Tag Archives: cpec

CPEC – our growth engine – Opinion | Instant News

Fifty-one memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with an estimated initial investment of 46 billion dollars were signed in April 2015 during Chinese President Xi’s visit to Pakistan when Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister; and since then the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) remains the main engine of growth for the beleaguered country’s economy.

Unfortunately, while China has worked with the three Pakistani governments peacefully, some are troubling, reflecting their continued commitment to CPEC – defined domestically as China’s initiative to upgrade / strengthen Pakistan’s lacking infrastructure – as well as an essential component of the President. Xi. Belt Initiative Road (BRI), those who lead the three governments have not been very open in recognizing the contributions of their predecessors.

Former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in the first week of January 2017, claimed that the Pakistan People’s Party was “the pioneer of CPEC’s multi-billion dollar idea and it doesn’t matter who takes credit for the project by advertising in the media.” This was confirmed by Lijian Zhao, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counselor at the Chinese Embassy, ​​Islamabad, in a seminar at the end of June 2018 entitled CPEC & Role of Media – Separating Facts from Misconceptions. And was reconfirmed by China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing in September 2020 when he asked the former President to inquire about his health by publicly admitting that former President Zardari was the founder of CPEC. This was not recognized by Nawaz Sharif or any of his cabinet members during the prime minister’s term (2013-17); and despite the ongoing cooperation of the two national parties under the umbrella of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) today there has been no statement from any PML-N leader acknowledging the role played by Asif Ali Zardari in the launch of the CPEC.

On 25 May 2017 Nawaz Sharif during a speech at the BRI forum in Beijing highlighted the relevance of CPEC to our economy in a nutshell: “We strive to leverage geography for economic prosperity, we also try to build a peaceful, connected and caring environment…. CPEC is owned and maintained. by the whole of Pakistan ”- a sentiment that was not shared by Imran Khan at the time.

Before taking the oath in August 2018 when the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan opposed the CPEC project for various reasons ranging from maintaining that road routes were approved and special economic zone locations accidentally passed through poor areas and regretting a lack of social focus (health, education). The following month Prime Minister’s Advisor for Trade Razzak Dawood in an interview with the Financial Times stated that all the $ 57 billion CPEC project could qualify for a hold in a review to be conducted under the Prime Minister’s order, adding that “I think we should put it all down. postponed for a year, so we can act together… maybe we can extend CPEC for another five years…. Chinese companies receive tax breaks, many breaks and have undue advantages in Pakistan; this is one of the things we are concerned about because it is unfair for Pakistani companies to lose out. “Pakistan’s stock market fell 0.4 percent in response to this statement and Dawood was forced to retract his statement a day later.

Such openly expressed sentiment led to Prime Minister Khan receiving a warm welcome during his first visit to China in November 2018, prompting the opposition to maintain that the new leadership’s unwise statements about CPEC, and offers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE (as well as others) to join the CPEC project created by Prime Minister Khan following promised assistance by Saudi Arabia ($ 3 billion loan and $ 3.2 million deferred oil facility) and UAE ($ 3 billion promised but $ 1 billion disbursed to date) , didn’t go down well in China.

In 2019, the Prime Minister fully understands the importance of the CPEC project for our economic development, no doubt realizing that China – public and private sector – is at odds with other foreign private companies / governments, willing to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan. . On 12 May 2019, Imran Khan’s new economic team leaders – Dr Hafeez Sheikh and Dr Reza Baqir – signed Pakistan’s 23rd International Monetary Fund (IMF) program with a guarantee (the first time in our long history to run an IMF program) to ensure that loans obtained from China, Saudi Arabia and

The UAE will not be withdrawn for the duration of the program because, “financial support from Pakistan’s international partner will be essential to support the adjustment efforts of the authorities and ensure that medium-term program objectives can be achieved” – the usual assumption in previous IMF loans was when a country was in the program. Fund, soft funding becomes available from other multilateral / bilateral. China has not only fulfilled its promise but has also fulfilled a shortfall due to Saudi Arabia’s (two billion dollars to date) withdrawal of loans although some concerns over our ability to repay have reportedly emerged.

