Skip to main content


Showing posts from June 26, 2018

Iran opens new trade link under Silk Road plan

An aerial view of the Iranian port city of Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea A freight train from China arrived in the Iranian city of Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea Tuesday, marking a new trade link with world countries and giving a fresh boost to the “Silk Road” revival. First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri attended a ceremony to inaugurate the rail service which he described as “very important”. “Today, the first cargo through the China-Kazakhstan-Iran transportation corridor entered the Anzali Free Zone, connecting China to the Kazakh port of Aktau and Iran,” IRNA news agency quoted him as saying. First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri talks to reporters during a visit to Bandar Anzali on June 26, 2018. (Photo by IRNA) “This route is very important, and we hope that our relationship with neighboring countries, especially China, will expand because this relationship will also expand our strategic ties with other countries,” he added. The route is part of a transcontinental r

China's Silk Road trains strain European border town

Brenda Goh and Marcin Goettig, Reuters Posted at Jun 27 2018 08:25 AM General view with containers is pictured at Europort terminal near Malaszewicze, Poland May 24, 2018.  Kacper Pempel, Reuters YIWU, China/MALASZEWICZE, Poland -- When cargo trains from China began arriving at the Polish border town of Malaszewicze almost a decade ago, they were considered a novelty - able to ship laptops and cars to Europe in as little as two weeks, but extremely infrequent, with one service a month. However a surge in the number of trains over the past year, fueled by Beijing's plans to grow trade along ancient Silk Road routes to Europe, has left authorities scrambling to meet demand that has ballooned to as many as 200 locomotives a month. Rail shipments have experienced delays of over 10 days at land ports in both Europe and China, bogged down by insufficient infrastructure and paperwork pileups, shippers say. That congestion is anticipated to worsen as Chinese authorities encourage a f

China’s play for global 5G dominance—standards and the ‘Digital Silk Road’

| Elsa Kania China is actively seeking to lead in setting technical standards across a range of emerging industries, from  ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission  to  artificial intelligence . Developing homegrown standards and internationalising them can enable Chinese companies to increase their market share, even dominance, globally. China’s highly strategic approach to standardisation, including seeking greater ‘discursive power’ (话语权) in relevant international organisations, reflects an understanding of the competitive advantage that influence in this domain can confer. The Standardisation Administration of China plans to issue the ‘China Standards 2035’ (中国标准2035) to  promote  Chinese technical standards across a range of industries. In its quest for 5G dominance, Beijing is actively engaged at this intersection of the abstruse and the geopolitical. It views the nascent and emerging technical standards in new technologies as a ‘golden opportunity’ that Chinese national champio

Pakistan Hides Behind ‘NGOs’ To Attack India At UN Human Right Council, Is Reminded Of Balochistan, Sindh

by  Swarajya Staff  Jun 26 2018, 5:18 pm, The three NGO delegates who attacked India at UNHRC. (UN Web TV Screenshot) Pakistan on Monday (25 June) hid behind multiple Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to attack India and rake up the issue of Kashmir at the world body. During discussions on the promotion and protection of human, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights at UNHRC, at least three delegates from largely unknown NGOs accused India of violating human rights in the Valley. The NGOs Pakistan used to attack India include the Karachi-based World Muslim Congress, Ghana-based African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters and an unknown outfit called United Villages. Given that these organisations are not known, it is likely that Pakistan propped them up to rake up the Kashmir issue at a time when India has rejected a report on Kashmir prepared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Baloch hold anti-China protest in London over CPEC

ANI | London [United Kingdom] | The Free  Balochistan  Movement activists held a protest in front of  Chinese Embassy here against its expansionist politics in  Balochistan  province of  Pakistan. Free  Balochistan  Movement  leader  Hyrbyair Marri  said, "Today we are protesting in front of  Chinese embassy  on International Torture Day as  China  is telling  Pakistan  how to relocate  Baloch  villages, the villages which are on the route of CPEC and they are committing gross human rights violations there. Youth have disappeared and their mutilated bodies have been found in different areas of  Balochistan. " The Baloch, who have been fighting against the forceful occupation of Pakistan, are opposing the multi-billion dollar  China Pakistan  Economic Corridor. Free  Balochistan  Movement activist  Faiz Baluch  said  Pakistan  is committing human rights violations in Balochistan, killing women and children, whereas  China  is supporting  Pakistan  to accelerate its crimes

Hothabad’s Learning Crisis: How bad is the situation?

