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Showing posts from September 5, 2020

Pakistani Army moves into the oil business

The army's $100 billion commercial empire covers industries including banking, cement and real estate By  F.M. SHAKIL MARCH 8, 2019 Pakistani flag on a soldier's tunic. Photo: iStock The business conglomerate that is the Pakistani Army, which has fingers in multiple pies across the business spectrum, has now moved into the oil business. Recent growth of businesses controlled by the powerful army has been spectacular. In 2016, for instance, the Pakistan Senate was informed that the army’s commercial wings, namely the Fauji (Army) Foundation, the Shaheen Foundation, the Bahria Foundation, the Army Welfare Trust and the Defense Housing Authorities, owned around  50 business  concerns and housing property worth over $20 billion. Three years later, this number now runs into the hundreds of businesses with net investment reportedly exceeding $100 billion. Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, a Pakistani military scientist and author of the acclaimed book “Military Inc.” told the Asia Times: “The army

Rising Organized Political Violence in Balochistan: A Resurgence of Baloch Separatism?

Format Analysis Source ACLED Posted 5 Sep 2020 Originally published 4 Sep 2020 Origin View original Attachments Download document (PDF | 587.24 KB) Balochistan, home to a majority ethnic Baloch population, is the largest and least populous province of Pakistan. Rich in natural mineral resources and gas reserves, Balochistan is also the country’s least urbanized and most impoverished province. Despite an abundance of natural resources, and major investment through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), both the province and the Baloch community have struggled to receive an equitable share of the benefits derived from these assets ( Gandhara, 15 June 2019 ). Mainstream Baloch politicians have strived for greater autonomy and control over resources. At the same time, armed separatist groups demand full independence for the province. Various separatist groups have been battling Pakistani security forces since 1948 in the longest running insurgency in the country. Since the beginning

Bridge linking Karachi with Balochistan in unstable condition

Top Story APP September 06, 2020 ISLAMABAD: A video went viral on social media regarding bridge linking Karachi with Balochistan showed the bridge is in an unstable condition with its pillars not in good shape and score of piles... Share Next Story >>> ISLAMABAD: A video went viral on social media regarding bridge linking Karachi with Balochistan showed the bridge is in an unstable condition with its pillars not in good shape and score of piles accumulated in the water around pillars. National Highway Authority (NHA) clarifying contents of a video regarding Hub Bridge linking Karachi with Balochistan said the bridge is structurally stable and there is nothing wrong with the structural stability of it. Clarifying the actual position, the spokesman said, the existing bridge is 500 metres long, having 21 numbers of spans, and this old bridge was constructed 50 years ago. He explained that shape of the pillars, which were not looking straight in the video, was as per original desi

Woman journalist shot dead in Balochistan's Turbat

SYED ALI SHAH A female journalist was shot dead at her home in Turbat area of Balochistan's Kech district on Saturday evening, police said. Shaheena Shaheen, aged around 25 years, was a local anchorperson at state-owned broadcaster  PTV  and editor of a local magazine. She was also a student of fine arts at the University Of Balochistan, the  Quetta Voice  news portal reported. Police said unidentified suspects opened fire on Shaheen at her residence in TTC Colony of Turbat. The killers escaped unhurt from the scene. She was shifted to District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital Turbat where she succumbed to her injuries. She received three bullet wounds, police official Allah Bakhsh told  DawnNewsTV . "The killing was the result of domestic violence," Kech Superintendent of Police Najeebullah Pandrani said, adding that police were investigating the murder. He said no arrests had been made so far. However, Shaheen's family lodged a first information report (FIR) against her

Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s top aide Asim Bajwa resigns, but will remain on CPEC panel

Former Pakistan general Lt Gen (Retd) Asim Bajwa announced his resignation shortly after dismissing charges of corruption against him in a Twitter rebuttal. ANI 4 September, 2020 Lt Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa | File photo: Twitter | @AsimBajwaISPR Islamabad:  Pakistan Prime Prime Minister Imran Khan’ top aide Lt Gen (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa announced his resignation on Thursday shortly after debunking allegations of corruption against him in a rebuttal that was posted on Twitter. Bajwa said he will step down as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Imran Khan, on information and broadcasting, Geo News reported. The former chief military spokesperson said this during a conversation with television show host Shahzeb Khanzada and said he will hand in his resignation to the prime minister today. Imran Khan’s top aide, however, said that he will continue his work as Chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, which he said was a priority with the premier. “An

