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Showing posts from May 2, 2019

New Silk Road: US is pushing a false narrative

By GEORGE KOOMAY 2, 2019
Mike Pompeo, America’s globetrotting secretary of state, has been meeting with leaders in Africa and Latin America to warn them of China’s Silk Road-styled Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Watch out for predatory financing and debt traps, he tells them.Close to 40 heads of state attended the just-concluded second Belt and Road Forum. As Asia Times reported, the “BRI is now supported by no less than 126 states and territories, plus a host of international organizations (including the World Bank and the IMF) – way bigger, diversified and more representative than the G20.”Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gave the keynote address at the forum. He spoke of Pakistan’s longstanding friendship with China and the benefits of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said he was proud that the CPEC, the economic impact of which is already proving to be a “blessing” for Pakistan, was one of the first major BRI projects.Khan noted that China has lifted more than 80…

Balochistan govt approves special security division for Quetta

May 03, 2019QUETTA: The Balochistan cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to establish a special division of police force for Quetta to ensure security and protection of people.Official sources said that under the new special security division, over 1,300 vacancies of ranks of Senior Superintendent of police (SSP) to constables would be created and they would be trained on modern lines. The meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, was informed that the security division would have the latest communication system as well as modern weapons and other equipment.“The provincial government will create 1,305 new vacancies from the rank of soldiers to SSPs who will be selected purely on merit,” a senior official of the Balochistan government said after the meeting.The cabinet also decided to declare Quetta, Gwadar and Lasbela districts A area and Levies force of all these districts would be merged into the police department.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADThe meeting also appro…

Experts discuss cultural history of Balochistan

May 3, 2019
Islamabad: Experts explored various aspects of the 'ancient cultural history of Balochistan' during an interactive session here on Thursday at the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa).Professor Wahid Bakhash Buzdar was the guest speaker. The experts discussed the prominent features of ancient cultural history of Balochistan while specifically focusing on Mehrgarh and highlighted and explored the cultural continuities from the ancient history of Balochistan.Professor Buzdar holds a doctorate in Balochi language and has achieved several regional and national civil awards for his academic services and contributions including Excellence Award and Lifetime Achievement Award. He has written 17 books/monographs and five textbooks on literature, culture, and language besides 48 papers for magazines and journals of national and international repute. The session was part of the Muzakra series by Research Section of Lok Virsa.


https://www.thenews.com.…

Aspiring film-makers attend Balochistan film festival

By Our CorrespondentPublished: May 2, 2019QUETTA: As many as 20 aspiring film-makers have participated in a short film festival organised by the Balochistan Department of Culture, Archives and Tourism to highlight the social, political and cultural issues of the province.The chief guest of the event was Ali Zafar Buledi, secretary for Department of Culture, Archives and Tourism.“Culture is the identity of any nation or society. Nations in every age have made efforts to promote their culture,” he said while addressing the participants at the event.All steps would be utilised for the safeguard and promotion of culture, the secretary said, adding that such events are necessary for showcasing the geography, tourism, culture, and society of the province to the world.A documentary on the subject of Dua Hotel and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) produced by Abdullah Badeni bagged first prize during the event. Moreover, second prize was awarded to Zareef Zaheer, who made the short fil…

Balochistan and global high-politics

Shamsa KhalilMAY 3, 2019Balochistan, the largest but least populous province of Pakistan is yet to embark on the road to sustainable peace, prosperity and good governance. From geo political perspective its location is of paramount significance. It is one of the vital strategic windows that connect Indian Ocean with historical steppes, mountain ranges, power, and resource epicentres of Eurasian continent. It would be not a matter of exaggeration that its vast stretches and strategic outpost in Indian Ocean impart to it a geo-strategic importance, which in a may is comparable to the 20th century Halford Mackinder’s heartland. On one hand it provides shortest route to Central Asia region while on the other hand it lies at the doorway of Persian Gulf just short of the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important chokepoint with an oil flow of 18.5 million b/d in 2016.In the backdrop of global power politics, following BRI announcement and China- Pakistan Economic Corridor’s flagship stat…

