Tag Archives: Asim Saleem Bajwa

Pakistan: Why China stopped the CPEC project | Instant News

Political fragility, increased interference by security agencies and the military establishment in civil administration matters and even the CPEC project have made Beijing rethink CPEC results.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) timeline, a flagship program under the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), faces hurdles in Pakistan. Due to certain differences on some agenda items, an unexpected delay of 10 is importantth The CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting has made China stop working on several aspects of the CPEC.

Co-chaired by Pakistan’s Minister of Planning and Development and the Chair of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the JCC is the supreme decision-making body for the CPEC project. Reason for delay The JCC meeting is believed to result in a disagreement between the two countries regarding the road map for future industrial cooperation and also about the Industrial Estates and Special Economic Zones (KEK) allocated under the CPEC.

According to Asim Ayub, director of the CPEC Industrial Cooperation project, Investment Council (BOI), Islamabad, forwarded the proposed industrial cooperation draft in April 2020. However, it was received with a warm response from China. Chinese officials have demanded the suspension of some agenda items and have suspended JCC meetings. The much-loved CPEC made progress in its first four years. However, after 2018, political fragility, escalating uprisings in Baluchistan and other regions, corruption and economic recession in Pakistan have slowed progress in almost all CPEC projects.

Political fragility and corruption

Beijing has sought to invest more than US $ 62 billion in infrastructure and energy projects in Pakistan through CPEC. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stated that this investment will bring political stability and economic resilience to Pakistan, and help Beijing secure its domestic energy supply.

According to Chinese officials, CPEC will create around 2.3 million jobs in Pakistan by 2030 and will provide an alternative route for energy exports and imports from West Asia to China, linking China’s western provinces to major global sea lanes via Pakistan’s Gwadar port. However, political fragility, increased interference by security agencies and the military establishment in civil administration matters and even the CPEC project have made Beijing rethink the CPEC outcome.

Over the last seven years, CPEC has also been abused as a political tool by opposition parties in Pakistan to achieve their goals. It may be worth remembering that before being elected to form a national government, Imran Khan’s PTI was a staunch critic of the CPEC. Now a calling card to criticize CPEC is held by all the main opposition parties, which have united under the umbrella of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). fellowship against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In 2018, World Bank has warned participating countries in BRI projects about the risks of impending debt, abandoned infrastructure, social risks and corruption. All of these risks raised by the World Bank appear to be true for CPEC, which has been undermined in recent years by continuing political instability and increasing interference from the formation of an all-powerful military, especially after alleged rigged elections in support of Imran. Khan.

A puppet of the military, Imran Khan’s PTI government refused to investigate allegations of corruption in the CPEC project, which Imran Khan ironically included in his party’s election manifesto. Active and retired military officers, who have been appointed to key positions in the CPEC project, are alleged to have amassed enormous fortunes by mishandling project funds.

Former military officer Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, who is the chairman of the CPEC Authority, is also appointed to lead the Prime Minister’s media management team. In August 2020, according to a news report, Asim Bajwaa amassed a lot of undisclosed wealth during his tenure as head of the CPEC Authority and acquired offshore assets with his wife and brother.

Despite protests, Bajwa refused to step down from the post of chairman of the CPEC Authority even though he resigned from the post of Imran’s media management team. Chinese officials expect that 80 percent investment in CPEC is lost due to corruption and this leakage is hard to avoid.

In addition, the influx of Chinese investment has exacerbated corruption in private-public partnerships and in the realm of privatization due to poor governance and the conflicting roles played by the civilian government and the formation of the military. At times, Beijing has also used corruption to its advantage by exploiting growing socio-economic weaknesses in Pakistan and other participating countries.

Increased rebellion

Rising corruption, unfulfilled job promises, rampant exploitation of natural resources, and a growing Chinese presence have sparked an anti-state insurgency among Baluchistan’s people, which have been pushed to the fringes of the economy. Additionally, Pakistan has used similar tactics as adopted by China against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang province to quell insurgency and extremism in Baluchistan.

The Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) has stepped up its demands for Baloch independence, blaming Beijing for exploiting it and making the province more unstable. He also accused China of being Pakistan’s “partner in crime”. Pakistan has taken its hands off the deteriorating security situation in Baluchistan and vice versa the accused New Delhi sabotages its economic partnership with China and blames India for Pakistan’s destabilization plans.

Based on report From the Pakistani army, Indian agencies specifically targeted CPEC’s Chinese development projects and “sponsored” 700 people to undermine CPEC projects. Such claims made by Pak’s army have made the Chinese more cautious about investing. Global Time, the CCP spokesman, wrote, “Beijing will continue to watch how this matter unfolds in the future.”

The factors mentioned above have forced the CCP to stop several CPEC projects. For example, files Imran’s government is cleared US $ 6.8 billion for Mainline-1 (ML-1) upgraded rail to double train speed by 6 August 2020. The ML-1 project was the most expensive CPEC project, with 90 percent of financing provided by China.

