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Archive for category Pakistan Security

 Poisonous Propaganda Against Russia-China-Pakistan By Sajjad Shaukat

 Poisonous Propaganda Against

Russia-China-Pakistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

Since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become a centre of the intelligence agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in connivance to obtain the covert designs of their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China and Pakistan, including Iran.

 

Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which are also in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) support the militants of Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the double game of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Balochistan through subversive activities.

 

America, India and puppet rulers of Afghanistan shift the blame game of terror attacks in Afghanistan towards Pakistan. Especially, the US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan. The main purpose of Washington is not only to pacify their people and justify the unending war in Afghanistan but also to fulfil the secret strategic designs against Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

 

It is notable that in order to divert attention from NATO’s defeatism in Afghanistan, at a news conference in Kabul, on April 24, 2017, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. John Nicholson, the American commander in Afghanistan supposedly stated that Russia was providing weapons to the Taliban. But, Moscow denied these false allegations.

 

It is of particular attention that, a news item was published by all the leading dailies of Pakistan on October 8, 2017 regarding the statement of Afghanistan’s Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai who, while dismissing criticism of Moscow’s ties with the Taliban and echoing Russian claims of American support to the ISIS terrorists, told Voice of America (VOC) that the United States has links with terrorist ‘Islamic State’, also known as Daesh…Daesh a tool of US…After it [the US] dropped the [mother of all] bomb on Afghanistan, it did not eliminate Daesh…the terrorist group has been supplied weapons by the United States forces…The US Army helicopters and army bases are being used to provide assistance to ISIS terrorists…I do not differentiate at all between Daesh and America…Reports of American assistance to the terrorists are coming from all over the country.” (It also includes Karzai’s revelations to VOC of April 20, 2017, and Newsweek’s report of the same day). 

 

Notably, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.

 

But, these foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Pakistan became the only declared nuclear country in the Islamic World, the United States, India and Israel started acting upon their collective agenda to destabilize it. After the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan, the country has become a special target of CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in collaboration in supporting various terror-related attacks in various cities, including separatist elements in Balochistan province.  

 

In this respect, terror-attacks coincide with a poisonous propaganda of the US-led entities against Russia-China-Pakistan axis and their interests in the region.

 

In this connection, a news item captioned “Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers Resolve to Step Up Counter-Terror Cooperation” was published in New Delhi based RAW front Organization titled “A Publication of Bureau of Political Research and Analysis” on December 21, 2017, on the website www.livemint. In the publication, India has tried to portray Pakistan in a bad light as for as her relation with China and Russia are concerned.

 

In the news item, while criticizing the joint statement of the RIC meeting, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said, “While discussing terrorism, I put across my view that significant rise in acts of terrorism by terrorist organisations like Taliban, Daesh (ISIS), Al Qaeda…directly undermine international peace and security and endanger ongoing efforts to strengthen the global economy and ensure sustainable growth and development.”

 

However, under the pretext of counterterrorism, the major aim of the publication was to thwart Pakistan’s cordial relations with China and Russia in a bid to neutralize Indian negative and subversive themes against Pakistan.

 

It is noteworthy that on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of RAW in Balochistan. During investigation and in a video, shown on Pakistan’s TV channels, RAW agent Kulbushan Yadav confessed that “he was the agent of RAW” and “during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” project.

In fact, Baloch Sardars (Feudal lords) have never wanted the ordinary Baloch population to progress in education, enlightenment and socio-economic uplift. The reason behind this cruel approach of the royal Baloch tribes was the fear that education, enlightenment and economic progress would be an end to their Sardari (Lordship). Now, when God is showing His mercy on the miseries of poor Baloch and an opportunity of such progress has been signalled for them from abroad, the same is also not being digested by these merciless Sardars. However, the dissident Baloch Sardars may be cowered and shameless to play in the hand of hostile powers against their own motherland just for the sake of money and lust for power, but not the ordinary Baloch who is brave and patriotic, always ready to die for his beloved country. Today’s Baloch is broad-minded, intelligent and progressive. He loves education, he loves his country and he loves his army. To halt progress on CPEC, the evil nexus of CIA, RAW, Mossad and NDS is active to sponsor the dissident BSNs (Baloch Sub-Nationalists) to destabilize Pakistan and to run the malicious propaganda campaign against Pak-China strategic and economic partnership. 

