Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Pakistani revolutionary poet Habib Jalib's daughter runs taxi to earn livelihood

Daughter of Pakistan's revolutionary poet Habib Jalib is compelled to run taxi after stipend of her mother was stopped in 2014.
According to reports, Tahira Habib Jalib is serving as a captain of private taxi service in Lahore to earn their livelihood. The taxi, which she runs was also purchased after getting loan from a private bank.
The monthly stipend of Tahira's mother was Rs25,000, which was stopped in 2014 in the government of Shahbaz Sharif. The government of Punjab used to pay the stipend from the quota of the poets.
Talking to private TV channel, Tahira said, "The stipend as stopped days before my mother's death in 2014."
Tahira went on to say that she does not feel any shame in running the taxi as she is the daughter of Habib Jalib, who never compromised on principles till his death.
She vowed to follow the principles of her father and never compromise on these.
Tahira Habib urged the government to resume the stipend and introduce poor-friendly system so that the poor earn their livelihood without difficulty.

What Is Saudi Arabia's Grand Plan for Pakistan?

By Arif Rafiq 

 Saudi Arabia's strategic use of aid and investment has heightened under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s influence.
Pakistan’s new government has been in a mad dash to attract foreign aid and investment—most notably from Saudi Arabia—to offset a widening current account deficit, rising foreign debt repayment obligations, and avert a balance of payments crisis. Pakistan’s external financing needs will approach or exceed $30 billion this fiscal year.A return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—for the twenty-second time in Pakistan’s history—has been all but certain for much of this year. But Pakistan’s new quarterback, Prime Minister Imran Khan, came late into the game and decided to throw a few Hail Mary passes to his country’s traditional receivers of wish lists, hoping to avoid the fund altogether or pursue a smaller bailout and avoid strict conditionality.
Khan’s first foreign visit since coming into office was to Saudi Arabia. During the visit, his delegation proposed to the Saudis a series of energy and mining investment opportunities. It appears that Islamabad asked Riyadh to park funds close to $10 billion with the State Bank of Pakistan—well before these investments achieve financial close—to shore up Pakistan’s forex reserves in the interim. In this context of Islamabad’s scramble for dollars, Pakistani officials have claimed—and subsequently denied—that Saudi Arabia was invited to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a “strategic partner.” Time has now run out for Pakistan. And on October 4, after Pakistan’s main stock exchange index declined for the sixth consecutive day, the finance ministry finally announced that it intended to begin formal talks with the IMF for a bailout. But discussions between Islamabad and Riyadh on investments, including projects related to CPEC, will continue. For both sides, these potential investments have economic and strategic value, but they are also fraught with risk—both legal and geopolitical.
Potential Risks and Rewards of Saudi Investment in Pakistan.
Pakistan has floated five sets of potential investments to Saudi Arabia. These include the Reko Diq copper and gold mine in Balochistan, valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In 2017, Pakistan lost an international arbitration case to the Tethyan Copper Company, which held an exploration license for Reko Diq, but was denied a mining lease by the Balochistan provincial government in 2011. The tribunal is expected to determine Pakistan’s liability this year. The figure could exceed $11 billion. Should the project move forward, the new concession holder would likely provide Pakistan with the funds to pay the penalty, which—depending on its size—could result in a major cut to Pakistan’s royalties. On top of the financial and legal risks, the mine is located less than one hundred miles from Pakistan’s border with Iran.
Reko Diq would certainly be a target for insurgent violence, though the Pakistani state is equipped to reduce physical risk with the right mix of political and security measures.
Resource nationalism is a driver of the ethnic Baloch insurgency, but it also receives support from regional states.
In August, a suicide bomber with the Balochistan Liberation Army attacked a convoy transporting Chinese engineers to the Saindak copper and gold mine, leased by the Metallurgical Corporation of China. The attacker used an Iranian vehicle. Militants with several Baloch separatist groups combatting the Pakistani state are believed to be in Afghanistan or Iran. Projects linked to the Saudis would become targets in the same way Chinese projects have been over the past fifteen years. Before moving forward with extractive projects in the province, Islamabad must factor in geopolitical risk. And it should develop an inclusive and redistributive economic framework that results in a share of the earnings going directly into the hands of local citizens.
