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Showing posts from February 8, 2019

The new Silk Road: China's campaign to dominate the global economy

Saturday, February 09, 2019 - 12:00 AM In the barely-inhabited steppes of Central Asia, China is establishing the centre of its campaign to dominate the global economy, writes  Ben Mauk The Eurasian Pole of Inaccessibility is the point farthest from a sea or ocean on the planet. Located in China just east of the border with Kazakhstan, the pole gets you at least 2,500km from the nearest coastline into an expanse of white steppe and blue-beige mountain that is among the least populated places on earth. Here, among some of the last surviving pastoral nomads in Central Asia, the largest infrastructure project in the history of the world is growing. About 130km from the Pole of Inaccessibility, just across the border in Kazakhstan, is a village called Khorgos. Its official population is just 908. But over the last few years, it has become an important node of the global economy. It is part of an initiative known informally as the new Silk Road, a China-led effort to build a vast net

City Of London Keen To Seize Opportunities From Belt And Road Initiative

The City of London Corporation engages and works closely with the government, policymakers, regulators and businesses. Its work includes exploring opportunities for UK businesses around the world. By Xinhua News, Beijing 09 Feb 2019 12:16 Catherine McGuinness is the chair of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation. The City of London sees opportunities for further cooperation between the UK and China in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a top British policymaker told Xinhua in a recent interview. “Five years on from its initial announcement, China’s Belt and Road Initiative remains an incredible vision, and a clear area for greater collaboration between the UK and China,” Catherine McGuinness, chair of the Policy and Resources Committee of the City of London Corporation, said via email. She recalled the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in 2017. That event “truly gained the world’s attention,” and since then s

Increase in scholarships for Balochistan, FATA students sought

By  Haseeb Hanif Published: February 7, 2019 Senate. PHOTO: FILE ISLAMABAD:  The Senate Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training on Thursday directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to write a letter to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) demanding an increase in the number of medical scholarships for students belonging to the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Balochistan. The committee made the decision after observing that the number of scholarship-based seats set aside in medical institutes for applicants from Fata and Balochistan were inadequate. It also instructed the PMDC, the statutory regulatory body, to take immediate measures in response to the letter by HEC. The committee held its session at Parliament House with Senator Rahila Magsi in the chair. Magsi expressed disappointment over the repeated absence of the chairman of the HEC in the meeting. According to the department officials, the chairman was engaged in a me

Balochistan’s slashed projects to be restored

The Newspaper's Staff Correspondent February 09, 2019 QUETTA: The federal government on Friday not only agreed to restore all Balochistan projects that had been dropped from the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) but also vowed to include some additional projects for the province in the PSDP. The decision was formally taken at a two-day joint meeting of senior officials of the planning commission of Pakistan and provincial financial and planning managers. Planning commission adviser Asif Sheikh represented the federal government while Additional Chief Secretary (Planning and Development) Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta, Finance Secretary Noor-ul-Amin and relevant provincial secretaries represented the provincial government. The meeting discussed matters pertaining to the slashed development projects and Balochistan’s apprehensions regarding slashing of funds days after Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, ministers, parliamentarians representing the province in a meeti

Delegation of Balochistan Assembly visits Senate, discuss issues of province with Senators

Shoaib Ur Rehman February 8, 2019 ISLAMABAD: A delegation of members of Balochistan Assembly held a meeting with a group of Senators in Senate here Friday and discussed matters related to Balochistan besides receiving a briefing about functioning of Senate. The delegation was led by Deputy Speaker Balochistan Assembly Babar Khan Musakhel. Senators Agha Shahzaib Durrani, Hidayatullah, Naseebullah Barzai, Ahmed Khan and Dilawar Khan welcomed the delegation. Talking to the delegation, Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani said the standing committees of the Senate were working effectively to highlight issues of different parts of the country. The Senators from Balochistan were not only aware of the issues of Balochistan but also took steps and made recommendations for resolution of problems of the province, he told. Senator Shahzaib Durrani said the members of Senate from Balochistan always raised voice for the rights of their province. He said the road network of Balochistan was spread over

