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Imran Khan

Is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Failing?

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, is a massive infrastructural project announced for the first  time in 2013. It is part of the broader “One Belt, One Road” initiative, launched in the same year and also called OBOR. However, the CPEC has recently received several setbacks that are raising doubts over its completion. So, what is the future of the project?

Why the CPEC?

The CPEC is one of the six “Economic Corridors” that China is creating in cooperation with other countries in the context of the OBOR initiative to improve transportation, intensify trade and boost the respective economies with the broader aim of extending China’s economic and political presence across the globe and ultimately reaching the vast European market. The CPEC should pass through Pakistan to connect China’s landlocked Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea; and it pursues multiple objectives.

First, Xinjiang hosts significant natural resources but is economically poor and affected by discontent among the local Uighur population. With the CPEC and other region-focused projects, China wants to develop the area so to improve its living conditions, exploit its economic assets and make of it a crossroad for East-West trade.

Second, the PRC wants to open an alternative access to the ocean. Today, cargos sailing to and from Europe as well as oil tankers from the Middle East need to pass through Malacca and other straits, which are extremely vulnerable chokepoints that could easily be blocked by the US Navy in case of war. This would be catastrophic for the PRC, which consequently wants to have an access to the sea that avoids these exposed passages.

Third, the CPEC will foster relations with Pakistan. The two countries are already primary partners, and the project will create closer ties by increasing economic interdependency and by improving the living conditions of locals. A solid bilateral partnership is also mutually beneficial considering their relations with India. Especially for Pakistan, having China as an ally is extremely useful to keep India at bay; but the contrary it is also true, even though Beijing tries to downplay the existing problems with New Delhi.

The CPEC in practice

To reach these strategic objectives, China plans to build a series of infrastructures in Pakistan. By now, it has already invested at least 60 billion US dollars in the initiative; which includes motorways, railways, ports, electric power plants, pipelines and more. Several Special Economic Zones will also be established. All these projects will be connected one with the other to some degree, with the aim to create economic prosperity and link Xinjiang with Pakistan’s southern shores.

A particular relevance has been given to Gwadar, located in south-western Pakistan along the coast next to Iran. It will be the endpoint of the CPEC, and one of its main centres. In particular, Gwadar’s harbour is being expanded and upgraded: it will be transformed into a “smart port” surrounded by a Special Economic Zone that will host a large industrial area. It will be served by a new international airport, several facilities to improve the local living conditions, and it will be linked with the rest of the country and with China by road and train. The port became partially operational in November 2016, when a joint Sino-Pakistani truck convoy successfully travelled from north to south across Pakistan and reached Gwadar where the containers were shipped to overseas destinations. Yet, the remaining projects are still under construction.

As far as other components are concerned, nine of them are already operational. These include a coal-powered electricity generation plant in Karachi and a similar one in the Punjab region, several windfarms and the Quaid-e-Azam solar park, one of the largest in the world. Other thirteen facilities are being completed and are scheduled to become soon operational.

Yet, there have been some setbacks as well. Combined with Pakistan’s shaky financial condition, this has raised doubts over the general tenure of the CPEC project.

The problems of CPEC

The first aspect to consider is that Pakistan’s political and financial situation is not very promising for the future of the CPEC.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was a supporter of the project, but in August 2018 he was substituted by Mr. Imran Khan, who on the contrary has criticized the initiative out of concerns over corruption and lack of transparency. He also complained that the billions of dollars that China is investing in the country bring little benefit to Pakistani workers, as the facilities are almost entirely build by Chinese nationals. This does not mean that he has rejected the CPEC, but he is certainly less enthusiast than his predecessor. In addition, Pakistan is crossing troubled waters in financial terms. According to The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper, the country’s owes 40 billion to China. This has raised the alarm over a “debt trap”; meaning that China may exploit its financial leverage on Pakistan to exert political influence. In this regard, it is true that Pakistan’s net public debt is estimated at 67.6% of the GDP, that its external debt amounted to 82 billion dollars at the end of 2017, and that the federal government must face a chronic penury of foreign currency; which is a problem when having to repay external debts.

Therefore, there are doubts about Pakistan’s financial tenure in the immediate future. The country received various loans from the IMF in the past, but it has rejected the latest 8-billion-dollar bailout plan. Instead, Mr. Khan’s government preferred to demand financial aid to a few “friendly countries”, notably Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China. This has already brought some fruits. An agreement has been reached between Islamabad and Abu Dhabi for a support package worth 6.2 billion dollars, with 3 billion scheduled to be sent shortly. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s Prince bin Salman will soon sign a deal for building a 10-billion-dollar oil refinery in Gwadar, thus adding further significance to the port city. Cooperation in other sector will also be discussed.

