QUETTA (Dunya News) – An earthquake of low intensity jolted various districts of Balochistan on Saturday resulting in minor property damages, but no causality was reported so far.
Posts tagged as Balochistan
ISLAMABAD (Web Desk) – Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary on Saturday has said that India wants to enfeeble Pakistan by holding terror attacks in Balochistan.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) has come and gone. He arrived amid great fanfare and departed on a high note, leaving behind a government grateful for a seemingly significant package of promised investments worth billions of dollars.
But what does the visit really amount to in both political and economic terms? The promise of $21 billion is nothing to trifle about.But seen in a broader historic context, the promises come in the shape of memoranda of understanding (MoU), not actual investments. A report in this newspaper last week revealed that Pakistan had signed over 10,000 MoUs in the last two decades but only two percent materialised into on-the-ground investments.The political context matters. The latest Saudi promises translating into MoUs have been underwritten by MBS himself on his first-ever visit to Pakistan, and come on the heels of hectic deliberations over the last four months, including two meetings between him and IK in Riyadh and another three with Pakistan’s military leadership.
They also follow two separate sets of $3 billion assistance for balance of payment support and oil on deferred payments, which led to similar arrangements with the UAE and China, thus preventing potential bankruptcy.This total of $12 billion worth of investments in oil and mineral sectorare already materialising and go beyond MoUs, so that is something.
The other significant aspect is that the MoUs are for investments that specify several projects and acquisitions such as a major refinery in Balochistan and power plants in Punjab — in a staggered manner over the course of five years. That the promised money has a high probability of materialising into Pakistan’s fraught economy is hinted at by the establishment of an Implementation Coordination Council to be co-chaired annually by MBS and IK, with its maiden meeting held in Islamabad and co-chaired by the two leaders even before the ink on the MoUs had dried.A three-year priority list and action plan were promptly drawn up, bilateral working groups created, and tasks assigned. This is super-fast by Pakistan standards and smell of real money!While the fate of the investments is in the hands of the working groups, what cannot escape scrutiny is the fact that these promises-leading-to-investments really constitute an economic bailout for Pakistan, which require payback.
Pakistan must start paying back $12 billion to Saudi Arabia, UAE and China starting from the new fiscal year in equal annual installments. This is on top of the current annual $9 billion debt servicing obligations.
The $21 billion Saudi investments will come at an average of $5 billion a year, if all of it will flow in, and that too will depend on Pakistan creating and utilising capacity for delivery.In addition to Pakistan having to deliver on these tough financial terms and economic performance, the real cost of this Saudi bailout over several years may be political and tougher to deliver.
The deep involvement of the Pakistani military in bringing fractured bilateral ties between Islamabad and Riyadh cannot come without expectations on the issue of security.The Saudi refinery at Gwadar will kill any remaining chances of a long-gestating Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline as it allows the Saudis to export oil supplies to China and Central Asia right through Iran’s backyard.
A former Pakistan Army chief is already head of the security alliance against terrorism based in Saudi Arabia. He shuttled between Islamabad and Riyadh, meeting both IK and the COAS, ahead of the MBS visit.The previous government led by Nawaz Sharif, otherwise considered historically close to the Saudis, balked at providing outright support of the military to the Saudi security alliance which is seen as one that aligns Sunni states. It was IK who protested on the streets against Pakistan aligning itself with the military alliance currently fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
Ironically, IK seems to have reversed his stance on the issue now that he is in power and is ready to go the extra mile with Saudi Arabia.While there has been no formal mention of Pakistan’s security partnership during the MBS visit, everyone found themselves focusing on it when the Saudi foreign minister, accompanying MBS, said in a press conference jointly with his Pakistani counterpart that Iran was a sponsor of terrorism.This brought into open the elephant in the room – Pakistan’s ties with Iran – even though the engagement was a bilateral one between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. This embarrassed Pakistan and its foreign minister had to call his Iranian counterpart within a couple of hours of his press conference with the Saudi foreign minister to assuage concerns that Pakistan was neutral with Iran and that its ties with Saudi Arabia were not going to influence its relationship with Iran.
This ‘X’ factor in Pakistan’s strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia – Iran –will test Pakistan’s diplomatic and political skills at packaging a neutrality-in-policy that is not neutrality-in-practice. The Saudi refinery at Gwadar will kill any remaining chances of a long-gestating Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline as it allows the Saudis to export oil supplies to China and Central Asia right through Iran’s geographic backyard.Iran will not let go this strategic slight by Pakistan. This will make a long-term de facto or de jure security pact between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia all but inevitable to counter Iranian anger.
The MBS visit to Pakistan definitely carves out a more strategic engagement with Pakistan by moving the course from hitherto an assistance relationship to an economic relationship. But that is really a thin cover for a broader, long-term security relationship that will pitch Pakistan into a larger strategic regional game but, considering how security interests in Pakistan impact national polity, will end up changing Pakistan’s political landscape.And, from the perspective of the people, this will not necessarily be for the better. COAScrown prince Mohammad bin Salman Gwadar Imran Khan MBS Pakistan and Saudi relations Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia and Pakistan Adnan Rehmat 2019-02-24 TNS Editor tweet The author is a political analyst and media development specialist.