It is mentionable that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US also joined New Delhi. In this context, on October 3, 2017, US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

 

Islamabad strongly dismissed the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also participated in an OBOR summit.

 

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic cooperation initiative. Russia also supports the OBOR and CPEC.

 

It worth mentioning that Indian lobbies which are well-penetrated in the US administration and Europe, research centres, think tanks and so-called human rights groups utilize the media tools in defaming Pakistan internationally. Especially, RAW is availing the opportunity of the US-led organized propaganda campaign against Pakistan.

 

In this regard, much coverage was given by the external media to a report, released on April 13, 2017, by Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) which is in partnership with Mahatma Gandhi International AISBL. The subject report portrayed complete Indian negative propaganda themes about the provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Balochistan and Sindh. Based on falsehood, the report also said that the CPEC is a breach of international law and is being implemented without consultation or compensation to the people of the areas.

 

Undoubtedly, GB is the gateway of CPEC into Pakistan, whereby GB’s strategic and socio-economic importance has increased manifold. Like Balochistan, the region has huge potential in the trade with China, tourism, minerals, gems, precious stones, agriculture-farming and hydropower production. Therefore, GB’s people who are strengthening their association with Pakistan pay no attention to the false propaganda.

 

In this context, a blog under the caption, “Why Pakistan and China must pay heed to the growing local resistance to CPEC—Communities that are being displaced by the project are anxious–and angry” appeared on a website on July 18, 2017, written by Dr. Amiera and Dr. Nausheen H. Anwar. The blog was also republished by the Asia Times (Online) on August 8, 2017. As part of the negative coverage of the CPEC, it was reproduced several times under various titles like “CPEC: The growing resentment and resistance among poor Pakistanis can cost China dearly”, “For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have serious political costs” etc.

Anyhow, this blog indicates as to how poisonous propaganda techniques are being employed by the foreign media to make the CPEC controversial.

 

While, these external media-propagandists who also give undue coverage to the meetings and protests against the integrity of Pakistan, are particularly exaggerating the statements of those Baloch leaders who have taken shelter abroad and are fulfilling the agenda of their foreign masters against the CPEC.

 

In this respect, RAW and CIA arranged a meeting of Baloch Sub-Nationalists, SSNs (Sindhi-Sub- Nationalists) and the USNs (Uyghur Sub-Nationalists of China) on the termination of 35th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva from 12-14 June 2017. The agenda was; planning against the CPEC/Pak-China’s interests in the region. Mehran Marri attended the conference and delivered a speech (reportedly prepared by RAW) alleging CPEC as exploitation projects and Baloch cultural genocide by Pakistan and China. Representatives of World Sindh Congress (WSC), Uyghur human rights activists, Rebiya Kadeer and Dolikun Aeysa were also present in the said conference.

 

As a matter of fact, since April 20, 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed 51 agreements for cooperation in various fields, related to the CPEC, gloomy coverage of the project had already started in the external media.

 

The reality is that the establishment of CPEC between deep Gwadar seaport of Balochistan and the historic Silk Road city in western regions-Xinjiang of China will connect Gilgit-Baltistan through Khunjerab Pass. Beijing would also build an international airport at Gwadar, while the roads infrastructure in Gwadar would link the communication network of rest of the country to facilitate transportation of goods.

 

When Gwadar seaport becomes fully operational, it would connect the landlocked Central Asian states with rest of the world. Being the commercial hub, the port is likely to increase the volume of trade, bringing multiple economic and financial benefits to Pakistan like the Suez Canal which changed the destiny of Egypt when Israel returned it to the former. It will enable high-volume cargo vessels to move in the major oceans. Gwadar project which is the backbone of the CPEC will uplift the impoverished people of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, including developments in other provinces by providing thousands of employment opportunities, especially to the less developed areas by redressing their grievances. The resulting prosperity in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan would damp the separatist sentiments of the people, which the hostile elements, supported by the US, India and Israeli do not want. Therefore, their media describe the CPEC in negative terms.

