CPEC To Add 2.5 Million New Jobs & Boost Pakistan GDP Growth to 7.5%

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is expected to add over 2 million direct and indirect jobs to Pakistan's economy and boost the country's GDP growth rate to 7.5%.

Jobs & Economic Growth in Pakistan: 

US-based consulting firm Deloitte and Touche estimates that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects will create some 700,000 direct jobs during the period 2015–2030 and raise its GDP growth rate to 7.5%,  adding 2.5 percentage points to the country's current GDP growth rate of 5%.


Pakistan Country Report in Shamghai Business Review Feb/March 2016

An additional 1.4 million indirect jobs will be added in supply-chain and service sectors to support the projects.  An example of indirect jobs is the massive expansion in Pakistan's cement production that will increase annual production capacity from 45 million tons to 65 million tons, according to a tweet by Bloomberg's Faseeh Mangi. Other indirect jobs will be in sectors ranging from personal services to housing and transportation.



CPEC Benefits for Pakistan & China: 

The CPEC will open doors to immense economic opportunities not only to Pakistan but will physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond, according to the Deloitte report.

Almost 80% of the China’s oil is currently transported from the Middle East through the Strait of Malacca to Shanghai, (distance is almost 16,000 km and takes 2-3 months). With Gwadar port in Pakistan becoming operational, the distance would reduce to less than 5,000 km. If all goes well and on schedule, of the 21 agreements on energy– including gas, coal and solar energy– 14 will be able to provide up to 10,400 megawatts (MW) of energy by March 2018. According to China Daily, these projects would provide up to 16,400 MW of energy altogether.

India's War on CPEC: 

The biggest challenge that CPEC faces today is India's well-orchestrated effort to sabotage it. Not only are Indian leaders on record as opposing CPEC, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-hand man Ajit Doval have unleashed a concerted effort to try to make it impossible.

Mr. Modi has openly expressed support for Baloch separatists and Ajit Doval has talked about Pakistan "losing Balochistan". A serving Indian Navy commander Kulbhushan Yadav has been arrested working undercover to wage covert war in Pakistan.

RAW Money Flow:

India has opened up a big money money spigot to use its agents to destabilize Pakistan. RK Yadav, an ex intelligence official of RAW, has in a TV interview (Siyasat Ki Baat with RK Yadav video 6:00 minutes), talked about RAW agents with "suitcases and cupboards full of money".

Ex RAW chief A.S. Dulat has said "money goes a long way" in intelligence operations.

Current National Security Advisor has talked about RAW recruiting terrorists with one-and-a-half times the money they are making from other sources.

RK Yadav has, in his book "Mission R&AW",  written about RAW money paid to late Pakistani politician Khan Abul Wali Khan in 1970s. He's also confirmed the existence of RAW-inspired 1960s Agartala Conspiracy that recruited Shaikh Mujib ur Rehman's Awami League to work for Indian intelligence.

More recently, London Police documents have revealed the testimony of MQM leaders Muhammad Anwar and Tariq Mir confirming that Altaf Husain received money from Indian intelligence.

Modi's Campaign to Isolate Pakistan:

While RAW is busy funding terror in Pakistan, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi has launched a diplomatic offensive to have Pakistan declared a "state sponsor of terror". It's intended to deflect attention from Indian Army's brutality against innocent Kashmiris and to cover up his own proxy war of terror to sabotage CPEC in Pakistan.

Summary:

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a game-changer for Pakistan. It will build power plants and other infrastrastructure, boost Pakistan's GDP growth to 7.5% and add millions of new jobs to bring prosperity to Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Modi is very unhappy about it and he has launched a multi-pronged concerted effort to sabotage CPEC by using covert wars and diplomatic offensives to hurt Pakistan. Can Pakistan defeat Indian plans and succeed in building a prosperous future? That is the big question. The answer depends on how well Pakistanis can unite to make it happen.

Here's a video by Gaurav Garg explaining why India wants to sabotage CPEC:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd_z9kf8AeE




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Modi's Covert War in Pakistan

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW Successes Against Pakistan

Saleem Safi of GeoTV on Gwadar

Pakistan FDI Soaring with Chinese Money for CPEC

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important consensus reached by the Chinese and Pakistani governments and of great significance in enhancing bilateral connectivity, improving people's livelihood and fostering pragmatic economic and trade cooperation.

"It was reported by an Urdu newspaper recently that the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan informed Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and KP government that the western route doesn't exist in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This is untrue," remarked a spokesperson in Chinese Embassy in a statement here on Wednesday.

He said China and Pakistan had put in place a sound mechanism of communication and coordination on the development of CPEC.

On November 12, 2015, the 5th meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC approved the principle of "one corridor with multiple passages", aiming at directly benefiting the socio-economic development of Pakistan, especially the western and north-western regions and providing effective connectivity to Gwadar Port, he added.

The spokesman said the Monographic Study of Transport Plan, approved in the 5th JCC, clearly mentions that Burhan-D.I.Khan-Quetta-Sorab section would provide much needed connectivity between major connection points of CPEC and would connect the western areas of Pakistan.

He said CPEC was for Pakistan as a whole and would bring benefits to all Pakistani people including people from the western parts.

With the joint efforts of both sides, CPEC projects are running well throughout Pakistan, and the CPEC is being comprehensively implemented. He said, CPEC projects in the western parts of Pakistan are making progress. A number of livelihood projects have also been implemented.

"We are committed to join hands with Pakistan to make continuous headway on the CPEC and deliver benefits to the people as early as possible," he added.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/06-Oct-16/cpec-projects-in-western-parts-of-pakistan-making-progress-china
Riaz Haq said…
#Russia Think Tank Analyst Andy Korybko: #India’s Hatred of #Pakistan Sabotaging North-South Corridor. #CPEC #China
http://katehon.com/article/indias-geopolitical-hate-pakistan-sabotaging-north-south-corridor

Nobody could have expected that India’s Prime Minister would have used the occasion of celebrating his country’s 69th anniversary of independence to provocatively talk about the state of Baloch affairs in Pakistan. Modi went out of his way to say that some members of this ethnic group “thanked [him], have expressed gratitude, and expressed good wishes for [him]…expressed appreciation for Prime Minister of India, for 125 crore countrymen”. This was an obvious suggestion that the Pakistani Baloch have more loyalty to India and identify its citizens – and not Pakistan’s --- as their “countrymen”, which was a premeditated infowar attack meant to incite further discord within the country just a week after a suicide bomber killed dozens of members of this community in a high-profile attack. Modi’s surprisingly aggressive and very clear intimation that he supports Baloch separatism in Pakistan is bound to lead to a problem sooner than later in the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchistan right next door, which just so happens to host the Indian-financed port of Chabahar that forms the crucial and irreplaceable terminal for the North-South Corridor. This presents a developing threat for Iran and Russia, both of which are depending on stability in and around Chabahar to ensure the long-term strategic viability of the ambitious transcontinental corridor that will eventually connect South Asia with Western Europe by means of their transit territory.


India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), its version of the CIA, has been actively working to destabilize Balochistan for decades, and one of its key operatives was even caught in the region earlier this year and admitted to preparing terrorist attacks there. Despite India’s red-handed involvement in stirring up trouble in the province, New Delhi officially refused to admit that it had anything to do with events there, which makes Modi’s patently obvious appeal to Pakistani Baloch separatists all the more unexpected and totally contradictory to the country’s previous public stance on the issue. It’s unmistakable that the Indian “deep state” (permanent military-intelligence-diplomatic bureaucracy) intends to escalate tensions inside of Pakistan as ‘payback’ for the protests that have been rocking Indian-administered Kashmir for the past month and a half, and the country’s media is all too eager to assist, having gone overboard in their characteristic jingoism by even comparing Balochistan to Bangladesh. Modi and his subservient favor-currying media outlets thereby discredited all legitimate local grievances that the Baloch might have peacefully held against Islamabad, such as complaints about the lack of provincial infrastructure and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s (CPEC) focus on Punjab, but resolving these issues was never India’s intention to begin with.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan PM #NawazSharif rushes to end #energy shortages ahead of 2018 poll. #loadshedding #PMLN http://reut.rs/2dY81Rj via @Reuters


Power supplies are not the only factor that will decide any poll. A further escalation in tensions with nuclear-armed rival India could destabilize the government, as could Islamist militant violence or street protests.

But Sharif has greater control over energy supply, and his government has spent billions of dollars building liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, pipelines and dams, while private investors are financing wind and solar.

A major coal and two small nuclear plants are also due to come online before Sharif's term ends.

The power projects, coinciding with the biggest road building program in Pakistan's history, are central to Sharif's strategy to win the 2018 poll by promoting infrastructure as evidence of economic progress.

Pakistan's sputtering economy has rebounded in recent years, helped by lower global oil prices and improved security.

Chinese companies are arriving in force after Beijing outlined plans in 2014 to invest $46 billion in road, rail and energy infrastructure linking western China with Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, with two-thirds of the money earmarked for energy.