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said the health sector is an important priority of the PTI government. He was addressing the launch ceremony of Sehat Insaf Card in Rajanpur on Friday.He was addressing the launch ceremony of Sehat Insaf Card in Rajanpur on Friday.
Buzdar said that people of Rajanpur district are lucky that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has graced the occasion for the launch of the Sehat Insaf Card. “This shows that the prime minister has so much affection and regard for the people of southern Punjab.”The chief minister said that unlike the past, the Punjab government believed in equivalent development of every city of the province. Rajanpur is situated at the confluence of Balochistan and Sindh provinces and it would not be wrong to term it ‘the gateway of Punjab.
Both Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan are backward districts of the province and the past government did nothing for their development.CM Punjab inaugurates transportation, health projects.He bemoaned that the development process remained limited to a few districts during the last 10 years.An amount of Rs 96,000 per head was spent in Lahore while this amount was only Rs 4,000 per head in Rajanpur.Southern Punjab was deprived of development because of such a discriminatory attitude, he added.He said that the government will eliminate this divide and southern Punjab will be brought at par with central Punjab with regard to development. The Rajanpur will be made a model district, he added.
The chief minister said that DHQ Hospital, THQ hospitals, basic health units, and rural health centers are being upgraded in Rajanpur districts and round-the-clock medical facilities will be available there.Similarly, mother-and-child hospital will also be established and the people living in remote areas like Rojhan, Rajanpur and Suleman Range will be given such healthcare and educational facilities which are available to the people of Rawalpindi and Lahore.He assured that no geographical discrimination, with regards to development, will be made in the tenure of the government.rd, 2019.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has predicted rain across the country next week including a flood threat looming over parts of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Express News reported on Sunday.
KARACHI: The recent spell of rainfall in the catchment area of Hub Dam in Balochistan and Sindh, has increased the water level at the lake of the dam by 20 feet, ARY News reported on Friday.
ISLAMABAD: Quarterfinals line-up has been decided in the Inter Provincial Under-19 Hockey Tournament under way at the Shahnaz Sheikh Ground Rawalpindi.
In matches played Wednesday, Balochistan beat Gilgit-Baltistan 5-0.
Miraj Ali scored thrice while Wakeel Ahmad and Abdul Munaf were on target once each.In the second match of the day Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) handed over 6-0 drubbing to Islamabad.
Roman scored a brace for KP while a goal each came from the stick of Usman, Jibran Hamza, Usman Khan and Raza Habib.Sindh A got better of Punjab D 4-0 with goals coming from Numan Khan, Sardar Khan, Alian and Adnan.Quarterfinals line up for Thursday: Punjab A vs Punjab C; Punjab B vs Sindh A, Sindh B and KP A and Balochistan vs KP B.Following last pool matches played Wednesday, Punjab A, B and C, KP A, B, Sindh A, B and Balochistan teams have qualified for quarter-finals.
In matches played Wednesday, Balochistan beat Gilgit-Baltistan 5-0.Miraj Ali scored thrice while Wakeel Ahmad and Abdul Munaf were on target once each.
In the second match of the day Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) handed over 6-0 drubbing to Islamabad.Roman scored a brace for KP while a goal each came from the stick of Usman, Jibran Hamza, Usman Khan and Raza Habib.Sindh A got better of Punjab D 4-0 with goals coming from Numan Khan, Sardar Khan, Alian and Adnan.Quarterfinals line up for Thursday: Punjab A vs Punjab C; Punjab B vs Sindh A, Sindh B and KP A and Balochistan vs KP B.
QUETTA: Four Balochistan Frontier Corps (FC) soldiers were martyred in an ambush by terrorists in Goran, some 70 kilometres from Panjgur district, on Sunday.
“The security personnel were heading towards the mountains when the ambush took place.Terrorists started indiscriminate firing. The FC soldiers retaliated, but could not fight back,” the sources said, adding that the terrorists managed to escape and took their (soldiers) weapons and wireless sets along with them.
A heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies personnel and rescue workers rushed to the spot and shifted the bodies to District Headquarter Hospital, Panjgur.The martyred soldiers were identified as Lance Naik Abdul Rehman, Sepoys Nouman, Naseebullah and Haq Nawaz.Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan condemned the attack and expressed grief over the martyrdom of the four FC soldiers.“Terrorists are attempting to halt Balochistan’s development progress by launching terror attacks, but they can’t deter us from our resolve,” said CM Kamal, vowing to punish the perpetrators of the attacks on security forces.
The funeral prayers of the martyred FC soldiers were held at the FC Headquarter in Panjgur, which was attended by Sector Commander Brigadier Irfan Iftikhar and government officials.The soldier’s bodies were departed to their native towns after the funeral prayers.The attack was claimed by a Baloch armed group.It was the second attack on security forces in Baloshitan in the last 24 hours.On Saturday morning, armed men opened fire on FC soldiers in Loralai, martyring two of them 2019.