The second set of projects includes two government-owned operational regasified liquified natural gas-fueled power plants in the Punjab province. Riyadh reportedly expressed interested in purchasing equity in the plants on a government-to-government basis, but that may not be legally possible. Instead, a Saudi power company, ACWA Power, could take part in open bidding for the plants. Sale of the plants could earn Islamabad much-needed cash, but there are geopolitical complications tied to that sale too. These power plants are fueled by liquified natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. Sale of the plants to a Saudi public or private entity would likely require an alternate source of LNG and could even impact Pakistan’s fifteen-year LNG supply contract with Qatar.The third potential Saudi investment in Pakistan is a Saudi Aramco refinery in Gwadar, the site of a Chinese-operated port and industrial zone. Like the Reko Diq mine, Gwadar is located close to the border with Iran. Gwadar is a competitor to Iran’s Chabahar port, where India will operate a terminal that will be used to bypass Pakistan to access Afghanistan and Central Asia. It is an end node for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which begins in Kashgar, located in China’s Xinjiang region.Economic activity and investment in Gwadar have progressed tepidly when compared to other regional upstarts like Duqm in Oman and Khalifa Port in Abu Dhabi, which have received significant inflows from China, with the potential to exceed $10 billion. Investment from a global energy giant like Saudi Aramco would catalyze other investments and boost port activity. A refinery in Gwadar would give the Saudis an economic foothold in a strategic location—just outside the Strait of Hormuz but close to Persian Gulf shipping lanes—and could lock Pakistan into purchasing Saudi crude.
There, however, may be limits to the scalability of the investment. Earlier this year, Saudi Aramco signed a memorandum of understanding with a consortium of Indian state-owned oil companies for a $44 billion oil refinery and petrochemicals complex in India. Still, a Gwadar refinery would meet domestic demand in Pakistan, helping it boost deep conversion refining capacity and enabling it to import cheaper crude oil, resulting in savings on its import bill.
In Gwadar, too, there are geopolitical complications for both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Saudi investment in Gwadar reduces Pakistani dependence on China for the port’s success. And it could constrain China’s future options for the city.Whether it’s infrastructure development, energy trade, or defense hardware sales, China is ubiquitous across the Middle East and has been an equal opportunity partner to both Iran and its Gulf Arab adversaries. Iran is crucial to China’s Silk Road Economic Belt. And the Gulf Arab states, especially the United Arab Emirates, could be critical to its Maritime Silk Road.Assuming China does indeed have a plan for Gwadar, its plan could include eventually developing the port to replace or supplement major Persian Gulf transshipment hubs. Or China could seek to fold Chabahar and Gwadar into a single Makran coastal region economic belt, in the event Iran tires of Indian lethargy. But if Pakistan and Saudi Arabia move forward with a refinery in Gwadar, it may make it difficult for China to integrate Iran into energy projects in or through Gwadar. (Examples include: a Sinopec refinery in Gwadar using Iranian oil; a gas pipeline running from Iran to the China-Pakistan border via Gwadar.)Pakistan has apparently also proposed Saudi investment in the North-South gas pipeline , which would transport gas upcountry from Karachi to Lahore. Pakistan signed a government-to-government agreement with Russia to build the pipeline and supply the LNG. The two countries, however, have not come to agreement on pricing, and Rostec has struggled to find financing for the project, though reports last year indicated that China’s Silk Road Fund could finance it. Russia may have difficulty supplying the LNG. In any event, what role the Saudis could or would play in the pipeline project—as an addition to the consortium or a replacement for an existing member—is unclear.
Finally, Pakistan has invited Saudi Arabia to take part in open bidding for exploration in ten oil and gas blocs. Fuel makes up the single largest imported commodity group for Pakistan. Reducing its dependence on imported fuels by ramping up domestic oil and gas exploration is critical for Pakistan to escape its boom-bust cycles that bring it to the IMF’s doorstep every few years. Pakistan may actually have enough recoverable natural gas to not only meet domestic demand but also export it. But does Saudi Arabia see an energy independent Pakistan as in its interests?
Separating the Economic and Strategic is Easier Said than Done.
The biggest question for Pakistan might be: what are the noneconomic costs of Saudi money? Gulf Arab states have not shied away from using aid and investment to shape a regional order that aligns their major strategic interests. In recent years, especially under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s influence, the strategic use of aid and investment has heightened.There is indeed an economic basis for Saudi investment in Pakistan. Saudi companies have been investing in Pakistan for decades. The Saudis are keen on diversifying overseas investments, moving beyond its own domestic extractive industries. But now more than ever, strings are likely to be attached. Riyadh has made clear that its main priorities are to contain what it sees as its main threats: Iran, Qatar (and the Muslim Brotherhood) and Turkey.So Pakistan must consider what the Saudis want in return and whether it is a price it is willing to pay. Pakistan has deftly insulated itself from the Iranian-Saudi cold war, especially in the wake of the Saudi-led Yemen operation. But it needs more foreign direct investment (FDI) and from more diverse sources. FDI from China has been growing amid a decline in net inflows from Gulf Arab states. Sympathy for Iran runs high in Pakistan, but neither has Iran made significant investments in Pakistan in the past nor is it in a position to do so today.
For Pakistan, there is no escape from geopolitics, even when it comes to issues like connectivity and trade. And that is true in a global sense as well as the United States adopts a tougher posture toward the Belt and Road Initiative, digs deeper into a tariff war with China, and continues to use economic sanctions or lawfare to force Iran to capitulate.
Calls for Pakistan to become a “normal” state that puts its economic interests above its strategic are outdated, reflecting a view of globalization that is now passé. The economic and the strategic increasingly blur once again, thus making Pakistan’s ability to address its economic challenges even harder.

