Stories about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

Yes, Chinese men are sham-marrying Pakistani girls, but CPEC is not to be blamed for it

After she finished her initial studies, her parents could no longer afford to send her to college to continue her education. What her father earned was not even enough to make ends meet. The family was living in a rented house in a slum-like dwelling. Sensing she should not be a burden on the gradually weakening shoulders of her father, she started seeking a job but was not successful at all. She was willing to do anything to ease life for her parents so they could focus on her younger siblings instead. Hira, the 19-year-old daughter of a Christian watchman from Sarai ...

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Pakistan’s wildlife: Going, going, gone!

As we go about our busy lives, completely dependent on fossil fuels from the vehicles that transport us to the houses we live in electrified by thermal power plants, we remain blissfully ignorant of the damage resource extraction and unchecked development has done to the flora and fauna of our planet. How conveniently we look the other way as yet another housing estate gobbles up even more rural land and old trees are cut down to make way for roads! Scientists have now rung the alarm bells that we humans are driving the sixth mass extinction on Earth. A new ...

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Why CPEC is not a debt trap after all

US President Donald Trump once stated that he was for free and fair trade, but he just wanted better deals. This statement can be applied to his trade war with China, which he initiated last year to bring down the massive trade imbalance between China and the US. Pakistan, too, faces a trade imbalance with China. It signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in 2006, which was touted as Pakistan’s gradual phasing out of protectionism. However, there were concerns that exposure to big export powerhouses had the potential to damage developing countries such as Pakistan, that were unable ...

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Why the world suddenly sees Pakistan through a different lens

While US-Pakistan relations appear to be at an all-time low, it appears Islamabad is continuing to cement and develop more and more friendships across the wider region. The obvious example of this can be seen with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) visit to Pakistan this week. According to Voice of America, MBS announced and oversaw the signing of investment projects worth up to $20 billion, even higher than the suspected $12 billion in projects which had earlier been lamented. MBS also ordered the release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi prisons, who have started arriving home. Last year, a ...

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The crown prince’s visit is one of Imran Khan’s greatest accomplishments yet

The hugely successful visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ) to Pakistan a week ago represents one of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s greatest foreign policy accomplishments yet, because it proved that his country’s ‘balancing’ act between regional powers is capable of turning latent rivals into trusted partners. The Emirati breakthrough The Pakistani and Arab media are celebrating MBZ’s hugely successful visit to Pakistan and lauding the $6.2 billion support package he provided to the South Asian state. The personal camaraderie between the Emirati leader and the Pakistani prime minister was on full display for the whole world ...

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Why is India worked up about the Pakistan-China bus service?

On October 31st, India formally protested the proposed launch of a bus service between China and Pakistan because the service would “operate between Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The official spokesman noted that India held the China-Pakistan Boundary agreement of 1963 as “illegal and invalid” and views the service as a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If all this sounds tough and uncompromising, it is. But it is hardly consistent and not especially helpful. The Karakoram Highway, over which the service will be run, has been around since the late 60s and ...

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Life after the British: If India can develop a thriving railway sector, why can’t Pakistan?

As a frequent traveller, whenever I visit another country my first preference is to take the train, and I have many reasons for doing so. Being an environmentalist, I am a conscious traveller, and railways have a smaller carbon footprint than other means of transportation. As a bonus, they also offer an enchanting and panoramic view of the countryside, which you are likely to never forget. Trains are also comfortable – you can book a private cabin and walk, stretch and even sleep in a real bed during your travel. If you’re traveling overnight, you don’t have to pay for a hotel ...

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No, the balance of payments crisis is not over – all because PTI did not do its homework on China

Imran Khan’s recent visit to China has now become the most discussed topic in drawing rooms, in the media and in the business world. This was touted as a monumental visit, given that this was the premier’s first visit to China, Pakistan’s most important friend and a significant player on the geopolitical front. With the current financial crisis in the background, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was also looking to get an immediate loan from China for economic assistance. This visit would thus determine the relationship between Pakistan’s new government and China, and set the tone for the next ...

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‘Naya Pakistan’ – PTI’s best-selling joke

The verdict of the 2018 by-elections is in, with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) losing some of the seats it had previously won in the General Elections. Yes, their supporters will say the party has won more seats than the opposition, but the fact remains that losing seats which you previously won, and that too in the by-polls (which always favour the sitting government) is a bad sign. Things are not going well, and the electorate is noticing the sheer incompetence and cluelessness of the PTI government. I am trying to recall, but despite my best efforts cannot remember a comparable level ...

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We can go to the IMF for loans all we want – it still won’t fix the economic crisis

With the rupee falling against the US dollar, the stock exchange crashing, and foreign currency reserves hitting a new low, it is not out of place to suggest that Imran Khan’s government has been unable to hold a firm grip over the economic crisis. They may have deteriorated the situation further with the hike in electricity and gas tariffs, which has badly affected the middle and lower middle class as the prices of essential commodities is also on the rise. Then, of course, there was the perpetual indecision over going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), only to finally ...

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