A few weeks later, on 26 May 2019, Imran Khan together with Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Wang Qishan witnessed the signing of several MoUSs for cooperation in various sectors according to the official website and two projects started during PML-N’s tenure with progress updates identified: ( i) Matiari-Lahore 660kV HVDC transmission line project with an agreement signed between PPIB and China State Network in May 2018 which reached financial closure on 27 February 2019 with COD forecast in March 2021; and (ii) a 300 MW imported coal-based project in Gwadar with a No Objection Certificate issued by the Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency in August 2018 with groundbreaking on 4 November 2019. The three projects signed during Khan’s tenure highlighted include: (i ) Kohala Hydel project agreement signed on 25 June 2020; (ii) The 50 MW Cacho wind and 50 MW Western Energy projects – both in the LoI phase: and (iii) the Azad Pattan Hydel project agreement signed on 6 July 2020.

On 8 October 2019 President Alvi announced two regulations – one to regulate the authority of the CPEC, led by Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa (retired) (former Ditjen ISPR 2012-16) on the eve of the Prime Minister’s second visit to China and, two, to grant tax concessions to Gwadar. and its free zone. The designation is seen as providing a comfort level of safety for Chinese staff involved in the CPEC project.

Prime Minister Khan then began to praise the success of the Chinese government in ending poverty and increasing agricultural output through reforms even though he somehow continued to support the right-wing formula for Pakistan, especially that the private sector should be allowed to create wealth and thus to start the economy. Addressing the Country Strategy Dialogue on Pakistan hosted by the World Economic Forum in November 2020, Imran Khan stated that “this is the first government in Pakistan since the 1960s that has stated that we want to make profits easier for the people. .. and investors. “This sentiment is in line with Imran Khan’s frequent criticism of the mafia (read collusion to set prices higher than market prices), smugglers and middlemen fix prices by promoting market imperfections. In this context it is hoped that the issuance of permits to selected private companies to import RLNG, with the aim of ensuring timely imports and increasing efficiency, not causing collusion.

The CPEC project has also been the target of considerable international criticism. Alice Wells, former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, at a seminar in November 2019 pointed out that Pakistan’s debt had doubled due to CPEC. Geng Shuang (Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson) dismissed these claims as “a repeat of the old slander against China, CPEC and BRI” as did Planning Minister Asad Umer who argued that Pakistan’s escalating debt crisis had nothing to do with China.

In 2019-20, 95.73 billion rupees were budgeted for the CPEC project (as co-funding) and while the Planning Commission claims to have released the entire budgeted amount, the actual disbursement was 57.44 billion or 60 percent of the total budgeted amount. In 2020-21 the government budgeted 77.33 billion rupees for the CPEC project (down almost 20 percent from the previous year) and in July-December 2020 it was issued 40 billion rupees even though the actual data disbursed was not yet available.

China as well as Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE are reluctant to announce the total amount and terms of investment / loans / grants to third countries including special incentives by recipient countries for promised inflows. Khan’s administration has been careless in highlighting the then-unfulfilled pledge of aid that fed CPEC critics, local and foreign alike.

One key lesson learned, therefore, is to share information with relevant documentation with opposition members in parliament – whether on camera or not – to ensure that the next government does not roll back the process to the detriment of the state. Pakistan has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in sentences in arbitration and courts for reneging on contracts signed by the previous government – the Broadsheet case is just the latest example.

