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Besides infrastructure, manufacturing industry needs big investment

Source: The Express Tribune
Writer: Umer Khayyam
Date: December 10, 2018

The mega Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by China, comprises one axis and two wings. The axis is composed of 15 countries mostly neighbouring China and aids Chinese influence across continents. The two wings are spread over 24 countries across continents.

The BRI is aimed at connecting countries in the region and beyond through trade facilitation and other measures. However, the development of a broad-based transport network is the sine qua non for such connectivity.

Hence, a new array of highways attracted $11 billion out of the $46 billion initially promised by Beijing for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. The transport infrastructure development accounts for 24% of the CPEC investment, covering roads, highways and railways from the Khunjerab Pass to Gwadar Port.

This long transport passage has been designed to also facilitate energy projects through coal transportation, but the transportation network is mainly targeted at markets of the Middle East and Europe. It will ensure a smooth flow of Chinese goods to international markets. In the meantime, Pakistan is trying to persuade other neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey to join CEPC. Simultaneously, the eastern part of the BRI is being facilitated by Malaysia.

Likewise CPEC and other major investments in Pakistan, China has made huge capital injection into Malaysia. Till 2008, China’s investment accounted for just 0.08% of the total foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malaysia.

However, in 2016, the Chinese investment rose massively and touched the level of 14.4%. Most of the investment from China went to infrastructure development like the East Coast Rail Link and the Kuantan Port. The investment will help provide easy market access across Malaysia.

Non-manufacturing sector

The huge investment in the non-manufacturing sector comes in the wake of developing countries’ heavy reliance on the strong economies. As the developing countries are short of resources, they open their economies for the FDI but with little say in such investment plans.

Although the investing economies target neglected sectors of the recipient economies, still in this process they improve their supply chain to the world market.

These pose a great challenge to goods and services producers of the developing countries both in local and international markets. Malaysia has already experienced difficulties as demand for its goods and services has gone down because imported goods are cheaper and are easily available.

In the same way, Pakistan could face the challenge of competing with goods and services of China.

Apart from this, though infrastructure investment provides employment to locals with handsome remunerations, it is not known what will happen to these jobs when projects are completed. Also, all such investments are non-productive and are based on loans with guarantees from the state.

If the state fails to return the loans, the consequences may be difficult to bear. An example is Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, where the state could not return Chinese loans and then the port was handed over to Beijing on a 99-year lease.

However, there is no doubt that CPEC is a game changer. It addresses core problems of Pakistan like energy shortage, dearth of infrastructure and financing as well as underdeveloped areas. It will lead to the promotion of small and medium enterprises and uninterrupted energy supply will help large-scale manufacturing companies to compete at the global level.

Also, the road and railway infrastructure will support the development of backward areas and bridge the rural-urban divide. CPEC will create an environment for regional integration, help build trust among regional emerging economies and provide Pakistan with a platform to improve its image in the international arena.

However, there is a strong need to revise plans in order to invest more, without any impact on infrastructure investment, in the manufacturing sector, which will create more employment opportunities and promote emerging industries. This way, Pakistan’s economy will strengthen and a strong neighbouring country is in the interest of China as well.

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PN celebrates 60th Gwadar Day

Source: The Express Tribune
Date: December 09, 2018

KARACHI.: Pakistan Navy celebrated 60th Gwadar Day with zeal and fervor on Saturday.

Various ceremonies were held in Gwadar under the auspices of Pakistan Navy to celebrate the day and to rejuvenate the spirit of nationalism amongst the local populace.

The main ceremony of the day was held at PN establishment PNS Akram where former naval chief Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey was the chief guest.

Flag hoisting ceremony was held at PNS Akram followed by boat race, boat rallies and friendly football matches amongst the locals under the auspices of Pakistan Navy.

The celebrations were aimed at revival of history among locals, creating healthy environment and enhancement of national harmony among various local communities.

