Saturday, February 6, 2016

India on CPEC; Obama’s Mosque Visit; Start of US Presidential Primaries

How does India feel about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor called CPEC? Is Modi government involved in disrupting CPEC? Is insurgency in Balochistan a part of Indian efforts to sabotage China’s short direct access to the Indian Ocean? What does the Times of India editorial titled “Engage the Dragon on Balochistan” say about thinking in Delhi?

Why did President Barack Obama wait to visit a mosque until his eighth year in office? Was this decision triggered by a leading Republican candidate Donald Trump’s attacks on Muslims? What did Obama say about attacks on Muslim Republicans?

What is the primary elections process prior to general elections in the United States of America? Who are the likely 2016 general elections candidates of Democratic and Republican parties? Who is most likely to win?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

India on Pak-China Corridor CPEC; Obama's... by ViewpointFromOverseas

India on Pak-China Corridor CPEC; Obama's Mosque Visit; Start of US Presidential Primaries from WBT Productions on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Trump's Muslim Ban

Karachi Local Government

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Riaz Haq said...

To protect #Chinese investment, #Pakistan military leaves little to chance. #CPEC #Balochistan #TTP via @Reuters

A senior security official in the town of around 100,000 people said a further 400-500 soldiers had been recruited as a temporary measure to protect Chinese nationals.

On a recent visit, an SUV carrying Chinese visitors was escorted by two police cars and an army vehicle, while police blocked traffic at every crossroad along the route. It was not clear who the passengers were.

Keeping foreign workers and executives safe in Gwadar, which has expanded significantly over the last 15 years largely thanks to Chinese investment, is relatively straightforward.

The same cannot be said of the corridor as a whole.

Its western branch passes north through Baluchistan province, where ethnic Baluch separatist rebels are opposed to the CPEC project and chafing under a military crackdown.

It skirts the tribal belt along the Afghan-Pakistan border where Islamist militant groups including the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda have long been based, and takes in Peshawar, scene of some of the worst insurgent atrocities of recent years.

The main responsibility for securing the corridor, vital to Pakistan's long-term prosperity, lies with a new army division established in the last few months and numbering an estimated 13,000 troops.

Pakistan's Planning Ministry does not yet have specific estimates on how many jobs the CPEC will create in Pakistan, although officials believe the project could generate hundreds of billions of dollars for the economy over the long term.

Some of the police, army and paramilitary reinforcements deployed in the last year have been stop-gap measures while the new Special Security Division builds to full strength.

Enhanced security goes beyond Gwadar and across Baluchistan, an arid, sparsely populated province bordering Iran and Afghanistan which sits on substantial deposits of untapped natural gas.

"We have tightened our security in those areas where the corridor is supposed to pass. We cannot allow Pakistan's economic backbone to be held hostage," Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, the provincial home minister, told Reuters.

The tough approach means anger is growing among separatist rebels and the broader Baluch community, a potential problem for the military as it pursues a two-pronged approach: amnesty for rebels willing to disarm and hunting down those who are not.

"We consider the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as ... an occupation of Baluch territory," said rebel spokesman Miran Baluch, a member of the Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF), adding its fighters would attack anyone working on the project.

"Thousands of Baluch families have been forced to flee the area where the CPEC route is planned. (The) Baluch (people) will not tolerate such projects on their land."

The low-level insurgency has hit development in the province for decades. In recent violence, five soldiers were killed by a remote-controlled bomb some 50km (31 miles) east of Quetta last month.

Also in January, two coastguards died in a bomb blast in Gwadar district, although in both cases it was not possible to determine who was behind the attacks.

Army chief General Raheel Sharif, who launched a prolonged assault on Islamist militants after Taliban gunmen massacred 134 pupils at a school in Peshawar in late 2014, will hope a sharp fall in violence nationwide will also benefit the CPEC.

Militant, insurgent and sectarian groups carried out 625 attacks across Pakistan in 2015, down 48 percent from 2014, said an independent think-tank, the Pak Institute for Peace Studies.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #cement sales surge 15.6 percent in July 2015 to Jan 2016. #CPEC #Economy via @sharethis

The data showed that local cement sales surged 15.57 percent to 17.9 million tons in July-Jan 2015/16. However, cement exports slid 24.98 percent to 3.4 million tons.

Cement manufacturers expressed dismay over the indifference shown by the economic planners towards rapidly declining exports.

“Substantial reduction in exports has drastically affected foreign exchange earnings of the country and cement makers are finding it difficult to maintain their existence in the export markets due to high cost of doing business in Pakistan and non-availability of incentives,” said APCMA spokesman.

In July-Jan 2015/16, factories located in north dispatched 14.776 million tons in local markets as against 12.948 million tons in July-Jan 2014/15.

The south-based factories registered a 23 percent growth in domestic sales in the period under review as their local sales stood at 3.12 million tons as against 2.53 million tons earlier.

The north-based mills registered a 22.35 percent decline of exports to 2.16 million tons in the first seven months of this fiscal year. South-based cement manufacturers recorded 29.17 percent exports fall to 1.243 million tons.

