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Showing posts from March 23, 2018

Balochistan’s missing poor Assad Ahmad March 24, 2018 The writer is a Lahore-based columnist and consultant with a background in finance, strategy, and energy. THE fact that 57 per cent of Balochistan lived on less than Rs3,000 per person per month in 2014 may raise a few eyebrows, but is unlikely to fly in the face of what informed citizens generally know. What will be less widely known is that Balochistan is the only province where this rate increased between 2010 and 2014, and that it stands at nearly twice the rapidly falling, national rate of under 30pc. (World Bank estimate using newly developed 2014 poverty line, back-casted, and inflation adjusted for prior years) The good news for Pakistan’s poor is, of course, the Benazir Income Support Program. Dispensing over a billion dollars a year across the country, helping deserving families fight the poverty trap, BISP remains a splendid idea that needs to be expanded manifold to bring our social protection expenditure in

The Iran-Pakistan border is a geopolitical powder keg The Iran-Pakistan border is a geopolitical powder keg Dr. Lawrence Sellin The Iran-Pakistan border contains all the ingredients for a geopolitical explosion – regional rivalries, Sunni-Shia conflicts, ethnic insurgents, espionage, drug smuggling and human trafficking. China considers the stability of the region so important that it brokered a series of border security meetings between Iran and Pakistan over the past year. Much of China’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) hinges on the commercial viability of the Pakistani port of Gwadar, near the Iranian border, for which it has a 40-year operational lease. Moreover,  CPEC is the regional linchpin of the Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious plan to connect Eurasia, the Middle East and Africa to China through a series of land-based and maritime economic zones. Additionally, the plann

The Bajwa Doctrine: Muddying Pak’s Election Scene   The Bajwa Doctrine: Muddying Pak’s Election Scene March 23, 2018  Commentaries Pakistan and instability are born twins. The turn of events in recent months amply proves this point. It is a country where no elected government is allowed the luxury to rule without the fear of perpetual conspiracy being hatched by unelected vested-interest groups to unseat it. It is no mean feat that last two elected governments have almost managed to complete their full tenures, of course not with a single Prime Minister completing office in both the cases. At this juncture, as the country is heading for the next general elections, it is not yet certain whether there would be a smooth and non-controversial transition. An overactive judiciary and an ever-assertive military seem to have similar agendas, i.e., to keep out Nawaz Sharif and his family from contesting the elections, and to ensure a fractured mandate, where no party would win a majori

India crafts its own ‘string of pearls’ to rival China’s naval jewels in the Indian Ocean India crafts its own ‘string of pearls’ to rival China’s naval jewels in the Indian Ocean Rob Edens says India is scrambling to secure alliances as China extends its naval dominance in the Indian Ocean, India’s traditional area of influence Rob Edens UPDATED : Friday, 23 Mar 2018, 3:58PM  1 When it comes to the Indian Ocean, New Delhi is hedging its bets against an assertive China.  India and France  recently signed a strategic pact opening up their naval bases to each other’s warships across the Indian Ocean. This comes two years after a similar deal with the  United States  and signifies a web of strategic trust to thwart Beijing’s expansion into India’s traditional area of influence. In recent years, Beijing’s push to contain  India has become more frenetic, including signing agreements with  Myanmar ,  Sri Lanka , the  Maldives  and  Pakistan . India’s deal w

India is a Brother, But China a Long Lost Cousin Found: Maldives Envoy China, which looks at Maldives as a major participant in its 21st century Maritime Silk Road plan in the Indian Ocean, has made heavy investments in the nation of islands which has 26 tropical atolls and 1,000 small islands. PTI Updated:  March 23, 2018, 5:55 PM IST An aerial view of Maldives capital Male. (Photo courtesy: Reuters/ File pic) Beijing:  India is a brother, but China is like a long-lost cousin found, Maldives Ambassador to China Mohamed Faisal has said, asserting that his country would push ahead with Chinese projects despite New Delhi's concerns. The Maldives will further embrace Chinese investment but is aware it risks getting caught between China and India, Faisal told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. "China is like a long-lost cousin that we have found, a long-lost cousin who is willing to help us," he said on Thursday a

Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijing Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijing by  Janne Suokas  Mar 23, 2018 15:20  TRADE INVESTMENT   BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE German industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up a Belt and Road office in Beijing.  surber   Flickr   CC BY 2.0     German industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up an office in Beijing to boost international cooperation under China’s Belt and Road initiative, the company said on Friday. The move will help strengthen Siemens’ cooperation with Chinese and international companies and expand business opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road initiative, according to the company’s  statement . The Belt and Road initiative is China’s ambitious project to boost trade and infrastructure investment in more than 65 countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa. Siemens said it had already partnered with hund