Gwadar Day is celebrated on December 8th every year to mark annexation of Gwadar with Pakistan in 1958. Gwadar was in possession of Oman since 1783 and was formally handed over to Pakistan in 1958. A naval platoon led by then Lt Iftikhar Ahmed Sirohey was the first to land at Gwadar and raise Pakistan’s flag there.

Being one of the first government organisations at Gwadar, Pakistan Navy has always been cognisant of its responsibilities pertaining to the area and its people and has always been committed to the development of the region.

Pakistan Navy’s role in health and education sector of coastal areas of Balochistan specially Gwadar and its efforts for making China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a reality are a manifestation of its commitment towards the region.

A huge number of locals participated in events arranged by PN while a number of local notables also attended the ceremonies.

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Joint committee on CPEC to ink industrial framework agreement on Dec 20

Source: Dawn
Date: December 08, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Coordin­ation Committee (JCC) of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will meet on December 20 in Beijing to sign a framework agreement on industrial cooperation and pave the way for development of special economic zones starting with Rashakai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to an official announcement, the Cabinet Committee on CPEC met on Friday and gave the go-ahead to sign industrial cooperation framework with China and encourage Chinese investors to relocate their industries. The meeting was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.

An official said a final version of the framework agreement on industrial cooperation had been shared with the Chinese side. He said all the four provincial chief ministers, prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and chief executive of Gilgit-Baltistan would be part of the Pakistani delegation. The Pakistani side will attend the 8th JCC led by federal planning minister.

The committee also issued instructions to relevant agencies to finalise a schedule for the groundbreaking of Rashakai Economic Zone at the earliest by removing all bottlenecks. The KP government has already entered into an agreement with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) for the development of Rashakai Industrial Zone in two years. The two sides, he said, would formally launch the Rashakai development project under which the Chinese firm would simultaneously launch a marketing campaign to attract investors.

The sources said the two sides are also expected to announce the financial close of $1.8 billion Lahore-Matiari Transmission Line and a Thar coal-based power project during the JCC meeting. The government had allowed in April this year an extension of 6-7 months in the deadline for financial close of these projects i.e. until Dec 1, 2018 which meant the projects would be required to achieve commercial operations by March 2021 instead of previous deadline of Aug 1, 2020.

Responding to a question, sources said the two sides have not yet finalised the financing plan for the $8.bn Karachi-Torkham Main Railway Line (ML-1) and were still in the process of discussions on involvement of a third party investor in the project.

“The committee discussed Transport Infrastructure Projects in detail including provincial as well as mass transit projects and instructed for developing a roadmap for Pakistan’s Railway Mainline-1,” the statement said.

The conveners of the Joint Working Groups on Energy, Infrastructure, Gwadar, Planning and Industrial Cooperation briefed the committee about the agenda of the forthcoming 8th JCC which was approved by Cabinet Committee on CPEC.

The committee expressed satisfaction over inviting all provincial chief ministers to participate in the JCC that would enable them to market their own industrial zones as well as negotiate their projects particularly new initiatives in the socio-economic development sector.

The meeting advised relevant agencies and provinces to identify pilot projects to be shared with the Chinese side so as to take advantage of the expanded base of CPEC to socio-economic development and agriculture sector.

The committee reviewed the progress on Gwadar projects. Completion of all codal formalities was directed for groundbreaking of Gwadar New Airport, Vocational Institute, Hospital, and 300 MW Power Plant not later than the first quarter of 2019.

It was decided to seek finances from China for the KKH Thakot-Raikot (remaining portion) and upgradation of Dera Ismail Khan-Zhob (Phase-1) project on the Western Route.

Mr Bakhtyar said the projects on the Western Route were a priority of the government that would open and ensure uplift of less developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The Cabinet Committee on CPEC reviewed progress on energy projects and instructed for encouraging investment in Thar Coal and renewable projects in the future.

