Monday, September 10, 2018

Pakistan, China to upgrade strategic ties


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan and China, having enjoyed decades of brotherly relations, have reiterated their resolve to upgrade all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries and take it to new heights while giving a thrust to key areas of economic, trade and defence. 

The two neighbouring countries have agreed to form a joint mechanism for curbing terrorism and poverty, increasing exports, creating jobs and promoting education.

They have also expressed convergence of opinion that social and economic development would be an important area under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) cooperation between the two countries. 

Addressing a joint press conference, with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Islamabad on September 8, after their delegation-level talks, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, remarked both countries were supporting each other on various international fora and shared common principles on different international and regional issues, asserting that enhancing the all-weather strategic partnership with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. 

“CPEC will remain a priority for the government. It’s a proof of how seamless the Belt and Road initiative can become with the help of all stakeholders. We are proud of Pakistan and China's friendship which has withstood every test," he assured. 

“CPEC has not inflicted a debt burden on Pakistan, rather when these projects get completed and enter into operation, they will unleash huge economic benefit and these will create considerable returns to the Pakistani economy. This has helped increase the economic growth by 1-2 percent and has contributed 70,000 jobs in Pakistan,” the Chinese Foreign Minister stated. 

"China will give a lot of sustenance to encourage imports from Pakistan. We have decided to strive for a greater balance in the two-way trade. China will earmark subsidiaries to encourage imports from Pakistan and will send more coalition teams to Pakistan. We will also broaden the market access to Pakistan's competitive agricultural products," he added. 

The delegation level talks took place at the Foreign Office where the visiting Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, accompanied by three ministerial level representatives, met with Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Imran Khan invited as guest of honour at China International Import Expo


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

China has extended an invitation to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to be the guest of honour at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) due to be staged in Shanghai from November 5 to 10, 2018. 

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, met his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in Islamabad on September 8where he extended invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to be the guest of honour at the CIIE. 

China and Pakistan also agreed to strengthen the strategic cooperation in a one-on-one meeting between the two Foreign Ministers.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Dr Muhammad Faisal, informed the delegation-level talks between the two delegations led by the two foreign ministers were also held at the Foreign Office. 

"Chinese State Councillor Yi underscored Beijing’s firm support to Pakistan’s socioeconomic progress and development," the FO spokesperson said. 

"China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), economic cooperation, cultural and educational exchanges and regional situation were discussed during the meeting," the spokesperson added. 

Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured the Chinese minister of his country’s support of CPEC, reassuring that it was important for Pakistan’s socio-economic development. 

China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, is on a three-day visit to Islamabad during which he is scheduled to meet the President, the Prime Minister, the National Assembly Speaker and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Chinese FM Wang Yi arriving Islamabad


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be arriving Pakistan on September 7 to hold talks with the country’s new leadership to consolidate cooperation and elevate the all-weather bilateral strategic partnership.

Announcing Wang’s visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the media that besides holding talks with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, he would also meet top leaders of the new Pakistan government and exchange views on bilateral ties, regional and international issues of mutual interest. 

“This is the first high-level visit between the two sides after the establishment of the new government in Pakistan. We hope that through the visit the two sides could consolidate our traditional friendship, all-round cooperation and elevate China-Pakistan all-weather strategic and cooperative partnership,” she said when asked about China’s expectations from the visit from September 7 to 9.

“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic and cooperative partners. We are good neighbours, good friends and good brothers. Our bilateral ties have been developing with sound momentum. We have frequent high-level exchanges, practical cooperation moving forward and rich outcomes from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” Hua observed. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping on September had congratulated Pakistan’s newly-elected President Arif Alvi, saying the strategic significance of the bilateral ties is “more prominent under the current circumstances” and both sides should support each other “more staunchly”.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Pakistan’s foreign missions circulate procedure of internet voting


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan’s foreign missions abroad have circulated for the benefit of expatriates’ information how to cast their vote in upcoming bye-elections through internet voting.

In this connection, Pakistan’s Embassy in Beijing, in a press release, stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is conducting overseas voting through internet voting process in the upcoming bye-polls of 37 constituencies slated for October 14. 

The Pakistanis, living abroad, can cast their vote online in these respective constituencies from anywhere across the world using internet device. 

The non-resident Pakistanis, eligible for voting, are those possessing National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistan (NICOP) and Pakistan‘s Machine Readable Passport (MRP) besides having voter registration in the constituencies in which bye elections are being held. 