In regard to China, the situation is more complex. Bilateral relations remain good, but there are growing concerns about the completion of the CPEC; at least in all of its parts. In the context of its troubled financial situation, Pakistan has recently announced its withdrawal from the Rahim Yar Khan power station, on the basis that electricity production capability is already sufficient and that consequently the project would not be economically viable. Yet, this may be a political excuse to hide the real problem, namely that there are not the funds for it. In addition, there are delays in the construction of the smart port in Gwadar. In this regard, Chinese companies have allegedly warned that Pakistan will need to pay to cover the additional costs caused by this postponement.

These events have created much speculation about the completion of the CPEC as a whole, especially in India, where major newspapers like the Times of India have reported such news. As a matter of fact, there is a sensible degree of strategic rivalry between Beijing and New Delhi, who perceives its northern neighbour and its close ties with Islamabad as a potential threat. On its part, China has responded to the recent events along a double line. State-sponsored media like the Global Times have soon published articles where they reassure about the solidity of the Sino-Pakistani partnership and about the determination of both sides to end the works on the CPEC. At the same time, they have accused other countries of being “jealous” and of having “aggressive intentions”. It is clear that the message was a response to the news about the recent setbacks of the CPEC project reported by Indian media. By explicitly addressing the recent reports by Indian news channels, the Global Times has also downplayed the entity of Pakistan’s China-owned debt and have suggested third parties not to meddle in the issue; all while affirming that India will also benefit from the CPEC. According to such Chinese articles, which cite the PRC’s embassy in Pakistan as a source for the figures, Islamabad does not owe 40 billion dollars to Beijing. Instead, they claim the debt only amounts to 6 just over billion, including interests.

Apart from this, the security aspect should also be mentioned. The CPEC crosses territories where terrorist and separatist groups are present. Some of them do not see China favourably, and this represents a non-negligible threat to the project. In fact, some attacks have already taken place against Chinese objectives. In August 2018, a suicide bombing injured some Chinese engineers. In November, a secessionist movement called Balochistan Liberation Army targeted the Chinese consulate in Karachi. By now, none of these events has seriously hampered the CPEC, but this may be the beginning of a trend that could hamper the project in the long term.

Conclusion: what about the future?

With such contradictory reports, it is difficult to assess the future of the CPEC and the real entity of the China-laid “debt trap” looming over Pakistan. What is sure is that Islamabad has indeed some financial problems, and that this may negatively impact the project. The recent cancellation of the Rahim Yar Khan power plant and the delays over Gwadar’s smart port suggest that there may already be complications in this sense. Yet, unless Pakistan enters in a serious financial crisis or faces a collapse of the state, it seems that the project will be competed at least in part. That said, the other certain thing is that the CPEC and China’s presence in Pakistan is not viewed positively by India, and in geopolitical terms this is probably the most relevant aspect.

Will IMRAN KHAN face a ROCKY ROAD with IRAN? – KJ Vids


Pakistan’s political and strategic significance for Iran began with Pakistan’s emergence as an independent state following the Partition of India in 1947. The Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was the first head of state to pay a State visit to Pakistan in March 1950 and in the same month, a Treaty of Friendship was signed.

But conflicting national security interests and the influence of wider competing powers have always played an important factor in shaping the Iran-Pakistan relationship, especially after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. I’m Kasim, this is KJ Vids and in this video, we will look into the relationship between Iran and Pakistan.

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Imran Khan and the Military of Pakistan

Imran Khan has given hope to millions of Pakistani people around the world with promises of a new Pakistan. He has promised to end corruption and improve education, health and the environment. The charismatic former cricket captain began his political campaign 20 years ago to end the endemic corruption in Pakistan. With Nawaz Sharif and some members of his family jailed on corruption charges and the Bhutto family hardly anywhere to be seen, the victory of Imran Khan has broken the traditional clan loyalty and family politics – well for the time-being at least.

But many analysts have argued that his political fortunes only arose as he warmed towards the military which is widely said to be in control of the main levers of power in Pakistan and has dominated foreign and security policies for decades. I’m Kasim, this is KJ Vids and in this video, we will examine the role of the military in Pakistan’s politics.

The Pakistani military has always played an important role in Pakistani politics. For nearly 70 years, the army has defined the country’s national security priorities, sometimes from the seat of government itself, and many commanders have been placed in prominent economic and political positions.