 

It is noteworthy that the US and India do not want to see peace and prosperity in the region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by the killing of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur in a CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government. While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 16 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

 

During the sixth Heart of Asia Conference which was held in the Indian city of Amritsar on December 3 and 4, 2016 proved fruitless in achieving its goals due to the secret diplomacy of Washington, New Delhi and Kabul owing to the blame game, especially of New Delhi and Kabul against Islamabad.

 

Addressing the conference, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov rejected the Indian and Afghan allegations against Pakistan. He stated that Afghanistan is the pivot of the conference and the agenda of the conference should not be hijacked. He added that being friends and supporters, we should avoid the blame game and work together.

 

Earlier, due to the double game of the US and failure of the QCG, China, Russia and Pakistan held secretary-level trilateral talks in Moscow on December 27, 2016, and discussed regional stability, including the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also discussed anti-terrorism cooperation amid growing influence of the ISIL in the region and a peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. 

 

In the recent past, using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame game of his predecessors Bush and Obama regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan by saying Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations”, and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

As regards Pakistan’s regional rival India, Donald Trump said, “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan…We want them to help us more with Afghanistan.”

 

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a condition to do more against terrorism.

 

According to the statement of the ISPR (Army Spokesman), “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from the USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions…peace in Afghanistan is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.”

 

Nevertheless, America and India, including puppet rulers of Afghanistan have always blamed Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan to divert attention from the acts of sabotage, which they have been arranging in Pakistan.

 

In wake of Modi’s aggressive diplomacy, India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.

 

And various other developments such as Russia-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan etc. are equally notable.

 

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, while praising military operations against terrorism, but covertly, they continue destabilizing it, especially with the assistance of India as part of the anti-Pakistan, anti-China and anti-Russia diplomacy.

 

Taking note of the US double game, Islamabad which has already strengthened its relations with Beijing has also been cultivating its ties with Russia. In the recent past, Pakistan’s top officials have paid a visit to Moscow. In this connection, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has openly stated that Islamabad will prefer Russia over America.

 

It is worth mentioning that in an interview to the “The Wall Street Journal” on January 5, 2018, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said, “He sees his country’s alliance with the US as over after the Trump administration announced the suspension of U.S. security-related aid to Pakistan…This is not how allies behave.”

 

Pakistan is also improving its relations with Iran. In the end of last year, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid a visit to Tehran where he met Iranian civil and military high officials.

 

While new Cold War has been accelerated between Washington and Moscow in relation to the Syrian civil war and Afghanistan, in these circumstances, owing to Trump’s pro-Israeli policy and anti-Iran rhetoric, while taking cognizance of the unsuccessful US-Indian partnership which is based on extremism, Tehran will abandon the American-backed Chabahar project and will prefer to align with Russian-led China-Pakistan axis.

 

Nonetheless, poisonous propaganda of the US-led entities against Russia-China-Pakistan axis will not succeed in future due to the faulty strategy of America, which is likely to culminate into America’s downfall or disintegration, as present internal and external crises of the US indicate.

 

 

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Naval Feet of 36 Nations Begin Naval Exercise “AMAN 2017” By Pakistan Army Channel

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KARACHI: Naval platforms of nine participating countries arrived here Thursday to participate in Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN 2017 organized by Pakistan Navy.

The exercise will be held from February 10-14.

Over 36 countries are participating in the exercise, which will help in enhancing interoperability with regional and extra-regional navies thereby acting as a bridge between the regions.

It will also project a positive image of Pakistan as a country contributing towards regional peace and stability, said a press released here Thursday.

Being held since 2007, AMAN 17 is 5the edition of this series of Multinational Exercises.

Upon arrival, the visiting ships were given a warm welcome by Senior Pakistan Navy Officials while catchy tunes of National Songs played by PN Band. Officials of the consulates of the respective countries also present in the reception.

Participation details; of different countries are as follows:

1. USA Navy has participated in AMAN 09, AMAN 11 with naval assets and Special Operation Forces during AMAN 07. This year, USA Navy is participating with 04 Naval ships namely USS AMELIA EARHART, USCGS MAUI, USCGSAQUIDNEK and USS TYPHOON.