STALLED REFORMS

The drive to boost generation above 17,000 megawatts (MW) and plug a 6,000 MW deficit has already yielded some results. Shortages in big cities, which two years ago went without power for 12 hours a day, are down to about six hours.

Sharif vowed last month that all scheduled outages would end before the next election, likely to be in May, 2018. His office said generation would hit 26,000 MW, a 3,000 MW surplus.

There are fears, including within Sharif's own ruling PML-N party, that the room for error has shrunk to zero and the ambitious targets could be missed, especially after two big hydro projects were delayed.

"There are a lot of moving parts with all these projects," said one Western diplomat in Islamabad. "The government has a comprehensive plan, but obviously there is some nervousness about the timelines."

Halting outages would breathe fresh life into Pakistan's economy, which needs to expand above 6 percent per year to absorb new entrants into the job market from a fast-growing population of 190 million people.

Economic growth hit 4.7 percent last July-June fiscal year, the fastest pace of expansion since 2008. Economists estimate energy shortages shave up to 2 percent off annual growth.

Some energy experts say Sharif's electricity goals are within reach.

The Asian Development Bank, lending Pakistan more than $1 billion to help alleviate the energy crisis, expects load shedding, or scheduled outages, will be eradicated by mid-2018.

SCARED TO PRIVATIZE?

Sharif's opponents, however, say the government is so fixated on boosting power generation that it has ignored reforms, like privatizing distribution companies, that would modernize the market and lower the cost of electricity.

Many Pakistani businesses complain about the price of power. Lahore barber Eijaz Ahmed, forced to down tools for several hours every day, fumes about spending up to 60 percent of his revenues on electricity.

"I cannot spend money on my children's education because I have to pay (expensive) electricity bills," he said, as his staff sat idle, waiting for power to return.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's 3rd 340 MW #Nuclear Power Plant at #Chashma Goes Into Operation


http://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-chinese-built-nuclear-reactor/3554623.html


Pakistan has connected its new, largely Chinese-built nuclear reactor to the national grid as part of broader plans to overcome long-running crippling power shortages.

The facility is located at Chashma, a town in the central province of Punjab, where China has constructed two other nuclear reactors, known as Chashma-1 and Chashma-2. They went into operation in 2000 and 2011 respectively, supplying 600 megawatts of electricity to the grid.

The so-called Chashma-3 project, with an installed capacity of 340 megawatts, was inaugurated “on trial basis” this past Saturday, according to a spokesman for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).

“After performing various safety and functional tests, the plant will attain full power in first fortnight of December 2016,” Shahid Riaz, told VOA Monday.

Canada helped Pakistan build its first nuclear power plant 44 years ago in the southern port city of Karachi, which Riaz said is currently generating around 80 megawatts of electricity.

Other projects

Pakistan is also constructing another two plants in Karachi with China’s help at a cost of around $10 billion scheduled to be completed by 2021, with a combined capacity of around 2,200 megawatts. Under the agreement, Beijing will also provide enriched uranium for fuel.

Islamabad’s so-called Energy Security Plan envisages a nuclear power production of around 8,800 megawatts by 2030 and 40,000 megawatts by the year 2050.

The deepening nuclear cooperation between the traditionally close allies comes amid reservations that Pakistan is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which binds member nations to ensure fissile materials are not used for making weapons.

Islamabad dismisses any such concerns.

Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998 in response to similar tests by arch-rival India. New Delhi also refuses to sign NPT.

Pakistani authorities maintain that all of their civilian nuclear facilities are under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and the country “voluntarily” observes a moratorium on nuclear testing.

Analysts see growing nuclear cooperation between the two countries as a response to the 2005 commercial deal between the United States and India.

Islamabad has since been unhappy about what it and criticizes it as a discriminatory U.S. approach and has been seeking a similar deal with Washington. Beijing sees the growing U.S.-India nuclear axis as a geopolitical challenge.

Beijing is also investing billions of dollars to build an energy corridor to link Western China and Pakistan’s southern deep-water port of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea. The $46 billion so-called China-Pakistan Energy Corridor (CPEC) will see construction of road and rail networks as well as power projects producing thousands of megawatts of electricity to help Pakistan overcome its energy crisis.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s economy: powering ahead with rising investments, improving security & stability. #CPEC @GlobalCapNews http://www.globalcapital.com/article/b100tz98y8qr7q/pakistans-economy-powering-ahead …

A frontier market that was flirting with insolvency just three years ago, is now in rude
health. Investment is flooding into Pakistan from China, the West and the Gulf, attracted by
high returns, rising stability and an economy underpinned by strong growth figures and a
pro­ business government.

Pakistan’s economy is on a tear, growing at its fastest pace since the bubble years of the mid­
2000s. According to projections from the International Monetary Fund, the economy is set to grow
by 5.0% in 2017, up from 4.7% in 2016 and 4.0% in 2015. Emerging markets­ focused investment
bank Renaissance Capital tips gross domestic product to expand by an average of 4.4% a year
over the four years to end­ 2017, against a median of 2.8% over the five years to end­n2013.
At every level, there are signs of marked improvements in one of South Asia’s most vibrant
markets. Global institutions, attracted by the high yields on offer, are snapping up Pakistan
securities listed at home and abroad.
China is pumping billions of dollars into vast infrastructure projects that will open up the country’s
northern borders, allowing locally made goods, from cotton and textiles, to raw and produced food
products, to potash and fertiliser, to be shipped overland, into Central Asia and Russia, and
beyond.
Deepening markets
Pakistan’s efforts to widen and deepen its capital markets, and to foster the creation of an
innovative, knowledge­ based economy, are gaining traction. The country is rapidly becoming a key
provider of niche IT services, with upstart companies in Karachi and Lahore bursting with freelance
software coders, programmers, and application developers. The primary equity capital markets are
returning to action. An initial public offering completed in September by Loads Limited, saw the
auto parts maker raise $20m from local and foreign investors; more stock sales are expected in the
months ahead.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan: #Asia's Next Growth Engine- Nikkei Asian Review. Next11. Young Demographics. Growing Work Force Dividend.

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Pakistan-Asia-s-next-growth-engine

despite its troubled image, Pakistan is gradually emerging as an economy with significant growth potential.

It is one of the "Next 11" countries identified as the next emerging forces after BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Pakistan's inclusion is predicated on a population of 190 million, making it the sixth most populous country in the world.

In addition, Pakistan's young population is growing, meaning that it is likely to enter a period of "demographic dividend," in which the percentage of the workforce against total population rises to high levels for the next four to five decades, helping to accelerate economic growth.

------


MSCI, a prominent provider of stock indices, announced in June that it will reclassify Pakistan into its Emerging Markets Index from the Frontier Markets Index, having downgraded it in December 2008

Apparently MSCI has a renewed positive view on the country now that it has maintained solid economic growth on the back of continued loans from the International Monetary Fund and falling oil prices, and that its stock market has been on a steady rise.

Provided safety concerns continue to be addressed, Pakistan has the potential to become one of Asia's growth engines.
Riaz Haq said…
Militants return to #Pakistan, hitting #China’s economic plans #CPEC #QuettaAttack

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/pakistan/militants-return-to-pakistan-hitting-china-s-economic-plans-1.1918611

Quetta: A militant attack in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province has shattered government claims it has been successful in its fight against terrorism.
Striking along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Quetta, three armed men wearing suicide vests broke into a police academy late on Monday in a deadly assault that has since been claimed by the Daesh via a statement published on its Amaq news agency.
“These attacks are aimed at destabilising Balochistan and to create problems for CPEC, which certain countries don’t want to see as a success story,” said retired Brigadier Asad Munir, a defence analyst who served in Pakistan’s tribal regions.
Pakistan claims to have largely defeated militants who had wrecked the nation’s economy by violent strikes in past two years and killed thousands of people since the South Asian nuclear power joined the US war on terror in 2002.
But such brazen strikes indicate the battle is not over.


“The numbers and the way they were martyred, it has made all efforts of yours and security agencies futile,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told newly graduated police officers in Islamabad hours after the attack.
China’s reaction to the attack was low-key, suggesting its economic projects were not the target of the militant attack.
“It’s unrealistic to expect Pakistan’s domestic security situation to undergo fundamental changes in the near future,” said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Centre for South Asia Studies at the state-backed Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. “The attack on the police training academy last night was a reflection of Pakistan’s internal security risk; it happened in the province that the CPEC passes, but didn’t target the CPEC.”
China will cautiously push ahead with its projects and provide a boost in support for Pakistan’s military, he said.
The attack on the academy is the second worst in Pakistan this year, since a suicide bomber killed 70 people in Quetta’s government-run hospital in August.
Security authorities blamed Al Qaida-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alami for the attack, state-run radio reported citing Balochistan’s paramilitary force chief. By Tuesday afternoon, Daesh claimed responsibility.
The former security chief of Pakistan’s tribal regions, Mahmood Shah, cast doubt on the Daesh claims, saying Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alami has a history of attacks in Balochistan and were trained by Al Qaida for urban fighting.
“The government has got to chalk out a new security plan for Quetta, Balochistan as militants keep coming and attacking it,” he said. “You want to have CPEC there and raising just a force isn’t enough.”
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who aims to boost country’s economy to 7 per cent before his terms ends in 2018, condemned the attack and expressed concern over the safety of cadets.
Pakistan is banking on China’s $46 billion investment into the corridor that runs from China’s western part to Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan to boost and develop the country’s economy.


Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #cement sales up 16% in October on #infrastructure development. #CPEC https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/163071-Cement-sales-up-16pc-in-October-on-infrastructure-development …

Cement sales rose 15.88 percent month-on-month in October due to a rise in infrastructure development in Pakistan; although its exports fell almost two percent in the same month on a declining share in the Afghanistan’s market, industry data showed on Monday.

The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) data showed that domestic sales stood at 3.008 million tons in October, while exports were recorded at 0.518 million tons. Total cement dispatches stood at 3.527 million tons, depicting a growth of 12.87 percent month-on-month (MoM).

An association’s spokesperson said the industry’s capacity utilisation logged at more than 92 percent in October.

In October, exports to Afghanistan decreased 23.4 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 0.193 million tons. Exports to India increased 27 percent YoY to 0.110 million tons in the same month.

Despite Pakistan-India tension, the growth was surprising. The spokesperson, however, said the uptrend might not continue given the unabated border skirmishes.

Cement exports to India are mainly through Wagah border and southern coast of India.

The data showed that cement sales grew 11.26 percent in the first four months (July-Oct) of the 2015/16 fiscal year. Exports also increased 9.57 percent in the same period.

In July-Oct, exports to Afghanistan slid 11.74 percent, while those to India climbed 101.88 percent.

The industry official expressed concern over a sharp rise in coal prices, impacting the cost of production. Coal price, which stood at $54/ton in May, increased to $105/ton.

Manufacturers urged the government to take measures to boost the investment in real estate sector and housing construction.

Currently, the cement industry is mostly depending on infrastructure development projects.

“A sustained growth in housing construction is essential to absorb the additional capacities that would be operational in the next two years,” the official said.

Insight Securities, in one report, said the local cement industry unveiled 23 million tons of expansion plans with around $2.5 billion investment.

Alone Lucky Cement, the country’s leading cement producer, announced to raise its production capacity by 1.25 million tons. A Chinese firm is also mulling to entering the market through a possible acquisition, indicating a jump in output.

The officials said local cement makers are planning an expansion to retain the market share.

The $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, comprising a wide range of infrastructure development, gave a rise to construction activities.

The growth in housing apartment constructions around the country also increased the cement intakes.
Riaz Haq said…
#IMF: #Pakistan's Glass Half Full http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2016/11/10/NA111016-Pakistan-Glass-Half-Full#.WCU4S_84y7U.twitter …

Pakistan: Glass Half Full?
November 10, 2016

Successful program completion points to moment of opportunity
Significant challenges remain ahead
Close partnership to continue through policy dialogue and capacity building
Pakistan’s economy has stabilized from near-crisis circumstances and economic growth has gradually increased under the recently completed three-year economic reform program supported by a $6.15 billion arrangement under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility.

In an interview, Harald Finger, IMF mission chief for Pakistan, talks about the state of the economy, the challenges ahead, and the next steps for Pakistan.

IMF News : On her recent visit, IMF chief Christine Lagarde spoke about a moment of opportunity for Pakistan. What has Pakistan accomplished over the course of the just completed program, and in what sense is there now such a window of opportunity?

Over the past three years, Pakistan has greatly strengthened the resilience of the economy and began making inroads towards addressing long-standing structural economic challenges. Not everything worked out fully as envisaged, of course, but it is important for us to recognize the program’s achievements. For instance, foreign exchange reserves have tripled, supported by foreign exchange purchases and external borrowing.

The fiscal deficit declined by 2½ percent of GDP (not counting a large payment to clear energy sector arrears just before the program started). This was made possible by removing untargeted energy subsidies that disproportionately benefited the affluent, significantly raising tax revenue through removing exemptions and concessions, and taking a more systematic approach to bringing various economic groups into the tax net.

These measures allowed for an increase in investment spending and social protection. Enrollment in the Benazir Income Support Program has increased by 1½ million families, and stipends were raised by more than 50 percent.

In the energy sector, power outages have gradually decreased and financial performance is strengthening. As a result, accumulation of arrears in the sector has also declined significantly, thereby relieving pressures on the budget. Increased independence of the State Bank of Pakistan has improved the monetary policy framework. A new comprehensive strategy to improve the business climate has been adopted and started to be implemented.

While there have been important achievements, the outlook for economic growth has also turned broadly favorable. Exports and agricultural output have been declining amid a more challenging external environment and appreciating real exchange rate. These are important causes for concern. But private credit growth has been recovering, and strong machinery imports, cement consumption, and gradually rising core inflation also point to firm domestic demand. Moreover, large-scale investment under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is beginning to be implemented.

With the authorities’ accomplishments in strengthening the economy’s resilience and a broadly favorable outlook for growth, the IMF's Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, spoke of a moment of opportunity for Pakistan during her recent visit to Islamabad. She emphasized that now is the time for the country to continue its transition toward becoming a full-fledged emerging market by addressing the remaining challenges and implementing policies for higher and more inclusive growth.
Riaz Haq said…
Dangerous Doval Doctrine: #Balochistan vs #Kashmir | Frontline. #India #Pakistan #Modi #BJP http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/balochistan-vs-kashmir/article9373742.ece …

The pursuit of a tit-for-tat diplomacy will not get India anywhere because Balochistan and Kashmir are not on a par, legally and politically. The time has come for India to drop the Baloch card and work for the settlement of Kashmir. By A.G. NOORANI
“PAKISTAN’s vulnerabilities are many times higher than us [sic]. Once they know that India has shifted gear from defensive mode to defensive-offence, they will find that it is unaffordable for them. You may do one Mumbai, you may lose Balochistan,” Ajit Doval, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Adviser, said at the 10th Nani Palkhivala Memorial Lecture at Sastra University, Thanjavur, on February 21, 2014. This was three months before he became NSA and the Manmohan Singh government was still in power.

The shock this Doval Doctrine of “defensive-offence” induced precluded any cool analysis of its implications (see the writer’s “The Doval doctrine”, Frontline, November 13, 2015). Doval was advocating a diplomacy of tit for tat with full knowledge of the perils it entailed, not least among them being the risk of matters getting out of hand in the retaliatory ladder of escalation. This becomes apparent when one moves from the doctrine to the specific, Balochistan.

Whoever perpetrated the Mumbai attacks committed a dastardly crime. But at no time did India ever allege that Pakistan’s top leaders were complicit in it. Is it not a wholly disproportionate retaliation to secure the detachment of one of Pakistan’s four provinces? Would its leaders, civil and military, sit back with folded hands when this is being attempted? And the Great Powers in the “Security Council”, especially China, which now has a stake in Balolchistan? And, pray, how does Doval propose to detach Balochistan? By military invasion? Far from it. Our “intelligence commando” has other plans whose elements are no secret. He proposes to do this by fomenting subversion through covert action. He could not possibly have made the claim (“you may lose Balochistan”) unless India had acquired significant “assets” there—as they are called in the idiom of covert operations—over the years. They cannot be acquired instantly. It is these existing assets, acquired, trained and funded over the years, which emboldened Doval to speak as confidently as he did.
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #Modi Quietly Okays #Balochistan Specialist's Appointment as Next #RAW Chief to Wage #Terror in #Pakistan http://defencenews.in/article.aspx?id=149455 …

From Indian Defense News dated Dec 5, 2016

Special Director of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency. The 1981-batch Madhya Pradesh cadre IPS officer’s domain of expertise is considered to be Balochistan, counter-terrorism and Islamic affairs. He also has a vast experience on Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has served in key capitals, including London and Frankfurt and has also handled SAARC and Europe desks. The post of the RAW chief is falling vacant on January 31, 2017, with the incumbent retiring after a two-year stint. The RAW chief has a fixed tenure of two years unless the government extends the service length or the appointee. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Director A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency.

------

Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Special Director A K Dhasmana is likely to be appointed as the next chief of the country’s external intelligence agency. He is considered to be an expert in Balochistan affairs.

In his Independence Day speech this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, “I want to express my gratitude to the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK for the way they whole-heartedly thanked me.... People of a distant land I haven’t even seen....When they thank the Indian PM, it’s an honour for the 125 crore people of the country...”

Implicit in the statement was a veiled threat to the Pak political and military leadership that India too can needle them for the state-sponsored atrocities in these areas held by Islamabad and target that country’s unity and integrity. The PM’s statement came in the backdrop of brazen Pak stance to dedicate its Independence Day to freedom of Kashmir and stoking violence in J&K following Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani’s death. This was the first time an Indian PM raised the Balochistan issue.
Dhasmana is also known to enjoy National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s confidence. He will replace present RAW chief Rajinder Khanna.

