For example, except in some very limited fields, foreign investors hoping to set up a company in China or make alteration to their companies do not need government approval. All they are required to do is to put this down on record.

China will continue to work for an open and rule-based investment environment, build more high-standard pilot free trade zones, enhance IPR protection, and ensure fair competition.

Going forward, China's door will only open wider to the world. China will continue to be a prime destination for global investors.

My third observation: China's growth has a strong stamina.

China is the world's largest developing country. We have huge market potential, abundant human resources and increasing industrial capabilities.

For foreign businesses, these mean broad prospects for investing and expanding businesses in China. They also mean a perfect platform for tripartite and multi-party cooperation.

In the coming five years, China will import 8 trillion US dollars of goods, attract 600 billion dollars of foreign investment and make 750 billion dollars of investment overseas. These efforts will create huge market demand and abundant cooperation opportunities.

Of course we are at the same time fully aware of the downward pressure and the real difficulties in China's economy.

But as the Chinese idiom goes, "One flaw cannot obscure the splendor of the jade."

The challenges China is facing are inevitable and typical in this stage of development. Considerable steps have been taken to address the challenges and these steps are taking effect.

Now, let me talk about China-UK financial cooperation.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and Britain. It is also a year for consolidating the "Golden Era" of China-UK relations.

The past four and a half decades have witnessed steady progress in China-UK financial cooperation. This makes up a significant part of our win-win partnership, in which interests of our two countries are becoming increasingly intertwined. This financial cooperation has also been a key highlight of the "Golden Era" of our relations.

Going forward, China-UK financial cooperation promises a great deal to be achieved if we can make good use of the policy bonuses, if we can leverage our respective strengths and if we can tap into our market potential.

First, the financial departments of China and the UK have had multi-level and wide-ranging policy communication and dialogues in recent years. A broad consensus has been reached and a number of initiatives for win-win cooperation have been worked out. These bonuses need to be utilized to their full.

There are some examples of how and where China and the UK have worked together effectively.

The People's Bank of China and the Bank of England co-chaired the G20 Green Finance Study Group.

The Eighth Economic and Financial Dialogue produced the China-UK Strategic Plan for Financial Services.

China's Ministry of Finance issued the first RMB sovereign bond worth of three billion yuan in London last year.

The Bank of China issued in Britain the first green covered bond.

Our consensus and joint efforts will pave the way for upgrading our financial cooperation.

As the next step, China and Britain can engage each other in closer exchange and cooperation in asset management, banking, capital market, insurance and pension. Other areas we have the strength to take the lead are green finance, fin-tech and financial inclusion.

Second, China and the UK should match up our respective strengths and use them well in the Belt and Road building.

The building of the Belt and Road requires not only investment and financing cooperation but also financial services. These include agent bank relations, syndicated loan, settlement and clearing.

China is closely engaged with the countries along the routes and the relevant institutions in diverse forms of financial cooperation. The vision is to gradually help this region put in place a financial services network.

The UK has rich experience in international finance. It is known for its mature management system. Britain also maintains close ties with many Belt and Road countries in the financial sector.

In building the Belt and Road, the UK and China have every reason to join hands. The UK's strength, including experience, knowledge and creativity will find a good match with China's strength such as unique growth model, technology and marketing capability.

As countries along the Belt and Road routes open their doors to innovative financial cooperation, this will unleash the potential for cooperation with China and Britain. This will definitely help London further consolidate its standing as a global financial centre.

Third, China and the UK have enormous market potential and we should tap into it.

China is further integrated with the global economic and financial system. This is marked by the IMF decision last October to include RMB into its SDR basket.

China is also committed to providing greater access to its financial market, of which bond market opening-up is an important part. Recently, a bond connection scheme between China's mainland and Hong Kong was piloted. This created more channels for overseas investment.

Here in Britain, the City of London as the world's leading financial centre has always played a key role in advancing the internationalization of the Chinese currency. At present, London is the largest RMB offshore market outside China.

As China's economy continues to grow, RMB will be used more frequently in cross-border trade and investment. This will be a big opportunity for both countries.

So here is a major opportunity for London to become a global RMB offshore centre.

And there are also opportunities born out of the market potential of both countries.

These are opportunities for us to achieve win-win by diversifying financial products, expanding transaction volume, and increasing market connectivity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Chinese philosopher Lao Zi of 2,000 years ago said:

"A towering tree grows up from a little sapling;

A nine-storey building starts from piles of clay;

And a one-thousand-mile journey begins with the first step."

What this quote emphasises is the importance of accumulation. And this applies to what we have been discussing.

Business opportunities are limitless on our way ahead. They can be found in the Belt and Road Initiative, in China's economic growth and in China-UK financial cooperation.

But what the future promises will not come true automatically. Therefore I call on you, business leaders from across the financial, asset management, legal and accounting sectors of China and Britain, to seize the opportunities, take concrete steps and work together for more win-win outcomes.

In conclusion, I wish today's Investor Roadshow a complete success!