The industry dispatched 3.085 million tons of cement in January compared with 2.898 million tons dispatched in the same month a year ago, showing a growth of 6.47 percent.

Again this was mainly attributed to healthy domestic sales. In January, the local sales were 2.699 million tons as against 2.419 million tons earlier, up 11.54 percent.

In January, exports dropped to 386,562 tons from 478,000 tons in the same month a year ago, showing a decline of 19.19 percent.

The APCMA spokesman said despite several reminders on significant issues, which have been eroding export volumes, apparently no interest has been shown by the government to address them.

“Government must take immediate steps to stop smuggling of Iranian cement into the country,” he added.

He further said the government should also give due attention to reduce energy costs by removal of gas infrastructure development cess, reduction of custom duty on coal to zero percent and announcing additional incentive of five percent on cement export by sea in order to reduce the overall cost of operations to make the Pakistani cement industry competitive globally.

- See more at:

Riaz Haq said...

After years of violence, #Pakistan is winning its fight against #terrorism #TTP #BLA #Taliban by @mazmhussain

ON JANUARY 20, a group of men from the militant Islamist group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan infiltrated the campus of Bacha Khan University in northwestern Pakistan. Armed with assault rifles and grenades, they managed to kill over 20 students and faculty before they were gunned down by local security forces.

The attack managed to shock a country that for years has endured terrorist outrages. That the killings occurred at a university, targeting innocent students and teachers, made them feel particularly heinous. But the attack was also remarkable because Pakistan, for more than a year, had appeared to be on the way to finally defeating its homegrown insurgency. And despite the horror of what happened at Bacha Khan, that still seems to be the case.

Last year saw precipitous decreases in both terrorist attacks and fatalities in Pakistan. Though exact figures differ, statistics compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal, the research arm of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management, as well as a study by the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies, a pro-democracy think tank, showed significant decreases in violence in the country. A CRSS study said terrorist incidents declined 56 percent in 2015 from 2014, and the SATP, which conducts a running tally of terrorism figures, said that Pakistan in 2015 suffered the lowest number of suicide attacks and deaths from terrorism since 2006.

These reported declines follow Pakistan’s initiation in 2014 of a large-scale military operation against Taliban sanctuaries in the ungoverned tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. That effort, which is ongoing, has succeeded in reclaiming most territory in the tribal areas.

The seven years preceding this operation coincided with the escalation of the American war in Afghanistan and were among the bloodiest in Pakistan’s history. Those years saw a deluge of terrorist attacks that targeted markets, shrines, mosques, and major landmarks throughout the country. Suicide bombings, once unprecedented in Pakistan, suddenly became a gruesome regularity. Even widely revered religious sites were not immune. As a seemingly unstoppable wave of attacks overtook the country, landmarks like Lahore’s Data Darbar complex and Karachi’s Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine, both popular destinations for Sufi pilgrims from across South Asia, were struck by suicide bombings. The violence called into question the government’s ability to maintain domestic cohesion.

By 2014, the situation had begun to look dire. The tipping point finally came on June 8, when a group of TTP militants launched an attack against Karachi’s Muhammad Ali Jinnah International Airport, killing 28 and threatening to sever the major transit link between Pakistan’s economic capital and the rest of the world.

The following week, the Pakistani military commenced the large-scale attack on Taliban sanctuaries, known as Operation Zarb-e-Azb. In a public statement announcing the start of the campaign, the government painted the battle in existential terms, saying that the militants had “waged a war against the state of Pakistan” and that their terrorism was “disrupting our national life in all its dimensions, stunting our economic growth and causing enormous loss of life and property.”

Over a year and a half later, Operation Zarb-e-Azb appears to have garnered results. In addition to sharp statistical declines in terror attacks and casualties, locals in major urban centers like Karachi have also reported improvements in basic law and order. According to figures compiled last year by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent nonprofit, sectarian violence and so-called target killings in Pakistan’s largest city declined by 28 percent and 63 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

Unknown said...

It's an anti establishment vote and Trump and Sanders should do well,furthermore don't take the statements on campaign trail as the future policy statements ,Trump will mellow out and if he becomes the president he would be good for USA,Saudi Araibia will be cut down to size and that alone will bring peace in middle east

Anonymous said...

Riaz Haq said...

Indian media are now playing up lies spewed by a US agent and convicted felon David Headley to whip up anti_Pak sentiments and deceive their people yet again

From India's DailyO:

Successive governments in New Delhi have been allowed to deceive India's public for too long with false claims that are nothing more than a cover for the complete strategic and policy vacuum that characterises state responses to Pakistan-backed terrorism. Indeed, it is now time to nail India's lie about nailing Pakistan's lies.


Riaz Haq said...

SQA: "Trump will mellow out and if he becomes the president he would be good for USA"

I think Trump's juvenile leadership style will be a disaster for the United States if he ever gets elected. His patent bigotry will hurt America's standing in the world.

Tambi Dude said...

"Indian media are now playing up lies spewed by a US agent and convicted felon David Headley to whip up anti_Pak sentiments and deceive their people yet again"

Just wondering whether your low class pak education is being displayed here, like always.