India has been pussyfooting on human rights violations in Balochistan though Pakistan has been exploiting the ‘K’ word to the hilt at different international fora.
Officials close to Dhasmana said he is a go-getter and has an extensive network in the region. Through his vast experience and elaborate asset base in the region, he was able to stall the construction of Gwadar port by about six years, a senior agency said.

Meanwhile, the race for the top post in another key covert agency Intelligence Bureau (IB) is also gaining pace with the tenure of current Director Dineshwar Sharma ending on December 31. Three contenders—Special Directors SK Sinha and Rajiv Jain and Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Palsalgikar—are in the fray.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2016/dec/03/baloch-specialist-to-helm-raw-1545349.html

Riaz Haq said…
Dr Jean-Francois Di Meglio, President of #Asia Centre in #France: "#CPEC is a game-changer for #Pakistan". #China
https://www.dawn.com/news/1303725/cpec-is-a-game-changer-for-pakistan

KARACHI: China may have more core benefits from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but it’s a game-changer for Pakistan which will also benefit from it. Contrary to what some Europeans think, Pakistan has a strategic position in the region.

This was one of the main points raised by Dr Jean-Francois Di Meglio in his lecture on ‘The Economic, Strategic and Environmental Consequences of the New Silk Roads’ at the Area Study Centre for Europe (ASCE), University of Karachi, on Wednesday.

Dr Di Meglio, who is President, Asia Centre, France, said he was not an expert on CPEC so what he would talk about was based on his experiences. He said his talk was divided in two parts: Europe’s standpoint on the Silk Road project and China’s point of view.

Regarding the first part, Dr Di Meglio said when China announced the project in 2013, Europeans were doubtful about it. They thought since it was a 35-year project nothing could be achieved in the short term. They also thought that China was trying to rejuvenate something that used to exist in the past and there was no point doing it. Some people, however, harboured the notion that it was part of a grand plan. It was innovative because earlier the flow [of goods] was from West to East and now China was trying to reverse the direction of history.

Shedding light on what Silk Road used to be, Dr Di Meglio said in the late 20th century it was just a road but also entailed some key points and strategic places, one of which was the area crossing the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In modern history, he said, two significant events took place. The first was the Great Game between Russia and Britain at the end of the 19th century where Russia had accumulated wealth and wanted access to the sea; the other was the Afghanistan War that resulted in the disintegration of the USSR.

Dr Di Meglio said it was complicated for Europeans to talk about CPEC but countries like Germany and France had shown interest in it. With regard to negative feedback, some Central Asian countries were of the view that Russia was trying to re-establish links with China and the risk was that “China would be too much present”. But the Europeans discarded many important factors, he said.

On the Chinese approach to the situation Dr Di Meglio said [economic] reforms in China started in 1978 and after 35 years, in 2013, they came up with another project. If you looked at the dates, another 35 years added to 2013 would mean the arrival of the year 2048. In 2047 Hong Kong would come back to Chinese sovereignty fully; and 2049 would be the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. He said reforms brought in 1978 came through a simple process: enrichment. If the people were richer they would be easier to manage. The Silk Road had the potential of making some countries marginally richer. That could be done by building infrastructure and by linking them up with China.

Dr Di Meglio said CPEC was not an easy project but was not the most difficult to achieve either. There was room for Pakistani companies and politicians to take the initiative and speak to the Chinese for a level playing field as much as possible. Whosoever was going to benefit more from it, it was a game-changer for Pakistan. He argued that let’s say Pakistan was only benefiting 10 per cent from the project; even then you had other benefits like “influence” and “footprint”. He said some Europeans thought that Pakistan existed because there was a partition in 1947; they did not realise that Pakistan had an important strategic position.

On China’s ambitions, Dr Di Meglio said while it wanted prosperity and stability, it did not want domination in the region. China knew that in the past empires rose and fell. “The way to last long is not to dominate other countries but to play with them.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan Opens New 340MW Nuclear Power Plant Built With #China's Help. #CPEC

http://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-nuclear-reactor/3653908.html

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has inaugurated a nuclear power facility built with the assistance of China.

The plant at Chashma, in Pakistan's Punjab province, adds 340 megawatts to the national grid. Beijing has already constructed two other nuclear reactors, with a combined capacity of more than 600 megawatts.

The three power plants at Chashma are known as C-1, C-2 and C-3 respectively. They are are part of broader plans to overcome long-running crippling power shortages in Pakistan.

“The next (nuclear) power projectwith an installed capacity of 340 megawatts, C-4, is also being built here (in Chashma with Chinese assistance). God willing, it will be operational and connected to the national grid in April, 2017,” Sharif told Wednesday’s ceremony.

Pakistan’s current electricity output stands at around 16,000 megawatts, including nuclear power production.

The government plans to increase the power production by about 60 percent, mainly through Chinese-funded coal, gas and hydro-electricity projects under construction to try to boost Sharif’s re-election bid in next polls due in early 2018.

When Sharif took office in 2013Pakistanis were facingcompulsory power outages for up to 12 hours a day, crippling daily life and plunging businesses into darkness.

The prime minister in his speech Wednesday reiterated his election promise to resolve the crisis by the next elections.

Officials say that Chinese experts and engineers had been running the newly-built C-3 plant “on a trial basis” for three months until they formally handed over its control to their Pakistani counterparts Wednesday.

Beijing is also helping Islamabad construct two nuclear power plants in the southern port city of Karachi at a cost of around $10 billion. The projects, with a combined capacity of around 2,200 megawatts, are scheduled to be completed by 2021.

Under the agreement, China will also provide enriched uranium for fuel.

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) envisages a nuclear power production of around 8,800 megawatts by 2030.

Pakistan built its first nuclear power plant of 137 megawatts at Karachi in 1972 and it is still in operation, though at a much reduced capacity.

China is the only country helping Pakistan build nuclear power plants because Western nations have put a moratorium on the supply of these facilities citing Islamabad’s nuclear weapons program.

Under a multi-billion dollar cooperation agreement, Beijing is also helping Pakistan construct a network of roads, rails, communication and power projects to boostties between the two traditionally close allies.

The bilateral cooperation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plans to link the northwestern Xinjiang region to Pakistani deep-water port of Gwadar Gwadar in the Arabian Sea, providing Beijing the shortest possible access for its imports and exports to international markets.

Riaz Haq said…
#China to Fund 4,000 MW Power Transmission Line in #Pakistan. #CPEC https://thewire.in/90574/china-power-line-pakistan/ … via @thewire_in

State Grid of China will help build a 4,000 MW power transmission line in Pakistan in a project valued at $1.5 billion, Pakistan said on Friday, the latest in a series of Chinese investments in its South Asian neighbour.

The high-capacity transmission line will be the first of its kind in Pakistan and will link Matiari town in the south, near a new power station, to Lahore city in the east, a key link in transmission infrastructure, the Pakistani government said.

An agreement on the project was signed on Thursday in Beijing between Mohammad Younus Dagha, Pakistan’s secretary of water and power, and Shu Yinbiao, chairman of State Grid Corporation of China, the government said in a statement.

Construction will begin in January, and should take about 20 months, said a spokesman for the Pakistani prime minister’s office.

Pakistan has been plagued by a shortage of electricity for years, with widespread rolling blackouts in both rural and urban areas.

The government has managed to reduce load shedding – scheduled power outages – in some areas, but production gaps and distribution woes remain.

The project is the latest in a series of big Chinese investments, most of which fall under a planned $55 billion worth of projects for a China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The corridor is a combination of power and infrastructure projects that link western China to Pakistan’s southern port of Gwadar.

Other Chinese investment in Pakistan has included the acquisition of a majority stake by Shanghai Electric of the K-Electric power production and distribution company for $1.8 billion.

Last week, a Chinese-led consortium bought a 40 percent stake of the Pakistan Stock Exchange for an estimated $85 million.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #cement production capacity projected to rise to 72 million tons a year in 2-3 years. #CPEC
http://tribune.com.pk/story/1285619/cement-production-capacity-projected-rise-26m-tons/

Encouraged by consistent domestic demand and government’s focus on a host of infrastructure projects, the cement industry has planned to increase its capacity by 26.25 million tons over the next two to three years to support a smooth growth of the national economy.

Reviewing the six-month performance of the industry, All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association Chairman Sayeed Tariq Saigol said sales of the industry rose 8.6% and reached 19.81 million tons in the first half (July-December) of current fiscal year 2016-17.

“The growth trend indicates that in the next two years the current production capacity of 46 million tons will be insufficient to meet domestic demand. The industry is making massive investments to add new capacities,” he said.

He anticipated that the capacity would increase to 72.25 million tons in the next two to three years with additional domestic sales of 26 to 28 million tons.

Saying that cement consumption was considered a strong barometer of economic growth, Saigol asked the government to consider reducing taxes in order to give a boost to cement demand.

