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Posts Tagged Gwadar

Will Pakistan’s Gwadar Become “Hong Kong West”? Riaz Haq, Blog: Haq’s Musings

Will Pakistan’s Gwadar Become “Hong Kong West”?

Riaz Haq,

Blog: Haq’s Musings

 

 

 

 

The port city of Hong Kong has played a pivotal role in China’s economic and trade expansion on the Chinese East Coast in the Pacific region. Meanwhile, China’s Western region has remained relatively underdeveloped.

China’s West Coast:

Is China looking to build and use Gwadar in Pakistan as Hong Kong West to accelerate development in its West? Will Gwadar serve as a superhighway for China’s trade expansion in Middle East, Africa and Europe? A point to project Chinese economic and military might westward?

Unlike the continental United States which has coasts on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans allowing it easy access to Europe and Asia, China has only one coast, its East Coast along the South China Sea.

As the Americans look to Asia with the US Pivot to Asia and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Chinese are looking to expand westward with Central Asia as well as Africa, Europe and the Middle East with “One Road One Belt” initiative funded by Silk Road Fund and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Pakistan is a crucial partner in this strategy, particularly the development of Pakistan-China Corridor linking China’s western region with Gwadar port on the Arabia Sea. 

Gwadar Deep Sea Port:

The Chinese see Gwadar deep sea port and the town of Jiwani as Hong Kong West, a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. It will be the most important link in China’s Maritime Silk Route (MSR), a sort of superhighway to the West for Chinese trade.

Professor Juan Cole of University of Michigan has aptly described the Chinese strategy as follows:

China’s enormous northwest is much closer to the Arabian Sea than to the port of Shanghai. It is about 2800 km. from Urumqi (pop. 4 million, the size of Los Angeles inside city limits) to Karachi, but twice as far to Shanghai. China has decided to develop its northwest by turning Pakistan into a sort of Hong Kong West. Hong Kong played, and perhaps still plays an important role as a gateway for certain kinds of foreign investment into China. In the same way, Pakistan can be a window on the world and a conduit for oil and trade into northwestern cities such as Urumqi and the smaller Kashgar (pop. 1 mn.)

In addition to a major expansion of the deep sea port,  there are plans in place for building a modern city with several skyscrapers, an international airport, highways and industrial parks in Gwadar, Balochistan. There will be air, road and rail links to move people and freight to and from around the world. Oil and gas pipelines are planned to transport energy as well. When completed, it will be comparable to major international port cities of Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Baloch Insurgency:

Baloch insurgency is cited as a key threat to the implementation of the China-Pakistan Corridor in Pakistan. What is often not acknowledged by analysts is the fact that the Baloch insurgency is dying. It’s a fact that has recently been described in some detail by Malik Siraj Akbar who is sympathetic to the Baloch separatist cause. Here’s what Akbar wrote in December 2014 in a piece titled “The End of Pakistan’s Baloch Insurgency?”:

“Since its beginning in 2004, Pakistan’s Baloch insurgency is caught up in the worst infighting ever known to the general public. Different left-wing underground armed groups that had been fighting Islamabad for a free Baloch homeland have now started to attack each other’s camps……Frustration, suspicion, infighting and division are the common features of the end of a guerrilla fight. Perhaps that time has come in Balochistan. “

Language Map of Balochistan

The announcement of the Pak-China deal seems to have re-energized those who seek to hurt Pakistan. They are now trying to resuscitate the dying Baloch insurgency. Western media has widely publicized an interview of Bramdagh Bugti who is running the insurgency from the comfort of a Swiss hotel room.  In addition, Pakistan’s Western-funded NGOs (Front’s For CIA, MI-6, RAW,& MOSSAD) are being used to play up the Baloch insurgency in the media with events like “Un-Silencing Balochistan” event and by blaming the ISI for the murder of Karachi activist Sabeen Mahmud.