If he is lying now, then why was he sentenced to 35 yrs imprisonment by US court for his role in 11/26. Did he lie there too to implicate himself. David gains nothing by lying now because he is not going to come out alive from the Chicago jail until he is 85. It is not as if his US sentence is going to be pardoned because of this revelations.

In any case what-ever he told few days back is already revealed during his court case in 2010. The article you quoted also alludes to the same.

Riaz Haq said...

RK: "Did he lie there too to implicate himself."

It was a plea bargain that resulted in his conviction.

His testimony implicating others was not accepted by the court when the court acquitted Tahawwur Rana of involvement in Mumbai.

He's a repeat offender as he has demonstrated by breaking the law, doing a plea bargain deal to become an informant and then breaking the law again.

RK: "David gains nothing by lying now because he is not going to come out alive from the Chicago jail until he is 85. It is not as if his US sentence is going to be pardoned because of this revelations."

He's obligated to do what the US tells him to do as part of his plea bargain. If he doesn't, the US could try him again and get him an even stiffer sentence. On the other hand, his helping US could bring him some leniency such as early release for good behavior.

Tambi Dude said...

'He's obligated to do what the US tells him to do as part of his plea bargain. "

What has his recent revelations got to do with USA ? He was sentenced in 2010.
Why did US took 5 years forcing him to reveal to India?

"If he doesn't, the US could try him again and get him an even stiffer sentence. On the other hand, his helping US could bring him some leniency such as early release for good behavior."

ha ha. good one. Try a career in Hollywood crime movies screenplay.

David agreed to turn approver for India so that India does not seek extradition any more. Right since his sentencing, Indian Govt has made it clear that their goal is to extradite him to India. Even though USA has steadfastly refused to hand him over to India, David just can't be sure it will not change in future. He clearly prefers spending rest of his life in US prison than in Indian prison. He cut a deal with India :- Pardom him and he will turn an approver. This is a standard practice all over the world. So many mafia criminals turn approver to escape from punishment. For India, which has a bigger objective to get the names of other conspirators, it is an OK deal. It is not as if David is already not in prison.

Riaz Haq said...

RK: "What has his recent revelations got to do with USA ? He was sentenced in 2010. Why did US took 5 years forcing him to reveal to India?"

Headley is in US custody. He can not do or say anything without the consent of his handlers in US government.

Rks said...

Riaz bhai, you say: "Indian media are now playing up lies spewed by a US agent and convicted felon David Headley to whip up anti-Pak sentiments and deceive their people yet again"

Why would Headly lie for the sake of India and implicate Pakistan? His father was a Pakistani and he spent many years in Pakistan. He is in American jail and India has no influence on him. Only US spy agencies can influence him. US spy agencies as we know are pally with ISI.

You are a intelligent person and should realise this.

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk : "Only US spy agencies can influence him. US spy agencies as we know are pally with ISI"

Don't forget that US has put $10m bounty on Hafiz Saeed's head. The US wants Headley to implicate Saeed and Pakistan. The Cold War is over. US's and its agencies' allegiances have changed.

Riaz Haq said...

1. When you hear the soundtrack of this video, does this man sound like a person born and raised in the town of Faridkot in Okara District of Pakistan's Punjab province? This question is particularly addressed to people of Pakistani Punjab who are familiar with the local accents.

2. Have you ever heard of a "jihadi" seeking "Bhagwan's forgiveness" (at 3:07 min in Dailymotion video clip below) as the man in the "confession video" does?

3. Were these two above questions raised during the trial by the defense attorney assigned to defend Kassab?

4. If you were on a jury called to hear evidence in this case, would you find the man in the video alleged to be "Ajmal Kassab" guilty beyond reasonable doubt?

Tambi Dude said...

"When you hear the soundtrack of this video, does this man sound like a person born an"

OH it started again. 11/26 was never done by Pakistan. Got it. It was RSS all the way.

And all terrorist attack in Pak is by RAW. Case closed.

No wonder Pakis hate David Headley for singing.

Riaz Haq said...

RK: "OH it started again. 11/26 was never done by Pakistan. Got it. It was RSS all the way. And all terrorist attack in Pak is by RAW. Case closed."

SM Mushrif, the author of "Who Killed Karkare?" and former police chief of Maharashtra state, has raised some very serious questions about the role of the Indian intelligence in the increasing violence committed by Hindutva outfits against India's minorities, and how India's Intelligence Bureau diverts attention from it by falsely accusing Indian Muslims and Pakistan's ISI, as was done in Malegaon and Samjutha Express blasts.

Tambi Dude said...

Do you know how many nuts in USA have written a book about 09/11 being an inside job by CIA and Mossad. There is even a video documentary claiming Twin Towers fell due to demolition by bomb. The line of argument is exactly like that of Kasab's accent. You are most welcome to believe it, like many Pakistanis and American muslims.

It is called democracy and free speech and we Americans or Indians just take it as a small nuisance.