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BRI and CPEC beyond reproach

Source: The Nation
Writer:Malik Muhammad Ashraf
Date: December 07, 2018

The visionary initiative of BRI and CPEC by China is probably the most discussed subject around the globe and in spite of its criticism by the USA and some other detractors there seems a consensus about the transformational role of both these mega-economic undertakings. An action plan jointly issued by China’s National Development and Reform Commission in conjunction with China’s Foreign Ministry and Commerce Ministry on 28th March 2014 narrated the objectives of this grandiose initiative in these worlds “ It is aimed at promoting orderly and free flow of economic factors, highly efficient allocation of resources ad deep integration of markets, encouraging the countries along the Belt and Road to achieve economic policy coordination and carry out broader and more in-depth regional cooperation of higher standards and jointly creating an open, inclusive and balanced regional economic cooperation architecture that benefits all”. It clearly enunciated partnership premised on the idea of sharing the benefits among the countries under the umbrella of BRI and CPEC.

Impressed by the scope and the likely economic impact of the initiative on the regional and global economy, even UK and some other countries have indicated their interest in becoming part of the scheme. At the same time a persistent campaign by the countries and elements inimical to BRI and CPEC has also been going on with the often professed claim that the participating countries will ultimately become debt slaves of China like Sri Lanka. Spurning of Chinese loans by Malaysia is also preferred as an argument in support of their claims. Even in Pakistan certain lobbies have also been supporting that argument and expressing reservations about economic benefits of CPEC.

Nevertheless the fact remains that the transformational role of both BRI and CPEC in lifting the economic profile of the region and is beyond reproach. World Bank’s director Macroeconomic, Trade and Investment Caroline Freund addressing SDPI Conference in Islamabad the other day that BRI and CPEC were playing important role for promoting intra-regional trade by building infrastructure. On the debt burden said “we are concluding a detailed study about BRI but our initial assessment shows that debt has not become major problem for loan recipient countries under this mega initiative. It stands at around 5 per cent of total loan portfolios of 71 countries of BRI” The Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Lijian Zhao informed the audience that the misconception of debt trap levelled against BRI proved a lie through the work done by the World Bank. He revealed that BRI had generated 200000 jobs out of which 75000 were created in Pakistan through CPEC adding that Pakistan was the largest recipient of FDI from China and the largest trading partner with the help of CPEC.

The foregoing observations are irrefutable realities. As far as Chinese loans to Pakistan are concerned they constitute only 6.3 per cent of its total debt liabilities and therefore belie the argument of the detractors and the US that the current economic crisis was attributable to the growing Chinese loans. It is pertinent to point out that most of the CPEC projects, particularly pertaining to energy sector with an estimated cost of $ 34 billion are direct investment with no debt liability at all. The loans given on the infrastructure projects were advanced on much lower the rates charged by the international lending agencies. It is estimated that more than 3000 MW of electricity has already been added to the system through the energy projects initiated under CPEC which means they have already started contributing to the national economy. The rest of them would be completed by the end of 2019 leading to an addition of 10,600 MW to the national grid with all the accompanying potential and benefits for growth of industry and other development projects. The infrastructure that will be built under CPEC including roads and railway tracks will also provide tremendous impetus to the growth process and make Pakistan a hub of regional economic activity. Nobody in his right mind can contest that emerging reality. Infrastructure development is the fundamental ingredient and engine of growth in any economy.

The phenomenal economic prosperity and industrial development in the Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia during the last three decades is a ranting testimony of this modern reality. Attainment of high level growth is unimaginable without industrialisation and gradual lessening of dependence on the agriculture sector. CPEC is undoubtedly a complete recipe for bringing that transformation in Pakistan.

China is the most trusted friend of Pakistan which over the years has played a very significant role in the economic development of the country besides boosting its defence capabilities. The relations between the two have been on the upward curve irrespective of who was in power in both the countries. It has withstood vicissitudes of time and is now poised to achieve eternity with the initiation of CPEC.

During the recent visit to China by Prime Minister Imran Khan both the countries not only reaffirmed their unflinching commitment to continue with the current CPEC projects but also to expand its scope by adding 15 more projects to it which imparted new dimension to the strategic partnership and friendship between the two countries. Chinese Consul General in Lahore talking to media revealed that instead of hard cash China was planning to eventually provide multiple forms of bailout packages to Pakistan in the shape of phenomenal investments in fresh projects which he reiterated would boost and help her to overcome the financial crunch. He emphatically declared that China would not leave Pakistan in lurch and channelise maximum resources to strengthen its languishing economy.