EASO Publishes Report On Pakistan’s Security Situation

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published Tuesday a Country of Origin Information (COI) Report entitled ‘Pakistan security situation’. The report is the third update of the security chapter of the EASO COI report on Pakistan, Country Overview, published in August 20151 subsequently updated in July 2016 and August 2017. The report provides information relevant for the protection status determination of Pakistani asylum seekers.
In 2017, Pakistan ranked in the top 5 of countries of origin in the EU+ countries 2, with a total number of about 32,000 applicants. By the end of 2017, more than 47,000 cases remained pending at all instances. Throughout 2018, the country maintained this ranking in the top countries of origin and the total number of Pakistani applicants has remained stable.
The EASO COI Report ‘Pakistan security situation’ provides a general description of the security situation in Pakistan, covering the following topics: an overview of the recent conflicts in the country; actors in the conflict; an overview of recent security trends and armed confrontations; the impact of the violence on the civilian population; and the impact of the violence on the state ability to secure law and order.
The second part of the report provides an overview of the security situation in a more detailed description of the different regions in Pakistan. In each regional chapter, a short description is given of the region, the background of the violence as well as the actors present in the region, followed by a description of the security trends, and the impact of the violence on the population.
The main findings of the report include an overall decrease in total numbers of violent incidents and casualties throughout 2017 and 2018. However, security operations and armed clashes were still reported in all four provinces of Pakistan and in the FATA in the context of operation Radd-Ul-Fasaad. Militant groups also continued to conduct attacks in 2017 and 2018, including suicide attacks, targeted killings, and sectarian-related violence. In the run-up to the general elections held in July 2018, several violent incidents and some major attacks occurred throughout the country.
The report was drafted by the Belgian Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (Cedoca, Centre for Documentation and Research) in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology 3. It was reviewed by experts from the Office for Country Information and Language Analysis in the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Immigration and Asylum Office Documentation Centre in the Hungarian Office of Immigration and Nationality, the Department of Documentation and Foreign Cooperation in the Slovakian Migration Office, Lifos, the Centre for Country of Origin Information and Analysis in the Swedish Migration Agency and EASO, in order to ensure the highest quality.
It is EASO’s intention to continue to produce such reports on important countries of origin and to update them on a regular basis in order to raise and harmonise COI standards in the EU and to further support the practical implementation of the Common European Asylum System.

