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Pakistan sets up committee to review ML-I project

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan has set up an Implementation Committee for the multibillion dollar Mainline-I (ML-I) project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to review the possibility of reducing its scope and cost from the existing $8.2 billion aimed at making it financially viable.

The decision was taken by Cabinet Committee on CPEC, on Wednesday, which was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtyar. It was decided to split the project into more than two phases and also drop some sections that were part of the original plan of constructing 1,872 kilometre long line of Pakistan Railways.

The original plan was to construct the road between Peshawar and Karachi in two phases. The project faces over three years of delay. The cabinet committee discussed the Pakistan Railways ML-1 project in detail, said Bakhtyar while speaking to media-persons after the meeting

“An implementation committee, headed by the railways minister was constituted to identify financial savings, phasing of the project, scope etc within two weeks in order to fast-track the project,” he added.  The minister said that the final decision would be made in light of the committee  recommendations.

According to the proposal, the project should be completed in more than two phases besides dropping some sections and reducing the scope of other sections. Due to change in scope, the phase-I of the project could cost around $2 billion as against Pakistan’s earlier estimate of $3.4 billion, according to the Ministry of Planning officials. The Chinese consultants calculated the cost of the first phase at $4.1 billion.

The ML-I project has a total length of 1,872 kilometres.

The previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had decided to split the project into two due to its high cost and extensive work that requires refurbishment and expansion of the main railway line. The project’s initial cost of $8.2 billion was based on a joint feasibility study, which was not backed by a technical design study.

The cabinet committee also discussed the possibility of financing some parts of the ML-I from the Public Sector Development Programme to lower reliance on Chinese financing.

According to the framework agreement for the ML-I, China was supposed to provide 85% of the project cost as a concessionary loan. The project has been declared strategically important by both the countries.

Bakhtyar said that the proposal to construct the ML-I project on Build Operate Transfer model has been shelved and now it will be completed on governmentto-government basis, as per the framework agreement.

In order to address the issues of under development and deprivation in Balochistan, the cabinet committee also decided to initiate work on western route projects on a priority basis. The federal government would perform the ground-breaking ceremony of one western route road project this month, announced the minister. He did not disclose the name of the project.

The minister also announced that the groundbreaking ceremony of New Gwadar International Airport will finally be performed this month. The project that faces over a two-year delay will be completed with Chinese grant. The committee also decided to fast-track work on Gwadar power plant. The planning minister said that it was decided that the missing link of eastern corridor will also be completed by starting work on Sukkur Hyderabad Motorway.  The project will be completed on Build Operate Transfer model that will help save $2.5 billion,  said Bakhtyar.

The National Highway Authority will complete the design as well as feasibility of the project and award of the contract will be done in 2019, he added.

Bakhtyar said the cabinet committee also gave the final approval for CPEC Business Forum that will be chaired by the federal minister for planning and development.

The forum will comprise 21 members with representatives from government and private sectors. The cabinet committee has approved six priority sectors for availing $1 billion Chinese grant for social sector over a  period of three years, said Bakhtyar.

The minister said that agriculture, education, health, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training sectors have been finalised in consultation with the provincial governments. “The socio-economic development is very critical for equitable development and we would try to avail $500 million grant during the first year,” said the planning minister.

A memorandum of understanding on socio-economic development would be signed to ensure early implementation of the projects. The cabinet committee also approved cooperation areas in the agriculture sector days before a meeting of CPEC Joint Working Group on Agricultural meeting. Both the countries would find possibilities of co-branding and joint ventures in supply chains, said Bakhtyar.

The minister informed that a Chinese experts’ team visited Pakistan and different level of discussions were held at federation and provinces.

Bakhtyar said that no headways was achieved in industrial cooperation sector over the last five years; however, the present government prioritised this field by ensuring speedy implementation wherein concession agreement of Special Economic Zone at Rashakai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be signed by March 25, while ground-breaking would be made in April.

Source: Express Tribune

Date: 13th March 2019

Business Forum established to materialize true potential of CPEC

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said that the Senate special committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has decided to establish CPEC Business Forum to tap true potential of this important corridor.

Talking to media after the committee meeting, the minister said that the formation of the forum was being deliberated since long and now its establishment has formally been decided.