Annoyingly, Prime Minister Imran Khan refuses to engage with the opposition but hopes that institutional measures seeking to share information are put in place to ensure that all agree to foreign, public or private sector contracts. Failure to do so could jeopardize his long-term pet projects including the Ravi City project and development on islands off the coast of Sindh.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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Pakistan’s relations with traditional allies in the Gulf are on the decline Scholar-ANI | Instant News

Hong Kong, January 07 (ANI): Pakistan’s declining relations with its two largest sources of foreign remittances and foreign exchange – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – are “bad news” for the country’s already ailing economy, says scholar Salman Rafi Sheikh.
In an opinion piece in Asia Times, Sheikh said Pakistan was temporarily redirecting its foreign policy from Saudi Arabia and the UAE towards China’s New Silk Road.
Last August, Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to repay a soft loan worth USD 3 billion, Islamabad tried to ease tensions by immediately sending its current military commander General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
However, Saudi Arabia did not budge from his request.
Sheikh said the incident underscored “the rapidly changing South-Middle East Asian relationship, with several Gulf states that previously sided with Muslim-majority Pakistanis now prioritizing growing their commercial and economic ties with India”.
He added that the mounting dynamics are pushing Pakistan closer to China, which provides funds to pay off a portion of the Saudi loan.
On December 17, Pakistan paid $ 1 billion as the second phase of an accelerated payment schedule.
Significantly, the scholar points out that the Saudi demand came at a time of extreme economic and financial stress in Pakistan.
The UAE, which is Pakistan’s second largest source of foreign remittances, recently banned the issuance of work visas to Pakistani workers.
“While the ban was nominally enforced because of Covid-19, India, which has a much higher number of Covid cases, has not been banned,” he wrote.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s recent visit to the UAE failed to lift the ban, which reportedly greatly disappointed Islamabad.
“Pakistan’s declining relations with the two biggest sources of remittances abroad and foreign exchange are bad news for its already ailing economy. While Pakistan is dutifully paying back Saudi loans, its growing reliance on China shows that it is not only important but also the only thing that matters. available in Islamabad. options in times of financial need, “he said.
Sheikh pointed out that Kashmir is not the only reason Pakistan’s “relations with its traditional Gulf allies are on the decline”.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan recently admitted that he is under pressure from “friendly countries” to forge diplomatic relations with Israel.
Islamabad’s initial refusal to follow the UAE’s lead in normalizing relations with Israel reportedly contributed to the UAE’s imposition of a Pakistan work visa ban.
“Pakistan’s overwhelming tensions with the Gulf states are also a reflection of its own changing foreign policy orientation, seen in its slowly but surely growing relationship with Gulf rivals Turkey and Iran,” he said.
The Khan regime’s inclination towards Turkey is reflected in its recent foreign policy choices, including its willingness to revive the dormant transnational rail service linking Istanbul, Tehran and Islamabad by 2021.
ITI’s transnational railway is expected to improve connectivity through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by providing a direct rail connection between China and Turkey via Iran. China’s presence in the revival of this route is of paramount importance.
“While Pakistan is tentatively expanding its relations with Iran and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have applied clear pressure on Pakistan’s two biggest sources of foreign remittances at a difficult economic juncture, undermining – at least for now – Islamabad’s ability to map out the real thing. independent and perhaps a more forward-looking foreign policy, “the scholar said. (ANI)

Denial: The views expressed in the above articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publisher. Unless otherwise noted, the author writes in his personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be considered to represent the ideas, attitudes or official policies of any agency or agency.


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Railway officials will brief PM Imran Khan on the ML-1 project today | Instant News

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has held a session to review the progress of the ML-1 project and other matters related to improving the rail sector, ARY News reported on Monday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will chair a high-level session which will be attended by Railways Minister Azam Swati, advisers, federal minister, chairman and officers of Pakistan Railways (PR).

The railway officer will brief the prime minister on progress made on the ML-1 project.

The prime minister will also issue a briefing on the Mainline (ML-1) project of strategic importance during the session.

Earlier in August, PM Khan said the ML-1 project was the most important project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it would modernize and strengthen rail infrastructure while creating job opportunities for thousands of skilled people.

Read: Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his satisfaction with the railway restructuring process

He said the project would also promote industrial growth, facilitate business and bring about social and economic development. The prime minister was then directed to enter Peshawar-Torkham section in the ML-1 project while chairing federal cabinet meetings.

On August 5, the executive committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the Pakistan Railways project to upgrade the existing Main Line-1 (ML-1) and the construction of a dry port near Havelian.

