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Showing posts from September 1, 2018

Pentagon moves to scrap $300m aid to Pakistan

AFPUpdated September 02, 2018

The US military is seeking to reallocate $300 million in aid to Pakistan due to Islamabad's lack of “decisive actions” in support of regional American strategy, the Pentagon said on Saturday.The US has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on alleged militant safe havens in the country — Islamabad denies any safe havens on its soil— and announced a freeze on aid at the beginning of the year that an official said could be worth almost $2 billion.“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy... $300m (actually $323.6m to include non-Pakistan funds) was reprogrammed by the Defense Department in the June/July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities,” Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in an email to AFP.Take a look: US cuts military training programme for PakistanARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADThe US defence department “is awaiting a congressional determination on whether this reprogramming request will be approved or d…

India’s answer to Chinese Belt & Road Initiative should be a new road map for South Asia

DARSHANA BARUAH 2 September, 2018Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping, China's president at a meeting to sign agreements between nations | Graham Crouch/BloombergText Size: A- A+While New Delhi sees the sense of promoting regional connectivity, it has serious strategic concerns about working with China on its eastern border.Beijing’s growing collaboration with India’s neighbours has created a sense of unease in New Delhi.China’s emergence as a regional strategic and economic actor has reshaped the prospects for connectivity in Asia. Beijing has demonstrated a newfound sense of political will to undertake regional connectivity initiatives, supported by the country’s surplus capital, a shift that has changed the security environment in India’s neighbourhood.Naturally, as China’s influence in South Asia grows, India is faced with the challenge of managing its relationship with its biggest neighbour and competing to maintain its prominence in the region.India has begun to view China’s commerc…

Ethnic cleansing of Uyghur identity by China

IntroductionThe Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the northwest province of the People's Republic of China, is where Beijing and the Muslim World cross paths. The region appears tremendously important for China from a geo-strategic perspective as it abuts the borders of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Russia and the Tibet Autonomous region, and connects the country with the regions of Central and South Asia, while also acting as a security and defence buffer zone. It further encompasses the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, part of the erstwhile princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, which is currently administered by China. In addition to that, the abundance of gas, oil reserves and mineral resources in the region is of vital significance for China for the alleviation of its energy security issues, alongside with the exploitation of the territory for nuclear testing. Yet, Xinjiang largely remains a troubled region and considered by man…

EVENT: The Costs of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The ongoing construction of the multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is hailed in both Islamabad and Beijing as a strategic “game changer” and an economic boon for the people of Pakistan. Over the last three years, however, the mammoth infrastructure initiative has generated growing criticism inside Pakistan for its lack of transparency, the limited inclusion of Pakistani workers and businesses, and its adverse effects on the country’s long-term stabilization and sovereignty. Meanwhile, anti-CPECdiscontent in the troubled areas of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan has been harshly suppressed by Pakistani security services.Who in Pakistan has benefited from CPEC, and who has been left out? What are the human and political costs of CPEC, particularly in the minority areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan? What will the People’s Republic of China’s growing presence in the country mean for Pakistani sovereignty and prosperity, and how can we expect the new governm…

Balochistan High Court gets first woman chief justice

Justice Tahira Safdar will serve as BHC chief justice till October 4, 2019Pakistanby Haider Ali | Published on September 1, 2018 (Edited September 1, 2018) 🔗

QUETTA – In another endorsement of increasing intake of women in mainstream professions, Justice Tahira Safdar has taken the oath as the first woman chief justice of Balochistan High Court, on Saturday.Justice Safdar’s nomination as chief justice of BHC was confirmed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar in July and she will be replacing outgoing chief justice, Justice Noor Muhammad Meskanzai whose tenure ended on Friday.According to the BHC website, Justice Safdar was also the first woman civil judge in Balochistan and has the distinction of being the first woman to be appointed in all posts she has served on.She is the daughter of Syed Imtiaz Hussain Baqri Hanafi, a renowned lawyer. Justice Tahira Safdar was born in Quetta on October 5, 1957.Justice Safdar did her Masters in Urdu Literature from the University o…

Belt and Road: China's Biggest Brand

The Chinese-operated port of Gwadar, Pakistan (file image)BY THE LOWY INTERPRETER 2018-08-31 13:53:48[By Merriden Verrall]Most public discussion of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) tends to paint it as a coherent strategy of the Chinese Communist Party. One school argues that this strategy is largely economic in focus, the other major approach focuses on the political drivers.What both need to consider is that either way, the BRI is actually just a brand. It’s a marketing tool, a label applied with a sweeping generosity to a huge range of projects being undertaken by a vast array of actors – a large proportion of which existed well before President Xi Jinping announced his pet project in 2013.Why BRI as a clever branding exercise matters is what it tells us about what’s going on within China.This vast web of projects and deals around the world is less about China attempting to attain global domination than about desperately promoting, among Chinese people, Xi and the Chinese Com…