Asim Bajwa Exposé Underlines the Corruption Linking the Pakistan Army and CPEC

With the backing of the powerful military, it has become all but impossible to raise questions about CPEC — even when major corruption allegations are made. By  Kunwar Khuldune Shahid September 04, 2020 A Pakistani Honor Guard at the Army’s Martyr’s Monument in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Jan. 21, 2010. Credit:  U.S. Department of Defense photo ADVERTISEMENT A week after an  investigative story  into his alleged corruption was published on an alternative media website, Lieutenant General (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Thursday decided to  step down  from his position as the special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcast. However, Bajwa said he will continue in his more lucrative  role as the chairman  of the China Pakistan Economic Authority (CPEC) Authority. This selective resignation by Bajwa, who issued a  press release  on Thursday categorically denying allegations of financial misappropriation as a senior military officer over the past two decades, not only weakens

Pakistan and the Belt and Road: New Horizons for a Globalized RMB

CPEC will be an important testing ground for the internationalization of China’s currency. By  Muhammad Tayyab Safdar and Joshua Zabin September 04, 2020 Credit:  Pixabay ADVERTISEMENT China and Pakistan have often used slogans to highlight the importance of their relationship. Talk of a bond “higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the deepest ocean, and sweeter than honey” runs deep. Given the historical strength of Sino-Pakistani relations, Pakistan emerged as a natural location for China to pilot its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Pakistan, faced with persistent security issues, infrastructure shortages, and governance problems, struggled to attract foreign investment from the West and embraced Chinese largesse with open arms. It seemed like a good location for China to highlight the BRI and, at the same time, to take tentative steps toward the internationalization of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB) – two important policy goals. Out of this collective serendipity eme

The Unintended Economic Impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

China’s footprint in global foreign direct investment (FDI) has increased notably since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. That served to bring Chinese overseas FDI closer to a level that one would expect, based on the country’s weight in the global economy. China accounted for about 12% of global cross-border mergers and acquisitions and 9% of announced greenfield FDI projects between 2013 and 2018. Chinese overseas FDI rose from $10 billion in 2005 (0.5% of Chinese GDP) to nearly $180 billion in 2017 (1.5% of GDP). Likewise, annual construction contracts  awarded  to Chinese companies increased from $10 billion in 2005 to more than $100 billion in 2017. Interestingly, however, the American Enterprise Institute’s China Global Investment tracker recorded $420 billion worth of investment and construction in BRI countries versus $655 billion in other countries between 2013 and 2018. So China actually invested more in countries outside the BRI during the period, giv

Balochistan reports 17th polio case of 2020

  QUETTA:  Another polio case was reported from Pashin district of Balochistan on Friday, taking the provincial tally to 17 in the current year. According to the Balochistan health department, a 34-month-old boy has been detected infected with the polio virus in Pashin’s Union Council, Ali Zai. The child was tested on August 19 and 20 after falling ill. The family of the child was reluctant to administer anti-polio drops to the child, said the health department. Earlier on August 10, a case was reported in Quetta where a 20-month-old boy was confirmed with the virus. The samples had been collected on July 25 and 26. The child infected with the crippling disease had never been administered the anti-polio vaccine. It is pertinent to mention here that the federal government resumed polio vaccination activities on July 20 last with a campaign in selected districts after a four-month suspension of all vaccination activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Districts covered in the first round

Iranian smuggled petrol being sold in Balochistan: Senate body

18 hours ago Fawad Yousafzai       ISLAMABAD-The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum on Friday noted that Iranian smuggled petrol is being sold in Balochistan. The Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum, which met with Senator Mohsin Aziz in the chair, discussed public petition submitted by the women of Juman Rajper, Taluka District Naushero Feroz regarding supply of gas to their village, briefings of advantages of Euro 5 fuel and closure of PSO depot in Kohat, details of new and ongoing projects of PSDP of Petroleum Division and present status of recommendations of meetings held on 20 January, 2020 regarding laying of 19km main line from Lower Tope to Lora via Bansra. The case of regularization of engineers from Balochistan working at OGDCL was discussed in-camera.  Senator Mir Kabeer said that Iranian smuggled petrol is being sold in Balochistan and that was endorsed by the members of the committee.  While considering the public petition submitted by the women of Juman Rajper, Tal

CPEC: The corridor of political machinations

The Hans India Update: 2020-09-05 00:13 IST In 2015, China announced CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor), which is part of its intercontinental Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with an aim to expand its influence in Pakistan and across Central and South Asia, as well as countering US influence in the region. Some CPEC projects have been put on a backburner, and some are moving very slowly. The main reason behind this is the incumbent government's lack of interest in the project. To understand this, we have to recall Imran Khan's opposition to CPEC before coming to power. In 2014, his protest against then PM Nawaz Sharif, and the blockade of Islamabad, resulted in the cancellation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's official visit to Pakistan. Sharif even requested Khan postpone his protest so that Xi could visit the country, but Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party rejected the offer. Xi was supposed to inaugurate CPEC in 2014; the project eventually kicked off