 

The statement of the Consul General indicates the depth of relations between the two countries and the genuine concern of the Chinese government about economic difficulties of Pakistan. The flow of direct investment is actually the best recipe to contain the debt burden and for generating additional resources for developmental needs of the country. The countries faced with resource constraint invariably try to create avenues for foreign direct investment which in the modern era have become a pivotal ingredient of growth and development. The Chinese new strategy to help Pakistan to tide over the economic melt-down is indeed a visionary move that provides a credible and long lasting mechanism to boost the economy and realistically speaking deserves unqualified appreciation.

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Pakistan seeks Japanese investment in SEZs under CPEC

Source: The Nation

ISLAMABAD  –   Pakistan Wednesday invited Japanese investment in the Special Economic Zones under the multi-billion-dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

In a meeting with National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Japan Kentaro Sonoura here, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan will provide facilities to the Japanese investors in all sectors.

Briefing the Japanese side on CPEC, an economic undertaking between China and Pakistan, the Foreign Minister invited Japanese investment in SEZs, said a foreign ministry statement.

Welcoming Kentaro Sonoura, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan regarded Japan as a close friend and a key economic partner.

Pak-Japan bilateral trade currently stands at around $2.3 billion with Japan’s exports to Pakistan recorded at $2.03 billion against the latter’s exports to the former at $250 million.

This year, Pakistan’s exports to Japan declined 1.18 per cent. Japan’s overall import from the world increased to $57.662 billion in June from $55.632 billion in June last year, up 11.7 per cent.

The Japanese National Security Advisor expressed his earnest desire to further strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan in the days to come, said the foreign ministry.

He said that Japan recognised the efforts and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fight against the menace of terrorism.

Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated Japan’s acknowledgement of sacrifices and contributions made by Pakistan in the global fight against terrorism and Japan’s commitment to work closely with Pakistan in this regard.

He reiterated that Pakistan was focusing on socio-economic uplift of the people of Pakistan and furthering regional peace and stability.

Both countries expressed firm resolve to further increase high level interaction between the two countries. They exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defence, economic and commercial sectors. The Foreign Minister welcomed the upcoming sixth round of Joint Government Business Dialogue scheduled to be held on December 10 in Tokyo and hoped for concrete outcome of the meeting.

Meanwhile, Simon Milner, Vice President Public Policy Asia Pacific of Facebook called on Foreign Minister Qureshi, here yesterday.

The Foreign Minister welcomed Milner to his first ever visit to Pakistan. FM Qureshi lauded the role of Facebook for development and progress of e-commerce in Pakistan, its contributions in facilitating people to people contacts across the globe and for spreading awareness among the masses.

Foreign Minister Qureshi further underscored that the “use of social media presents us with both opportunities and challenges.” Qureshi said that his government firmly believed in the right to freedom of expression. “However, it cannot be used to propagate hate and extremist ideologies,” he added.

The minister emphasised that it should not be used to hurt the sentiments of adherents of any religion. “All efforts must be aimed at preventing the spread of this content through social media that leads to hatred and intolerance,” Qureshi said.  He highlighted the Indian clamp down on internet and social media in occupied Jammu and Kashmir which was serving to conceal the facts of brutal suppression by the forces of occupation.

Vice President Simon Milner said that Facebook remained cognizant of its social responsibility and expressed his desire to work with the government of Pakistan “to make efforts in addressing concerns about the use of social media for spreading hateful, provocative and extremist views.

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CPEC win-win project for Pakistan & China – Sartaj Aziz.

Source: The Nation.

ISLAMABAD – Former finance minister and PML-N leader Sartaj Aziz has said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a win-win arrangement for both Pakistan and China and all projects under the CPEC must be materialised without any delay as it would lead to industrialisation in Pakistan

He was speaking at the opening plenary of 21st Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday.