2. Chinese (PLA) Navy has been an active participant in all AMAN exercises. It has participated in AMAN 07, AMAN 11 and AMAN 13 with naval assets whereas in AMAN 09 it participated with Special Operation Forces team. In AMAN 17, Chinese Navy is participating with 03 ships namely HARBIN DDG 112, HANDAN FFG 575 and DONGPHINGU AO 960 with Senior Capt. Bai Yaoping it’s Mission Commander.

3. Russian Navy is participating in this series of exercises for the very first time with 03 ships namely SEVEROMORSK, ALTAY Tugboat, and DUBNA tanker. Its Special Operations, Forces are also part of this exercise. The Russian contingent’s mission commander is Capt. Stanislav R VARIK.

4. Japanese Navy is participating for the 4th time in this series of exercises with their 02 P3C Orian aircraft led by Commander Daigo Tsubokura.

5. Australian Navy is also participating for the 4th time in this exercise with naval assets.

This year .its ship HMAS ARUNTA is arriving to participate in the exercise led by Commander Cameron Steil, Ran.

6. Indonesian Navy is participating in this series of exercises for the 2nd time. It has earlier participated in AMAN 09. Indonesian Navy ship KRI SULTAN ISKANDARMUDA is led by Commander Rio Henry Muko Yumm as its Mission Commander.

7. Turkish Navy has participated in previous exercises with their Special Operation Forces teams. Turkish Navy is taking part in the exercise for the first time with Ships. Turkish ship TCG GELIBOLU is commanded by Commander Ali Tuna Baysal.

8. Sri Lankan Navy is participating for the 2nd time with its assets. Earlier, they have participated in AMAN 13. Sri Lankan Navy Ship SLS SAMUDRA is commanded by Capt. JP Premaratne.

9. Royal British Navy has participated previously in AMAN 07, AMAN 09 and AMAN 13.This is their 4th participation in this series of exercises. HMS DARING will join the exercise this year commanded by Commander M J C Hember Mam. The Mission Commander from Royal British Navy is AVM Ed Stringer.

During this exercise, participating units will rehearse various naval operations to enhance interoperability. The aim of this multinational ship’s exercise is to display united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain.

Courtesy & Copyrights Acknowledgement

 

 

 

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‘Multi-mission missile boat to have latest weapons, sensors’ in Daily Times, Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Multi-mission missile boat to have latest weapons, sensors’ * Pakistan designs, constructs first-ever Fast Attack Craft-Missile at Karachi Shipyard KARACHI: The steel cutting ceremony of the fourth Fast Attack Craft (Missile) and two 32 x Tons Bollard Pull Tugs being built for the Pakistan Navy was held here at the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works. NESCOM Chairman Dr. Nabeel Hayat Malik was the chief guest on the occasion. The Fast Attack Craft (Missile) is a state of the art, multi-mission vessel, commonly known as the missile boat, designed by the Maritime Technologies Complex (MTC) and will have latest weapons and sensors. The first missile craft of this series PNS AZMAT was designed and constructed by the China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Corporation Ltd (CSOC) under a contract of the transfer of technology, and inducted in PN Fleet in June 2012. The second craft PNS DEHSHAT was indigenously-built at the Karachi Shipyard and commissioned in the Pakistan Navy in June 2014. The third fast attack craft has been launched in September this year and will be inducted in PN Fleet shortly. Addressing the ceremony, Dr. Nabeel Hayat Malik appreciated the accomplishment of these important milestones and urged each and every individual working in MTC and the Karachi Shipyard to put in the best towards the goal of indigenization of shipbuilding industry. He highlighted that KS&EW was consistently achieving major targets of its business plan and has become a role model for other public sector industries. He said that the indigenous design of the Fast Attack Craft (Missile) is a first step towards the goal of self-reliance in the ship design. He extended his gratitude to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah for reposing confidence in KS&EW and MTC. In his welcome address, KS&EW Managing Director Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah said that the Fast Attack Craft (Missile) was the first-ever missile boat being designed and constructed in Pakistan. Realization of this project has put a huge responsibility on the Karachi Shipyard and MTC for its timely and successful completion. Giving a brief progress of ongoing projects, he highlighted that all out efforts would be made to deliver these projects on time with high quality. The ceremony was attended by a large number of guests from the government, the Pakistan Navy, NESCOM and the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works.