He boasted that cement was one of the most technologically advanced industries that had made inroads even into the Indian market despite tariff and non-tariff barriers. “Pakistani industry should also be protected in the same manner,” he said.

In the 2016-17 budget, the government increased taxes on cement from Rs600 to Rs1,000 along with 17% sales tax. The increase would take government revenue on cement sales from the previous Rs2,492 to around Rs3,250 per ton, he said.

According to data released by the association, domestic cement sales grew 11.07% in the first half of current fiscal year compared to dispatches in the same period of previous year. Exports, however, fell 3.53% in July-December 2016.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan announces financing for $1.8bn Suki Kinari #hydropower project. #CPEC #energy
http://www.energy-business-review.com/news/sk-hydro-secures-financing-for-870mw-hydropower-project-in-pakistan-100117-5712743 …

Pakistan has announced financial close for the 870MW Suki Kinari hydropower project, helped by the efforts and facilitation of the country's Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB)

Being built by SK Hydro and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, the $1.8bn project is expected to commence power generation by 2022. The project is expected to generate 3081GWh of electricity each year.

The hydro facility is located on River Kunhar, a tributary of River Jhelum, District Mansehra, in the eastern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa between Naran and Paras towns.

Construction on the project, which is said to be the first hydro independent power project (IPP) under the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has already commenced.

Following completion of 30 years of operations, the project will be handed over to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

The project’s lenders include Export-Import Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

Power generated from the project will be sold to National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC), under long term power purchase agreement signed earlier.

The sponsors of the project include Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jomaih Holding Company, China Gezhouba Group Company and Pakistan’s Haseeb Khan.

In April 2015, SK Hydro signed an agreement with Export-Import Bank of China and Industrial and Commerce Bank of China (ICBC) for 75% of financing costs of the project.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Dismisses Chinese Debt-Trap Concerns

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-01-29/chinese-debt-trap-concern-dismissed-by-pakistan-as-gdp-quickens

Pakistan is confident of managing its rising debt obligations to China as the world’s second-largest economy boosts investment in the South Asia nation by about 20 percent.

Pakistan will be able to handle repayments of Chinese soft loans to the government and businesses, which are part of a more than $50 billion of projects under the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, Planning and National Reforms Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview in the capital, Islamabad.

Rising debt levels in the $271 billion economy, a drop in export earnings and a widening current-account gap have raised concerns about the government’s ability to pay the obligations. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is betting the investment on roads, ports and power plants will boost growth and generate enough revenue to repay borrowings.

“With 6 to 7 percent growth Pakistan will be in a very comfortable position,” Iqbal said. The “bulk of investment coming into CPEC is private sector investment, foreign-direct-investment, so that’s not going to disturb our debt-to-gross domestic product ratio.”

Pakistan’s government debt-to-GDP level is estimated to have risen to 66.1 percent last year from 64.2 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The size of the Chinese-led investment projects has increased to about $55 billion from an initial $46 billion announced in 2015, according to Iqbal. It’s part of an initiative the Chinese government calls “One Belt, One Road” that aims to revive trade across Central Asia and into Europe via a network of railways, ports and highways.

Since coming to power China’s President Xi Jinping has sought to expand trade ties with its neighbors and position the country as an economic and military anchor in the western Pacific. U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from a long-planned Pacific trade pact has created a political and economic vacuum that China is eager to fill.

In November, Iqbal, who is heading the investment plans in Pakistan, said about $11 billion of the loans has been allocated to infrastructure projects at about 2 percent with payback in 20 years, along with a five-year grace period. The rest has been earmarked for generating electricity, with about 11,000 megawatts expected to be added by 2018 to end the nation’s chronic power outages.

However, analysts have raised doubts about Pakistan’s ability to finance repayments and repatriations if rising economic growth isn’t sustained and the government fails to reverse a drop in exports.

Despite a decline in oil imports, Pakistan has seen its six-month current account gap widen to 2.2 percent of GDP, or $3.6 billion, according to central bank data. This has been in part caused by increased imports needed for the Chinese projects, according to a BMI Research report this month.

The fall in exports has also added to doubts about Pakistan’s economic stabilization after it completed an International Monetary Fund in September. Overseas shipments fell to $21 billion is the last fiscal year, their lowest since 2010.
Riaz Haq said…
#China investment boosts #Pakistan's economic growth- #CPEC #infrastructure #power #ports #coal Nikkei Asian Review
http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Economy/Chinese-investment-boosts-Pakistan-s-economic-growth?page=2

More than $35 billion of the CPEC investment will be allocated to energy projects. Once completed by the end of next year, power generation projects are likely to help Pakistan overcome its crippling power shortages, a major bottleneck for growth. This is a big reason the CPEC is welcomed by many in Pakistan's industry, who say it is going to be a "game changer" for the country.

China also recognizes that the CPEC initiative will help secure the quickest trade route connecting the country's western Xinjiang region and other landlocked areas to the Arabian Sea, which could facilitate economic development in the Chinese hinterland. The infrastructure development initiative will also allow China to mitigate the problem of overcapacity at home by exporting materials and equipment to Pakistan.

There are proposals to develop a power plant, an airport and highways and other facilities particularly around the port of Gwadar on the southwestern coast of Pakistan, which is strategically important for China as it provides the country easy access to the sea.

-----

According to a local newspaper, $700 million of the $1.1 billion spent on CPEC-related projects in the July-September period last year was financed by loans from the China Development Bank. The amount is mainly earmarked for importing materials and equipment from China, which are needed to complete the projects.

Many in Pakistan have voiced concern over the country's rising debt obligations to China. Also, Chinese companies typically bring their own engineers and workers in large numbers to do work in Pakistan.

"Surging imports from China will damage local companies," said Ehsan A. Malik, CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, which represents 62 major companies and organizations. "Tax revenue and employment will not increase." He added, "CPEC may be a Trojan horse."

However, the logic of companies participating in CPEC is very simple. "We asked China, because nobody in the world finances coal projects," said Hussain Dawood, chairman of Dawood Hercules, a large Pakistani conglomerate that includes the Engro group, which is involved in the production of energy and chemicals.

"Investment in CPEC is not only from China," said Arif Habib, CEO of the Arif Habib group. "Companies from Germany, Denmark and Saudi Arabia are also showing interest."

Despite widespread concern about the health of China's economy, Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's minister of planning and development, said confidently: "The CPEC projects are a high priority for Chinese companies because they can expect good returns. Even though the Chinese economy is slowing down, the companies still have huge cash reserves."

Many Japanese companies also think the best thing to do now is to take advantage of Chinese-built infrastructure in Pakistan to expand their own business. No matter who invested, if energy and infrastructure investment gains momentum, it could stimulate Pakistan's economy.

Amid all the speculation, Pakistan is moving toward its goal of becoming the next big emerging market by gradually shaking off its reputation for terrorism, corruption and political blunders.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Response to Hybrid War on CPEC?
The over 100 Pakistani martyrs who were killed over the past week as part of the joint US-Indian Hybrid War on CPEC don’t need to have their sacrifices be in vain.

By Andrew Korybko - February 17, 2017


http://regionalrapport.com/2017/02/17/pakistans-response-hybrid-war-cpec/

Pakistan was attacked by terrorists over the past five days when eight separate blasts ripped through the country and reminded the world that Islamabad is on the front-lines in the War on Terror. Unlike after the end of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, this time it wasn’t just ‘wayward freedom fighters’ boomeranging back to their home base and setting off a chain reaction of blowback, but dyed-in-the-wool terrorists hell-bent on wreaking as much havoc as possible in order to offset China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Old Tactics for New Reasons

This major contextual difference is attributable to the redefined geostrategic significance of South Asia across the past couple of years. The CPEC has become the driver of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity and the poster project for the emerging Multipolar World Order, thus making Pakistan the “Zipper of Pan-Eurasian Integration” at the “Convergence of Civilizations”.

The US and its unipolar allies such as India have a completely different conception for how the future should look, and are dead-set opposed to CPEC for the simple reason that it would undermine their hegemonic ambitions. Instead of joining the project and contributing to a win-win solution for all of Eurasia, Washington and New Delhi have decided to sabotage CPEC out of the pursuit of their own subjectively defined self-interests.

Pursuant to this goal, both actors utilize Afghan-based terrorists in order to destabilize Pakistan, understanding that this can in turn reduce the attractiveness of CPEC to international investors and partners. The thinking goes that if high-profile terrorist attacks capture the global media’s attention, they’ll inevitably succeed in leading the worldwide audience to once more inaccurately conflating Pakistan with instability, which in turn feeds speculation and thus creates a dire risk for the business vitality of CPEC.
Riaz Haq said…
#UN Security Council Endorses #CPEC (#Pakistan) and #China's #OBOR projects. #India unhappy. # via @htTweets

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/un-security-council-resolution-includes-china-s-bri-india-s-pok-claims-in-jeopardy/story-k6isroFAMdnlA6NtX4nPKN.html


A UN Security Council resolution has for the first time incorporated China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a multi-billion inter-continental connectivity mission that has a flagship project passing through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The resolution, which extends an ongoing UN assistance mission to Afghanistan, says international efforts should be strengthened to implement the BRI, President Xi Jinping’s legacy project about which he first spoke in 2013.