He said that members of the forum have already been finalized which would include representatives from business sectors, chambers, business councils and other sectors of the economy.

Besides, the committee on CPEC will hold a meeting on Friday (tomorrow) to review a number of projects. The committee will also get a briefing on investments being made by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Gwadar.

Importantly, ‘laying of fibre-optic cable along the CPEC routes” will be reviewed after a briefing.

The committee members will receive a briefing from the officials concerned on the “latest position of investment by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Gwadar’s Oil City.

Source: Duniya News

Date: 14th March 2019

Momentum building behind CPEC again

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to revert to the original plan of undertaking $8.2 billion Karachi to Peshawar Main Railway Line (ML-1) on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode under previously agreed loan as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Speaking to media persons after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on CPEC, Minister for Planning and Development Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said the committee decided to undertake the ML-I project on the previously agreed terms of agreement, instead of Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) basis it considered earlier.

Mr Bakhtyar had announced in October last year that the PTI government would adopt a new model on the basis of financial viability of the ML-1 on BOT model so that its loan repayment did not become a responsibility of the government like the previous government which procured loans and built projects on EPC contracts.

Responding to a question, the minister said it had now decided that the project will be completed on EPC basis under the terms that had been agreed earlier. Regarding the mode and terms of Chinese loan, the minister said the final decision in this regard would be made in the light of the implementation committee recommendations.

The minister said an implementation committee on ML-I project headed by the railways minister was constituted to identify financial savings, phasing out the project, scope etc, within two weeks in order to fast-track the project.

Presided over by the planning minister the cabinet meeting was attended by members of the committee and secretaries of the federal ministries.

Originally, the previous government had agreed to China’s offer for a concessionary loan $8.2bn for ML-I project. China did not agree to change the ML-1 implementation model from EPC to BOT.

The minister further informed that the Cabinet Committee on CPEC has decided to launch an important road project of Western Route in Balochistan soon. He said previously no work was undertaken and people of those areas had developed feeling of deprivation.

Mr Bakhtyar said the committee also decided Sukkur-Hyderabad section on Eastern Route through built-operate and transfer (BOT) mode and National Highway Authority will complete its design as well as feasibility study and the project contract would be awarded within the current year with saving of around $2-2.5bn.

The minister said a team of Chinese experts that visited Pakistan a few days ago had discussions at different levels of the federal and provincial governments. List of the projects in agriculture, education, health, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training was being finalised and would be shared with China soon. A memorandum of understanding on socio-economic development would be signed to ensure early implementation of the projects with the cost of $400 to $500m in first phase, he said.

The minister also highlighted the significance of agricultural cooperation with China and said the newly established joint working group will meet in the first week of April in order to expedite cooperation for modernising the agriculture sector and utilise potentials for export maximisation.

It envisaged cooperation in meat, food supply chain, processing and co-branding, livestock and fisheries, enhancement of seeds quality, irrigations system and technology transfer, he added.

Bakhtyar said no headway was made in industrial cooperation sector over the last five years but the government prioritised this field by ensuring speedy implementation wherein concession agreement of Special Economic Zones at Rashakai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be signed by March 25 while ground-breaking would be held next month.

He said the ground-breaking of New Gwadar International Airport would be made by end of this month for which arrangements were being finalised. The Cabinet Committee also accorded approval to CPEC Business Forum in order to create an interface with the business community.

The minister said that a link between government institutions and business community was missing since the inception of CPEC. “The newly established forum, comprising of leading businessmen from different sectors, would work as a bridge between the government and business sectors,” he added.

He clarified that none of the funds allocated for CPEC projects were diverted to any other purpose; rather allocation for other initiatives in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) were re-appropriated for sustainable development goals.

The minister, however, didn’t reply the question of releasing SDGs funds only to the ruling coalition MNAs.

Source: Dawn

Date: 14th March 2019

Author: Khaleeq Kiani

PM approves CPEC-style security force, incentives to spur investment in petroleum exploration

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday gave a go-ahead for the creation of a dedicated security force for petroleum exploration on the pattern of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) security arrangement in order to offer lucrative incentives for enhanced production of domestic oil and gas resources.

