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Category — Trade

Militants flushed out of Fata, says corps commander

PARACHINAR: Corps commander, Peshawar, Lt-Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt said on Wednesday that the security forces had wiped out the militants’ command and control system in tribal areas by rendering great sacrifices.

He was addressing a tribal jirga in Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency. Commandant Kurram militia Omar Malik and political agent Baseer Khan Wazir were also present on the occasion.

He also reviewed security situation along the Pak-Afghan border and laid foundation stone of Army Public School and College in Parachinar.

Addressing the jirga of tribal elders, he said that militants had been flushed out from the tribal belt by dismantling their command and control system and centres. He said that now there were no chances of their (militants) regrouping.

The corps commander said that 95 per cent elements involved in three incidents of militancy in Kurram had been arrested.
He said that security had been beefed up in the agency and at the Afghan border.

He said that the government had allocated a special package of Rs800 million for Kurram Agency. He said that this amount would be spent on construction of educational institutions, roads and hospitals to bring positive changes in the violence-hit tribal agency.

Laying foundation stone of the Army Public School and College, Lt-Gen Butt said that there would be 40 classrooms in the APS Parachinar.

He said that the APS would have capacity of accommodating 1,200 students. He directed the quarters concerned to arrange three shifts for timely completion of the construction work on the building.

He also ordered establishment of playgrounds and planting trees on the site.

The corps commander also directed for installation of solar system and other facilities at the new park in Parachinar.

The tribal elders welcomed establishment of APS and paid tribute to the army chief for fulfilling his promise.www.dawn.com/news/1333841/militants-flushed-out-of-fata-says-corps-commander

May 18, 2017   No Comments

Trade with India: op-ed by Tayyab Siddiqui in The News, Jan 7

The writer is a former Pak ambassador
Trade relations with India have been a subject of contention and controversy for long. Popular opinion in Pakistan dictates that these relations be rejected until the Kashmir issue is settled. Others hold the view that trade and commerce have their own dynamics and may not be held hostage to political differences.

The controversy has been raging for decades. India, besides bilateral efforts, has also used the SAARC platform to secure bilateral trade and transit rights through Pakistan to have access to Afghanistan and the land-locked Central Asian states. The political situation in Afghanistan, involvement of US and other western powers has encouraged India to tie transit rights with the Afghan situation. The US has mounted intense pressure on Pakistan to provide over land route for Indian exports to Afghanistan. Secretary Clinton has openly canvassed hard, telling Pakistan that its “obsession” with India’s hostility is misplaced.

Pakistan has, however, rejected any such thesis. India’s role and policy in the region and its alleged involvement in sponsoring terrorism in Balochistan as well as FATA have created serious concerns regarding Pakistan’s security environment. Pakistan also has concerns about smuggling, massive flow of drugs and arms from Kabul into Pakistan. The prevailing hundi system could also lead financing terrorism in Pakistan.

A trilateral summit was held in May in Washington with presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan attending the event hosted by Clinton. The deliberations succeeded and a MoU was signed on May 6, committing the “two countries achieving a trade transit agreement by the end of this year.” This agreement had remained under discussion for 43 years without resolution. A euphoric Clinton declared the MoU as an “important milestone” and “historic event” for the countries in the region.

The real intentions and objectives behind this initiative of trilateral summit and signing of the MoU was to extend the transit right to India, surreptitiously. The MoU has certainly been a major triumph and will not only enhance Pakistan’s trade with Afghanistan but also provide its product the market of Central Asian states.

Pakistan has so far succeeded in resisting US pressure to extend India the transit facility. Afghanistan, acknowledging that such an agreement will not be feasible in near future, has accepted Pakistan’s offer for 60 trucks a month for transporting its goods up to Wagah. Both also agreed that in transit, goods would be checked through an electronic tracking mechanism mounted on the vehicles.

Concomitant with these diplomatic efforts by the US to seek concession for India, the bilateral trade between Indian and Pakistan has flourished. With the trade deficit exceeding one billion dollars, Pakistan exports to India have stagnated around $400 million, despite the fact that India has granted MFN status to Pakistan. To deflect diplomatic pressure and keeping in view its political and economic interest, Pakistan should gradually liberalise trade with India but not allow the derailing of the Kashmir issue with its transit route to India. Pakistan may, however, continue to encourage trade with India consistent with our economic and security concerns. Word is that Pakistan has invited three multi-billion Indian companies, TATA, Reliance and Essar, to a meeting of potential investors in the power sector for the development of the Thar Coal Power Project.

Pakistan must exploit its geo-political location by improving transit trade with the Central Asian states and should accelerate transit transport agreements with Central Asian republics to secure its hold in the region. www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=217235

January 7, 2010   No Comments