Beijing claims it has rounded up at least 100 countries in BRI’s support, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

India is yet to sign up for the initiative. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar spelt it out to the Chinese government in February that India has a “sovereignty” issue with the BRI because its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), passes through PoK. According to diplomats, India endorsing the BRI would mean giving up its claims on PoK.

The UN endorsing the BRI could complicate the situation as far as India’s claims are concerned.

The resolution in question renewed the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan for one year. In it, the 15-nation UN body urged to promote security and stability in Afghanistan and the region “to create a community of shared future for mankind”.

“Also included in the newly adopted council resolution was China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes,” official news agency Xinhua reported.

The resolution “welcomes and urges further efforts to strengthen the process of regional economic cooperation, including measures to facilitate regional connectivity, trade and transit, including through regional development initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road) Initiative”.

The council resolution urged “further international efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and implement the Belt and Road Initiative”.

Besides the BRI, the resolution also mentions other projects like “regional development projects, such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project, the Chabahar port project agreed between Afghanistan, India and the Islamic Republic of lran”.

China has taken the inclusion of BRI in a UN resolution as a diplomatic victory of sorts.
Riaz Haq said…
China-Pakistan economic corridor unacceptable to India: Shivshankar Menon

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/china-pakistan-economic-corridor-unacceptable-to-india-shivshankar-menon-4623185/


THE CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as it stands today, is not acceptable to India, Shivshankar Menon, a former National Security Adviser to the Government of India, said on Friday. “The sovereignty aspect of the CPEC, as proposed now, is unacceptable to us,” Menon said during a conference on The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): India’s perspectives on China’s ambitious plan. The former diplomat’s statement comes at a time when China has made a fresh attempt at inviting India’s interest in President Xi Jinping’s pet project, the BRI, of which CPEC is a part.
On March 4, Chinese diplomat Fu Ying asked India to reconsider its position on the BRI keeping in mind the “larger picture”. India has been wary of the CPEC as a part of it passes through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. “For India, there is an added contradiction that the CPEC passes through Indian territory under Pakistani occupation,” Menon said. By making “long-term financial investment in the initiative”, he said, China seems to “solidify and legitimise that occupation”, Menon said at the conference held in Mumbai by the Observer Research Foundation.
The conference was held to deliberate India’s position on the BRI ahead of China’s first international forum in May. Several economists, diplomats and mediapersons participated in panel discussions. While Menon acknowledged the economic benefits of the trans-continental initiative that connects 60 countries in Asia and Europe, he said that not all projects under the BRI were for economic justification, including the CPEC.
“Not all projects under the BRI are economically viable, which suggests that there is geo-strategic motivation involved,” he said, adding that most parts of the BRI passed through some of the “most insecure” regions. Menon, however, stressed that India would be more willing to join the BRI if it were more comfortable about the security in the regions concerned and the geopolitical context within which BRI is proposed.

Riaz Haq said…
Ex-Pakistan #Taliban Spokesman Ehsanullah Says #India, #Afghanistan Targeting #Pakistan via #terrorist proxies #TTP

https://www.voanews.com/a/ex-pakistan-taliban-spokesman-claims-india-afghanistan-target-pakistan/3826095.html

A central leader and ex-spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Ehsanullah Ehsan, has alleged Afghan security forces and their intelligence agency, NDS, together with the Indian spy agency are supporting cross-border terrorist attacks against Pakistan.

The militant leader in a video confessional statement released by the Pakistan Army, said he was also participating in anti-state activities from sanctuaries on the Afghan side of the border and surrendered himself "voluntarily" to Pakistan army.

There was no immediate reaction from the Afghan government and Indian officials to the allegation leveled by Ehsan against them, though both Kabul and New Delhi have previously denied Islamabad's allegations of funding terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil.

When Pakistani security forces unleashed counter-militancy operations in the border region of North Waziristan (in June, 2014), Ehsan said militants fled to neighboring Afghanistan where they established contacts with the Afghan intelligence agency, NDS (National Directorate of Security), and through them with operatives of the Indian spy agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

“They supported them (Pakistani Taliban), funded them, and even assigned possible targets [for attacks in Pakistan],” Eshan asserted, adding that anti-Pakistan militants have established their “special committees” in Afghanistan for maintaining contacts with the NDS.

He went on to allege that the Afghan spy agency also issued national identification cards, called ‘tazkira,’ to members of the Pakistani Taliban to facilitate their infiltration into Pakistan to undertake subversive activities in the country.

A Pakistan military spokesman announced last week that Ehsan surrendered himself to security forces but would not say where and how they got hold of the militant leader.

Pakistani officials have described his arrest/surrender as a major success in counter terrorism operations and hope information gleaned from Ehsan will help further degrade Pakistani Taliban's activities in the country.

Before surrendering to authorities, Ehsan was mainly acting as spokesman for the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Pakistan Taliban.

He claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for a number of deadly attacks in Pakistan, including an Easter suicide bombing of a crowded park in Lahore that killed killed at least 70 people, including Christians and Muslims.

It was not clear from the video whether Ehsan was speaking under duress.

The United States last year designated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar as a terrorist group for claiming responsibility for attacking a U.S. diplomatic mission in northwestern Pakistan.

#TTP's Ehsanullah Says #India & #Afghanistan Sponsor #Terrorism in #Pakistan https://youtu.be/pl69fVbGC1w via @YouTube
Riaz Haq said…
April 13 #US #MOAB bombing killed 13 #India's #RAW agents in #Afghanistan: #Pakistan FO

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1394957/india-sponsors-perpetrates-terror-fo/

Indian media reports suggested that some Indian nationals were also among the fatalities. The reports claimed that these Indian citizens were, in fact, Da’ish militants.

Former spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan rips apart TTP in confession video

However, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria has a different story to tell. At his last weekly media briefing, the spokesperson had said he would get back with details when asked to confirm reports of presence of RAW agents in Afghanistan.

Now, Zakaria claimed that 13 RAW agents were killed in the US bombing in Nangarhar province close to the border with Pakistan.

“Your reference to the presence of 13 agents of Indian intelligence agency RAW among those who died by the bombing on a terrorists’ sanctuary vindicates our claim that India is using Afghan soil against Pakistan,” Zakaria said.

The presence of RAW’s agents should also be seen in the backdrop of revelations made by Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesperson of terrorist groups TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, who turned himself in last week, Zakaria added.

“India clearly stands exposed as a state sponsoring and financing terrorists. Confession of Kulbhushan Jadhav and now revelations by Ehsanullah Ehsan are irrefutable proof against India. We have raised the issue of Indian involvement and terror financing in Pakistan at the UN and with other countries.”

He further said that Pakistan had always highlighted to the international community that India was using Afghan soil against Pakistan and it had been repeatedly stated by those in India in position of authority and responsibility that their effort was to squeeze Pakistan from the eastern and western borders.

Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother appeals to Pakistan for his release

“The international community should take note of Indian state sponsorship of activities of subversion, terrorism and financing of terrorists against Pakistan.”

Turning towards the current unrest in Kashmir, the spokesperson said India has waged war against unarmed and defenceless Kashmiris through state terrorism.

“Indian occupation forces forcibly barged into camps of schools and colleges in Pulwama on April 15. Ever since, students – including girls from primary to college levels all over Kashmir valley – have been demonstrating with pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Over 150 students have been injured in the brutal use of force, pellets and teargas shells fired by Indian occupation forces.”

To hide grave human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, Indian occupation forces have imposed a ban on Internet services in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Indian media has quoted an Indian official in IOK that “no amount of brute and lethal force could deter these girls”.

Spokesperson Zakaria termed the recent decision of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh to ban holidays such as Jumatul Widah and Eid Milad-un-Nabi as discriminatory treatment meted out to minorities, especially Muslims, in India.

“We have seen numerous examples of what’s happening in India in terms of persecution of minorities like Muslims, Christians or Dalits. This has become a matter of concern for the international community.”
Riaz Haq said…
#China to invest $50 billion in #Indus River Cascade for additional 40,000 MW hydropower in #Pakistan. #CPEC #OBOR

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1408444/mega-deal-china-invest-50b-develop-indus-river-cascade/

ISLAMABAD: In a major development that may attract $50 billion Chinese investment to Pakistan, Islamabad is expected to sign an MoU with Beijing on Saturday (today) for financing and developing the North Indus River Cascade which has the potential to generate 40,000MW hydro electricity.

The $50 billion investment comes on top of the $46 billion investment being provided by the Chinese government and Chinese banks for financing power and road infrastructure projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

With the signing of the MoU – which will be witnessed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is on an official visit to China – Beijing will emerge as the biggest financier of infrastructure projects in Pakistan.

According to the studies conducted by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Pakistan has an identified potential of producing up to 60,000MW of hydroelectric power.

