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Showing posts from June 27, 2020

Pandemic takes the shine off China’s Belt and Road Initiative as African partners struggle with coronavirus

Diplomacy Projects are hit from both ends as Chinese banks strictly scrutinise potential lenders and African nations are squeezed by Covid-19 and economic constraints Xi Jinping’s pet project is criticised at home where many believe money is better spent on economic recovery in China Topic | China-Africa relations Jevans Nyabiage Published:  8:00am, 28 Jun, 2020 Updated:  11:52am, 28 Jun, 2020 Beijing has wanted those Belt and Road projects grounded by  the coronavirus pandemic  to resume – and help revive jobs and economies – but observers say it might take months before that happens because most countries are still struggling to contain the spread of the disease.   Many projects under the  Belt and Road Initiative  – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trillion-dollar pet project that aims to boost trade and investment across Asia, Africa and Europe – are either on hold or receiving minimal works.   Last week, Beijing revealed that about a fifth of the belt and road projects had been “ser


Published   Jun 28, 2020   06:56am MUHAMMAD AKBAR NOTEZAI After two widely acclaimed books on Pakistan, Tilak Devasher’s third book, Pakistan: The Balochistan Conundrum, is a well researched read on the country’s largest province; a region where murky things tend to happen for all the wrong reasons, most unpredictably and with dire consequences. Perhaps this is why some consider Balochistan the embodiment of a ‘black swan’. Devasher extensively explores and dissects the Baloch question from a Baloch nationalist lens. He writes what Baloch nationalists have been parroting, as a whole, about Balochistan’s civilisation, land and history before and after Partition, and other issues confronting it. But the former civil servant of India educates readers as to what the province has witnessed and undergone over many decades beautifully and masterfully, far better than the books written on the subject by our own academics and writers. It is interesting to note that several books on Balochistan

PM orders implementation of 6pc job quota for Balochistan to woo BNP-M

  ISLAMABAD:  In a bid to placate his former coalition partner, the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday directed the federal ministries to implement the six per cent job quota reserved for Balochistan. The directives issued from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to all federal ministries and departments said that PM Imran has expressed serious concern over the non–implementation of the job quota. “It should be implemented strictly in all ministries and government departments,” it said. The PMO also summoned a record of all vacant posts on the reserved seats for Balochistan within 30 days. On June 17, BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal had announced to part ways with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government after remaining part of the coalition for around 2 years. Making the announcement in the National Assembly, Mengal said that his party had decided to leave the coalition due to non-implementation of the two agreements made with his party. The BN

Rs20.46 billion supplementary budget of Balochistan passed

Published   Jun 28, 2020   06:54am SALEEM SHAHID QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Friday evening passed a supplementary budget of Balochistan of Rs20.46 billion for the year 2019-20 presented by Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi. The minister presented 32 drafts for demands, which included 28 of Rs16.72bn for non-development expenditure and four development expenses of Rs3.73bn. Opposition members Akhtar Hussain Langove, Akbar Mengal of BNP-Mengal, Younis Aziz Zehri (JUI-F) and Nasarullah Zerey of PkMAP spoke at length on every draft for demands. However, the house, which was presided over by Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, rejected all cut motions with majority votes. Mr Buledi while concluding the debate on Balochistan’s budget rejected allegations made by opposition members about interference in the constituencies of opposition parties and termed it a people-friendly budget and claimed it was prepared in the larger interest of the province. According to him, it was Chief

NA Speaker revives dormant Balochistan committee

THE NEWSPAPER'S STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD: It was almost two weeks after the decision of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) to  quit the ruling coalition  and failure of a government team to woo the party head Sardar Akhtar Mengal that National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Saturday finally revived a dormant special committee on the Balochista n issues which he had constituted some four months ago. BNP-M MNA Agha Hassan Baloch represented party chief Akhtar Mengal in the maiden meeting of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan which was held at the Parliament House and presided over by the speaker himself. According to a handout issued by the National Assembly Secretariat after the meeting, the members of the committee decided to form a four-member sub-committee under the convenership of Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza to prepare “comprehensive terms of reference (ToR), encompassing all the issues relating to Balochistan”. It was

Why is there so much furore over China's Belt and Road Initiative?

Michael Clarke ,  Australian National University May 29, 2020 10.05am AEST There were certainly questions asked when Victoria  first signed a memorandum of understanding  to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2018, but it wasn’t until the past week that the criticism reached a  fever pitch . The depth of the animosity over the deal shows the extent to which the BRI has become a faultline in the China-US competition. And Australia, economically interdependent with China but a committed ally of the US, finds itself caught in the middle. What is the BRI and what does China want? There is a diverse array of projects encompassed under the BRI  umbrella , focused on six main “economic corridors”. These corridors link China to Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe by land (the “Silk Road Economic Belt”), and to Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Pacific and east Africa by sea (the “Maritime Silk Road”). To date, China has  pledged  an estimated US$1 trillion in invest

Pakistan taking steps to speed up CPEC projects: adviser

Business Our Correspondent June 27, 2020 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is taking several institutional steps to further speed up implementation of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework, a prime minister adviser said on... ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is taking several institutional steps to further speed up implementation of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, a prime minister adviser said on Friday. “CPEC is the culmination and anchor of the great friendship and deep-rooted collaboration of the people and governments of China and Pakistan to realize their joint destiny, achieve their common objectives, and ensure a more prosperous future for both nations,” Shaikh said during a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing. The $60 billion CPEC kick-started five years back concentrating mainly on construction of roads and motorways and power plants to ensure energy security in the wake of massive power shortfall. Within a last couple of

Institutional measures taken to speed up CPEC Projects: Hafeez Shaikh 2 hours ago APP       Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Friday that the government was taking several institutional steps to further speed up implementation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. He was talking to the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, who called on the advisor here, according to a press statement issued by the Finance Ministry. Several matters of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting, the statement added. Hafeez Shaikh, while discussing progress on CPEC projects, emphasized that the corridor was the culmination and anchor of the great friendship and deep-rooted collaboration of the people and governments of China and Pakistan to realize their joint destiny, achieve their common objectives and ensure a more prosperous future for both nations. He appreciated the continuous and unwavering support that China has been providing to Pakistan as a true iron brother. Revie