Azmat Class Fast Attack Craft (Missile) are currently under construction for the Pakistan Navy. The first two boats were commissioned between 2012 and 2014, while the third vessel in class is expected to be commissioned in 2016.

The fast attack craft can be deployed in maritime patrol, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, search-and-rescue (SAR) and anti-piracy missions.

Azmat Class orders and deliveries

The first fast attack craft, PNS Azmat (1013), was jointly developed by China Shipbuilding and Offshore Company (CSOC) and Xingang Shipyard. It was launched in September 2011 and commissioned into service in April 2012.

The Pakistan Navy entered a transfer of technology (ToT) agreement with CSOC and Xingang Shipyard to build two more vessels at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW).

The second vessel in class, PNS Dehshat (1014), was launched in August 2012 and inducted into service in June 2014.

The first steel was cut for the third missile craft in April 2015 and her keel was laid down at KS&EW in August 2015, while delivery is scheduled for 2016.

Design and features of the fast attack craft

The state-of-the-art vessel incorporates a steel hull, and a super structure made of aluminium. Built according to the China Classification Society (CSS) rules and guidelines, each ship features stealthier design integrating modern missile and combat systems, as well as surface search and tracking radars.

The fast attack craft measures 63m-long and 8.8m-wide, and has a design draught of 2.46m and displacement of 560t.

The Azmat class vessels lack aircraft handling facilities due to their compact dimensions. Each ship can complement a crew of 12 to 14.

Naval gun systems

Fitted with a 25mm automatic gun as the main rifle, the Azmat class is also armed with an AK-630 close-in weapon system (CIWS) to protect the ship from incoming anti-ship missiles and other precision guided weapons.

“The fast attack craft can be deployed in maritime patrol, anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, search-and-rescue (SAR) and anti-piracy missions.”

The AK-630 CIWS is guided by radar and TV-optical detection and tracking system. The fully-automated gun mount can be remotely-operated from either the control cabinet or using a remotely-located gun-sight. The CIWS offers a rate of fire of 4,000 to 10,000 rounds a minute and can engage targets within the range of 5,000m.

The vessel is also installed with two batches of tube launchers for firing decoys / chaffs.

Missile systems

The Azmat class is installed with two quadruple missile launchers to fire eight C-802 anti ship cruise missiles. The C-802 is an extended-range export variant of the Chinese-built YJ-8 anti-ship missile.

The missile is capable of carrying a 165kg time-delayed, semi-armour-piercing, high-explosive warhead. It has a maximum range of 120km and can travel at a speed of Mach 0.9. The C-802 missile is equipped with inertial and terminal active radar guidance system.

Propulsion

Each Azmat class fast attack missile craft is powered by four diesel engines driving four fixed pitch propellers (FPPs) through a pair of two propulsion shafts. The propulsion system provides high manoeuvrability to the vessel during high-intensity missions.

The ship has a maximum speed of 30kt and can attain a range of 1,000 nmi.

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China-Pakistan Energy Corridor By Brig (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

China-Pakistan Energy Corridor

Asif Haroon Raja

 

 

 

 

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Establishment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first proposed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan in May 2013. Li stated, Our two sides should focus on carrying out priority projects in connectivity, energy development and power generation”. At that time, Pak-China bilateral trade had reached $12 billion. The proposed project of linking Kashgar in northwest China with Gwadar Port on southwestern Arabian Sea coastline in Baluchistan was approved on July 5, 2013 during the visit of PM Nawaz Sharif to Beijing, which included construction of 200 km long tunnel. In December 2013, China committed $6.5 billion for the construction of a major nuclear power project in Karachi. In May 2014, another agreement was signed to start Orange Line metro train project in Lahore worth $1.27 billion. In November 2014, the two countries signed 19 agreements related to CPEC. In addition, Chinese firms started work on six mega power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan such as Dassu, Phandar, Bashu, Harpo, Yalbo to tackle Pakistan’s energy crisis.  