Some 40,000MW of this potential power is located in the region called the Indus River Cascade, which begins from Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as far as Tarbela, the site of Pakistan’s biggest dam in.

The Indus River Cascade includes Diamer-Bhasha Dam project for which Pakistan needs $15 billion financing. Other multilateral donors were not willing to invest on this project but now China has come up to finance this mega project.

Sources said the Chinese side conducted survey and studies on the North Indus Cascade including the sites of Pattan, Thacoat, Bunji, Dasau and Diamer in February 2017.

The Chinese side in their last high-level meeting agreed to convert the survey and initial study to an MoU whereby the Chinese will conduct a detailed study spanning over a period of three months on a developing roadmap for financing that will lead to initiation and completion of these mega projects.

Sources said this will be Pakistan’s first-ever private sector investment in mega projects in hydel resources as until now only Wapda led such projects. The most important development could be the Chinese undertaking of these projects as it has a vast experience for building such huge dams.

According to the sources, the CPEC and the North Indus River Cascade can be the biggest-ever Chinese investment in Pakistan.

In 2015, the owner of the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, China Three Gorges (CTG) Corporation, had expressed willingness to participate in a financing consortium to fund up to $50 billion of hydroelectric power projects in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said…
Exclusive: CPEC master plan revealed

https://www.dawn.com/news/1333101

In any plan, the question of financial resources is always crucial. The long term plan drawn up by the China Development Bank is at its sharpest when discussing Pakistan’s financial sector, government debt market, depth of commercial banking and the overall health of the financial system. It is at its most unsentimental when drawing up the risks faced by long term investments in Pakistan’s economy.

The chief risk the plan identifies is politics and security. “There are various factors affecting Pakistani politics, such as competing parties, religion, tribes, terrorists, and Western intervention” the authors write. “The security situation is the worst in recent years”. The next big risk, surprisingly, is inflation, which the plan says has averaged 11.6 per cent over the past 6 years. “A high inflation rate means a rise of project-related costs and a decline in profits.”

Efforts will be made, says the plan, to furnish “free and low interest loans to Pakistan” once the costs of the corridor begin to come in. But this is no free ride, it emphasizes. “Pakistan’s federal and involved local governments should also bear part of the responsibility for financing through issuing sovereign guarantee bonds, meanwhile protecting and improving the proportion and scale of the government funds invested in corridor construction in the financial budget.”

It asks for financial guarantees “to provide credit enhancement support for the financing of major infrastructure projects, enhance the financing capacity, and protect the interests of creditors.” Relying on the assessments of the IMF, World Bank and the ADB, it notes that Pakistan’s economy cannot absorb FDI much above $2 billion per year without giving rise to stresses in its economy. “It is recommended that China’s maximum annual direct investment in Pakistan should be around US$1 billion.” Likewise, it concludes that Pakistan’s ceiling for preferential loans should be $1 billion, and for non preferential loans no more than $1.5 billion per year.

It advises its own enterprises to take precautions to protect their own investments. “International business cooperation with Pakistan should be conducted mainly with the government as a support, the banks as intermediary agents and enterprises as the mainstay.” Nor is the growing engagement some sort of brotherly involvement. “The cooperation with Pakistan in the monetary and financial areas aims to serve China’s diplomatic strategy.”

The other big risk the plan refers to is exchange rate risk, after noting the severe weakness in Pakistan’s ability to earn foreign exchange. To mitigate this, the plan proposes tripling the size of the swap mechanism between the RMB and the Pakistani rupee to 30 billion Yuan, diversifying power purchase payments beyond the dollar into RMB and rupee basket, tapping the Hong Kong market for RMB bonds, and diversifying enterprise loans from a wide array of sources. The growing role of the RMB in Pakistan’s economy is a clearly stated objective of the measures proposed.
Riaz Haq said…
Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/business/china-railway-one-belt-one-road-1-trillion-plan.html?_r=0

VANG VIENG, Laos — Along the jungle-covered mountains of Laos, squads of Chinese engineers are drilling hundreds of tunnels and bridges to support a 260-mile railway, a $6 billion project that will eventually connect eight Asian countries.

Chinese money is building power plants in Pakistan to address chronic electricity shortages, part of an expected $46 billion worth of investment.

Chinese planners are mapping out train lines from Budapest to Belgrade, Serbia, providing another artery for Chinese goods flowing into Europe through a Chinese-owned port in Greece.

The massive infrastructure projects, along with hundreds of others across Asia, Africa and Europe, form the backbone of China’s ambitious economic and geopolitical agenda. President Xi Jinping of China is literally and figuratively forging ties, creating new markets for the country’s construction companies and exporting its model of state-led development in a quest to create deep economic connections and strong diplomatic relationships.

------------

China is moving so fast and thinking so big that it is willing to make short-term missteps for what it calculates to be long-term gains. Even financially dubious projects in corruption-ridden countries like Pakistan and Kenya make sense for military and diplomatic reasons.

The United States and many of its major European and Asian allies have taken a cautious approach to the project, leery of bending to China’s strategic goals. Some, like Australia, have rebuffed Beijing’s requests to sign up for the plan. Despite projects on its turf, India is uneasy because Chinese-built roads will run through disputed territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.


-----------

The power plants in Pakistan, as well as upgrades to a major highway and a $1 billion port expansion, are a political bulwark. By prompting growth in Pakistan, China wants to blunt the spread of Pakistan’s terrorists across the border into the Xinjiang region, where a restive Muslim population of Uighurs resides. It has military benefits, providing China’s navy future access to a remote port at Gwadar managed by a state-backed Chinese company with a 40-year contract.

Many countries in the program have serious needs. The Asian Development Bank estimated that emerging Asian economies need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure to maintain growth, tackle poverty and respond to climate change.
Riaz Haq said…
China takes ‘project of the century’ to Pakistan
As part of its ‘One Belt, One Road’ project Beijing is pumping $55bn into its neighbour amid doubts over who really benefits

https://www.ft.com/content/05979e18-2fe4-11e7-9555-23ef563ecf9a


The leak of China’s original proposals for the CPEC agreement in the Pakistan newspaper Dawn this week heightened fears. The terms prioritise the industrial ambitions of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a quasi-
military organisation vital to Beijing’s oil and security policies which also dominates the agricultural economy of the frontier region of Xinjiang.

Comparing it with the trading organisation that paved the way for British rule in India, the head of a large investment company in Pakistan says: “We have to be careful if we don’t want this to turn into a repeat of the East India Company. If we squander it, it will.”

China wants to complete four main tasks via CPEC: expand the Gwadar port on Pakistan’s south coast, which it financed, built and owns, build a fleet of power plants, construct road and rail links and set up special economic zones where companies can enjoy tax breaks and other business incentives.

-----------


In building infrastructure, Beijing is doing for Pakistan what Islamabad has been unable to do for itself, especially as far as power generation is concerned. Peak electricity demand in Pakistan is 6 gigawatts greater than it can generate — equivalent to about 12 medium-sized coal power plants. Blackouts in many parts of the country last for several hours a day.

To meet this shortfall China is expected to spend more than $35bn — about two-thirds of the entire CPEC budget — building or helping to construct 21 power plants, which will be mainly fuelled by coal. The combined 16GW of capacity that they could provide would repair Pakistan’s supply gap twice over.

The building work associated with CPEC has already boosted heavy industry in the country. Arif Habib, one of the country’s biggest business conglomerates, says it is trebling its cement production in anticipation of CPEC.

“China will expand the [economic] pie,” says Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s planning minister. “This project will create new [domestic] demand.”


------

------



“The risk is that down the line China will call the shots and that we will pay the price later,” says Syed Murad Ali Shah, the chief minister of Sindh, the province in which Karachi is located. “It is up to us.”

The Chinese plan, revealed by Dawn newspaper to have been delivered in December 2015, has only added to those concerns. It talks about thousands of acres of agricultural land leased out to Chinese enterprises to develop seed varieties and irrigation technology. It would install a full system of monitoring and surveillance in cities from Peshawar to Karachi, with 24-hour video recordings on roads. It would build a national network of fibre-optic cables to boost internet access.

Key to this is the XPCC. Under the plan the Han Chinese economic and paramilitary organisation is mandated to invest in Pakistan as a springboard for economic development around Kashgar, the heartland of 11m Turkic-speaking Muslims known as Uighurs.

Ministers in Islamabad say the document contains proposals originally drawn up by Beijing, but will not say how far the draft agreements, which are still being negotiated, differ from it.

----------------




Whatever the concerns in Pakistan that Islamabad is ceding too much power to China, many in the business and political communities argue that the benefits from the infrastructure projects are well worth it.

“Pakistan requires money and money has no colour,” Kimihide Ando, head of Mitsubishi Corp in Pakistan, says.

Others argue that, following the problems with the free-trade agreement, Pakistan’s ministers will be more savvy this time. “The Chinese have taken us for a ride [before] but we have let them,” says Ehsan Malik, chief executive of the Pakistan Business Council. “Given we have made huge mistakes before, hopefully we will learn this time.”