By: Ali Jan Maqsood Hothabad a small village in Balochistan with 5,000 residents, about 40 kilometers west of Turbat has a middle school for boys and a primary school for girls. About 250 students are enrolled in the middle school. Despite this, the literacy rate in the area is less than 30 per cent among boys aged between seven and 20 years. Unfortunately, whenever a boy passes grade eighth and a girl passes grade fifth, they are married off. This causes many problems for the residents of the village. Recently, I visited the middle school in Hothabad with a friend who grew up in the village and another friend from Turbat. We wanted to assess the quality of education. We found that some basic items essential for a school were missing here. Not only were the students suffering, but also the teachers and the school administration. The most obvious problem at the school was of the classrooms. A small school needs about nine classrooms but in Hothabad, we found eight classrooms whose c

Balochistan PTI, PPP chiefs knocked out of election race

By  Mohammad Zafar Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind. PHOTO: FILE QUETTA:  The ECP’s appellate tribunal, set up at the Balochistan High Court, on Tuesday disqualified PTI chief Yar Muhammd Rind and PPP President Ali Madad Jattak from contesting the 2018 general elections. The tribunal’s two-member bench, comprising Justice Hashim Kakar and Justice Ejaz Swati, hearing the petitions filed by both the parties’ candidates barred them from contesting the elections. 12 of 20 candidates given clean chit by appellate tribunals During the hearing, the appellate tribunal’s bench disqualified Rind on the grounds that he possessed a fake degree and had murder cases against him.  The bench rejected Rind’s plea seeking permission from the courts to allow him to contest election from PB-17 and NA-260 Kachi and Jhal Magsi. “Our opponents are afraid of their defeat in the upcoming elections which is why they have been going for grotesque tactics against me and my father,” said Sardar Khan Rind, son of

PM for addressing issues related to Gwadar port development

June 27, 2018/ Zahid Chaudhary/ Islamabad/ Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk has directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to submit comprehensive and concrete proposals for addressing issues related to development of Gwadar port and fast depletion of fisheries resources. He was chairing a meeting of the ministry of maritime affairs here on Tuesday. China is a major investor in Gwadar and has so far spent $248 million in the first phase of the development of Gwadar Port but issues such as provision of clean drinking water are hampering fast track development of the port. The secretary maritime affairs made a presentation about the working of the ministry and its attached departments. The PM expressed satisfaction over the performance of the Ministry and its various bodies. Giving an overview of the performance of Karachi Port Trust, the meeting was informed that the KPT has earned a profit of 4341 million rupees during 2017-18. Similarly, Port Qasim also recorded an earning of 4442 mi

CPEC 2018 Summit: Reality versus myth

By Syed Shabbar Zaidi Transparency and clarity must be woven into the whole process to dispel counterproductive misperceptions, advises Syed Shabbar Zaidi. PAKISTAN is facing an era of premature de-industrialisation that is seriously eroding chances of sustainable economic development, including managing Current Account deficit and employment for the future generation. It is a forgone conclusion that trade and fiscal policies adopted by successive government since 1992 have accelerated this process of premature de-industrialisation. Pakistan’s demographic situation necessarily requires that the country be inherently designed as an export-based country having a substantial industrial base. However, imprudent and short-term policies in the past have turned this country into a trading nation. There is a view that CPEC will be a ‘trade route’ only which would accelerate the process of de-industrialisation and even if there is some industrialisation that would be similar to export pro

Chinese envoy says idea of CPEC proposed by Zardari in 2013: report

Deputy Chief Mission of Chinese Embassy, Lijian Zhao on Monday said that the success of the all China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects are based on transparency to minimise corruption, media  reports  have said. Addressing a seminar titled  CPEC & Role of Media – Separating Facts from Misconceptions , Zhao said the idea of CPEC was initiated by former President Asif Ali Zardari in 2013 and he introduced the prime minister in waiting of that time to Premier Li to discuss the idea of CPEC. “The CPEC is a national project of Pakistan and it is a part of One Belt One Road initiative,” Zhao said. Dismissing rumours that Chinese prisoners were working in various CPEC projects in Pakistan, Zhao said this project contributes in promoting Pakistan-China connectivity and will support and strengthen the relationship. While talking about the principle guidelines, he said the foremost thing was scientific planning, after which a step by step implementation is required. He said c

Quote of the Day: On Belt and Road Initiative

In many ways, the BRI can better be compared to the American Transcontinental Railway bonanza in the 19th century, where, as Jonathan Hillman (2016) points out, the project became “an unquestionable national imperative,” but the “actual construction…catered more to elite interests than collective wellbeing. Political favors trumped economic fundamentals thanks to shady financing, excessive subsidies and a heady dose of nationalism.” BRI investments may not be as large and consequential to the beneficiaries, yet they may have an extremely negative impact on the institutions of host nations, especially where transparency and accountability regimes are sorely lacking.