The army has actually been in charge for a combined 33 years of Pakistan’s 68-year history. In this video we examine the role of Pakistan’s Military on Imran Khan’s victory.

Research References;

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/27/imran-khan-won-pakistan-power-army-military-election
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/world/asia/imran-khan-pakistan-election.html
  3. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/imran-khan-military-allies-today-foes-tomorrow-180807142326489.html
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/27/imran-khan-won-pakistan-power-army-military-election
  5. https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/imran-khan-pakistani-military-favourite-son-180723044709061.html
  6. https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/pakistans-elections-wont-dilute-militarys-influence
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/06/world/asia/imran-khan-pakistan-military.html
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/24/imran-khan-pakistan-election-candidates-military
  9. https://worldview.stratfor.com/themes/pakistan-military-country
  10. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/26/imran-khan-has-shown-can-win-backing-pakistans-powerful-military/
  11. https://www.firstpost.com/world/raheel-sharifs-fate-rests-on-imran-khan-as-pakistan-sc-asks-govt-to-vet-ex-army-chiefs-appointment-to-islamic-military-alliance-4917781.html
  12. https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/pakistans-elections-wont-dilute-militarys-influence
  13. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/27/imran-khan-won-pakistan-power-army-military-election
  14. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/pakistan/2018-07-27/pakistans-sham-election

Can Imran Khan bring any significant change to Pakistan?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][socialpoll id=”2510375″][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_headings style=”theme4″ title=”Biography” titleclr=”#38a3d7″ icon=”fa fa-user”][/vc_headings][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-info-circle” add_icon=”true” title=”Quick Facts” tab_id=”1530689362046-41a8d25e-eb36″][vc_column_text]

Birthday: October 51952

Nationality: Pakistani

Famous: Quotes By Imran Khan Cricketers

Also Known As: Imran Khan Niazi

Sun Sign: Libra

Age: 65 Years

Born In: Lahore, West Punjab, Dominion Of Pakistan

Famous As: Ex-Cricketer, Politician

Height: 1.85 M

Political Ideology: Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf

Spouse/Ex-: Bushra Maneka (M. 2018), Jemima Khan (M. 1995–2004), Reham Khan (M. 2015–2015)

Father: Ikramullah Khan Niazi

Mother: Shaukat Khanum

Siblings: Aleema Khanum, Rani Khanum, Rubina Khanum, Uzma Khanum

Children: Qasim Khan, Sulaiman Khan

Religion: Islam

Net Worth: $50 Million As Of Jan 2017

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-child” add_icon=”true” title=”Childhood” tab_id=”1530689541151-eab76e82-7794″][vc_column_text]

  • Imran Khan Niazi was born on October 5, 1952 in Lahore, into a well-off Pashtun family to Ikramullah Khan Niazi and Shaukat Khanam.

  • He completed his schooling from English-medium Aitchison College, Lahore, and went to Royal Grammar School Worcester, England, to pursue higher studies.

  • He graduated in philosophy, politics and economics from Keble College, University of Oxford, in 1975. Hailing from a cricketing family, he played the game as a teenager in Pakistan and continued in England.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-briefcase” add_icon=”true” title=”Career” tab_id=”1530689362075-8f4cdfd3-3a2a”][vc_column_text]

  • He made his test debut in the 1971 English series in Birmingham, but failed to make a mark due to his not-so-good performance.

  • In 1974, he debuted in One Day International (ODI) in the Prudential Trophy and was selected in the national team after returning to Pakistan.

  • His splendid performance against New Zealand and Australia during 1976-77 added to his rapid success, which made him a prominent fast bowler in Pakistan during the 1980s.

  • He was chosen as the captain of Pakistan cricket team in 1982. He performed stupendously as a fast bowler and all-rounder, leading his team to its first Test victory against England, at Lord’s, after 28 years.

  • Under his captaincy, Pakistan won 14 out of 48 test matches played, losing out on 8 and 26 resulting in a draw. In the ODI version, he played 139 matches, with 77 wins, 57 losses, and one tie.

  • A stress fracture in his shin kept him away from cricket for two years. He returned and gave Pakistan its first ever Test series win against India in 1987, followed by Test series win in England.

  • He retired in 1987, but returned in 1988, upon Pakistan President General Zia-ul-Haq’s request. He won a Test series against West Indies and was declared ‘Man of the Series’ for his 23-wicket haul in 3 tests.
  • In 1991, he established Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, a charity organization associated with research and development of cancer and other related diseases, named after his mother.