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Originally scheduled to come on September 14-16 last year, China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit was postponed in the wake of prolonged anti-government protests in Islamabad and security concerns, and the government not wanting anything untoward happening. Postponement of the visit was seen by the government as a big setback since it entailed investment of $26 billion in Pakistan. Onus of postponement was squarely put on the shoulders of those indulging in futile dharna politics. This setback was not an ordinary one when seen in the backdrop of worst ever energy crisis, economy in shambles, state corporations in decay and all economic indicators in negative – thanks to the inglorious five-year rule of PPP led coalition. Cash-strapped Pakistan struggling to finance energy projects from western donors couldn’t afford a single day delay.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb which started in mid June 2014 in North Waziristan after the brazen terror attack on Jinnah airport in Karachi and peace talks having fallen apart was put in top gear after the gruesome tragedy in Peshawar Army Public School on December 16, 2014. Its scope was spread all over the country and cooperation with Afghanistan was greatly improved. Rangers-Police intelligence based targeted operation in Karachi was also speeded up and so was Frontier Corps-Police operation in Baluchistan. These efforts were backed by National Security Policy, Counter Terrorism Policy, Joint Intelligence Directorate to coordinate efforts of 33 intelligence agencies, formation of Counter Terrorism Force at federal and provincial levels, lifting of moratorium on hanging of convicts, setting up of military courts and focussed 20-point National Action Plan, all in a bid to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Brilliant successes against terrorism and extremism, which raised the stature of Pak Army backed by air force very high among the international comity, helped in further enhancing the confidence of China’s leadership in Pakistan. Well aware of Indo-US encirclement plan and shifting of Ameica’s pivot to Asia-Pacific to contain China, the latter wanted an early opening into world market to become an unchallenged economic giant as well as the super power. Mindful of the under developemnt of its western province which is its soft belly and ongoing Uighur movement, China wants speedy modernisation of Xingjiang to bring it at par with eastern provinces. For the accomplishment of these dreams, China needs access to warm waters in Arabian Sea through Gwadar since this route is the shortest and the cheapest. This access was never granted to Russia. With this objective in view, President Xi Jinping undertook a visit to Islamabad and pleasantly surprised the Pakistanis by raising the level of investment from $ 26 billion to $ 45 Billion in Pakistan.

Pakistanis opened their hearts to welcome the worthy guest. During his two-day historic visit (April 20-21, 2015), President Xi signed 51 agreements/MoUs worth $28 billion, with $17 billion in pipeline spread over 15 years. His visit achieved the milestone of the groundbreaking of historic 3,000 km-long strategic China-Pakistan-Energy-Corridor (CPEC). It includes $ 18 billion worth energy projects such as coal, solar, hydroelectric power projects which will inject 10,400 MW electricity in the national grid by 2017/18, laying down fibre optic cable from Xingjiang to Rawalpindi, 1240 km long Karachi-Lahore motorway, metro and bus service in six major cities, up gradation of 1300 km long Karakorum Highway (first opened in 1978), oil/gas pipelines, commercial sea-lanes and host of other projects.

The CPEC project will include building new roads, a 1,800-km railway line and a network of oil pipelines to connect Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region to the seaport of Gwadar. It includes a string of energy projects, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure. China is helping Pakistan in producing plutonium at Chinese built Khushab reactor and will also sell 8 submarines worth $5 billion, which will give a quantum jump to Pak Navy’s sea capability.

Gwadar, once a part of Oman before it was sold to Pakistan in 1958, is one of the least developed districts in Balochistan province. It sits strategically near the Persian Gulf and close to the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes. Work on Gwadar deep-seaport had started in 2002 with China’s investment. In 2013, management of the seaport which was in the sloppy hands of Singapore PSA International was handed over to China’s Port Holdings. It is planned to develop Gwadar into free trade zone with a modern airport on the model of Singapore or Hong Kong and a gateway to CPEC. Some analysts perceive Gwadar port turning into China’s naval base in the Indian Ocean, enabling Beijing to monitor Indian and American naval activities and thus frustrating their ambition to convert the ocean into exclusive Indian lake. Modernization of Pak Navy by China is seen as a step in that direction.

