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Showing posts from October 3, 2019

Understanding China’s Belt and Road infrastructure projects in Africa

David DollarSeptember 2019DOWNLOAD  Download the full reportExecutive Summary">In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed that China would create a “Silk Road Economic Belt” across Central Asia and Europe and a “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” running through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, on to the Middle East and Europe — programs meant to revive ancient trade routes and reinforce existing ones. Beijing quickly wove these two visions together and dubbed them the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).While seemingly aimed at regional economic corridors, the BRI is in fact global and motivated by economic and strategic interests. A successful BRI would allow China to more efficiently utilize excess savings and construction capacity, expand trade, consolidate economic and diplomatic relations with participating countries, and diversify China’s import of energy and other resources through economic corridors that circumvent routes that are controlled by the U.S. and its allies.T…

China’s Path Forward Is Getting Bumpy

The Khorgos Gateway was once touted as one of the most ambitious projects in the Belt and Road Initiative, but it has come to represent the limits of Beijing’s global push.REID STANDISHOCT 1, 2019A Chinese flag is seen at the Khorgos border crossing point.SHAMIL ZHUMATOV / REUTERSKHORGOS, Kazakhstan—To better understand the future of China’s role in Central Asia, and the world, you need to come here, the middle of nowhere.Straddling the Kazakh-Chinese border, a collection of cranes, railways, and buildings rises out of a barren stretch of desert surrounded by towering mountains to form the backbone of the Khorgos Gateway, one of the most ambitious projects in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, Beijing’s sprawling infrastructure project.Beijing hopes the “dry port” here—where Chinese freight will be reloaded onto Kazakh trains to make the 5,000-plus-mile journey to Europe—will expand land-based trade across Eurasia. Beyond the logistics hub, the Kazakh project also consists of a…

How ‘Bard of Blood’ brought Balochistan to India: ‘Created a madrasa in two days flat’

Production designer Sunil Nigvekar on re-imagining Pakistan in India for the Netflix spy series.Devarsi GhoshAn hour agoEmraan Hashmi and Sobhita Dhulipala in Bard of Blood (2019) | NetflixThe latest Indian Netflix series Bard of Blood follows Indian intelligence agent Kabir (Emraan Hashmi), who goes deep inside Pakistan to rescue Indian spies captured by the Taliban. The bulk of the adaptation of Bilal Siddiqi’s novel is set in Pakistan, particularly the Balochistan region.Following the tradition of American series and films such as Body of Lies (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), a lot of the plot unfolds in locations that are strongholds of Islamic militants. “The references were plenty,” production designer Sunil Nigvekar said. “For instance, videos of camps of Baloch freedom fighters are readily available online.”ADVERTISEMENTNigvekar is, by his own admission, a specialist in films “that are of a gritty nature”. He got his big break as an art director for Road (2002), produced by…

Balochistan continues to be short-changed politically: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Balochistan protest Photograph:( ANI )Nagen SinghOct 03, 2019, 01.29 PM (IST)While Imran Khan remained busy looking for as many avenues as possible to target India raising claims of oppression and human rights abuses in Kashmir at UNGA, Pakistan’s human rights commission in its latest report has observed that Balochistan continues to be short-changed politically. The report said incidents of disappearance and disproportionate use of force against dissidents remain.Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan in terms of land area, where ethnic groups like Pashtuns and Baloch have faced regular human rights violations attracting concerns from the international community. In Balochistan, at least 52 per cent population follow Balouch with Pashtuns at 36 per cent. Many ethnic and religious minorities also live in the area comprising twelve per cent of the population. It is again in the spotlight in the international arena because of the new report titled -  Balochistan: Neglected stil…

CPEC 2.0: The promise and the peril

Belt and RoadPakistan’s challenges in managing CPEC are largely internal, and have to do with transparency, centre-provincial coordination, and the state’s capacity to manage its finances, argues Sherry RehmanGraffiti celebrates CPEC on the walls of Pakistan [image by: Zofeen T Ebrahim]Sherry Rehman, September 10, 2019