Aziz said that CPEC is not only a package of road and energy projects, but also a tool of connectivity among think tanks, public and private sector, common people, and ideas. For successful transformation from trade to knowledge corridor, he said, it is very important to take confidence-building measures among all the stakeholders.

“The real challenge of 21st century is artificial intelligence and technological upheaval, which took over physical existence of labour force, he said, adding that however, at the same time it brings prosperity in the society as a whole. He maintained that technology is going to transform the job market and the real challenge was how we were preparing ourselves to take up this challenge. He stressed the need to build knowledge corridor under CPEC that, what he said, would help Pakistan bridge the gap between artificial intelligence and technology.

About the issue of climate change South Asia is facing today, he said that the real issue was of capacity to tackle the dire implication of climate change. He further said that water was an important part of the climate change and we need to go beyond building dams, which is water security, water course lining, drip irrigation, and water management. He said that existing irrigation practices were not compatible which is consuming 60 per cent of our freshwater resources. He said that planning for affordable energy resources was another challenge to tackle and we need to concentrate on agriculture sector which will increase our exports growth and agricultural trade. For that we need to focus on agriculture for the next three to four years, he added.

In his introductory speech, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that one of the objectives of this 21st edition of SDC was to highlight importance of knowledge connectivity among three culturally and academically rich regions, i.e. South Asia, Central Asia, and China. He said that one of the pre-requisites for knowledge corridors was intellectual and academic interaction, where the CPEC had the potential to link South Asia to China and Central Asia. However, in order to get maximum benefit out of this economic corridor, Dr Suleri said, Pakistan needed to build a knowledge corridor with China and Central Asia. In order to harness full potential of emerging economic corridors, governments in South Asia must take specific initiatives within a new policy paradigm for pursuing peace, overcoming poverty and protecting the life support systems of the planet, he added.

Haroon Sharif, chairman of Board of Investment, said that it was important to reflect upon why South Asia is lagging behind in capitalising on its true potential of trade, connectivity, and investments. “The opportune time will not come by itself, and we have to create and strive for the right time to move.” The lens with which the developed world used to look at South Asian countries is changing from security to huge market for trade and investments, he said, adding that this transition from geo-political and security lens to economic lens is putting Pakistan back on track of growth and development. He said that economies in West Asia, East Asia and beyond were now looking towards us in terms of improved and enhanced economic relations. He also stressed the need to look at Pakistan’s capability to handle the demands of the emerging markets.

He said that new financial architecture was emerging in the region, such as opening of Asian Infrastructure Bank, Silk Road Fund, China Development Bank, and BRIC bank, therefore, there was a need to learn as to how this region could smartly use these resources for growth and prosperity. At public policy level, Sharif said that there was a very clear realisation at political leadership level that the partnerships with key Asian states could be successful only if we ensured transparency and zero-tolerance for corruption.

Prof Amitabh Kundu, fellow of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), India said that climate change and environmental degradation was the major issue and it was the shared responsibility of all countries of Asia to tackle this challenge through cooperation. Identifying the issue of growing inequality, he said that it was a big hurdle in achieving SDGs in the region. In order to achieve the shared objectives of growth and prosperity, he said, we must address the three major dimensions of human development, i.e. inequality in economic, health and education sectors.

He said that South-South Cooperation and regional integration would go a long way in handing these challenges and that must be built on mutual trust. The essence of this cooperation is solidarity among countries of the South that could contribute to national well-being. “We should all work for a collective agenda for development of South Asia that might lead the region towards new heights of hope, progress, and prosperity.

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World Bank official lauds BRI, CPEC role in promoting intra-regional trade

Source: The News
Date: 5th December, 2018.

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) on Tuesday disclosed that around 71 countries under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) obtained around 5 percent debt from China including Pakistan but stressed upon the need for ensuring more access to the data and transparency.