It might interest you to know that, despite this so called atrocities against minorities, Indian Muslims have clearly said no to Pakistan.

Here is Asaduddin Owaisi, a fiery anti RSS/BJP leader talking about muslims in India vs Pak:

Riaz Haq said...

RK: "Do you know how many nuts in USA have written a book about 09/11 being an inside job by CIA and Mossad. "

Were these written by top security and police officials comparable to SM Mushrif in India?

RK : "we Americans or Indians"

Really? Has US ever elected a KKK wizard to the top office in the country?

Does US censor free speech as India does with Facebook and other social media?

Facebook has published data indicating that India leads the world in censoring Facebook posts. Indian government demanded Facebook blocks 4,765 times in a six month period.India’s approach to Internet speech has been a flash point for years, with the government saying it wants to regulate content that is offensive to religious or ethnic groups, and companies such as Facebook and Google (GOOG) bristling at the restrictions, according to Bloomberg News.

Riaz Haq said...

In a shocking disclosure a former officer of the Indian home ministry has alleged that Indian government had orchestrated the two high-profile terrorist attacks which New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan-based militant groups.

According to India’s Times of India (TOI) newspaper, RVS Mani, who as home ministry under-secretary signed the affidavits submitted in court in the Ishrat Jahan ‘fake encounter case’, has said that Satish Verma, until recently a part of the Central Bureau of Investigation-SIT probe team, told him that both the 2001 attack on Indian parliament and the 2008 Mumbai attacks were set up “with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation (sic)”.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's ex foreign secretary Shyam Saran's account of recent #Pakistan visit. Wants more "benign narrative" of ties …

Though I have visited Lahore earlier, this was the first time I was able to experience the vibrant life in the city away from officialdom. It remains a city of people who celebrate its rich and varied cultural heritage and embrace its tradition of intellectual discourse, poetry, music and sophisticated cuisine. Its Sufi shrines are overflowing with throngs of gentle worshippers defying the monochromatic urgings of the Wahhabi-inspired jihadi groups. It is only the pervasive presence of security all around the city which reflects the unseen threat that strikes and kills without warning. Pakistan's diversity is real and should be factored into our policies. There is universal resentment over the highly restrictive visa regime, the little humiliations heaped on those brave enough to cross national boundaries, and the constant discouragement to the coming together of scholars, artists and writers - all in the name of reciprocity and exaggerated security concerns. And yet, these are the constituencies that may be able to craft a different and more benign narrative of India-Pakistan relations over time. A self-confident India should be able to create opportunities for expanded engagement with these constituencies even as it confronts the hostility of the Pakistani state. The affinities across the border are real and need to be nurtured for their own intrinsic value.

Anonymous said...

We indians consider all those cong era FS are slightly better than useless.

Nitin B said...

This blogger and most of his blogs are blogs of convenience. The constant underlying argument is to project Pakistan in a better light, although, the facts indicate different. On the flip side there is a need to project India and the US but mostly India much harshly and poorly than the truth.

For example, even though Pakistan is considered a well known terrorist haven for harboring Osama Bin Laden and the numerous terrorists that has come from it's soil including giving birth to the Taliban, the blogger wants to somehow "correct" that image. Yet in India's case, in PM Modi's case, there are delusional comparisons made to Hitler, KKK and other outrageous things. Never mind that the Supreme Court of India of the then Congress Government (who brought the charges) ruled and cleared Modi of the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

On the economic front, the blogs are similarly contrived. If you look at the South Asia Subcontinent countries, Pakistan has over the years fallen in Human Development Ranking. In spite of that most blogs are economically very rosy and ignore the many structural problems of Pakistan's Economy. Once again here, India's economy, has been projected to collapse many times but the truth is no way near that.

However, this sort of narrative will continue. Unfortunately for the blogger, these fringe arguments will not stick no matter how numerous or how desperately they are repeated.

Thank You

Riaz Haq said...

NBRX: "The constant underlying argument is to project Pakistan in a better light, although, the facts indicate different."

The "facts" you see are different from the real facts knowledgeable Indians have about the situation.


Several prominent Indian journalists and writers have visited Pakistan in recent years for the first time in their lives. I am sharing with my readers selected excerpts of the reports from Mahanth Joishy (, Panakaj Mishra (Bloomberg), Hindol Sengupta (The Hindu), Madhulika Sikka (NPR) and Yoginder Sikand (Countercurrents) of what they saw and how they felt in the neighbor's home. My hope is that their stories will help foster close ties between the two estranged South Asian nations.

Dulat has essentially confirmed the fact that Indian hawks like the BJP leader L.K. Advani are responsible for sabotaging the India-Pakistan summit. Dulat has also debunked the myth promoted by Indian security analysts and politicians who regularly blame Pakistan for the failure of past bilateral diplomatic efforts by citing what they believe is the adverse role of Pakistani military in framing Pakistan's policy toward India. This rationale does not explain why the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Pakistani military leaders from General Zia to General Musharraf have not borne fruit.

Are Pakistan's allegations against RAW mere conspiracy theories? Are all of Pakistan's problems today entirely of its own making? Is RAW just a dis-interested spectator of the grisly drama being played out in Pakistan?