Thank you

Balochistan to enhance agri-credit disbursement

Mohiuddin AazimUpdated about 3 hours ago

In a much-anticipated move, the Balochistan government has announced plans to set up a provincial bank, and set aside Rs10 billion for this purpose in its FY18 budget, unveiled on June 15.

The establishment of the Balochistan Bank, on the pattern of Sindh Bank and Punjab Bank, in the next fiscal year, should help local farmers have greater access to formal finance.

Advisor to Balochistan Chief Minister on Finance Aslam Bizenjo said in his budget speech that Rs8bn have been allocated for the agriculture sector for FY18. This is slightly higher than Rs7.4bn allocated in FY17.

Growers lobby groups in Balochistan were expecting the announcement about the creation of a provincial bank in the backdrop of their history of lack of access to formal finance.


Banks meet only a fraction of agricultural lending targets in Balochistan (less than 7pc as of FY16) that keeps the province’s total share in farm loans at below 1pc of the total.

Whereas the SBP is considering assigning district-wise lending targets to banks to ensure judicious distribution of loans across Pakistan, it has also encouraged the provincial government to establish the Balochistan Bank to end local farmers’ financial woes.

Creation of the Balochistan Bank is aimed at enhancing credit disbursement to agriculture and SMEs sector in the province in the first place, officials of the provincial agriculture department say.

The establishment of the Balochistan Bank, on the pattern of Sindh Bank and Punjab Bank, in the next fiscal year, should help local farmers have greater access to formal finance

“One of the reasons why the agriculture sector of Balochistan has remained backward is that banks have literally ignored this province,” an official remarked.

It is not clear whether the Balochistan government will launch the provincial bank with 100pc of its own shares, as was the case with Sindh Bank, and if so where the amount would come from.

Officials in the provincial government say, without elaborating much on it, that they would likely find sponsors in addition to putting in part of the seed capital from the provincial exchequer.

In the next fiscal year, one more important thing planned for uplifting Balochistan’s agriculture sector is the provincial government’s plan to bring 57,000 acres of land under cultivation in Dera Bugti.

Mr Bizenjo said in his budget speech that part of the agriculture sector’s Rs8bn allocation would be spent on this scheme. He informed that under another scheme, also to be financed via budgetary allocation, agricultural farms would be set up across the province but gave no further details.

One senior official in the Balochistan agriculture department says that the main thrust of the scheme is on promoting research in agriculture innovation for boosting farm productivity, introducing new ways of increasing horticulture yields and demonstrating the benefits of green farming.

“All of this would be achieved by setting up small-scale model agricultural farms and pilot orchard projects,” he said.

The FY18 provincial budget has also allocated Rs2.81bn on the livestock sector, the bulk of which will be used for financing completion of 8 major projects.

One official familiar with these projects says these projects include establishment of two modern dairy farms, construction of facilities for a sheep and goat breeding farm, setting up of a camel research and camel milk processing unit, and construction of building for an artificial insemination centre.

Lack of water is the number one impediment to growth in agriculture and livestock sector. The growers’ community was expecting an announcement of key initiatives in the FY18 budget to address this issue. But the budget speech of the advisor to the chief minister on finance did not shed much light on it.

Provincial officials insist, however, that the FY18 development allocation for irrigation sector is higher than Rs1.8bn set aside in FY18.

They also say that two schemes for the irrigation sector have got budgetary allocation — one is related to water resources development and the other on integrated water resource information system for efficient use of water.

One issue with provincial spending on agriculture and livestock in Balochistan, as in Sindh, is that not only are long-term development schemes continually appearing on budget documents but even the ones announced for a year or two are not completed on time.

The FY18 Balochistan budget is no exception. Officials involved in preparing uplift schemes for both agriculture and livestock sectors say that many of them are just ongoing schemes.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, June 19th, 2017

DG ISPR ridicules India over Pakistan's victory

In light of Pakistan's win over India in the ICC Champion's Trophy, the Pakistan Army official spokesperson and DG ISPR, Asif Ghafoor, took to Twitter to ridicule India. 

Posting a picture of Balochistanis celebrating the win, he wrote, "This is our Pakistan." 

He further wrote, "To whom it may concern. Lay off."

Half an hour after this, he posted a video of celebrations in Srinagar. 

On 15th August last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day address, "I want to thank the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for acknowledging me and for the goodwill they have shown towards me."

Pakistani leaders responded strongly to this remark, saying that the situation in Balochistan could not be compared to the situation in Kashmir. 

A month after Modi's Independence Day address, former Indian foreign affairs Sushma Swaraj said in her speech at the United Nations General Assembly that Pakistan should "abandon the Kashmir dream". She further added, "Those accusing others of human rights violations would do well to take a look at the egregious abuses they are perpetrating in their own country, including in Balochistan. The brutality against the Baloch people represents the worst form of state oppression." 

In response, leaders of The All Parties Hurriyet Conference rejected Swaraj's claims, saying that Kashmir has never been a part of India.

Pakistan defeated India by 180 runs yesterday, winning the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final