While addressing at SDPI conference here on Tuesday, Caroline Freund, WB’s Director Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment said that BRI and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were playing important role for promoting intra- regional trade by building infrastructure but the trade facilitation was required to enhance trade among different regions of the world including this part of the world. The infrastructure alone cannot promote trade but other requisites such as facilitation can help a lot to ensure trade among different parts of the world.

“We are conducting a detailed study about BRI but our initial assessment shows that debt has not become major problem for loan recipient countries under this mega initiative. It stands at around 5 percent of total loans portfolio of 71 countries of BRI,” she added. The trade, she said, had gone up in recent years among different countries and regions of the world.

She said the debt provided by China to BRI countries was highlighted as major problem but their study showed that it was not as big as mentioned in recent news reports. However, she stressed upon the need for sharing more data and placing transparency to ascertain facts based on reality.

On the occasion, Deputy Mission Chief of China’s Embassy in Pakistan Lijian Zhao said that the misconception of debt trap levelled against BRI proved a lie through the work done by the WB. He said that the BRI helped generating 200000 jobs out of which 75000 jobs were created in Pakistan through CPEC. He said that Pakistan became the largest recipient of FDI from China and largest trading partner with help of CPEC. He said the industrialisation was pre-requisite for economic development and in next five years the setting up of factories into Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would be the priority areas between China and Pakistan.

The first SEZs, he said, would become operational in Rashakai and concession agreement between Chinese company and KP government would be signed soon. He said that all SEZs being established in Pakistan would be open for all other countries. All those who complained about missing train in earlier energy projects now they can catch up for the establishment of entities into upcoming SEZs, he maintained.

He said the CPEC would be expanded to Afghanistan and Iran and the upcoming trilateral meeting scheduled to be held on December 15 at Kabul could become the starting point to move ahead.

He said that people to people contact must be the priority areas. He mentioned that there were more than 67000 students belonging to Korea who are studying in China and Pakistani students were in the range of 22000 at the moment. With population of 50 million, there are more than 1000 flights between China and Korea so Pakistan with population of over 206 million must realise its real potential.

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CPEC and Terrorists Attack on China’s Karachi Consulate

Soure: Pakistan Observer
Author: Col (Retd) Muhammad Hanif
Date: 5th December 2018

THE fierce attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi on the morning of 23 November 2018 was although well engineered by the foreign mentors of the terrorists, it completely failed to cause any harm to the Consulate staff, due to the daring defence done and sacrifices rendered by the Pakistan police and Rangers. Whereas all three terrorists were killed, two policemen also became  martyrs. While the attack seemed to be meant to give a message that China-Pakistan Strategic Partnership, and the CPEC), making/operation will be determinedly disturbed, the brave resistance put up by Pakistan’s security forces was a counter message to the terrorists and their sponsors that disturbing Pakistan’s vital interests will be a costly affair.

Since Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), a dissident/separatist group from Balochistan, accepted the responsibility for the attack, there is no doubt that young leaders and members of BLA are working under the guidance and support of their foreign sponsors. Instead of considering the CPEC as a golden chance for Balochistan’s economic development and welfare of its people, the young Baloch BLA absconders, under self exile abroad, are only serving themselves by playing into the hands of Pakistan’s enemies, with India being in the forefront.

As mentioned above, the message the terrorists wanted to give to China and Pakistan was however  clear that they wanted to convey to both the countries that the construction and operation of the CPEC will not be a smooth affair. While the message was aimed at discouraging the Chinese to construct the CPEC, to Pakistan, it was conveyed by its enemies that their efforts to destabilize Balochistan and the CPEC, by using the Afghan soil, will continue and real peace in the region is yet far away. This means that while Pakistan’s war on terror in FATA and elsewhere has almost been eliminated, a lot is yet to be done to ensure peace in Balochistan and around the CPEC.

This objective needs constant vigilance throughout Pakistan and the exercise Raddul Fassad has to continue for an indefinite period. In other words, whereas  Pakistani security forces have to be ready to fight this hybrid anti-terrorism war launched by its enemies, the Pakistani government and its people have also to work together to implement all the provisions of the National Action Plan (NAP). However, while fighting this war, the defence of the Chinese in Pakistan in their Embassy and Consulates, and those engaged in the construction and operation of the CPEC has to be given a top priority.