Rakesh Gupta said...

You have been mentioned.

Riaz Haq said...

Debt Markets worry over #Pakistan default on $50 billion debt coming due as Credit Default Swaps surge via @business

Bets are rising that Pakistan will default on its debt just as it starts to revive investor interest with a reduction in terrorist attacks.
Credit default swaps protecting the nation’s debt against non-payment for five years surged 56 basis points over the past week amid the global market sell-off, the steepest jump after Greece, Venezuela and Portugal among more than 50 sovereigns tracked by Bloomberg. About 42 percent of Pakistan’s outstanding debt is due to mature in 2016 -- roughly $50 billion, equivalent to the size of Slovenia’s economy.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has worked to make Pakistan more investor-friendly since winning a $6.6 billion International Monetary Fund loan in 2013 to avert an external payments crisis. The economy is forecast to grow 4.5 percent, an eight-year high, as a crackdown on militant strongholds helps reduce deaths from terrorist attacks.
"Pakistan’s high level of public debt, with a large portion financed through short-term instruments, does make the sovereign’s ability to meet their financing needs more sensitive to market conditions," Mervyn Tang, lead analyst for Pakistan at Fitch Ratings Ltd., said by e-mail.

Since Sharif took the loan, Pakistan’s debt due by end-2016 has jumped about 79 percent. He’s also facing resistance in meeting IMF demands to privatize state-owned companies, leading to a strike this month at national carrier Pakistan International Airlines Corp.
The bulk of this year’s debt, some $30 billion, is due between July and September, and repayments will get tougher if borrowing costs rise more. The spread between Pakistan’s 10-year sovereign bond and similar-maturity U.S. Treasuries touched a one-year high on Thursday.
If Pakistan’s debt servicing costs rise, Sharif doesn’t have much room to maneuver. Already about 77 percent of the country’s 13 trillion rupees ($124 billion) budget for the year through June 30 is earmarked for interest and principal repayment on loans.


Another worry, as ever in Pakistan, is political stability. The military has ruled the country for most of the time since independence in 1947, and General Raheel Sharif -- no relation to the prime minister -- has boosted the army’s image with a campaign to root out terrorists who massacred 134 children in 2014.
While Raheel Sharif has said he plans to retire when his term ends in November, the risk of political upheaval is ever present. Pakistan has the 10th highest political risk score among more than 120 countries in the Economist Intelligence Unit ranking, worse than Egypt and Iran.

Salim said...

Also read Mohammad Jamil article

Rs 17 trillion and growing or Rs 85000 debt per person. Staggering. Is this due to CPEC?

Riaz Haq said...

Salim: "Rs 17 trillion and growing or Rs 85000 debt per person. Staggering. Is this due to CPEC? "

Rs 85,000, if accurate, is $850, a fraction of Pakistan's per capita income of over $1,500. It's quite manageable if Pakistan succeeds in growing its economy and increase its tax base. CPEC offers an opportunity to do that.

Only 17 percent -- or $8.3 billion -- of Pakistan’s 2016 bond and loan repayments will need to be in foreign currency. That accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s $21 billion in foreign-exchange holdings.

Riaz Haq said...

Huge fire engulfs #Mumbai 'Make in #India' stage as politicians, #Bollywood elite flee the show. #MakeInIndia @CNN
It was a night meant to showcase the best of Indian culture, innovation and talent but a huge blaze that broke out abruptly canceled a Mumbai "Make in India" cultural event.

The fire started during a traditional performance, sending the 25,000 people in attendance at Girgaum Chowpatty beach fleeing, including high profile politicians and Indian cinema stars Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, according to local media.

The week-long event is the result of a push started by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014 and part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives and a drive to attract foreign investors.

Video footage shows initially unaware performers dancing on stage even as the fire starts to spread beneath them. Members of the crowd who are evacuating the building wave to them to alert them to the danger.

Fourteen fire engines and 10 water tankers rushed to the venue, according to Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of the Maharahstra state, who was at the event. Despite the dramatic scene, there were no reports of fatalities or injuries.

Riaz Haq said...

State Bank of #Pakistan: #China leads with $409 million #FDI inflow in #Pakistan in first 7 months of Fiscal 2015-16 …

Foreign direct investment (FDI) increased 4.6% in the first seven months of 2015-16 on a year-on-year basis, according to statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday.

Pakistan received $647.9 million in FDI in the July-January period, which is $28.4 million higher than the FDI received in the same seven-month period of the preceding fiscal year.

FDI from China saved the day for Pakistan, as investment from the neighbouring country amounted to $409 million in Jul-Jan, which increased almost 120% from a year ago. The share of Chinese investment in the net FDI Pakistan has received in Jul-Jan stands at 63.1%, more than double from 30% a year ago.

Despite being one of the principal foreign investors in Pakistan historically, the United States is now pulling out its investments on a massive scale.

US investors have pulled out $86.5 million in the first seven months of 2015-16, although net inflows from the world’s largest economy amounted to $120.7 million in the same period of previous fiscal year.

