Stories about China

Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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Pakistan needs to stop spending on its defence so much

It was October 30, 2003 – 11 and a half years ago – when someone at The Economist penned an article titled Pakistan’s economy: Feeling undervalued. For the next three years, every Taimur (Tom), Danial (Dick) and Haris (Harry) praised and rejoiced the unprecedented economic growth rate in the history of Pakistan. But what happened with the West’s financial press that suddenly – and finally – people started taking about a Pakistan with something else to offer than its role in War on Terror? The answer is surprisingly simple; falling oil prices – and the economic growth that followed suit. In the fiscal ...

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Indian media and beef controversy: Using Nepal’s tragedy to defame Pakistan

The drawback with Nepal is that our country does not fare well in global media. We hardly get covered internationally and even when we do get some media attention it is largely related to negative news – such as the royal massacre or the Mt Everest avalanche tragedy. This time too, Nepal has made it to every headline around the world due to a travesty. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal killing more than 7000 people and leaving thousands injured. According to the United Nations and the government of Nepal, around eight million individuals have been affected by the devastating earthquake. Nepal falls under the category of ...

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Forced to sell alcohol: Why is the ‘ummah’ silent over the plight of Chinese Muslims?

Imagine if you are a vegetarian Hindu and hold the cow sacred, that beef is shoved into your mouth. Imagine if you are a staunch Christian, that you are forbidden to baptise your newborn baby. Painful? Yes. Some of us may even say what’s new in this, and Pakistan’s minorities have suffered this and more. And they have. And no minority anywhere in the world should have to go through this. But there is a huge difference in this and what is happening to the Muslims in Xinjiang province in China. In Pakistan, this is done at the hands of extremists. But ...

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Is Pakistan and China’s friendship really that strong?

The rhetoric is sweeter than honey, even if the friendship isn’t. Lip service between China and Pakistan is higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the oceans, and the likes. It is also as absurd as it is untrue. With our public space consumed by such meaningless analogies, especially in the backdrop of the ‘historic’ visit of the Chinese president, I can’t help but recall a recent trip to the country. Listening to the linguistic gymnastics of both governments, one can be forgiven for forgetting how different the two countries are and, more ominously, how little Pakistan fares in the overall Chinese ...

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Modi-Obama or Nawaz-Jinping: Which should be worried?

We are lucky to have a neighbour like the People’s Republic of China, a country which has always stood with us unconditionally. I have always been fascinated with our relationship with them. While the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan is making headlines these days, I feel that we should revisit our historic relationship and the strong bond we have developed so far. Pakistan was the first Muslim country which accepted China in 1950 and ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Then, in 1962, the Sino-Indian border conflict took place, which laid the foundation of a strong friendship that was to change the course ...

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Travelling through Pakistan with my (fake) husband

I am travelling to Pakistan with a stranger I met on a layover in Hong Kong. Within minutes of meeting each other, we knew we could travel together. We hatched a plan over lukewarm Tiger Beer while sitting on smurf-sized chairs in Hanoi. Out of respect for Islamic values, and as precaution, we decided to pretend to be husband and wife from elsewhere, anywhere but America. We rendezvoused in Guangzhou and entered Pakistan from Western China down the Karakoram Highway. As I stood at the airport waiting, I thought, Do I know what he looks like? I wondered for the briefest moment if ...

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Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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Is the wicked game of Chinese Whispers destroying Pakistan’s beauty?

Pakistan’s current political situation discussed in dining rooms, gatherings and media is beginning to resemble an advanced version of Chinese Whispers; a popular game played worldwide in which entertainment is derived from the errors in retelling a message through a series of shared whispers.  Regardless of the authenticity of the source, people are increasingly discussing the deteriorating law and order situation, Talibanisation, bombings and violent street clashes in Pakistan, all of which paint a disturbing picture of what is actually happening in the country. Despite the dismal pictures being painted and reinforced by my surroundings, I wanted to go explore my country and see it for myself. ...

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An interview with Moazzam Husain: We ‘discovered’ iron ore – what now?

While serving on the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, Moazzam Husain led a small team of experts, businessmen and stakeholders to develop a technical and commercial strategy to harness Punjab’s iron ore resources. The first draft of that road-map was published in April 2010. Then following further rigorous consultations in August 2010, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif approved the strategy for implementation. I caught up with Mr Moazzam Husain in Karachi to discuss the recent developments around Punjab iron ore. Moazzam Husain Erum Shaikh (ES): According to media reports, the Punjab iron ore resources were identified decades ago. Yet ...

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