Worries over Pakistan debt to China are overstated: Imran Khan’s adviser

Raghuvir SrinivasanNADI, FIJI, MAY 02, 2019 Of the $100 bn of debt, only $11 bn is owed to China: HusainThe so-called debt overhang for Pakistan from its participation in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of the ambitious Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, is overstated, according to a top official of Pakistan.“The propaganda is not based on facts but on perception,” said Ishrat Husain, adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan on institutional austerity and a federal Minister. He was addressing a seminar at the 52nd ADB Annual Meeting of Asian Development Bank on the topic: “Is debt sustainability a cause for concern?”Money brought in as FDIReeling out numbers, Mr. Husain said that of the $45 billion total package from China under CPEC in 2015, as much as $35 billion was for financing power projects in the power-deficit country. “The Chinese government got no extra concessions, the money was brought in as FDI and commercial loans were taken by the Chinese companies. There i…

Peru to Join Belt and Road initiative

Peru to join China’s Belt and Road InitiativeBy Jimena Galindo    /   May 1, 2019

On April 24, Chinese Ambassador to Peru, Jia Guide, announced that Peru was set to sign a memorandum of understanding to join China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative (BRI). The announcement was made to guests at a private party in Lima, as China kicked off a three day Belt and Road Summit in Beijing.Peru’s decision to join the initiative comes two weeks after a visit by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who during his trip to South America repeatedly warned about China’s intentions in Latin America. And yet, Peru has been a long time trade partner to China.Here is an overview of Sino-Peruvian economic relations:On TradePeru is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and a prospective member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). In 2009, the two countries signed a bilateral free trade agreement, making Peru the second Latin American country to sign an FTA …

Assessing the Belt and Road Initiative

2 May 2019MANOJ JOSHIWe should not play down the geopolitical consequences of the Chinese-led globalization that BRI v.2.0 represents.Last week, China hosted the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing. This was an occasion to take stock, as well as introduce course corrections into the process of unrolling the six-year old Belt and Road Initiative.37 countries and 29 international organizations participated in the event, with notable presence of Russian President Putin, President Pinera of Chile, President Ueli Maurer of Switzerland, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy and  Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Prominent India’s  neighbors who marked their presence over there were President Bindiya Bhandari of Nepal, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, State Counsellor Aung San Su-Kyi of Myanmar. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and managing director of the IMF Christine Lagarde also attended the event.The first phase of BRI was a…

South Asia faces threat from Islamic State

Oxford ANALYTICAThursday, May 2, 2019The Sri Lanka attacks draw attention to the risk posed by militants apparently aligned with the Salafi-jihadist groupSource: South Asia Terrorism Portal (data until April 29, 2019 and excluding Afghanistan) and International Centre for the Study of RadicalisationOutlookThe April 21 terrorist attacks on hotels and churches in Sri Lanka were the worst in South Asia (excluding Afghanistan) recorded to date in terms of single-day fatalities.In the wider region, other areas in the last year have been prone to attacks by different types of militancy: broadly left-wing extremism, separatism and Islamism. Kashmir and Pakistan’s Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces are highest-risk, with Islamist groups especially active in these restive areas.A growing Islamist threat across South Asia could arise from groups who are inspired by IS and may have fought for it in the Middle East.Impacts Indian intelligence agencies will explore any links between the …

Enemy of Baloch and Pashtun Nation is the same;

Enemy of Baloch and Pashtun Nation is the same; Pashtun leadership should avoid issuing controversial statements. BNM
02'Apr 2019*(Current Balochistan)*Baloch National Movement's central spokesperson in his statement said that Pakistan is the common enemy of both Baloch and Pashtun nation.
In 1947, in the time of partition of Indian Subcontinent, British establishment with respect to Baloch and Pashtun areas of British Balochistan completely ignored agreements with Kalat state and treaties with Afghanistan, and decided to demarcate British Balochistan as part of Pakistan, soon before the creation of Pakistan.

Baloch leadership including Khan of Kalat rejected this decision and during a meeting with Viceroy Lord Mountbatten and the leadership of Muslim League in a round table conference in Delhi on 4 August 1947 Kalat State put this matter in front of them and demanded return of the areas belonging to British Balochistan, including Quetta, Bolan, and other Baloch areas. Similar…

Reporter’s Notebook: What’s Next for the Belt and Road Initiative?