However, Beijing has been reluctant to make progress on upgrading the ML-1 rail approval till date. It is the same with industrial cooperation where the Chinese are skeptical, given the situation in Pakistan. The bonhomie between China and Pakistan will face more problems in the coming months, especially given the dire economic situation due to Covid-19 and the political environment in Pakistan.

This essay first appeared on ORF South Asia Weekly.


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Pakistan’s China CPEC project has a long way to go as Beijing postponed the ANI-project | Instant News

Peshawar [Pakistan], 17 November (ANI): The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing political unrest and foreign debt limits have resulted in a slowdown in Chinese investment in Pakistan as Beijing has suspended projects that are part of the USD 62 billion China-Pakistan Economy. Corridor (CPEC).
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose government has been criticized for being under military control, has also faced criticism at home for not prioritizing and accelerating China’s infrastructure investment, Asia Times reported.
In 2018, Khan had suspended several CPEC projects that were suspected of corruption by the previous government. However, two years later, several members of his cabinet were named in a major corruption scandal involving the country’s electricity sector. About a third of Pakistani power companies are involved in the China project under CPEC.
The 278-page investigative report, compiled by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and presented to Khan in April, uncovers alleged irregularities of more than USD 1.8 billion in subsidies provided to 16 independent power producers (IPPs) including those owned by Khan’s. advisers to Razak Dawood and Nadeem Baber, said Asia Times.
SCEP has also been investigating the profits made by Chinese power companies.
The report revealed that Huang Shandong Ruyi Pakistan Ltd (HSR) and Port Qasim Electric Power Co Ltd (PQEPCL) together paid more than 483.6 billion rupees (USD 3 billion).
The Democratic Movement of Pakistan (PDM), an alliance of 11 opposition parties, has demanded the government led by Imran Khan to speed up Chinese-funded projects, particularly a road and rail modernization plan that has barely progressed in the past five months. .
The PDM is also demanding the removal of the chairman of the CPEC Authority, retired Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa, until he explains his and his family’s personal business assets in the US.
Recently, a local media outlet exposed several Bajwa offshore businesses, including more than 100 companies and franchises in the US, UAE and Canada where his family is involved.
In 2019, the Prime Minister announced regulations to form a CPEC Authority (CPECA) prior to his visit to China and appointed a former lieutenant general as its chairman. Previously, the Ministry of Planning and Development used to oversee the CPEC project.
A Planning Ministry source told Asia Times that CPECA was imposed on the government by China, which wants soldiers to be directly involved in the CPEC portfolio because Beijing is reportedly annoyed by Khan’s slow movement on a broader scheme.
The sources further said that the recent disclosures of Bajwa’s offshore assets had taken China by surprise because they wanted to work with the Pakistani military to prevent private corruption.
Following the revelations, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit to Pakistan in September was postponed citing COVID-19 as an official reason.
Asia Times has reported that the CPEC Authority Ordinance grants CPECA chair and staff immunity from all legal proceedings against them, therefore, protecting them from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the police to institutionalize cases.
“The issue of the legality of the CPECA, the immunity of the chairperson from due process and the controversy over the family business abroad around the old chairperson in power are giving a bad impression and must be resolved to improve the efficiency of CPECA,” Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and think tank chairman. tank Pak-China Institute told Asia Times.
He further said that PDM is concerned about the CPECA immunity clause.
Linking the postponement of the CPEC project to the coronavirus pandemic, he said, “In addition, the new Chinese Ambassador, Nong Rong, comes with a strong economic background which should be a driving force for CPEC.”
He further said that the PDM protests would not affect the progress of CPEC.
“Pressure is coming from Western and Western institutions – especially in Washington – on CPEC but Pakistan has shown a willingness, readiness and ability to withstand this pressure,” he added.
Because in recent weeks Chinese workers and engineers working in Balochistan and Sindh have been targeted and killed, the cost of providing round-the-clock security to Chinese nationals has increased the price of projects at a time when Pakistan’s economy is badly faltering, Asia Times said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has asked for a 1 percent interest rate on Chinese loans for the ML-1 rail project. China, however, was reluctant to heed the request and instead used a “delay tactic” to pressure Islamabad to continue accepting high interest rates.
Khan and Bajwa are now reportedly planning to take the matter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who they believe can dictate terms on loans from the Development Bank of China and the Export-Import Bank of China, in the hope that a deal can be reached on the railroad track, Asia Times. the word.
The CPEC Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) review meeting, which is held monthly, is unlikely to complete the ML-1 project in the upcoming meeting even though Pakistan Railways Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad stressed that the project is ready.
The Asia Times further reported that the Greater Peshawar Mass Transit Project, Swat Express Way Phase-II and Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway, all under CPEC, have also been postponed and are not on the agenda for the next JCC meeting.
Citing local media reports, Asia Times quoted Jeremy Garlick, assistant professor at the Jan Masaryk Center of International Studies at Prague University of Economics and Business, as saying that Beijing used the tactic of delay in ML-1 because it didn’t want to. to end up with a bad deal on his hands.
“Beijing doesn’t want to reject ML-1. It wants to appear committed in Pakistan, but at the same time it is aware of the risky environment for Chinese investment,” he added. (ANI)

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The Pakistani prime minister’s aid resigned amid the scandal | Instant News

KARACHI, Pakistan

Asim Saleem Bajwa, an adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, resigned on Monday, weeks after allegations concerning his family’s assets.