While presiding over a meeting of the energy sector, the prime minister also approved a proposal of the Petroleum Division to shift the existing exploration and development policy from ‘approval regime’ to ‘information regime’ providing greater freedom to oil and gas companies in operations beyond discovery stage.

On top of that, the premier also agreed to allow mid-tier exploration and production firms to enter exploration sector besides reducing timelines and stages for processing and approvals for all investors to push for aggressive search and development of local hydrocarbon reserves.

This was part of a proposed new petroleum exploration and production policy under which the prime minister was informed that the costs of imported oil, gas and LNG were “prohibitively expensive and unsustainable” and the recent gas price shock that created a public outcry was just the beginning of tough times coming. Only LNG imports for the current year are estimated to consume $3-4 billion compared to the significantly high domestic cost of gas production, besides oil imports of about $13-14bn.

A statement said the meeting decided to set up a special force to provide foolproof security to exploration companies in view of prevailing security environment in the country so as to comfort local and foreign investors. An official said the prime minister desired further fine-tuning of the revised policy before it could be formally launched with the approval of the Council of Common Interests in second or third quarter with aggressive marketing.

This would also mean more details on raising a special force of about 50,000 personnel to ensure unhindered exploration of oil and gas reserves in the country’s troubled areas, particularly Balochistan, where highly prospective zones have remained inaccessible so far due to challenging security situation.

Special incentives would be offered to operators of existing petroleum producing fields for enhanced production after a certain stage where companies do not find more investments conducive and give up more production – say, after 60pc production of the total reserves, leaving 40pc remaining resources unutilised.

The new policy, an official said, seeks to upgrade Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy, 2012 with the creation of an entirely new exploration zone for high-risk frontier regions with better returns to tap prospects of more hydrocarbon finds and production.

Under the existing policy, there are three zones for onshore, defined on the basis of risks and investment opportunities. Zone-I covers Western Balochistan, Pishin and Potohar, Zone-II comprises Kirthar, Eastern Balochistan, Punjab and Suleman basins while the Lower Indus Basin is described as Zone-III. The wellhead prices to investors are offered at the rate of $6 per mmBtu for Zone-III, $6.3 for Zone-II and $6.6 for Zone-I.

Now a new zone is being created to be called Zone-I (F), covering Kharan and Pishin in Balochistan and some border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with its new tribal districts which are reported to have good potential of hydrocarbons estimated to be over 20 trillion cubic feet (TCF). The Petroleum Division has proposed on the request of exploration companies to treat this new zone at par with offshore exploration by offering them $7 per mmBtu wellhead price.

To encourage offshore exploration activities, they said, the government had exempted additional customs duty on import of offshore drilling equipment to tap unexplored hydrocarbon reserves in the country. In future, there will be the clearance of vessels, drill ships and helicopters without any levy, duty or charges whatsoever including customs duty. This dispensation is extended to all companies and joint venture partners who are party to any Production Sharing Agreement with the government for offshore petroleum exploration and production activities.

The meeting was informed that some highly promising areas like Block-28, Zarghon and Kohlu remained under force majeure for decades but could change Pakistan’s energy landscape if provided full security. The matter had been discussed with the army’s southern command, the Frontier Constabulary and the provincial government and now required formal processing through PM office.

It was agreed that after the initial confirmation of a discovery, the firms should not be made to wait like at present for the approval of well development plan and instead would be free to go ahead with field development and just keep filing updates to the government for monitoring and follow-up to reduce steps of interface and approvals involved and result in the bureaucratic red tape.

A databank of working and available rigs and other equipment required for petroleum exploration would be updated so as they could be quickly mobilised where needed the most once security clearance ensured. At present, the companies were bearing about Rs14bn expenditure on security which would be facilitated to be utilised for hiring more rigs and seismic and exploration equipment after the government takes over its responsibility of providing security through the proposed special force.

Source: Dawn

Date: 13th March 2019

Author: Khaleeq Kiani

 

International workshop on CPEC in April to highlight opportunities, challenges

The National Defence University (NDU) and Obortunity, Pakistan’s premier CPEC-focused firm, are organizing an international workshop to highlight opportunities and challenges of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The two-and-a-half week international learning and networking event will be held in Beijing, Islamabad and Gwadar from April 17 to May 3.