 

 

Energy-poor Pakistan certainly seems to have found a saviour in China, which has promised to stand by the country in its dark hour (parts of the country suffer power cuts for up to 18 hours a day). Jubilant President Mamnoon Hussain predicted that the economic corridor will be a “monument of the century” benefitting “billions of people” in the region. Analysts believe that the CPEC has the potential to radically alter the regional dynamics of trade, development and politics. They say the projects conceived under CPEC will ease Pakistan’s energy shortages and make a substantial difference in the long term with both generation and transmission covered. Some experts opine this initiative can bring greater cohesion in South Asia, one of the world’s least economically integrated regions. Adil Najam, Dean of the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, believes anything that binds the region together is “a good idea” since countries tend to focus on “zero-sum geostrategic posturing” rather than recognising the benefits of integration. MNA Ahsan Iqbal says “CPEC is a game changer for the entire region and will uplift the lives of about 3 billion people across China, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.

Image result for China-Pakistan Energy Economic Corridor Map

While the CPEC may be ‘monumental’ for Pakistan, for China it is part of more ambitious plans to beef up the country’s global economic muscle. Chinese officials describe the corridor as the “flagship project” of a broader policy — “One Belt, One Road” — which seeks to physically connect China to its markets in Asia, Europe and beyond. This initiative includes the New Silk Road which will link China with Europe through Central Asia and the Maritime Silk Road to ensure a safe passage of China’s shipping through the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. China is not building the corridor as an act of charity for Pakistan. It will happily fund and build any structure that plays into this goal – whether we’re talking about roads or ports”,  says Michael Kugelman, a senior associate at the Washington DC based Woodrow Wilson Centre. Access to Indian Ocean via Gwadar will enable China’s naval warships and merchant ships to bypass Malacca Strait.    

 

 

 

Image result for China-Pakistan Energy Economic Corridor Map

 

 

 

 

At the same time, the new silk roads are bound to intensify ongoing competition between India and China –and to a lesser extent between China and the US – to invest in and cultivate influence in the broader Central Asian region. Kugelman stated, India has long had its eyes on energy assets in Central Asia and Afghanistan, even as China has gobbled many of these up in recent years. The US has announced its own Silk Road initiative in the broader region. India is concerned about China’s huge investment in Pakistan, particularly its recent decision to fund a new batch of nuclear reactors. Pakistan plans to add four new nuclear plants by 2023, funded by China, with four more reactors in the pipeline (adding up to a total power capacity of 7,930 MW by 2030). India and other detractors of Pakistan are propagating that China is supplying nuclear technology to Pakistan in defiance of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, which forbid nuclear transfer to Pakistan as it has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. China argues that these projects were agreed with Pakistan before it became a member of NSG in 2004.

Pakistan has remained under a dark star for a long period; it has bravely sailed past the period of trials and tribulations but at a very heavy cost. Pakistan has acted as the frontline state against the Soviets and against global terrorism and suffered enormously, but in the process it allowed China 35 free years to develop and prosper. Landmark CPEC has further cemented Pak-China relations and made them natural allies. China’s liberal investment which surpasses all foreign investments in Pakistan in the past are based on trust, confidence and convergence of interests and both are in a win-win cooperation. The all-weather, time-tested friends share common vision and seek peace and not confrontation. They have entered into a new era of geo-economic relationship and plan to boost two-way trade to $20 billion.

The Silk Road Economic Belt will not only connect and develop China and Pakistan but also the regional countries for the first time and promote peace. It has opened vista of great opportunities for Pakistan and will greatly help in poverty alleviation, overcome unemployment, remove inequities of smaller provinces and help Pakistan in becoming the next Asian tiger. Strategic economic moment for Pakistan has arrived and interesting part is that Pakistan has assumed the position of economic pivot for the whole region. This paradigm shift in circumstances is a cause of great worry for the enemies of Pakistan both within and outside. They have put their heads together to work out new strategies how to block the forward march, but time and tide is not in their favor.  