  • He retired from cricket in 1992, with 3807 runs and 362 wickets in tests and 3709 runs and 182 wickets in ODI.

  • He entered politics in 1997 by setting up his own party ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’ (PTI), as an initiative to eradicate mismanagement and corruption in Pakistan.

  • He contested in October 2002 elections and was elected as a Member Parliament from Mianwali.

  • In 2008, he founded Namal College, an associate college of the University of Bradford and established Imran Khan Foundation.

  • During the 2013 election campaign, he started ‘Naya Pakistan Resolution’, after which his party posed a threat to the main opposing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

  • He rejected the offer to collaborate with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
  • He injured his head and back upon tumbling from a stage during a campaign rally, four days prior to elections and continued to vote appeal from the hospital but party lost to PML-N.

  • His views on cricket have been published in different British and Asian newspapers and Indian publications, including Outlook, Guardian, Independent, and Telegraph.

  • He is actively involved with commentary on cricket matches for various sports networks, like Star TV, BBC Urdu, and TEN Sports.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_headings style=”theme4″ title=”Political Viewpoint” titleclr=”#38a3d7″ icon=”fa fa-globe”][/vc_headings][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-fighter-jet” add_icon=”true” title=”Foreign Policy View” tab_id=”1530689993902-ebf80283-4815″][vc_column_text]Imran Khan recently unveiled the PTI’s road map for the first 100 days in office if it forms the next government. PTI’s critics as well as political opponents have already done a detailed postmortem of its road map. The action plan announced with much fanfare has many aspects albeit with little focus and debate on the PTI’s proposed foreign policy.

In most democratic countries, elections are usually fought on internal policies and hence there is little or no debate on foreign policy in the run-up to the parliamentary elections. But as Pakistan is beset by a host of challenges on the foreign policy front, one cannot take one’s eye off the subject. Tensions with India continue to soar. Relations with Afghanistan are fragile. The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan. And on top of it, Pakistan is facing international isolation partly because of flawed policies and partly because of geopolitics. The only two bright spots are our ever-growing relationship with China, which has its own reasons to have strategic ties with Pakistan, and the expansion of ties with Russia.

But barring these positive developments, there are no notable achievements on the foreign policy front. Against this backdrop, any party, which forms the next government, will have its hands full on the foreign policy front.

Does the PTI really have a robust foreign policy or any new ideas to steer the country out of current challenges? In his 100-day plan, Imran Khan looks to initiate new policies rooted in Pakistan’s priorities, including a conflict-resolution approach towards improving relations with eastern and western neighbours. The PTI also intends to initiate work on a blueprint towards resolving the Kashmir issue within the parameters of the UNSC resolutions. Other policy measures envisaged include “Improve Pakistan’s relevance, regionally and globally, both at the bilateral and multilateral levels including moves to expand the existing strategic partnership with China, as well as with our allies in the region.”

On paper that sounds good but ironically, the PTI’s action plan is not different from the policies of the outgoing government of the PML-N. It also wanted to pursue the policy of a peaceful neighbourhood with emphasis on economic diplomacy.

But here lies the challenge: how the PTI will succeed where others have failed? When a senior PTI leader, who is thought to be the author of the party’s foreign and national security policy, was asked by a TV anchor to share details of the blueprint or any idea on Kashmir resolution, she had no clear answer. What was interesting was that Shireen Mazari advocated a hardline approach both towards India and the US. Mazari even indicated that the PTI, if voted to power, would be ready to go to any extent to respond to Indian aggression, albeit without nuclear conflagration.

On the US, Mazari was of the view that Pakistan under the PTI would speak with Trump in his own language. That is certainly a popular line and it may help the PTI win applause from ‘nationalists.’ But this approach only adds to Pakistan’s current woes. In the present circumstances, Pakistan needs to avoid a confrontational approach. We can follow the Chinese model. China has nuclear weapons, missiles and military might, yet its rise at the global stage can only be attributed to its focus on the economy. China’s combined bilateral trade with Japan and India alone currently stands at over $400 billion, despite Beijing having serious political and even territorial disputes with Tokyo and New Delhi. China has shown us that foreign policy is an art to make new friends and create inter-dependencies with your rivals. The PTI can replicate that template. Perennial tensions with India have only distracted Pakistan from the path of economic prosperity. Therefore, Imran can’t enforce a ‘new vision’ without ensuring a peaceful neighbourhood. But that requires statecraft, not bravado.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2018.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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