With the completion of the first phase of CPEC by year-end, activities related to the second phase – industrial cooperation – are gaining momentum. The second phase encompasses public and private special economic zones (SEZs), industrial relocation from China, attracting FDI into Pakistan, and growing opportunities for trade through new products and markets.

The event will acquaint the participants with key areas and challenges of CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to a point where they can conceive and implement solutions. The participants will get an opportunity to build a network of key public and private sector individuals both in China and Pakistan. “They will see for themselves where CPEC stands and where it is headed to. And they will be able to rapidly formulate and implement their own strategy of benefiting from CPEC,” according to a press release issued by the organisers.

“To ensure the success of second phase of CPEC, intense involvement of private sector is required. Government-to-government collaboration conceived the CPEC and with the private sector as a partner built the foundations focusing on transport infrastructure, Gwadar Port and electricity generation. Now, industrial cooperation depends on the successful development and population of special economic zones (SEZs), significant industrial relocation from China and accelerated industrialization,” it said.

“Moreover, the current government wants to include technologically empowered and corporate agriculture; social sector and media and telecommunications in the CPEC. For these transformations to succeed, a leading role for the private sector, academia and civil society is needed,” the statement said.

Source: Daily Times

Date: 23rd Feb, 2019

Implementation Of CPEC Socioeconomic Development Kicks Off: Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar

Islamabad: Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said that Government of Pakistan was keen to enhance the scope of China Pakistan Economic Corridor in the domain of socio-economic development and agriculture sector keeping in view the potential of growth in these sectors.
He expressed these remarks while meeting Mr. Du Zhenli, head of Chinese delegation, comprising of experts from socioeconomic development field here at the Ministry on Tuesday. Secretary Zafar Hasan, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of China Zhao Lijian, and Project Director Hasaan Daud were also present on the occasion.
A 13 member Chinese delegation is in the town to discuss the implementation of this newly introduced sector under CPEC. The experts are meeting with federal, provincial government officials and experts to identify pilot projects and its implementation mechanism.
Minister PD&R said, “We have come a long way in defining a sustainable way forward in the win-win cooperation framework between China and Pakistan”. The federal and provincial governments are making all out efforts to realize the planned CPEC projects as soon as possible, he added.
Minister said that in the second phase, scope of CPEC is being enhanced in the domains of social sector development and agriculture sector as bot the sectors hold a huge potential of growth of Pakistan. He said that government was interested to start Pilot projects in these areas with the support of China on priority.
He informed that since the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting in December last, Pakistan side has worked on the projects list as per the agreed action plan in six cooperation areas, which would be shared with Chines team. “Our focus is on high impact, low gestation and low cost projects in less developed areas of Pakistan”, he remarked. He said that priority will be given to projects in the field of vocational training, job creation, agriculture and health.
He hoped that experts on both side will be able to firm up the proposed projects and to set up deliverables for the next meeting of the leaders in April next to further strengthen economic cooperation.
Meanwhile, the Chinese expert’s first meeting was held at Ministry of Planning under the chairmanship of Secretary Planning on Tuesday.  Both side discussed potential projects and way forward for speedy implementation of this important cooperation.
The Government of Pakistan is committed to further strengthen the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, and build closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era. CPEC vision has been expanded based on the priority and government vision for making it a true gateway for progress and prosperity under the slogan of “One Corridor, Many Doors”.

Source: cpec.gov.pk

Date: Feb 26, 2019

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Pak-China cooperation in agriculture to be extended under CPEC

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have decided to expedite cooperation in the field of agriculture under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and an important meeting in this regard is expected to be held next month, an official in Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform said.

The official said that the cooperation was being extended with a special focus on boosting cooperation in the areas of climate change, desertification control, desalination, water management, afforestation and ecological restoration, wetland protection and restoration, wildlife protection, forestry industry development, disaster management and risk reduction and other areas of mutual interest.

“A subgroup of CPEC agriculture sector has been elevated to a full-fledged joint working group and its meeting is planned to be held next month,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said that a team of Chinese Socio-Economic Development experts was visiting Pakistan in the last week of the current month to finalize the projects and their sites in already agreed six different areas under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including health, education, water supply, vocational training, poverty alleviation and agriculture.