The writer is a retired Brig/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Member Executive Council PESS, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors TFP. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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The gate of the ‘graveyard of empires’ Asad Khan Betini

The gate of the ‘graveyard of empires’

Asad Khan Betini

Fifteen years of US invasion will soon be completed and soon become the stuff of the history of this region. In Afghanistan, ‘lost and gained’ will be assessed later but the insurgency is indeed still in question. Yet another suicide attack in central Logar province killed 12 security personnel and wounded eight others, a sure sign of the dreadful hold of the insurgents. The Taliban still claim to have control of over 40 percent of the areas in Afghanistan, excluding the capital and other major cities in Afghanistan. Territories under the grip of the Taliban are declared as no go areas, leaving the whole world wondering whether the war on terror has achieved victory or a fiasco. Many observers are now vocal as to who will be up next for the ‘graveyard of empires’. 
aria09040220090401085210Hamid Karzai declined to sign any security deal with the US and left it to his successor to decide. The newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which will allow 9,800 US troops and at least 2,000 NATO troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Generally, mindsets with two opinions have lingered on in Afghanistan: one supported the invasion while the other defied it. In fact, we observe that Afghans failed to get what they expected from the US intervention since 2001. Rather, this invasion put the land in turmoil just like the former Soviet Union did. Our controversial ally, the US, and its war against the former jihadists who were once called ‘soldiers of God’, declared them terrorists following the 9/11 incident. Indeed, the ashes of war brought catastrophe to Pakistan too.
Pakistan has suffered over $ 107 billion in economic setbacks since the war broke out, leaving a bad impression on the international community. Apart from that, thousands of people have been killed due to the ‘do more’ mantra. Yet, hoping for development for Afghanistan, the Chinese government has pledged 1.5 billion Yuan ($ 245 million) in aid to Afghanistan over the next three years, as well as greater support for Kabul in the struggle against terrorism. Ghani, while bewildering his neighbours, warned all not to interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan. This statement was released as soon as this aid was received in Afghanistan. 
But what plagues the mind is the fact that the warmongers are still in position. The withdrawal of US and NATO forces will leave the Afghan National Army to its own fate. 
Throughout the entire 13 years of war in Afghanistan, corruption and opium production remained a worrying issue. Observers believe that poppy cultivation has become a lucrative business for international dealers, as it was not brought to an end despite the US spending $ 7.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. The UN’s office on drugs and crime reports: “Afghan farmers grew 209,000 hectares of opium in 2013, surpassing the previous record of 193,000 hectares in 2007.” Poppy production is a major source of revenue in Afghanistan, which produces an estimated 90 percent of the world’s opium. At the start of 2018, it is expected to double. 
This is a problem that all the stakeholders avoided discussing throughout the entire Afghan war. The value of poppy cultivation and opium products produced in the country in 2013 was about three billion dollars, a 50 percent increase over the two billion dollars estimated in 2012. Reports now indicate that farmers grew 210,200 hectares of opium in 2014. 
Let us pretend Afghans will decide their own fate post-withdrawal but staggering questions of poppy cultivation and the presence of the former soldiers of God are being left unresolved. To date, $ 753.3 billion have been spent on the war in Afghanistan, including $ 89.1 billion in fiscal year 2014. Despite spending billions of dollars and the sacrifices of thousands of US and NATO soldiers, who spewed blood into the water and soil, the results are by no means comforting. The Afghans have now opened their gates for China, which has already stepped up its support to India and Pakistan. The recent Beijing Declaration has been signed between Afghanistan and China, agreeing to start 64 programmes covering issues such as trade, investment, infrastructure, disaster management and education. These projects will help Afghanistan develop and keep the peace without outside assistance. The corridor of South Asia, Afghanistan, is now in the arms of China, so the future of South Asia is now going to be in the hands of China, leading the US out the door in disgrace. 

 
 
(Asad Khan Betini is a Balochistan Based Journalist and Currently Chief Editor of Monthly Nawa-e-Qaisa Political Magazine)

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