To ensure the security of the Chinese officials and citizens in Pakistan, engaged directly or indirectly in the construction of the CPEC, the Security Division assigned to this task has to be vigilant and prepared to counter any Karachi like attacks, causing unbearable loss to the terrorists, to break their will to fight and defeat the resolve and ultimate objective of the BLA and other terrorist groups and their foreign sponsors. For this purpose, it is important that minimum two layered defence of the offices and areas where the Chinese are working or residing is organized. Under any circumstances, in their any future attacks, the terrorists should not be able to reach the inner perimeter of defence. Same applies to the Chinese moving from place A to B, as they should be properly guarded to ensure their security.

Apart from defending the Chinese resolutely by Pakistan’s security forces, to root out Balochistan and CPEC-related terrorism completely, there is a need that the Pakistan Government and the security forces should also launch interior and exterior approaches, using both hard and soft measures to discourage as well as to convince the misguided Baloch young people to to give up terrorism and join mainstream politics and activities to work for Balochistan’s economic progress and welfare of its people, by supporting the construction of the CPEC.

As part of the interior approach, to attract the Baloch youth, Pakistan’s related government ministries should give priority to the economic development in Balochistan and the creation of employment opportunities. Also, as a long time measure, education and health care services in Balochistan should be improved. At the same time, as a hard measure, the security forces should find out and target the BLA and other such groups’ hide-outs in Balochistan to break their will to fight and to make them surrender their weapons.

As part of the exterior approach, the Pakistan government should pursue all legal and diplomatic means to arrange the signing of the extradition of criminals’ agreements with the countries, where, BLA absconders are living in exile and try to get them back. After their return, either the dissidents should be made to surrender or face the legal charges of sedition, which should be lodged against them by the government in Pakistan’s superior courts.

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CPEC may invite hybrid warfare against Pakistan

Source: Asia Times
Author: ATTA RASOOL MALIK 
Date: 5th December,2018.

 

Wars are expensive in terms of blood and treasure. Through the ages, this fundamental truth has driven military strategists to search for a quick and inexpensive path to victory in battle. The ultimate aim of any contesting nation is to force an unwilling enemy government to accept peace on its terms. In democratic countries, the actions of that hostile government are generally based on the will of the people, so no victory can be complete until that “will” is reshaped or moulded.

Liddell Hart, a British military theorist, argued that a man killed is merely one man less, whereas a man unnerved is a highly infectious carrier of fear, capable of spreading an epidemic of panic. Hart argued that the resulting psychological pressure on the government of a country may neutralize all the resources at its command – so that the sword drops from a paralyzed hand. Therefore, a successful strategist thinks in terms of paralysis, not killing.

The mechanism for inducing or coercing a quick change in the government’s position can occur in at least three ways: first, key governmental leaders are killed and replaced by a more sympathetic group; second, the government is overthrown, either by a popular revolt or from a faction within; or, third, the country’s leaders are persuaded  to change their minds.

Every country enjoys at least four instruments of national power or influence. They are: political, economic, military, and informational. In the modern age, the preferred method is to selectively attack or threaten targets that most directly support the enemy‘s will to continue with its current behavior.

Hybrid warfare, a relatively new concept, is a multiple-prong effort aimed at paralyzing the enemy’s leadership through military and non-military clandestine activities, economic subversion and propaganda dissemination. These techniques have been around for ages, but now they incorporate modern-day technologies and are synergized in a scientific manner.

Confusion and disorder follow when weaponized information aggravates the perception of insecurity in the populace as political, social, and cultural identities are pitted against one another.

A hybrid war takes place on three distinct battlefields: the conventional kind, the indigenous population of the conflict zone, and the international community.

Sometimes all it takes is a small and dedicated group of provocateurs to spark clashes with the authorities, along with misleading reports that the security forces are attacking “hard-pressed peaceful protesters.”