Riaz Haq said…
Indian media on Bunji and Bhasha dams in Gilgit Baltistan:

China To Invest $27 Billion In Construction Of Two Mega Dams In Pakistan-Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan

https://swarajyamag.com/insta/china-pakistan-plan-for-construction-of-two-mega-dams-in-gilgit-baltistan

China and Pakistan have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of two mega dams in Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state that remains under latter’s illegal occupation. The MoU was signed during the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Beijing for participation in the recently concluded Belt and Road Initiative.

The two dams, called Bunji and Diamer-Bhasha hydroelectricity projects, will have the capacity of generating 7,100MW and 4,500MW of electricity respectively. China will fund the construction of the two dams, investing $27 billion in the process, a report authored by Brahma Chellaney in the Times of India has noted.

According to Chellaney, India does not have a single dam measuring even one-third of Bunji in power generation capacity. The total installed hydropower capacity in India’s part of the state does not equal even Diamer-Bhasha, the smaller of the two dams.

The two dams are part of Pakistan’s North Indus River Cascade, which involves construction of five big water reservoirs with an estimated cost of $50 billion. These dams, together, will have the potential of generating approximately 40,000MW of hydroelectricity. Under the MoU, China’s National Energy Administration would oversee the financing and funding of these projects.
Riaz Haq said…
Kulbhushan Jadhav continues to provide 'crucial intelligence', says FO spokesperson

https://www.dawn.com/news/1336142/kulbhushan-jadhav-continues-to-provide-crucial-intelligence-says-fo-spokesperson

Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav continues to provide crucial intelligence with regard to recent terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told DawnNews on Monday.

Jadhav's death sentence was stayed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague on May 18, following proceedings in which Pakistani and Indian lawyers argued over the legitimacy of the death sentence awarded to Jadhav by a Pakistani military court.

Insisting that Pakistan held enough evidence to prove that Jadhav was a spy, Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf during an exclusive interview to DawnNews said that Pakistan has information on Jadhav that could not be disclosed due to the security reasons.

He said, "The evidence would only be presented before the ICJ once it resumes the hearing."

He said the ICJ's procedural order of May 18 was neither Pakistan's defeat nor India's success and emphasised that when the case re-starts, "Pakistan would be on solid ground to win".

Responding to a question regarding the constitution of a new legal team, Ausaf said that there were no plans to change the team, however, he said it would be "expanded".

When asked why he did not represent Pakistan at the May 15 hearing at the ICJ, Ausaf disclosed that he "knew prior to the judgement that the ICJ is going to announce the provisional order".

Jadhav, who was tried by a Pakistani military court under Section 59 of the Pakistan Army Act and Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act of 1923, confessed before a magistrate and court that he was tasked by Indian spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), to plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage activities seeking to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for the restoration of peace in Balochistan and Karachi, the ISPR had maintained.

A the ICJ, India blamed Pakistan for denying consular access to Jadhav while Pakistan insisted that was not eligible for consular access and that the ICJ does not have the adequate jurisdiction to give a judgment on the case.

Rejecting Pakistan's argument that the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter, the court reasoned it could hear the case because it involved, on the face of it, an alleged violation of one of the clauses of the Vienna Convention, which both Pakistan and India ascribe to and whose interpretation falls under its purview.

"[Meanwhile] Pakistan should take all measures to ensure that Jadhav is not executed till the final decision of this court," the court said.
Riaz Haq said…
Financing burden of CPEC
Ishrat Husain

https://www.dawn.com/news/1313992

The total committed amount under CPEC of $50 billion is divided into two broad categories: $35bn is allocated for energy projects while $15bn is for infrastructure, Gwadar development, industrial zones and mass transit schemes. The entire portfolio is to be completed by 2030.

------

The entire energy portfolio will be executed in the IPP mode —as applied to all private power producers in the country. Foreign investors’ financing comes under foreign direct investment; they are guaranteed a 17pc rate of return in dollar terms on their equity (only the equity portion, and not the entire project cost). The loans would be taken by Chinese companies, mainly from the China Development Bank and China Exim Bank, against their own balance sheets. They would service the debt from their own earnings without any obligation on the part of the Pakistani government.

Import of equipment and services from China for the projects would be shown under the current account, while the corresponding financing item would be FDI brought in by the Chinese under the capital and finance account. Therefore, where the balance of payments is concerned, there will not be any future liabilities for Pakistan.

To the extent that local material and services are used, a portion of free foreign exchange from the FDI inflows would become available. (Project sponsors would get the equivalent in rupees). For example, a highly conservative estimate is that only one-fourth of the total project cost would be spent locally and the country would benefit from an inflow of $9bn over an eight-year period, augmenting the aggregate FDI by more than $1bn annually. This amount can be used to either finance the current account deficit or reduce external borrowing requirements. Inflows for infrastructure projects for local spending would be another $4bn over 15 years.

Taking a highly generous capital structure of 60:40 debt-to-equity ratio for energy projects, the total equity investment would be $14bn. Further, assuming the extreme case that the entire equity would be financed by Chinese companies (although this is not true in the case of Hubco and Engro projects, where equity and loans are being shared by both Pakistani and Chinese partner companies) the 17pc guaranteed return on these projects would entail annual payments of $2.4bn from the current account.

CPEC’s second component, ie infrastructure, is to be financed through government-to-government loans amounting to $15bn. As announced, these loans would be concessional with 2pc interest to be repaid over a 20- to 25-year period. This amount’s debt servicing would be the Pakistan government’s obligation. Debt-servicing payments would rise by $910 million annually on account of CPEC loans (assuming a 20-year tenor). Going by these calculations, we can surmise that the additional burden on the external account should not exceed $3.5bn annually on a staggered basis depending on the project completion schedule.

As a proportion of our total foreign exchange earnings of 2016, this amounts to 7pc. These calculations do not take into account the incremental gains from GDP growth that will rise because of investment in energy and infrastructure. As the loan amounts would be disbursed in the next 15 years and repayments would be staggered, the adding of the entire $15bn to the existing stock of external debt and liabilities is not an accurate representation. The more realistic approach would be a tapered schedule, with $2bn to $3bn getting disbursed in the earlier years and slowing down in the second half.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani universities must capitalise on Chinese investment
The $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a huge opportunity to build academic capacity in Pakistan, say Abdur Rehman Cheema and Muhammad Haris

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/opinion/pakistani-universities-must-capitalise-on-chinese-investment#survey-answer

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) unveiled by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013, is frequently referred to in Pakistan as a potential economic game changer. Now in its first phase of implementation, it will see the Chinese government pump more than $50 billion (£40 billion) into improving transport links and energy cooperation between China and Pakistan.

Hardly any attention has been paid, however, to how this opportunity might be leveraged to build the technological capacity of Pakistan’s universities. And, so far, academics have been conspicuous by their absence from those clamouring for a share of the pie.

There is no question that universities have a lot to offer in terms of economic development. Introduced in the late 1990s, the Triple Helix concept of university-industry-government relationships has transformed the social role of higher education in many developing countries, casting them as central to the transition to a knowledge-based society, whose policies all three players combine to shape. Although it is not easy to implement in countries that lack research universities or global businesses, studies suggest that the approach generally leads to greater scientific productivity, for instance.

Pakistani universities need to capitalise on China’s own desire to shift itself from a symbol of mass production to a knowledge-based economy. They need to align their strategies with Chinese companies’ existing strengths in information technology, railways, manufacturing and energy. And they need to approach both Chinese firms and the Pakistani government to identify the technical skills areas in which the demand for workers can be expected to rise, and implement new diplomas and short courses accordingly.

Networking is also an important tool that can help bring the spheres of government, industry and the academy together. Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission, which regulates all of its universities, should take the lead and help to start this conversation within universities and research centres, incentivising their interaction with existing firms, as well as establishing incubation facilities for new ones on university campuses, including granting them shared access to university facilities.

CPEC also offers an opportunity to address Pakistan’s rampant inequality. In the country’s poorest province, Balochistan, the federal government could help local politicians and tertiary education providers to set up inclusive business incubation centres charged with developing customised, socially useful entrepreneurial approaches. Drawing on the Chinese experience of poverty reduction, such measures could start to build skilled human resources able to contribute to local and national economic development.

For example, developing local expertise in processing copper – which is mined in Balochistan – could help Pakistan to save the cost of importing the metal after the ore is exported to China for refinement.

The Balochistani port of Gwadar, a gateway to the Middle-Eastern and African markets, is one of the nodes of CPEC and will be connected by new road and rail links to the far western Chinese city of Kashgar, in Xinjiang Province. This offers many business opportunities for Pakistani and international businesses, and local universities could both catalyse and benefit from this if they set up business research excellence centres aimed at helping to improve the quality of the goods and services to be exported.

Popular posts from this blog

China Sees Opportunity Where Others See Risk

Economic Comparison Between Bangladesh & Pakistan

Smartphones For Digital & Financial Inclusion in Pakistan