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Showing posts from February 28, 2020

Poisoned gifts to Nepal from China

Asia Times

The beneficiaries of China’s apparent largesse are expected to demonstrate simpering gratitude By NEVILLE SARONYFEBRUARY 29, 2020
“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” – that was Laocoon’s warning in relation to the wooden horse, packed with soldiers, that the Greeks tricked the Trojans into taking into their besieged city.Put another way, it is prudent to ask why someone makes a gift of something to you for no apparent reason.The people of Nepal do need to ponder this question in the light of the assistance that China is giving, for example, in the form of restoring temples destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.The relationship of donor and recipient in the sphere of foreign aid is rife for exploitation by the party making the donation. It creates an unequal distribution of power.Only the most naïve of politicians would regard foreign aid as entirely altruistic. Regrettably, Nepal has a long history of such innocents.Ever since the country overthrew the Rana family oligarchy, it has be…

Pakistan Military's Constructive rolemin Balochistan

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province as well as its most backward. Subsequent governments have ignored Balochistan at their own peril. The province is rich in minerals, has a 771 kilometers long coastline and lies at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz. Its strategic location and being the shortest route from seaports to Central Asia, has placed the otherwise desolate region in the scope of competing for global interests for all of recorded history. China’s developing the Gwadar Port and launching the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has focused international attention to the province.Since the partition of India in 1947 and accession of the princely state to Pakistan, the region has been in a state of turmoil. Various elements have stoked the fires of separatism and insurgency kept the province in a state of unrest. The callous attitude of numerous political governments both at the center and in the province have ignored Balochistan for decades. The provincial governments …

Pakistan allows 300 pilgrims to enter Balochistan from Iran

SAMAA |  - Posted: Feb 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 9 hours ago
File photo: AFP Around 300 Pakistanis, who were stuck in Iran amid the coronavirus outbreak, have been given permission to enter Pakistan from Taftan border, an official of the Balochistan government confirmed Friday.Liaquat Shahwani, the spokesperson for the provincial government, told SAMAA TV that around 5,000 Pakistani pilgrims are currently in Iran and 300 of them were allowed to leave by the Iranian government.He added that the pilgrims will undergo screening process and will spend 10 days in quarantine.A Balochistan government official said that more pilgrims will be allowed to enter Pakistan later in phases.Sindh, Balochistant to share data of pilgrimsThe Sindh government and the government of Balochistan have agreed to share the details of 7,000 to 8,000 passengers coming from Iran via Taftan border so they could be screened.This was decided during a meeting of the Coronavirus taskforce meeting at Sindh …

Ban on new constructions lifted in Gwadar after four years

GWADAR: An around four-year-old ban on issuance of no-objection certificates (NOCs) for any kind of construction and development activities in Gwadar was on Friday lifted with immediate effect.The director general of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) lifted the ban that was imposed during the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government at the centre.A notification issued in this regard reads: “In exercise of powers conferred under Section 9 of the GDA Act 2003, and with the prior approval of the competent authority, it is hereby notified that the ban on all kinds of NOCs for housing, commercial, industrial, recreational, warehouses and all types of construction and development activities within the jurisdiction of Gwadar Development Autho­rity is here lifted with immediate effect.” In 2016, the GDA had imposed the ban initially for a period of six months on the grounds that it was in the process of revision of the Gwadar master plan as a “smart port city master p…

Connecting the Blue Dots

February 26, 2020The photo of planet Earth from distant space that Carl Sagan made famous—“the pale blue dot”—turned thirty this month. The popular astronomer might be flattered, or puzzled, to have inspired an effort today by the United States and two of its allies to promote high-quality global infrastructure: the Blue Dot Network (BDN). The initiative holds promise and should be encouraged, but it also raises nearly as many questions as the cosmos.The BDN was announced by the United States, Japan, and Australia in November 2019 at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Thailand. Together, the three allies aim to certify infrastructure projects around the world that meet high standards of transparency, sustainability, and developmental impact. They seek to accomplish for “quality infrastructure” what Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has accomplished with energy efficiency in buildings or the Forest Stewardship Council has accomplished with certified logging. …

Pakistan says US invited to invest in CPEC

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's adviser on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday said the government made the offer during a meeting with the US trade delegation led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday, The Express Tribune report...By PTI | Updated: Feb 28, 2020, 04.01 PM IS BCCL Sharing details of the meeting, Dawood said the US officials have also expressed interest in promoting e-commerce. Islamabad: In an interesting move, cash-strapped Pakistan has invited the US to join the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an ambitious infrastructure project looked with suspicion by the Trump administration for being non-transparent.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's adviser on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday said the government made the offer during a meeting with the US trade delegation led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday, The Express Tribune reported.
Interestingly last month, senior US diplomat Alice Wells said that …

How China Is Losing Support For Its Belt And Road Initiative

Wade ShepardContributor Workers take down a Belt and Road Forum panelGREG BAKER/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is nothing if not vague. Is it a blanket term for all Chinese overseas economic, social and political activities? Is it a specific set of coordinated policy that’s exclusive to Beijing-led international endeavors? What projects are officially Belt and Road? Where do the corridors actually go? What countries are truly participating? Nearly seven years into the initiative, we are still asking these questions as Beijing attempts to wrangle back its message from private firms and enterprising governments that have unscrupulously been using the Belt and Road brand for their own gains, dragging its reputation through the proverbial mud and putting the future of the initiative in jeopardy. The Belt and Road was announced in 2013 as an economic development initiative that would create new trade corridors across Asia, Europe and Africa, positioning …

Corona at the gates

TBP Editorial*
The first case appearing in Wuhan city of China, the disease caused by COVID-19 virus from the family of viruses known as Corona has spread across half of the world, killing 2700 and infecting around 80 thousand only in mainland China.
However, the spread of the virus looks borderless; it has now penetrated in more than 30 countries in the world. According to recent reports, among virus affected countries in the Middle-East, Iran has suffered the most with 24 deaths and more than a hundred infected including the Deputy Prime minister Masoumeh Ebtekar and Deputy Health Minister of Iran Mr. Iraj Harirchi.
Observing the conditions in Iran, it is feared that the virus can reach Balochistan through its 954 kilometers long porous borders. As a precaution, Balochistan government has closed the transport across the borders and shut down crossing points in 5 districts of Balochistan which include Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgoor, Washuk, and Chaghi.
However, concerns are intact if Balochis…