Pentagon chief in Beijing with open mind Mattis to become first Pentagon chief to visit China since 2014  / Bloomberg (paywall) “Jim Mattis was set to arrive Tuesday in Beijing on the first China visit by a U.S. defense secretary in four years, as the Trump administration moves to push back against the country’s growing economic and military influence.” Amid tensions, Mattis arrives in China to ‘have a conversation’  / NYT (paywall) “I want to understand how they see the strategic relationship developing,” Mr. Mattis told reporters that day before the first stop of his trip, in Alaska. “And so I want to go in, right now, without basically poisoning the well at this point, as if my mind’s already made up.” Mattis arrives in China; NKorea to be key topic of meetings  / AP “The North Korean negotiations are expected to be a primary discussion during Mattis' meetings in China. Beijing is considered a key influencer on Pyongyang and Chinese President Xi Jinping said last week tha

‘In our culture we punch back’ — trade war update U.S. President Donald Trump announced a week ago that he was going  all in with his big bet on tariffs against China , escalating the scope of threatened import taxes from $50 billion to $250 billion, or even $450 billion if the Chinese didn’t fold. A couple days later, a group of 20 mostly American and European CEOs visited Beijing and met the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, who the Wall Street Journal  reports  (paywall) told them this: “In the West you have the notion that if somebody hits you on the left cheek, you turn the other cheek...In our culture we punch back.” We detailed in  our report last week  a few of the ways that the punch back could happen, including ramped-up inspections at American-affiliated factories in China, delayed or denied licensing, or even a full blown boycott of American goods. China would have to rely  on these so-called “qualitative measures” to match Trump’s threatened levels of tariffs, because it doesn’t import enough goods from th

Yan Xuetong and Xi Jinping on China’s place in the world

Yan Xuetong and Xi Jinping on China’s place in the world If you want to read one thing about China today, this is it:  Yan Xuetong on the bipolar state of our world . It’s a translation by the David Bandurski of an interview with Yan Xuetong 阎学通, director of the Institute for International Relations at Tsinghua University and perhaps China’s most respected thinker on foreign policy. You should read the whole thing, but if you only have a minute, here’s the ADHD version: The international system of the post world war period  remains “hegemonic” and has not yet fundamentally changed. However, Western liberalism  (西方自由主义 xīfāng zìyóu zhǔyì) is no longer leading international norms, and we are moving to a state where international norms are no longer respected. Power will be redistributed around the world instead of focused in the West. Protectionism  and economic sanctions will be the primary means of competition among major powers, as nuclear weapons will continue to successfully dete

Karachi’s Jewish community

KARACHI: Not many people know that a number of Karachi’s landmark buildings were designed by a Jewish architect Moses Somake (1875-1947). While he was born in Lahore, he lived most of his life in Karachi before migrating to England a few months before the Partition of India. Reading a paper at Karachi conference here on Saturday, Gul Hasan Kalmatti, traced the history of Karachi’s Jewish community and recalled their contribution in making Karachi a vibrant metropolis. “It’s funny how [the other speakers] have mentioned Kalhoros and Jatois,” said Kalmatti, referring to tribes who still exist today. “But today I am speaking of the Yahudis [Jews]. The Kalmattis are still here but the Jews are not.” He revealed that historic buildings like Mules Mansion in Keamari, BVS Parsi High School and the Karachi Goan Association Hall in Saddar, Khaliqdina Hall on Bunder Road, Jaffer Faddoo Dispensary in Kharadar, Edward House on Victoria road and the famous Flagstaff House were all designed by

Torture Victims of Balochistan

by Bizen Baluch The Balochistan Post The people of Occupied Balochistan who were forcibly disappeared, illegally detained in secret torture cells of Pakistani state for days, weeks, months or years, face infliction of third degree torture, resulting in life-changing unstable physical and psychological condition. Many of these people have died during infliction of torture, who were then dumped in beyond recognition condition. These are the torture victims of the Occupied Balochistan. The list of Baloch torture victims is very long, and it includes people from all walks of Baloch society, including Baloch leaders, political activists, intellectuals, writers, journalists, advocates, teachers, students and others. The Baloch Human Rights Organization (BHRO) and Vice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP)—the human rights organization of Occupied Balochistan— say that there are more than 40,000 Baloch missing persons who are illegally detained in the secret detention cells of Pakistan, and