“I request the esteemed Prime Minister to release me from the additional portfolio of SAPM [Special Assistant to the Prime Minister] about information and broadcasting. He kindly agreed to my request, “Bajwa, a retired lieutenant general who once headed the Pakistani army’s media wing, tweeted.

He will, however, continue to lead the $ 64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which aims to connect China’s northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan via a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo. oil and gas.

Bajwa, in a news report, is accused of using his influence in helping his family set up a multi-million dollar business in the US. He denies the accusation.

He quit on September 4 but the prime minister refused to accept his resignation, saying he was satisfied with the explanation regarding his money trail. Opposition parties criticized the move, asking the former soldier to leave office and face an investigation.

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Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan’s top aide resigns amid allegations of corruption – The New Indian Express | Instant News


ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant for Information and Broadcasting Lt. Gen. (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa resigned on Monday, amid allegations he was using his office to help families set up several offshore businesses.

“I asked the esteemed prime minister to release me from the additional portfolio of SAPM on Info & broadcasting. He kindly agreed to my request,” Bajwa, a former spokesman for the Pakistan Army who also serves as Commander of Southern Command, tweeted.

However, he will continue to work as chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPEC), reports the Dawn newspaper.

The developments come more than a month after Bajwa submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Khan following reports on his website alleging he had used his office to set up his wife, son and brother’s offshore business.

However, Khan refused his resignation at that time and asked him to continue working as his special assistant.

The report alleges that Bajwa’s younger brothers opened their first Papa John pizza restaurant in 2002, the year he began working as a Lieutenant Colonel on General Pervez Musharraf’s staff.

It is said that his brother Nadeem Bajwa, 53, who started out as a delivery driver for a pizza restaurant franchise, three other brothers, his wife Farrukh Zeba and three sons now own a business empire that set up 99 companies in four countries, including a pizza. franchise with 133 restaurants is valued at approximately USD 39.9 million.

Out of a total of 99 companies, 66 are holding companies, 33 are branch companies of several major companies while five are now defunct.

The Bajwa family company spent an estimated USD 52.2 million to grow their business and USD 14.5 million to purchase property in the United States, according to the website’s report.

His wife is a shareholder in all foreign businesses and is also associated with or is a shareholder in 85 companies including 82 foreign companies (71 in the United States, seven in the UAE and four in Canada).

The report shows that several of these American companies (all jointly owned by Zeba) also have investments in the real estate sector and own 13 commercial properties in the US, including two shopping centers.

Interestingly, after joining the Cabinet, Bajwa declared his assets in June this year which did not mention his wife’s foreign assets.


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‘PM Imran Khan’s speech at UNGA makes every Pakistani proud’ | Instant News

ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPEC) chairman Lt. Gen. (ret.) Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Saturday that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s substantive speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) makes every Pakistani proud, ARY News reported.

Asim Saleem Bajwa said in his tweet that PM Imran Khan truly represents the nation on an international platform by taking a clear stance on the old issues of Kashmir and Palestine while highlighting Pakistan’s efforts to build regional peace.

He added that Imran Khan promised to lift the masses out of poverty. The prime minister issues a stern warning to India for any accidents that occur, Bajwa said.

In addition, Minister of Industry and Production Hammad Azhar praised the prime minister’s speech to UNGA in which he had effectively raised the issues of Kashmir, Palestine, Islamophobia and parking of stolen wealth in safe havens in western countries.

He added that no leader has come close to voicing matters so boldly and without fear.

Earlier on Friday, PM Imran Khan did it handled virtually 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

While highlighting the gross violations of human rights (HAM) in occupied India on the global platform, he said that a lasting peace cannot be achieved in South Asia unless the Kashmir dispute is resolved. He said Pakistan supports Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and considers it their right.

Read: PM Imran Khan highlighted India’s atrocities at IOK during a UNGA speech

The prime minister said Pakistan continues to support a two-state solution – in line with UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, within internationally agreed parameters, and they are; borders before 1967, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the Capital of a united, contiguous and independent Palestinian state.

The prime minister said Pakistan’s wish for peace in the region was also materialized in efforts to promote a political solution in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan fully facilitated the process which culminated in the US-Taliban Peace Agreement on February 29, 2020.





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