Pakistan has faced low levels of foreign investment in recent years. The SBP has called an increase in FDI ‘imperative’ for sustainability of the economy’s external sector.

Other major outflows of FDI were from investors of Saudi Arabia ($74.4 million), Germany ($30.6 million) and Egypt ($26.3 million) in Jul-Jan, SBP data shows.

FDI inflow was just $23.9 million in January, up $14.7 million from the investment received in the same month of 2014.

The largest net outflow of FDI was recorded in petrochemicals ($136.1 million) followed by metal products ($34 million).

China was followed by the United Arab Emirates ($98.5 million), Hong Kong ($94.3 million) and Italy ($61.1 million) as major contributors to the FDI in Jul-Jan.

The largest increase in FDI was in the category of power, which attracted $334.2 million. Other sectors that attracted substantial FDI were oil and gas exploration ($187.7 million) and communications ($53.5 million).

Pakistan received FDI of $709.3 million in 2014-15, which was 58.2% less than the FDI received in the preceding fiscal year. The largest contributor during the year was the United States ($238.7 million), followed by China ($229.5 million) and United Arab Emirates ($222.4 million).

Many foreign investors have left Pakistan for good in recent years because of the energy crisis and bad governance. According to the latest annual report of the SBP, FDI divestments have taken place in cement, metal and pharmaceutical sectors.

“Some of these divestments highlight policy-related constraints in the manufacturing sector,” the SBP said while referring to Tuwairqi Steel that has shut down its production unit in Pakistan because of a dispute with the government over the pricing of gas.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan COAS Gen Raheel says army will turn #CPEC dream into reality. #China #Gwadar via @ePakistanToday

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Friday said that security forces are ready to pay any price to turn the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) dream into reality.

“We are aware of all the campaigns against CPEC,” said the army chief.

During his visit to the headquarters of the newly raised Special Security Division (SSD), responsible for the security of CPEC projects, the army chief instructed the force to take all possible measures to make all CPEC related projects a success.

COAS was given a detailed briefing over raising of the force and the security threats faced by the CPEC project.

Gen Raheel Sharif reiterated the army’s commitment to provide security for CPEC and the work force involved in the projects, terming the plan a game changer for Pakistan and its people.

On arrival, COAS was received by Lieutenant General Malik Zafar Iqbal and Major General Abid Rafique, Commander SSD.

The CPEC is a 3,000-kilometer network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport oil and gas from Gwadar Port to Kashgar city, northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013, the CPEC will act as a bridge for the new Maritime Silk Route that envisages linking three billion people in Asia, Africa and Europe.

An official agreement on the corridor was signed between the two countries last year during President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to Pakistan.

The project links China’s strategy to develop its western region with Pakistan’s focus on boosting its economy, including the infrastructure construction of Gwadar Port, together with some energy cooperation and investment programs.

It also involves road and railway construction including an upgrade of the 1,300-km Karakoram Highway, the highest paved international road in the world which connects China and Pakistan across the Karakoram mountains.

The CPEC will reduce China’s routes of oil and gas imports from Africa and the Middle East by thousands of kilometers, making Gwadar a potentially vital link in China’s supply chain.

Pakistan has reason to believe that the Indian spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), has established yet another desk with a special allocation of a huge sum of money to scuttle CPEC.

According to reports in the local media, RAW, created in the wake of the 1965 war between Pakistan and India, has been assigned the gigantic assignment to ruin the trade corridor project, the biggest operation after the creation of Bangladesh tasked to it immediately after its creation way back in September 1968.

Pakistan’s intelligence gathering agencies had collected authentic evidence and proof about the designs of RAW that has already initiated its work. RAW is known for sponsoring terror activities for attaining its objectives. It is engaged in promoting and aiding disruptive elements in Pakistan to destabilise the country.

The budget of RAW isn’t known to anyone but $300 million have been earmarked initially for subverting the economic corridor.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan releases cofessional video of #India spy Kulbhushan Yadav admitting to #RAW role in #Balochistan: Pakistan …

Pakistan on Tuesday released a video in which an arrested Indian spy is heard confessing New Delhi's alleged involvement in terrorist activities in Balochistan.

Kulbushan Yadav says in the video that he had been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan "at the behest of RAW", the Indian intelligence agency, and that he was still with the Indian Navy.

Yadav added that he had played a role in the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi, Dawn reported.

The video was released at a press conference attended by Pakistan Army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa and Information Minister Pervez Rashid.

Terming Yadav's arrest a "big achievement", Bajwa said Yadav was directly handled by the RAW chief and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

"His goal was to disrupt development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with Gwadar port as a special target," Bajwa said.

"This is nothing short of state-sponsored terrorism... There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan."

Yadav is heard saying in the video that he was still a serving officer in the Indian Navy and would be due for retirement in 2022.

"By 2002, I commenced intelligence operations. In 2003, I established a small business in Chabahar in Iran.

"As I was able to achieve undetected existence and visits to Karachi in 2003 and 2004. Having done some basic assignments within India for RAW, I was picked up by RAW in 2013 end," Yadav said.