The list of the constituencies along with detailed mechanism of Internet voting is also available on the website of the ECP. 

It further advised that all the overseas voters belonging to these constituencies are required to get themselves registered between September 1 and 15 online at https//www.ecp.gov.pk or http//www.overseasvoting.gov.pk to cast their vote.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

China opens military installation for public


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Two military barracks in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, have opened to the public recently, offering displays of their equipment as well as wrestling, rope walking and rock climbing.

More than 3,000 people attended the events on the morning of August 15, part of a national plan aimed at bringing the military and citizens closer together by opening more than 600 barracks to the public. 

The two barracks in Wuhan belonged to the People's Armed Police Force and the PLA Air Force's Airborne Corps. Officers and soldiers performed demonstrations of their combat skills, such as wrestling and bayonet fighting, and displayed weapons and equipment used in training - things rarely seen, let alone touched, by members of the public. 

In the barracks yard of the airborne corps, the main site of the activities, sweating participants gathered around parachute packs, waiting for a chance to wear them, even though the temperature was around 35 C.

Others took the chance to talk with soldiers, asking them how the weapons and equipment on display worked and what they were used for.  
"I'm a military fan and have been considering joining the People's Liberation Army, so I wanted to learn more about their equipment," Liu Zhenhao, a sophomore student, remarked. 

He had learned about the open day from an announcement at his university while he was required to pass a short national defense knowledge test to qualify for the visit. 

Li Qian, a 65-year-old retiree, scored 92 out of 100 points in the test. A fan of both the military and photography, he took photos of the soldiers from different angles throughout their performances.

"I learned more about both the military equipment and their developments by participating in the activity. I will share the photos and what I learned today with my family," he said. 

Zhu Hao, 27, a soldier from the Air Force barracks, was in charge of introducing some of the equipment, which he had been training with for eight years. 

"Many people have seen similar equipment in TV dramas or movies, so they were interested to know more about it. We hope people can get to know us better through activities like this," Zhu stated. 

The plan to open more than 600 barracks to the public, announced last month, covers four of the PLA's five branches - the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force and Rocket Force - and the People's Armed Police Force. 

To help the public better understand the achievements of China's national defense reform and developments in its military, the barracks will be opened during major festivals and on commemoration days. 

"We hope the public will be able to truly see what the military and its soldiers are like," Zhu added.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

China hails Indo-Pak participation in SCO Peace Mission exercises


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

China has hailed the participation of Pakistan and India in the Peace Mission anti-terrorism exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson declared on August 27 that their country welcomed the joint Indo-Pak participation in the SCO Peace Mission. 

The week-long exercises were held in Russia and for the first time two neighbouring countries under the banner of the SCO participated, spokesperson Hua Chunying remarked at a regular media briefing in Beijing. 

The Ministry of Defense officials of both the country said that they believe that the two sides can learn from each other, which is a unique opportunity to exchange experiences.

The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said that they welcomed the joint participation of India and Pakistan in the anti-terrorism exercise under the SCO framework.

“Pakistan and India are important countries in South Asia. The stability of bilateral relations is of great significance to the peace and development of the region and the world,” she said 

“We sincerely hope that the two countries will strengthen bilateral and dialogue and cooperation within multilateral mechanisms such as the SCO, improve bilateral relations, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability,” she added.

The six-day SCO drills, which have brought the two countries together for the Exercise Peaceful Mission 2018, will continue till August 29 at Chebarkul town in Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia. 

The exercise is aimed at enhancing cooperation between member states to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism. 

Around 3,000 soldiers from Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are taking part in the exercise. 

The Pakistan contingent comprises 110 members, while the strength of the Chinese contingent is of 748 personnel. The 200-member strong Indian contingent has 167 Indian Army personnel including four women officers and 33 personnel from the Indian Air Force.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Pakistan may achieve autarky with China’s hybrid wheat


By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Under the guidance of the Belt and Road Initiative, the research and cooperation between Pakistan and China in research of hybrid wheat has been continuously promoted. The achievements will not only benefit the farmers in Pakistan, but also open up a new path for China's agricultural science and technology to go global. 

Recently, at the Peshawar Agricultural University, a scientist informed media that since last year, he planted hybrid wheat from China in his own home. The effect was unexpectedly good. 