To a question he said work on all the CPEC projects was going on in a smooth way none of the CPEC projects is facing delay; rather Pakistan and China are agreed on the future trajectory of the CPEC and timely completion of its on-going projects.

For future, he said joint efforts are underway, focusing on socio-economic development and accelerating cooperation in industrial development as well as agriculture.

The MoU on the formation of JWG on Socio-economic development and MoU on Poverty Reduction has been signed during the Prime Minister’s visit to China in November this year, the official added.

Recognizing the significance of Gwadar as an important node in cross-regional connectivity and the central pillar of CPEC, he said Pakistan and China have agreed to speed up the progress on the port and its auxiliary projects.

The groundbreaking of New Gwadar Airport, vocational institute and hospital are planned in the 1st quarter of this year.

Gwadar Master Plan is being prepared and it is in the final stages of formulation.

Huge investment is expected in the petrochemical sector at Gwadar, he said.

Besides, he said Pakistan and China have expedited the work on industrial cooperation under CPEC and the government has expedited development of economic zones by prioritizing Rashakai, Dhabajhi Faisalabad and ICT SEZs with a vision to make 2019 as a year of industrial development under CPEC.

Source: The News

Date: Feb 12, 2019

CPEC II agreement made with China, says FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that Pakistan has signed China Pakistan Economic Corridor agreement with China phase II, under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government, adding that the contract has gone onto the next phase.

The FM was addressing a ceremony in the capital, where he said that the CPEC project is in no danger.

He said that the next phase of the CPEC will primarily deal with poverty alleviation as the initial phase under the previous government was about multiple projects involving metros and Orange Line Train.

While responding to a question about the ongoing tensions with India, the foreign minister said that the issue has not subsided completely and the ties are still strained.

“In the coming days there are more tests,” he said.

FM Qureshi said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that isolating Pakistan diplomatically is their country’s policy.

He said that it is feared that Modi might do a misadventure as an election gimmick. “If you raise your hand for friendship then we will hold it if your show us fist for war then we will break it,” he said.

The FM said that Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan and PM Imran always said that the Afghan issue can be resolved through negotiation.

He said that improving ties with the US is in Pakistan’s favour and President Donald Trump has also acknowledged the government’s peace efforts.

Source: Geo News

Date: March 10, 2019

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Obortunity and National Defence University (NDU) join hands to present the first International CPEC Workshop (ICPECW), spanning Beijing, Islamabad and Gwadar

Islamabad: With the upcoming completion of Phase 1 of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by end 2019, Phase 2 “Industrial Cooperation” is picking up speed. It is powered by rapidly developing public and private Special Economic Zones (SEZs), industrial relocation from China, attracting FDI into Pakistan, and growing opportunities for trade through new products and markets.

Obortunity, Pakistan’s premier CPEC-focused firm, and National Defence University (NDU) are organizing an International CPEC Workshop (ICPECW), a 2.5 weeks international learning and networking platform on CPEC, spanning Beijing, Islamabad and Gwadar. ICPECW will be held in Beijing, Islamabad and Gwadar from 17th April – 3rd May 2019.

ICPECW will bring participants up-to-speed on the key areas and challenges of CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to the point where they can conceive and implement solutions. Participants will build a network of key public and private sector individuals, in China and Pakistan. They will see for themselves where CPEC stands and where it is headed. And they will be able to rapidly formulate and implement their own strategy of benefiting from CPEC, a unique economic opportunity for Pakistan and the region.

To ensure the success of Phase 2 of CPEC, intense involvement of the private sector is required, and ICPECW promises to herald this new era. Government to government collaboration conceived CPEC, and with the private sector as a partner, built the foundations focusing on transport infrastructure, Gwadar Port and electricity generation. Now, “industrial cooperation” depends on the successful development and population of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), significant industrial relocation from China and accelerated industrialization.

In addition, the PTI government wishes to include technologically empowered and corporate agriculture; the social sector and media and telecommunications in CPEC. For these transformations to succeed, a leading role for the private sector, academia and civil society is needed. ICPECW provides an opportunity to facilitate this change of focus, besides serving as a timely crash-course on CPEC for those players who had earlier stood on the sidelines, and now wish to get significantly involved.

The organizers of ICPECW would like it to be a landmark recurring annual event which the CPEC community looks forward to. The diverse scope, extensive networking opportunities and rigorous brainstorming planned indicate that an established branded CPEC event is in the making.