Missing Nasir Baloch family’s uncertainties

Missing Nasir Baloch family’s uncertainties -- Shayan Baloch        The cases of enforced disappearances is a tool sturdily used by the state forces and intelligence agencies to suppress and subjugate the voice of the people from Balochistan. On continuity of this policy, which is always followed by the kill and dump policy has severely kept the people psychologically victimized. Nasir Baloch son of Abdul Ghaffar Langove was among the victims who has been enforcedly disappeared on 15 December 2017 from Kili Ismail, Quetta. He is the only brother of five sisters who expect to see him as soon as possible.       “In compare of human beings there live many people in this world. The ones who live as human beings can perceive the feelings of the depressed people despite of the ingenuity of ethnicity and religion. Where and how, the two off-putting questions that ever kept me confounded, have always been the pushing marks from the day I have been deprived of reasonable justice. The misfort

The Hidden Economic Rationale Of China-Europe Rail The Hidden Economic Rationale Of China-Europe Rail Wade Shepard  ,    CONTRIBUTOR   the trans-Eurasian rail product is not really meant to compete with ocean shipping or air freight, but to compliment them. Wade Shepard The first UK to China train set to depart from London Gateway. It’s 2018 and trans-Eurasian rail is nothing new. Freight trains have been regularly traversing the 12,000 kilometer expanse between China and Europe for six years now, as the transport method matures from a once counter-intuitive oddity to a standard logistics offering. Each year, more cities in China, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe are linking into the network -- which currently boasts over 60 cities -- as the  number of trips and  cargo volumes  rise exponentially. However, the economic rationale behind this continent-crossing rail operation is often  called into question , with many

‘Polar Silk Road’: Greenland’s courting of China for airport projects worries Denmark ‘Polar Silk Road’: Greenland’s courting of China for airport projects worries Denmark REUTERS MAR 23, 2018 COPENHAGEN/BEIJING – Greenland is courting Chinese investors and construction firms to help expand three airports, causing concerns in the Danish government that Chinese involvement on the Arctic island could upset the United States, a close ally. Chinese interest in Greenland, a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark, comes after Beijing in January laid out ambitions to form a “Polar Silk Road” by developing shipping lanes that have been opened up by global warming and by encouraging enterprises to build infrastructure in the Arctic. Greenland, also keen to benefit from rising Arctic activity, plans to expand the airports in the capital, Nuuk, the tourist hub in Ilulissat and at Qaqortoq in southern Greenland to allow direct flights from Euro

India asked to review short-sighted approach to CPEC Syed Irfan Raza Updated March 23, 2018 ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has asked India to benefit from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, instead of criticising it. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, he advised New Delhi to review its short-sighted approach towards the project. He said the “CPEC is purely an economic development project that would bring prosperity. India should get benefit from the project rather than pursuing unnecessary criticism”. Mr Iqbal said India’s reaction to the CPEC was not positive and sooner or later it would realise that the project would benefit the entire region. “The CPEC would bring prosperity to the region, including China and Pakistan,” he added. Stressing the need for strengthening cooperation in the region, the minister said the resolution of the issues didn’t lie in tensions and disputes among regional countries. He said India held the key to pea

India key to CPEC's success: Pakistan's new political tactic PTI photo By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Mar 23, 2018, 12:20 PM IST ISLAMABAD: The controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ( CPEC ) project cannot progress without Indian cooperation, Pakistan said on Thursday. Stressing the need for strengthening regional cooperation, Islamabad added that India holds the key to peace in South Asia. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Pakistan Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said, “The CPEC would bring prosperity to the region, including China and Pakistan,” reported Pakistani Daily Dawn. The minister's comments came nearly two weeks after Iran invited Pakistan to become a part of the  Chabahar  project. The invite was aimed at pressuring Pakistan's policy making apparatus to be part of a corridor that undercuts its geographical advantage. Critising India for alleged “short-sighted ap

CPEC to help Pakistan boost economy: Report March 23, 2018 Our Staff Reporter March 23, 2018   inShare ISLAMABAD - With investments in roads, railways and ports, the $60billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) offers enormous potential for Pakistan to boost its economy, reduce poverty and ensure benefits to those likely to be affected by the new trade route, a new report says. The report, entitled “The Web of Transport Corridors in South Asia”, published by the Asian Development Bank, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the World Bank, discusses several economic corridors including CPEC. “The largest economic gains from investing in transport corridors may arise from urbanization and job creation around this new infrastructure, rather than from many more vehicles using it”, said one of the report’s authors, World Bank economist Martin Melecky, who added: “not all c