Summary:

The China-Pak Corridor deal could prove to be transformational for Pakistan’s economy, prosperity and rising living standards of its nearly 200 million people. As development work moves forward for Gwadar and China-Pakistan Corridor, I fully expect several hostile nations, including neighbouring India, to use their proxies on the ground in Balochistan and some members of the “civil society” made up of some foreign-funded NGOs in Pakistan to make progress as difficult as possible. There will be serious efforts by many to resuscitate the dying Baloch insurgency. Pakistani people and both civil and military leaders need to be prepared to deal with these hurdles.

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In the eyes of the beholder by Tariq A. Al-Maeena

In the eyes of the beholder

by

 

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following my article a couple of weeks ago in which I complimented the Pakistani cricket team for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against their formidable arch-rivals India, I received a couple of comments that left me puzzled.

One was from a Westerner while the other critic was an Asian. The gist of it was essentially dressing me down for complimenting what they both termed as a “failed state”. They both individually felt that there was not much to Pakistan’s credit to mention, and perhaps that was why I praised their team’s victory.

But let’s take a closer look at this country before we rush to judgment. Pakistan has been listed among the next 11 countries that along with the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have a high potential of becoming among the world’s largest economies in the 21st century.

In the last five years, Pakistan’s literacy rate has grown by 250 percent, the largest increase in any country to date. According to a poll organized by the Institute of European Business Administration, from 125 countries, Pakistanis have been ranked the “fourth most intelligent people” across the globe. The Cambridge exams of both A and O levels have been topped by Pakistani students and this is a record yet to be broken. The world’s youngest certified Microsoft Experts, Arfa Kareem and Babar Iqbal, are from Pakistan. The seventh largest pool of scientists and engineers come from, you guessed it, Pakistan. The fourth largest broadband Internet system of the world is in Pakistan.

Pakistan is the first and only Islamic country to attain nuclear power. It is also notable for having some of the best-trained air force pilots in the world. The country’s missile technology is one of the best in the world. The country has produced a large quantity of various types of missiles since it has become a nuclear power. It also boasts of the sixth largest military force in the world.

In cooperation with China, Pakistan has produced the PAC JF-17 Thunder aircraft, a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The JF-17 can be used for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception. Its designation “JF-17” by Pakistan is short for “Joint Fighter-17”.

It has also constructed the world’s largest warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province. Tarbela Dam is the world’s largest earth-filled dam and second largest dam overall. The Karakoram Highway, connecting China and Pakistan, is the highest paved international road in the world. The Khewra Salt Mine, the second largest salt mine in the world is in operation in the Punjab region of Pakistan. The world’s largest irrigation network is present in Pakistan. It serves 14.4 million hectares of cultivated land. The irrigation system is fed by water from the Indus River.

Land of some of the oldest civilizations (Indus Valley and Mohenjo-Daro), Pakistan is a multilingual country with more than 60 languages spoken. It is the sixth most populated country in the world and the second-most populous Muslim-majority country. It also has the second-largest Shia population in the world. The Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare program in Pakistan, founded by Abdul Sattar Edhi in 1951 runs the world’s largest ambulance network. The country also boasts of the world’s youngest civil judge, Muhammad Illyas.

Pakistan is one the biggest exporters of surgical instruments in the world. About 50 percent of the world’s footballs are made in Pakistan. Nestle Pakistan is one of the largest milk processing plants which generate large revenue every year.

Among its natural wonders, Pakistan has the highest mountain ranges in the world. The world’s second highest and the ninth highest mountains, K2 and Nanga Parbat respectively, are in Pakistan. The Thar Desert is among the world’s largest sub-tropical deserts. The world’s highest polo ground is in Shandur Top, Pakistan at a height of 3,700 meters.

In 1994, Pakistan became the first country in the world to hold four World Cup titles tournaments in different mainstream sports simultaneously. The sports included cricket, hockey, squash and snooker.

The Lonely Planet, a global tourist guide, has listed Pakistan as being tourism’s “next big thing for more years than we care to remember. But world media headlines always send things off the rails.”

Perhaps my critics too have been unfairly influenced by media headlines. I urge them to take a second look at this country before they rush to judgment. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena

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