He said his purpose was to meet Baloch insurgents and carry out "activities with their collaboration".

Law enforcement agencies arrested Yadav in an intelligence-based raid in Balochistan's Chaman near the border with Afghanistan last week. He held a valid Indian visa.

India denied Yadav was an intelligence operative and said he was formerly from the navy. New Delhi also demanded consular access to Yadav, which has been denied.

Yadav was shifted to Islamabad for interrogation, during which an unnamed official said the spy revealed he had bought boats at the Iranian port in Chabahar in order to target Karachi and Gwadar ports, Dawn reported.

Riaz Haq said...

“The (#Gwadar) port will be in full operation by end of this year (2016)” Zhang Baozhong. #China #Pakistan #CPEC

Gwadar, jointly developed by Chinese and Pakistani engineers, lies at the convergence of three of the most commercially important regions of the world, the oil-rich Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.

“The port will be in full operation by end of this year,” said Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company Ltd., who is in charge of development and operation at Gwadar.

The deep water shipping port, built with Chinese financial and technical assistance, is central to the recently launched grand cooperation agreement between the two close allies.

Trading zone expected in the future

The so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, known as CPEC, is a package of building railroads, highways, pipelines, power plants and industrial zones with an investment of $46 billion. It will also give Beijing greater access through Pakistan to global markets, including Africa and Europe.

​Baozhong told a conference of officials, politicians and foreign diplomats in Gwadar, that almost no trading activity is taking place at Gwadar right now but that is expected in a year.

“We are expecting that roughly one million tons of material will go in and out,” he said.

Initially, most of the cargo will be construction material worth billions of dollars for ongoing and proposed projects such as building roads, schools, hospitals, a free trade zone at the port, and the city’s international airport, which is expected to be started by the end of this year, explained Baozhong.

Gwadar is located in Baluchistan province where separatist groups have, for decades, waged guerrilla attacks against key government facilities, officials and security forces.

Security measures

Pakistani authorities in recent months have stepped up what they say are targeted operations against the insurgents and have also raised a special force within the past year for the protection of CPEC-related projects in and beyond the province.

“I assure you that security of CPEC is our national undertaking and we will not leave any stone unturned. We will continue to keep a close watch at its every step.To this effect, a 15,000-strong, dedicated force is already in place under the ambit of Special Security Division,” said the Pakistan military chief, General Raheel Sharif, while addressing the conference in Gwadar.

Chinese officials also said that Pakistan’s counter-militancy efforts have addressed safety concerns to “a great extent” and sped up on all the projects in the last year.

“The improved environment in Pakistan has created favorable conditions for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.A remarkable progress has been made in CPEC projects,” said acting Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhao Lijian, in his speech to the conference.

Chinese operators of Gwadar's port say they are also developing a mechanism to improve quantity and quality of the local fishing industry to help boost the region’s economy.

A 923-hectare free trade zone outside the port, expected to be in place by the end of next year, will have a large processing plant, a large refrigeration house, and other facilities to improve seafood exports, said Baozhong.

Riaz Haq said...

#China-#Pakistan Economic Corridor on track, says #Chinese envoy. #CPEC

In the energy sector, 16 projects have been sorted out to be implemented first, which can generate 10.4 million kw of electricity in total, Sun said, adding that half of the projects have been under construction, and will help Pakistan ease its power shortages.

A solar power plant in Punjab province's Bahawalpur city, built by the Chinese company ZTE Energy, has recently installed a 300-megawatt generator unit, which can produce 480 million kWh annually, enough to satisfy the daily power consumption of at least 200,000 Pakistani families, Sun said.

Regarding transportation, the ambassador said, phase II of the Karakoram highway, the Multan-Sukkur section of the Lahore-Karachi highway, and the Pakistan portion of a cross-border optical cable project are already underway.

As the largest transportation project under the CPEC, the 392 km-long Multan-Sukkur stretch is expected to create nearly 10,000 jobs at the peak of its construction, the ambassador added.

According to incomplete statistics, the CPEC projects under construction have employed more than 6,000 Pakistani workers by the end of March, besides the employment indirectly created and driven by the projects, Sun said.

Furthermore, Chinese companies participating in CPEC helped residents in remote areas of Pakistan gain access to clean water, electricity and better transportation.

China's Three Gorges Corporation and Tebian Electric Apparatus have provided generators, solar lights and water purification units to residents in remote regions while China Road and Bridge Corporation has repeatedly helped locals build makeshift bridges and water ducts and taken part in rescue and relief operations.

The China Development Bank, Huawei, China State Construction Engineering Corporation, as well as other Chinese entities, have also sponsored Pakistanis to receive further education in China, donated school buses to Gwadar and set up education funds, which have received wide praise from the local population.

The CPEC, which highlights energy, transport, the Gwadar port and industrial cooperation at the current stage and will seek to expand cooperation to such sectors as finance, science and technology, education, poverty alleviation, and urban planning.

"The CPEC is a mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation, which will contribute to the prosperity and development of China, Pakistan and the region and the building of a community of shared destiny between the two countries," Sun said.