The project was approved at a rationalization fee of US $ 6,806,783 million, on a cost-sharing basis between the Chinese and Pakistani governments, according to a press statement released by the Ministry of Finance.




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7 paramilitary soldiers were killed in southwest Pakistan | Instant News

KARACHI, Pakistan

At least seven paramilitary soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack on a checkpoint in southwest Pakistan, the military said in a statement on Sunday.

The raids took place late Saturday night in the Harnai district of Balochistan province, which is the main road leading to the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

“Terrorist attack on Balochistan Border Corps post in Sharig, Harnai, Balochistan late at night. During the intense firefight, seven brave soldiers embraced the creed. [martyrdom] while repelling a terrorist attack, “he said in a statement.

Security forces sealed off the area, and launched a “large-scale” search and cleanup operation to catch the attackers.

Neither side has claimed responsibility, but Baloch separatists carry out frequent attacks in the mineral-rich province.

In October, a gun and rocket attack targeting a paramilitary escort in the town of Ormara killed seven soldiers and seven private security guards.

The militants, who Islamabad accuses of having support from New Delhi, have also targeted the Chinese consulate building and the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi in the past.

CPEC, the flagship project of the $ 64 billion Belt and Road Initiative, aims to connect China’s strategic northwest Xinxiang province to Gwadar port via a network of roads, railroads and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.

* With additional input from the News Desk in Ankara

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Balochs hates the Gwadar port fence calling it the federalization of the Balochistan-ANI province | Instant News

Peshawar [Pakistan], 26 December (ANI): Balochi vehemently protested against the Pakistani government’s plan to fence off the entire 24 square kilometer area around Gwadar port to secure what it calls the ‘crown jewel’ of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)), reports the Asia Times.
Baloch’s public and intelligence officials called this development a human rights violation and called it the ‘federalization of the Balochistan province’ – a violation of the country’s constitution, FM Shakil wrote in an article in the Asia Times.
They believe the authorities will overstep their constitutional limits if they continue with fortification plans, reports Asia Times. Baloch MPs condemned the plan and considered steps in Pakistan’s Parliament that went against the government’s draft, Shakil added.
As per Shakil, the Pakistani army in collaboration with the Makran Administration, Gwadar Development Authority, Gwadar Port Authority and the Balochistan government, will implement the project under the Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan.
Authorities plan to have 15,000 hectares of land secured with iron barriers in the first phase of the project to monitor traffic inflows and outflows. The safe city of Gwadar will be equipped with more than 500 high-definition surveillance cameras to keep a close eye on “suspicious activity” or any illegal or forced intrusion into the city, government sources said.
Some lawmakers believe that China could introduce a ‘permit system’ to monitor or regulate entry and exit from the walled city for security purposes, reports Asia Times.
The decision to create the fence was due to Beijing’s growing concern about an increasing number of attacks on Chinese installations in Balochistan as the Pakistani army failed to repel a Baloch attack on the CPEC project in the province.
Chinese stakes in Balochistan and Sindh are high. The Gwadar Port in Balochistan, which Pakistan leased to the Chinese Overseas Port Holding Company for 40 years, is strategically important to Beijing for its energy needs and maritime influence in the Indian Ocean.
For China, Gwadar could become a tactical port that could serve as Beijing’s overseas naval base sooner than expected, said a top source for Asia Times.
China has also invested in Sindh province to build four coal-based power generation projects, two each in the Port Qasim and Thar areas. China is also interested in developing the Sindh coastal region, which is spread over 350 kilometers in the southeast of the country between the Indus border and the Hub River, Shakil said.
In addition, Prime Minister Imran Khan recently announced in early September a presidential decree to establish a ‘Pakistan Islands Development Authority’ which has caused quite a stir among Sindhi who oppose Chinese investment in the island of Sindh.
The move will further alienate the Baloch and Sindhi residents and the narrative of anti-Chinese power will strengthen in the provinces, reports the Asia Times. (ANI)

Denial: The views expressed in the above articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publisher. Unless otherwise noted, the author writes in his personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be considered to represent the ideas, attitudes or official policies of any agency or agency.


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