Video - #Pakistan - #PPP leader MNA Syed Khurshid Shah addresses in National Assembly Session

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto speech at Asma Jahangir Conference 2018 in Lahore

Video - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto expresses his views about sweet home, Islamabad

#PPP striving to provide education to destitute children: Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday said the PPP was striving to provide education and shelter facilities to the destitute children across the country.

Talking to the children of Pakistan Sweet Homes, Bilawal Bhutto expressed the hope that Sweet Home like projects would be carried out across the country and assured his full support for the purpose.

Bilawal Bhutto, along with former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, visited the Pakistan Sweet Homes here.

He appreciated the Sweet Home children for their efforts to attain education and taking part in co-curricular activities.

He said he had lost his mother in his childhood, which was very tough for him. He thanked Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Sweet Home Zamurd Khan for fulfilling the vision of his mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Speaking on the occasion, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the establishment of Pakistan Sweet Homes was a blessing for the children whose parents have passed away orphans and Zamurd Khan deserved appreciation for it.

Zamurd Khan said as managing director of Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, he had made the institution corruption free and distributed billions of rupees among the deserving people.

He said Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had taken oath from him that he would always serve the destitute children and the old citizens. There were around 450 orphan boys and 100 girls were residing in the Pakistan Sweet Homes Islamabad and getting education, he added.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Poverty, hunger biggest threats to peace, harmony among human race- Bilawal Bhutto

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that poverty and hunger are the biggest threats to peace and harmony among the human race adding that his Party has introduced revolutionary initiatives in Pakistan aimed poverty reduction.

In his message on the eve of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty being observed on Wednesday under the aegis of United Nations, he said that PPP was struggling for a vision of a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Pakistan for all our people and freeing them from hunger and helplessness under the philosophy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto that “freedom is not an end, it is beginning.”

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pointed out that PPP launched a massive Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in 2009-10 for eradication of poverty and elevating the status of marginalized and under privileged sections of society, especially women, through establishment of comprehensive Social Protection Net. People’s Federal government led by President Asif Ali Zardari had initiated BISP with an amount of nearly Rs 40 billion, which has now crossed Rs125 billion.

PPP Chairman further said that People’s government in Sindh started Union Council Based Poverty Reduction Programme (UCBPRP) in collaboration of non-profit organizations extending interest-free loans to women in the selected districts. The number of families who were benefitted and have been taken out of poverty rose to 600,000. They are now generating their own incomes through beginning small businesses, he added.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pledged that PPP would continue to assign priority to reduction of poverty through its poor-friendly policies by extending UCBPRP to more districts in Sindh province. “We shall replicate this programme in other provinces, whenever PPP comes to power there,” he added.

#سلام_شہداءکارساز - #SaluteToKarsazMartyrs - #Pakistan - Chairman #PPP Bilawal Bhutto pays glowing tributes to the martyrs of October 18 Karsaz massacre

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of October 18 Karsaz massacre when terrorists bombed reception of three million people gathered to receive Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto eleven years ago in Karachi.

On the 11th martyrdom anniversary of 180 martyrs, the PPP Chairman said that his Party has crossed rivers of blood during its valiant struggle for restoration and strengthening of democracy.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that dictatorship and terrorists joined hands in conspiring and executing the terror bombing on the truck carrying Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and central leadership of the Party in the midst of millions of people.

PPP Chairman said that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto continued to challenge the dictatorship and terrorists even after the Karsaz attack and eventually laid down her life on December 27, 2007.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PPP leadership and workers will always remember the martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting dictators and terrorists bravely.