"After starting to grow hybrid wheat, I found that the yield of hybrid wheat was more than doubled, so was his income. I am very happy because I can send the children to school. I will advise my relatives and friends to plant hybrid wheat,” he was quoted as saying. 

At present, 44% of the arable land in Pakistan is used to grow wheat, and the Naan Pakistanis eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, are made of wheat, wheat. Production is related to food security throughout the country.

However, Pakistan's wheat monoculture production is below the world average, and Pakistani agricultural scientists have been trying to introduce higher yield wheat varieties. 

In 2016, the experts from Peshawar Agricultural University learned that the application technology of the hybrid wheat developed by the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences was in the forefront of the world, and actively sought the Beijing Hybrid Wheat Engineering Technology Research Center under the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences to request cooperation. 

Muhammad Arif, a professor of agronomy at Peshawar Agricultural University, told reporters that the reason why Beijing hybrid wheat was chosen is because the technology of Beijing hybrid wheat is unique in the world. 

“The world is studying hybrid wheat, but so far no country had achieved such great success as China,” he declared. 

“Beijing Hybrid Wheat is a pioneer in the world of hybrid wheat technology, through which it is easy to mass produce hybrid wheat seeds without much labor. This technology is different from the world. The technology of other countries, this is a set of China's own technology system," he added. 

Since 2010, under the joint support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Beijing Municipality, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Pakistan Foundation Committee, the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry/Beijing Hybrid Wheat Engineering Technology Research Center and the Sinochem Group, in cooperation with Wheat Seeds (Beijing) Company Limited, a hybrid wheat test base was established in Lahore and Peshawar, to create new hybrid wheat varieties suitable for Pakistani applications. 

At the same time, the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences also specially built the Yunnan Yuanmou Hybrid Wheat Test Base to conduct simultaneous testing with the Pakistani side. After seven years of hard work, in 2017, the trials at Peshawar Agricultural University achieved remarkable results. 

Professor Arif said that if Beijing hybrid wheat is promoted to the whole of Pakistan, it will save a lot of cultivated land for the country.

“Pakistan planted more than 9 million hectares of wheat nationwide, with a total output of 26 million tons and an average yield of more than 2,700 kilograms per hectare. With the help of the team, Chinese hybrid wheat can easily reach 6,000 kg per hectare, which is more than twice that of our local production. If our target output value is 26 million tons of wheat, then we can save after the introduction of Chinese hybrid wheat. A large amount of land is used to grow other agricultural products,” he remarked. 

At present, Peshawar Agricultural University is conducting further experiments on hybrid wheat in Beijing. At the same time, Pakistan Jiade Agricultural Research and Services Company Limited is also involved in the demonstration and promotion of hybrid wheat in Beijing. 

As early as 1999, the company introduced Chinese hybrid rice and achieved large-scale industrialization in Pakistan. In 2012, Jiade Agricultural Research and Service Company Limited, which tasted the sweetness, signed an agreement with China Hybrid Wheat Seeds (Beijing) Company Limited to introduce Chinese hybrid wheat for market development in Pakistan. 

The company's president, Shahru Malik, said that Pakistan has benefited a lot from China's One Belt, One Road initiative and hopes that China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation can benefit both countries at the same time. 

“The Chinese government under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road initiative. Policies have been developed to help and promote seed planting in Pakistan, because in agriculture, the production of hybrid seeds and conventional seeds is the most valuable part of agriculture and the most expensive part because it requires huge imports and huge manpower. And efficient regulation. So I think China's policies are good for Pakistan. At the same time, we have fertile land and a suitable climate and good education level. I think these can help our country and China," he said. 

Zemir Awan, former Science and Technology Counselor of the Pakistani Embassy in China and now the Deputy Director of the China Studies Center of the National University of Science and Technology of Pakistan, is the promoter of the China-Pakistan Hybrid Wheat Cooperation Project and the continuous cooperation between China and Pakistan in the framework of the Belt and Road framework. 

“The One Belt, One Road is a Chinese dream, and it is also the dream of Pakistani people. It is not only beneficial to China, but also beneficial to the whole world. Any country joins the Belt and Road will live with greater prosperity.

China’s hybrid wheat production is high, and Pakistan hopes to increase production, which is beneficial to Pakistani farmers, beneficial to the country, and beneficial to our food security. Therefore, we hope to strengthen cooperation with China in wheat hybridization,”