As Pakistan navigates changing power equations in the world, and the crisis in Kashmir, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) stands out as the one possible silver lining for Pakistan. However, while CPEC is still one of the largest bilateral investment projects underway anywhere in the world, today its momentum in Pakistan is being regularly questioned. The scale of the promise is so large that it invites anxiety as well as awe in its sweep. With early harvest projects worth USD 18.9 billion already underway in Pakistan in its first leg, the planning by Islamabad should bring much higher infows than timelined right now. Yet it simultaneously tests the Pakistan gov…

Has China-Pakistan Economic Corridor lived up to the hype?

30.09.2019The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been touted as a "game changer" for Pakistan's economy. Four years since launching, its implementation faces serious challenges, and the future course remains uncertain.In 2015, when China launched its multibillion-dollar economic corridor in Pakistan, called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it was dubbed a "game changer" for Pakistan. As Pakistan grapples with an acute economic crisis, experts say CPEC could stimulate much-needed economic activity in the country.CPEC is part of China's intercontinental Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to connect China and Asia, Europe and beyond with massive infrastructure spending largely financed by China. Beijing also hopes BRI will help expand its clout over Pakistan and across Central and South Asia, as well as counter US influence in the region. But four years since CPEC's launch, the project has not really …

Pakistan PM Imran Khan to visit China next week to 'revive' stalled CPEC projects

IANS | Oct 3, 2019, 11:18 ISTIANSPakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan (Reuters photo)
 will be visiting China on October 7-8 to discuss 'revival' of stalled China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Dawn newspaper reported.
"Removal of all bottlenecks in CPEC projects and their timely completion is the top priority of the government," Imran Khan reiterated while chairing a meeting on the CPEC on Wednesday. He said he would soon visit China and meet its leadership to strengthen friendship between the two countries.
According to the report, it has been learnt that most of CPEC-related projects have been stalled for a while due to certain reasons, including prevailing financial crunch confronting the government and "non-cooperation" of the bureaucracy due to "fear of the National Accountability Bureau".Minister for planning and development Khusro Bakhtiar apprised the meeting about CPEC-related projects and the progress made on them so far.
Railway…

Pakistan's army chief holds private meetings to shore up economy

Bloomberg | Updated: Oct 3, 2019, 20:17 IST
HIGHLIGHTS✔Qamar Javed Bajwa has privately met top business leaders to find ways to bolster the economy, according to people familiar with the matter✔Some of the meetings resulted in prompt decisions including sending instructions to top government officials, the people saidNEW DELHI: Pakistan’s already powerful military is taking an even greater role in running the country as the economy stumbles. Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa has privately met top business leaders to find ways to bolster the economy, according to people familiar with the matter. The three meetings Bloomberg is aware of took place this year at heavily guarded military offices in Karachi, the financial capital, and Rawalpindi, a northern town that houses the army’s headquarters.Read Also:Pakistan in the midst of economic crisis, says UNAt the meetings, arranged through mutual contacts, Bajwa asked business leaders how to fix the economy and what would lead them to make investm…

Another reshuffle on the cards

Zahid HussainUpdated October 02, 2019

The writer is an author and journalist.IMRAN Khan is now back home amidst applause for his ‘historic speech’ at the UN to face some hard political realities. The government is in a state of disarray and the opposition is threatening to bring the capital to a standstill. It is not a pretty situation. Meanwhile, rumours abound that a major cabinet shakeup is in the offing. But will reshuffling the deck resolve the primary problem of governance?Over the last one year since coming to power, Khan has made several changes in the cabinet that now looks more like a collection of relics from the past. Reshuffling the same deck is not likely to transform this gallery of curiosities. Mere changing of portfolios and jettisoning a few dead weights is not likely to deliver.This is one of the most bloated cabinets in the country’s recent history, with its huge army of advisers and special assistants adding to an already large team of ministers. The multilayered a…