The whole point of engineering a completely false narrative of “democratic freedom fighters” resisting a “tyrannical, incompetent and corrupt” regime is that it serves the dual purposes of encouraging more citizens to join in the growing riot and to generate support from abroad. Therefore, hybrid war could mean a synergized campaign of disinformation, terrorism, cyber-attacks on digitally dependent communication networks, criminal activities, proxy sponsorship,, rebellion, insurgency, or anything like that.

Pakistan through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) guarantees China’s strategic freedom and flexibility in the face of the United States’ naval threats and nullifies all the trouble that it is causing along its southern maritime borderlands. Therefore, the US has a grand interest in disrupting, controlling, or influencing the Silk Road and CPEC.

Pakistan requires the rapid development of a communication network to facilitate cohesion and economic prosperity. However, the country is rife with historical, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic differences, which could be manipulated by the US and its arch-rival India to engineer violence and set a hybrid war scenario in motion. Many informed people in Pakistan are of the view that Pakistan is under hybrid attack by hostile forces.

In today’s world, apart from traditional media, popular social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube are the primary means of disinformation and propaganda. On these media platforms, various activities related to hybrid warfare are challenging to detect and defeat.

It is most likely that the authorities will always be one step behind the hybrid war agents unless the target government outrightly bans these services. The permanent closure of such services is not a wise option as it can shatter the credibility of the democratic government. Imposing restrictions is best employed for short periods during critical times, such as a few weeks before general elections and similarly important events.

It is also true that information, fake or otherwise, homegrown or imported, will have no impact unless it is accepted as fact by the masses. Therefore, the timely provision of information and critical thinking are the antidote to “fake news and hostile propaganda.” The government should work to enhance online digital platforms that are‘efficient and credible, to ensure the timely provision of information for consumption by the masses and interest groups.

All Pakistani institutions must work together to ensure that the top leadership,  both civil and military, remains credible. It will help us beat back hybrid assaults against CPEC and the state of Pakistan.

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Thanks to CPEC, Gwadar real estate business on the rise

Source: The News International
Published by: N/A

ISLAMABAD: The real estate business in Gwadar is attracting investors from across the country as the city is being considered a business hub in near future soon after the completion of China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC).

The Gwadar Port City is the next best destination for investment in real estate as a huge area of privately-owned land is being utilized for housing societies in the city.

Deputy Director Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), Changez Baloch told APP that real estate prices had been increased manifold during last few months.

He said that business situation in Gwadar is getting change from past, adding; many people are taking interest to invest in the city as their investment is giving good return due to sharp increase of the value of land.

He said the NOCs of all the investors who were violating the rules and regulations of GDA would be canceled, and they would not be able to start development work within the government-stipulated time frame.

He said the GDA was cooperating with investors and taking responsibility for providing municipal services in Gwadar City.

However, the development of housing schemes in the city is also causing problems for the citizens.

A resident of Gwadar Fazal Lashari said that a number of hilly mounds and rain drainage have been disappeared due to leveling of the land.

This developed land has been marked as private property schemes, he added.

Fazal said that the development work in Gwadar is at final stage, adding that everyone in the area is keen to obtain land.

Ghulam Mustafa a real state owner in Gwadar said that the GDA is creating problem in issuing of NOC for real estate investors.

Over the last year, he said the real estate prices in the area immediately surged due to infrastructure development projects being carried out as part of the CPEC.

The increasing prices have also revived the hopes of many other investors to invest in the Gwadar, he revealed.

Sharing the details of problems being faced in the area, he said that the shortage of water creates hurdles for the real estate development in Gwadar.

The developers and builders have to fetch it from Mirani Dam in Kech district, 200 kilometers from Gwadar, he added.

Samad Khan an investor alleged that some of GDA officials manipulate both land prices and allotment processes in order to benefit the people who entice them, he added.

Lamenting on the situation, Samad expressed sorrow that there are ambiguities and errors in land ownership records as the land settlement were done manually.