PM’s China visit
Posted by Javed Iqbal
Thursday, July 11, 2013 – PM’s visit to China and signing of MoUs was need of the hour. Pak-China economic corridor, energy cooperation, motor way, metro services and plans for bullet train and exemption of sovereign guarantees to cut cost of financing are steps in right direction. But keeping in view the history of MoUs, it would be better that both countries adopt speed, accountability and transparency to complete the agreements within stipulated time frame. The report of establishment of Joint Cooperation Mission is a practical step and it shows that government is serious about completing the projects to come up to the public’s expectations.
The proposed rail (and road) link between both countries is a road to Europe. Sino-Euro Railway is set to develop further as Chinese and EU authorities plan to expand the 11,179-km Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe railway network to 18 EU countries which is currently linking Chongqing with Duisburg, Germany, via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland. The complete trip takes 16 days, less by up to 20 days than the usual shipping time. The cost is one-fifth that of transporting cargo by air (More cooperation on Railways sought, July 4, 2013, China Daily). China and Russia are already headed towards expanding existing rail links. Pak-China economic corridor will link Pakistan to Europe and Asia. PM is therefore right in saying that it will be a game changer.
It is said that control the debt and control the country. Pakistan needs to adopt renewables, and coal so that it can provide cheap energy to public, clear its debt and strengthen its economy. The speed of shifting of thermal power plants to coal and adoption of renewables will determine the fate of our economy, jobs and manufacturing. Government will have to end hold of oil mafia, private power sector and nationalize energy sector to make Pakistan energy surplus. Privatization has failed in UK and Europe. The reports of adopting coal and renewable energy will allow Pakistan to build mega water storages across the country to store water for agriculture purposes, protect food security and use deserts for agriculture. It will help Pakistan to become food basket, dairy hub and allied value added products/produce in the region. China is investing in railway including metros to provide relief to public.
There is no doubt that corruption has destroyed overseas projects in Pakistan. But there is no tolerance for it in today’s China. People’s Court gave death penalty to former railways minister for bribery and abuse of power. The verdict was given after 4 weeks of investigation. Experts said that it shows that the crackdown on corruption has been tightened, especially among high-level officials (Graft fight stepped up; ex-rail chief sentenced, July 9, 2013, China Daily). Earlier VP of China’s Central Bank was given death sentence for corruption. A clear policy on corruption and transparency in the projects will help both governments to control corruption, serve people and strengthen economic diplomacy. A comprehensive security policy is must to realize these objectives.
The development of ports is not acceptable to international forces because it changes strategic balance. It explains delays development of ports in Africa and Gwadar, killings of Pakistanis and foreigners, rise in sectarianism, occupation of Afghanistan and establishment of permanent military bases in Afghanistan, support for India’s illegal nuclear deal, and continuation of drone attacks in the name of SWAT to justify foothold in the region under Asia Pacific policy. Pakistan should discard SWAT, return armed forces to traditional role and improve policing to protect public.
Accordingly, Islamabad should secure its borders with help of diplomacy, advanced border surveillance technology including Chinese drones, and traditional methods such as mining, fencing, and border controls. Chinese drones are 1/30th the price of western drones. The prospects of border industrial zones in securing Pakistan’s borders should also be examined. China, Myanmar and Koreans are employing millions in such zones for mutual economic, job and security benefits.
Civilian intelligence setups should also be improved and held accountable for their failures. Foreign embassies should be relocated, the so-called diplomats should be scrutinized and staff of embassies should be rationalized. Dual nationals should be screened and permitted to work as per the laws. PTCL should be nationalized regain control of security, end abuse of satellite technology, and foreign control. NSA spying reports have shown that Western embassies and military setups are involved in spying in host countries. Islamabad should uphold the law on foreign spying to protect constitutional rights of its people and ask UN to tell western countries to pass laws to hold their citizens accountable for overseas crimes.
Police should be returned under district magistrate (DMG). In turn, both should be held accountable for crimes, loss of life and property. It will only be possible if SWAT policy is replaced with anti-state policy so that criminals are punished under existing laws. The hue and cry in media about failure of judiciary and state to punish terrorists is hot air because the same media blames powerful state for protecting police for its crimes against public. PM has talked about cleansing of bureaucracy. It should include all other setups including police. The culprits should be brought to book in accordance to the law in next three months with help of judiciary, It will help Pakistan to do business with China and rest of the world.(Rizwan Ghani)