China to Use Africa Forum to Defend Belt and Road Initiative

August 31, 2018 5:15 AMBill IdeA man takes photos of a flowerbed decoration for the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, Aug. 31, 2018.ShareSee commentsBEIJING — Beijing’s hosting of a massive forum for African leaders and business representatives next week will give Chinese President Xi Jinping a big opportunity to champion his Belt and Road Initiative, even as it faces pushback and criticism.China launched its trillion-dollar global infrastructure and trade project five years ago, and the policy is now enshrined in the country’s constitution. The collision of both that anniversary and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is providing Beijing with a choice opportunity to link to the two and bring the African continent more squarely under the belt and road umbrella, analysts said.“At the forum there is certainly going to be lots of talk about the Belt and Road Initiative, and as it turns out one of the major places where China is trying to reinforce the Belt…

Strategic implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative too big to ignore

31 Aug 2018|James BowenNow five years into its existence, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) appears to be attracting both new supporters and opponents on a daily basis.Included among the former is Papua New Guinea, which in June joined more than 70 countries Beijing already counts as formal participants in a plan whose centrepiece is potentially trillions of dollars’ worth of new infrastructure investment.In the latter category it now seems safe to locate the governments of Australia, the United States and Japan, which last month backed their often oblique but persistent criticisms of the plan by launching their own Indo-Pacific infrastructure drive.At the announcement, the then Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop listed some potential goals that also served as reminders of perceived BRI flaws: ‘global standards of transparency, accountability, engaging local workforces and ensuring that unsustainable debt isn’t imposed on the recipient nations’.The ambition of the BRI alone…

Myanmar to trim Chinese loans to avoid debt trap

By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | Aug 31, 2018, 10.57 PM IST
Loans for BRI have raised fears of countries falling into a debt trap as it happened with Sri Lanka and Cambodia.New Delhi: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has run into a hurdle in Myanmar, with the host government reducing the scope of Beijing’s loans for the Kyaukpyu Port in Rakhine state, fearing a debt trap.China had planned to fund $7.3 billion for Kyaukpyu Deepwater Port project, but will now be allowed to invest only $1.3 b for the initiative, ET has learnt. Myanmar’s officials indicated to ET that the government wants to avoid any debt trap by accepting huge loans from China that comes with a high interest rate.The project’s original plan was to construct 10 berths for large oil tankers in the deep-water port, but it has now been whittled down to two.
The Chinese foreign ministry though has claimed that negotiations are still on. The primary developer, China CITIC Group, claims that the $1.3 billion is for …

Is China’s Belt and Road plan a debt trap?

FRANK CHINGSPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAILPUBLISHED 4 HOURS AGOUPDATED AUGUST 31, 2018Frank Ching is a Hong-Kong based journalist.Beijing’s ambitious development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative, which involves land and sea connections from China to Europe, linking dozens of countries on three continents, is enthralling in its scope.Presented in 2013 as a project that will stimulate economies and enhance trade, it will also significantly heighten China’s own geopolitical status. As Henry Kissinger has said, the Belt and Road Initiative “is a quest to shift the world’s centre of gravity.”STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENTChina recently announced that it has invested more than US$60-billion in countries along the Belt and Road since 2013. In 2017, direct investment reached US$14.36-billion, or 12 per cent of China’s total outbound investment.More than 100 countries and international organizations have signed agreements of co-operation with China on developing the Belt and Road.Whil…

Could China replace the IMF?

By Waqas Aslam RanaPublished: September 1, 2018
The possibility of Chinese financial assistance expands Pakistan’s menu of choices, in comparison with the past when the IMF was the only option. PHOTO:FILEIn his first address to the nation as Prime Minister, Imran Khan singled out growing debt as one of Pakistan’s fundamental economic challenges and reiterated his personal aversion to the proverbial ‘begging bowl’. This was a thinly veiled reference to Pakistan’s historic reliance on, some would say addiction to, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a source of borrowing.Employing such rhetoric is a rite of passage for every new government, blaming the previous one for handing over a struggling economy. In doing so, newly-elected leaders hope to limit the political fallout from tough decisions they know are unavoidable. And the toughest decision facing Prime Minister Khan and his economic team right now is how to avert a looming balance-of-payments crisis.According to the State Bank…

Balochistan’s resources belongs to Baloch people.— BNC

August 31, 2018PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C —  Balochistan’s resources belong to Baloch people and Pakistan and China have no right to loot and plunder and exploit the Balochistan’s resources against the will and consent of Baloch people”, said Dr. Wahid Baloch, the President of Balochistan National Congress (BNC), a Premier Baloch body based in Washington, D.C.,  in a statement.Balochistan, an Independent State, was forcefully occupied in 1948 by the Pakistan’s army and annexed into Pakistan against the Baloch people’s will and mandate. Since then Pakistan’s occupying forces are busy in loot and plunder of Balochistan’s rich natural resources at gun point and now Chinese has also joined Pakistan to exploit and rob the Balochistan’s resources too.We ask the world community to stop Pakistan and China from looting and plundering the Balochistan’s resources until Balochistan’s status as an independent and free State is restored and Baloch people are able to decide …