By Zhang Erchi and Wu GangThe Belt and Road "cultural bridge" is seen outside the media center for the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing on April 23, 2019. Photo: IC PhotoThe second Belt and Road Forum concluded in Beijing over the weekend, with China announcing that it has reached nearly 300 deals and agreements with dozens of countries.The three-day summit’s bigger theme, which caught worldwide attention, is the strategic shift in this mammoth program initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013.As Xi noted in his speech opening the forum on Friday, the basic framework has taken shape and it’s now time to focus on key projects and improve the quality of each project.At the August commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi indicated China’s desire to change course from “freehand brushwork” to “meticulous painting,” or go from rough outlines to working on the details.The initiative, which aims to enhance Ch…

Reporter’s Notebook: What’s Next for the Belt and Road Initiative?

By Zhang Erchi and Wu GangThe Belt and Road "cultural bridge" is seen outside the media center for the Second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing on April 23, 2019. Photo: IC PhotoThe second Belt and Road Forum concluded in Beijing over the weekend, with China announcing that it has reached nearly 300 deals and agreements with dozens of countries.The three-day summit’s bigger theme, which caught worldwide attention, is the strategic shift in this mammoth program initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013.As Xi noted in his speech opening the forum on Friday, the basic framework has taken shape and it’s now time to focus on key projects and improve the quality of each project.At the August commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi indicated China’s desire to change course from “freehand brushwork” to “meticulous painting,” or go from rough outlines to working on the details.The initiative, which aims to enhance Ch…

The Port of Long Beach is no longer in Chinese hands

The South China Morning Post reports:A Hong Kong-based company has been forced to sell its American container port after the US government raised security concerns about its parent being a Chinese state-owned shipping giant.Orient Overseas (International), which is majority-owned by Cosco Shipping Holdings, will sell off its entire interest in Long Beach Container Terminal in California for US$1.78 billion (HK$13.97 billion) in cash, according to a stock exchange filing on Tuesday morning.The sale to a US infrastructure fund is the fulfilment of a national security agreement signed last year and is expected to net OOIL a profit of US$1.29 billion (HK$10.15 billion), the company said in the announcement.

Cosco purchased Orient Overseas in 2018, giving it control over the Long Beach port.In related news, today there were several new reports (see SCMP and VOA) on the difficulties getting visas now facing American and Chinese students and scholars. Bloomberg notes (porous paywall) that Ch…

SupChina: Analytical Articles on China

1. No evidence for debt trap diplomacy — American researchersAt the end of last week, as the Belt and Road Forum was concluding in Beijing, the New York Times published an opinion piece (porous paywall) by Deborah Bräutigam. She is the director of the China-Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the author of The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa, among other books and publications.Bräutigam addresses the accusations that China is using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a cover for “debt-trap diplomacy” or, in the words of U.S. national security adviser John R. Bolton, that China is making “strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands.” Bräutigam and other scholars say this just isn’t happening:Yes, debt is on the rise in the developing world, and Chinese overseas lending is, for the first time, a part of the story. But a number of us academics who have studied China…

Arab legacy lingers as Pakistan’s Gwadar grows from tiny fishing town into port city

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Previous1 / 3Many shopkeepers in Gwadar’s Shahi and other markets told Arab News on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 that they have displayed photos of the ruler of the Sultanate of Oman in their shops as a show of respect. (AN Photo by Hassam Lashkari)2 / 3Several shops in Pakistan's coastal town of Gwadar are named Oman, which locals told Arab News on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 is a manifestation of the strong bond between the people of Gwadar and their old Arab rulers. (AN Photo by Hassam Lashkari)3 / 3In this photograph taken on April 23, 2019, an Omani fort used for keeping inmates can be seen near Shahi Bazaar in Gwadar city (AN Photo by Hassam Lashkari)NextPakistan bought Gwadar from Oman for Rs5.5 billion in 1958Thousands of Gwadar locals have dual Pakistani and Omani nationality, continue to live and work between the two countriesUpdated 29 April 2019NAIMAT KHANApril 29, 2019 04:0711020GWADAR, Pakistan: One night, in the mid-1950s, a young fisherman, Muhammad Akbar, and his fa…