Gwadar: Trade Hub Or Military Asset? – Analysis

Gwadar port of Pakistan. Photo by Umargondal, Wikimedia Commons.  February 8, 2019   Gateway House    2 Comments By  Gateway House China’s ostensible intentions are to turn Gwadar port into a focal point of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. But the geography of the region is a major stumbling block in the realisation of these ambitions and raises questions about the project’s underlying motives. By Amit Bhandari and Aashna Agarwal* China plans to spend more than $1 billion to turn the port in Gwadar on Pakistan’s western edge into a hub of its proposed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). But the investment appears economically unviable – and that raises the possibility its real purpose could be to advance China’s military interests. Pakistan says the port will provide maritime connectivity to western China, to landlocked Afghanistan and other central Asian republics. Gwadar will provide alternative shipping routes for the Chinese. Pakistan also touts Gwadar as a way to

Key CPEC projects to be completed soon: China envoy

| Says work progressing satisfactorily SHAFQAT ALI February 09, 2019 ISLAMABAD  -   Key China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects will be completed in the coming months, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy Lijian Zhao said yesterday. READ MORE:  Sarwar hopeful Aleem will come clean on corruption charges The senior diplomat said  CPEC projects were progressing satisfactorily and a number of large scale projects were set to be completed soon. The Chinese diplomat was speaking at a seminar on “Belt and Road Initiative and China - Pakistan Economic Corridor: Impact on Developments in South West Asia” at Strategic Vision Institute. The seminar deliberated on the rise of China as an economic power and its political, economic, societal and technological impacts on the region as well as across the world. A number of international and local experts spoke at the event. Zhao said China had since the launch of Belt and Road Initiative six years ago invested $28.9 billion in

Pakistan playing central role in US-Taliban peace talks: report

BY  JOHN BOWDE U.S. and Taliban officials say that Pakistan's government has taken an increased role in working to facilitate negotiations between the U.S.-allied Afghan government and Taliban militants. A senior U.S. official  told Reuters  that Pakistan's government has "facilitated some movement" between Afghanistan and the Taliban's political office in Qatar, while adding that negotiations "wouldn't be possible" without Pakistan's assistance. “We know it just wouldn’t be possible without their support.” “They’ve facilitated some movement and travel to the discussions in Doha,” the official told Reuters. Some Taliban sources added to Reuters that Pakistan's "support" for U.S. forces involved detaining family members of Taliban militants to exert pressure on those who do not cooperate with U.S. negotiations. “I haven’t seen Pakistan so serious before,” a Taliban leader told Reuters. “They made it clear to us that we (Taliba

Afghan Government shows concerns about the violence against protesters in Pakistan

February 8, 2019 From news desk of *(The Balochistan Post)* brought to you by *(Current Balochistan)* Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani on Thursday in a statement said that Afghan government had serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protestors and civil activists in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. “We believe it is the moral responsibility of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against the terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective security. Otherwise there could be long-standing negative consequences,” Ghani tweeted in reference to the recent waves of civil protests in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. Just hours later, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi responded – also on Twitter – and said the statement was irresponsible and gross interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. “We reject the tweet by President Ashraf Ghani. Suc

Don’t Trust the Taliban’s Promises

U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a power vacuum filled by terrorists. BY  HUSAIN HAQQANI  | FEBRUARY 7, 2019, 1:49 PM Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the head of the the Taliban's political office, prays following peace talks at the President Hotel in Moscow on Feb. 6. (Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)  In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump  tied  the withdrawal of U.S. troops to a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. For a famously mercurial president, that may be no guarantee. But if the United States goes ahead with this course, negotiations should focus on fashioning a peace deal that can last instead of seeking a fig leaf to justify U.S. withdrawal. At present, the framework agreement looks all too much like the negotiated exit of the Soviet Union three decades ago under the cover of the  1988 Geneva Accords . The Soviet withdrawal brought no peace or reconciliation to Afghanistan, and unless backed up with serious precautionary mea