Stories about CPEC

The Pakistan Army and Iran: A new dawn or a message for the Saudis?

The Pakistan Army has been drawing closer to Iran under its new chief, General Qamar Bajwa. Is Pakistan moving out from under Saudi Arabia’s orbit? Something quite remarkable happened with regards to Pakistan’s defence diplomacy recently – Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa, made an official trip to Iran. It was the first visit by a Pakistani army chief in almost three decades. General Pervez Musharraf visited; not in his capacity as head of the armed forces, but rather as a president attending a regional summit. Similarly, General Raheel Sharif visited in January 2016, but it was just for a couple of ...

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Pakistan’s inclusion on the FATF watchlist is no mere symbolic gesture

After much anticipation, speculation and confusion, we now know that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put Pakistan on a terrorism financing watchlist. Well, sort of. FATF decided to “grey list” Pakistan, but the designation won’t formally take effect until June – hence why FATF didn’t mention Pakistan in a report it issued last week. Admittedly, the FATF’s deliberations are opaque and its procedures byzantine. But this much is true – Pakistan is on its way to the watchlist. Pakistani financial journalist Khurram Husain, who understands FATF well, put it to me this way: FATF has passed a motion to grey list Pakistan. ...

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Trump’s incoherent tweet will only push Pakistan to “do more” for China and Russia

American President Donald Trump welcomed 2018 with the same practice that he has employed almost for the entirely of his presidency – sending out an incoherent tweet. Unfortunately, this time, his tweet sent into frenzy much of Pakistan’s arm-chair analysts as well as talking heads from the myriad of shows on television. This was primarily because Trump chose Pakistan as the subject of his ire in his very first tweet of 2018. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies ...

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The fall and fall of Pakistan’s economy in 2017

There were a lot of fairly good economic indicators seen in 2017, such as the following: – An 8.5% growth in Large-Scale Manufacturing (LSM), – An inflation rate of 3.9%,  – A super-strong growth in lending to the private sector, – A 74.4% growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth $939.7 million, – A 19.5% growth in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tax Revenues and a double-digit growth in exports Amidst these “good” indicators, less focus was paid to the depleting foreign currency reserves and burgeoning imports. Whether this is due to Mr Ishaq Dar being pre-occupied during the year, trying to save himself and his boss from the aftermath of the Panama leaks, or merely because the ...

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7 reasons to look back at 2017 and be proud of Pakistan

2017 would be mainly remembered by the judicial verdict in Panamagate, whereby a sitting prime minister was sent packing by the Supreme Court, and the pervasive political turmoil that ensued as a result of that decision. There were many positive events during the year that would help us look back at 2017 with a fond smile. As we move closer towards 2018, here is some of the inspiring and reassuring news that came out of Pakistan: 1. Top of the sports world Anyone who knows anything about cricket will tell you that if there is one team that has the raw talent ...

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Can Pakistan sideline the US and pursue an independent foreign policy?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, said the following in a statement made earlier this month, “Pakistan’s foreign policy has for long remained US-centric. However, the time had come to review the policy and shift its focus towards Russia and China.” At the rhetorical level, Pakistan’s commitment to shifting its foreign policy focus away from Washington has been in place for quite some time. In this regard, these recent changes that Islamabad has touted by and large deal with the country’s increasing economic dependency on China, as well as Russia’s growing interest in Pakistan. Arguably, Pakistan may have gained some tactical leverage vis-à-vis the US by increasing its economic dependency on other regional states, but ...

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From Naran to Khunjerab Pass: A trip to the enthralling eighth wonder of the world and Pakistan’s very own heaven

It was the second week of September, and a bright sunny day, as we set out from Lahore on our journey to the northern areas of the country. My wife and I had been planning this trip for weeks but were still apprehensive on what was to come since we had never ventured this far up north. We hadn’t seen most of the places that we planned on covering but were excited nonetheless, since we were about to make our journey across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to Gilgit Baltistan (GB) all the way up to Khunjerab Pass. We left Lahore and made our way to Nathiagali, ...

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Lesson from the past: Why learning Mandarin is the precautionary measure that Pakistan needs to enforce right now

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which was originally valued at $46 billion and is expected to be a game changer for Pakistan’s economy, has been viewed with much scepticism since the day it was green lit. Some Pakistanis believe CPEC to be the equivalent of the Marshall Plan, an American initiative to aid Europe economically post World War II. Others believe that it is simply another East India Company (EIC) in the making, equivalent to calling CPEC a vehicle for colonialism. If you think about it, the idea that the Chinese could become the new British for us is not at all far-fetched. While the British ...

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Pakistan’s foreign policy, cross-country trade and internal security: For better or for worse?

Is Pakistan’s foreign policy in mayhem or is it a work in progress? This is a tough question for any political analyst. On one hand, the dwindling Pakistan-US relationship has drawn a lot of unsolicited criticism, while on the other, the increasing cooperation between China, Russia and Pakistan is claimed to be a stepping stone to country’s long-term growth. Pakistan has recently been under a lot of fire since Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has clearly stated that Pakistan will neither fight the US-Afghan war on its own soil nor will it be used as a scapegoat. Abbasi stated, “Nor can we endorse any failed ...

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BRICS declaration: What is China playing at exactly? Does it plan on cutting Pakistan loose?

Despite its recent defence of Pakistan against the United States on the issue of terrorism, China seems to have taken a surprising new turn on the issue. This week, the declaration adopted by Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) at their summit in Xiamen has not only condemned terrorism but also named three key Pakistan-based terrorist groups – the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT),  Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) –  in a larger list of terrorist groups responsible for violence and insecurity. Beginning with a condemnation of violence against “innocent Afghan nationals”, the declaration went on to firmly back the Afghan national government, ...

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