More Information:

ICPECW is a joint initiative by Obortunity, Pakistan’s premier CPEC-focused firm, and National Defence University, an apex institute on national security, international relations and defence. For more information, please email us at icpecw@obortunity.org or cpecw@ndu.edu.pk; or call  Mr Maaz Qureshi, Director Operations, Obortunity Consulting +923339628605.

Important Links:

ICPECW Complete Information: https://obortunity.org/cpec-events/icpecw/

ICPECW Informational Flyer: https://ndu.edu.pk/temp/issra/ICPECW/cpec.jpg

ICPECW Application Form: https://ndu.edu.pk/temp/issra/ICPECW/ICPECW-Application-Form.pdf

ICPECW Scope Document: https://ndu.edu.pk/temp/issra/ICPECW/ICPECW-scope.pdf

CPEC China’s vote of confidence in Pakistan, says Mushahid

LONDON: Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Mushahid Hussain Sayed has said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is China’s vote of confidence in Pakistan and its promising future.

Mushahid Hussain was speaking to students at the School of Oriental and African Studies at a seminar organised by Abdurrehman Chinoy, Co-President of Queen’s Mary Pakistan Students Society. Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar also spoke on the occasion.

Mushahid Hussain said China posed confidence in Pakistan and invested billions when no other country was ready to look at Pakistan and many countries were calling Pakistan a write-off case. “Today, things have changed and the naysayers are nowhere around. Now the talk has shifted to Pakistan’s legitimate position as a global and international player,” he said.

The PML-N senator said that Chinese investment has brought many advantages to the South Asian country. He said that during the 2013 election campaign energy and terrorism were the main issues, but these issues were not mentioned at all during the 2018 elections as both issues have been resolved successfully through a resilient fight.

“We need regional economic cooperation. Balance of power has shifted from the west to the east, 21st century is indeed the Asian century. The CPEC has resulted into geo-economic concept of cooperation. A dead port like Gwadar has been turned into a vibrant trade port and 1 million tons were lifted last year. The CPEC is important piece of China’s Road and Belt Initiative (RBI) and Gwadar is at its centre. Pakistan is a land blessed with talent and nature has endowed beauty and resources to Pakistan,” he said.

The former journalist turned politician and international relations expert said that there is glimmer of hope of peace in Afghanistan as talks between Taliban and other stakeholders are progressing.

“These talks are vindication of what Pakistan has been saying for almost two decades that there is no military solution to Afghan conflict and dialogue of all stake holders is the only viable way forward,” he said.

Mushahid said that India has always tried to cast Pakistan in bad light and has shown intolerance for no reason. He recalled how India called Pakistan’s atomic bomb the “Islamic bomb” to create doubts about it in the west. Mushahid, who was Pakistan’s spokesman when Pakistan went nuclear, said that Nawaz Sharif resisted international pressure and decided to go ahead with the nuclear blast.

Senator Kakar spoke about Balochistan and said that CPEC would pave way for foreign investment and help Pakistan develop into one of the greatest economies of the world. He said Balochistan is the future of Pakistan and region as it offers a lot in terms of natural resources and connectivity to the region.

Kakar told the audience that India has confessed publicly that it’s involved in acts of terrorism against Pakistan, especially inside Balochistan and its populace. “India’s serving naval commander and RAW agent Kulbhashan Jadhav was arrested from our territory red handed. Narendra Modi on India’s Republic Day vowed to support dissidents and secessionists. It was a confession statement coming from India of its involvement in terrorism against the sovereign state of Pakistan. The US secretary of state also confirmed that India is interfering in internal matters of Pakistan. Everyone knows about India’s involvement but due to size of Indian economy the world is silent,” said Senator Kakar.

Abdurrehman Chinoy, who organised the event under the banner of Chinoy Group, said the security situation of Pakistan has greatly improved and now unanimous efforts should be made in coming up with a strategy that focuses on reducing the issues faced by foreign investors. He called on the PTI govt to focus on the “ease of doing business”. Chinoy further said that on issues like CPEC and Kashmir, the whole nation stands united.

Source: The News

Date: 2/8/2019

Author: Murtaza Ali Shah