"We will fully implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of China and Pakistan, and push forward the construction of CPEC to benefit the Chinese and Pakistani peoples," Sun added.

Chinese firms are to invest $46 billion in the project over six years, including $33.8 billion in energy projects and $11.8 billion in infrastructure, as part of an agreement inked by the two sides during a visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to China in 2014.

The CPEC is part of China's transnational 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) initiative, which includes the land-based New Silk Road and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

China's access to Gwadar, close to the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping lane, could open up an energy and trade corridor from the Gulf across Pakistan to western China.

The CPEC when completed will also give China land access to the Indian Ocean, cutting the nearly 13,000 km sea voyage from Tianjin to the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Malacca and around India, to a mere 2,000 km road journey from Kashgar to Gwadar.

Riaz Haq said...

#China urges #Pakistan to let #Pak army, with its decades of infrastructure dev experience, lead #CPEC work

Frustrated with the slow progress on a sprawling, $46bn infrastructure project stretching from China to south Asia, Beijing is seeking to give Pakistan’s army a lead role.

Its desire to enlist Pakistan’s military is a sign of the challenges facing a crucial plank of President Xi Jinping’s signature One Road One Belt initiative. It was designed to increase China’s influence along the Silk Road and help the country export some of its excess industrial capacity.

Mr Xi made Pakistan an early stop on that road last year with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a $46bn bundle of road, railway, electricity, oil and gas projects that marked the largest foreign investment in the nuclear-armed south Asian state.

But progress has stalled as the two sides work out how to turn the proposals into concrete projects, said Victor Gao, a former Chinese foreign ministry official, with some blaming Pakistan’s competing ministries.

“On the Pakistan side there is uncertainty about which entity wants to take leadership or ownership of the corridor projects,” he said. “There is a big debate internally [in Pakistan] over whether the government should take ownership or the military should take ownership. This is what is holding the whole thing up.”

The Pakistan military, which has detachments of civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, has had decades of experience with large infrastructure projects and analysts say the army is well placed to supervise the corridor.

But some politicians warn that military involvement will expand the army’s footprint on civilian matters and give the armed forces an even greater say in policymaking.

Security along the route, which traverses many volatile regions, is also a factor. “Because this project runs from Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar, the CPEC’s route is very long and high-risk,” said Huang Rihan at the Center for China and Globalisation.

A 15,000-strong army-led security force has already been deployed to protect Chinese personnel assigned to the project.

Ultimately the new Silk Road will connect China’s western region, including the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province, to the Chinese-funded Pakistani port city of Gwadar and significantly reduce the travel time between China and the Middle East.

“Pakistani politicians have squabbled over the route for the CPEC and this may have made people nervous in Beijing,” said a Pakistan government official. “Pakistan is a noisy place politically while the Chinese are not used to harsh disagreements, especially over such a vital project.”

Others attributed the hold-up to the long-term nature of the CPEC. “These projects will take many years to be completed, beyond the tenure of any one government,” said a foreign ministry official in Islamabad. “China wants to make certain that these projects will be completed as per plan”.

China is focused on securing a route to the Indian Ocean that would reduce dependence on the choke point of the Strait of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Zaffar Hilaly, a former senior Pakistani diplomat and now commentator on national and security affairs, said: “The Chinese consider the Pakistan army a central player [for the country]. They see the army’s involvement with this project as a guarantee of its success.”

Pakistan’s armed forces have established close ties with Beijing as primary customers of China’s defence hardware, raising concerns in Delhi and Washington over a Sino-Pakistani military axis.

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC Results According to Wang Wenbin of China

Bilal I Gilani
CPEC projects are creating 192,000 jobs, generating 6,000MW of power, building 510 km (316 miles) of highways, and expanding the national transmission network by 886 km (550 miles),” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing."

Associated Press of Pakistan: On July 5, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif while addressing a ceremony to mark a decade of signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said that CPEC has been playing a key role in transforming Pakistan’s economic landscape. He also said that the mega project helped Pakistan progress in the region and beyond. What is your response?

Wang Wenbin: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a signature project of China-Pakistan cooperation in the new era, and an important project under the Belt and Road Initiative. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of CPEC. After ten years of development, a “1+4” cooperation layout has been formed, with the CPEC at the center and Gwadar Port, transport infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation being the four key areas. Projects under CPEC are flourishing all across Pakistan, attracting USD 25.4 billion of direct investment, creating 192,000 jobs, producing 6,000 megawatts of electric power, building 510 kilometers of highways and adding 886 kilometers to the core national transmission network. CPEC has made tangible contribution to the national development of Pakistan and connectivity in the region. China and Pakistan have also explored new areas for cooperation under the framework of CPEC, creating new highlights in cooperation on agriculture, science and technology, telecommunication and people’s wellbeing.

China stands ready to work with Pakistan to build on the past achievements and follow the guidance of the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries on promoting high-quality development of CPEC to boost the development of China and Pakistan and the region and bring more benefits to the people of all countries.