- Pakistan has full confidence on friendship with China as the country has played a significant role in de escalating tensions between India and Pakistan
BEIJING: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Wednesday that first session of talk on CPEC was held on Tuesday with different Chinese leaders.
‘After the change of regional situation, we need second session of discussion,’ he said adding that India attacked Pakistan on 26th and 27th February. Qureshi was of the opinion that Pakistan took defensive measures against actions by India. ‘First session is fruitful and was in time. We do not compromise on territorial integrity and sovereignty. We have decided that if India does any action or misadventure we will response in time,’ he said adding that in this situation China is playing an important role like age old friends.
In an exclusive interview with DiploMag here, Foreign Minister Qureshi said, ‘Pakistan has full confidence on friendship with China as the country has played a significant role in de escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. In this official tour we discuss very deeply on all issues and China ensures that they stand with Pakistan in all matters,’ he said.
Qureishi said that Pakistan is to play a vital role in dialogue to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Qureishi also dispelled the impression regarding CPEC project and termed the propaganda incorrect and wrong. ‘All rumors against the flagship project are mere rumors without substance,’ he said. .
‘All members endorse CPEC project and Pakistan has successfully completed first phase with confidence and all set to enter in second phase of CPEC. Pakistan launched free economic zones in second phase in which China will move industry to free economic zones,’ he said.
Qureshi said “We opened Kartarpur on demands of Sikh community. World appreciated these steps taken by Pakistan towards peace and friendship with India”.
Another session of dialogues with India will be held from April 2nd, this year, on Wagha border. We hope that these sessions will give fruitful outcomes and resolve all issues and reservations of both side.
Sikh community from around the world visiting Kartarpur on the 550th anniversary will witness Pakistan as a peaceful country. Citizens of Pakistan will warmly welcome Sikh community and they will witness our hospitality, he added.
Furthermore, Qureshi said that dialogue is the only option to resolve issues for both nuclear-armed countries. India should come on table for talk. If India has internal political issues about election which are away head and is not ready for dialogue in these crucial days, it’s up to them. Pakistan is always ready to engage in dialogue with ruling party and new coming ruling party of India.
‘Indian security officials boosted its atrocities on the innocent students of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) post Pulwama attack,’ he said adding that
Pakistan wants peace and stability in region and wants to work for humanity and uplift poverty from the region. Both countries show realistic thought on these matters, he mentioned.
Qureshi also wished Hindu community on their Holi festival. ‘Pakistan is also celebrating Holi event with Hindu community and have arranged different events for celebration across the country,’ he said.
Qureshi also condemned attack on two mosques in New Zealand and said that 50 innocent Muslims were brutally martyred. ‘Pakistan stands with Muslim community in New Zealand and our sympathies are with families,’ he said.
‘India condemned the aforementioned attack but did not mentioned martyred Muslims. Pakistan defend all minorities and their rights and also give security to all holy places of minorities,’ he said.
Qureshi said that China participates in all economic issues as it has a role in it and we support them. We are providing foolproof security to all the foreign investors and it’s our responsibility to resume all hurdles or make easy way for investors. ‘We have already established a force to provide security to Chinese investors,’ he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on April 25th on Belt and Road forum. Leaders of more than 36 countries will also participate in Belt and Road Forum.
PM Imran Khan also meet with leaderships of other countries. 2nd BRI forum is very important and Pakistan is the role model of this project for other participants of BRI.
Imran khan admires President Xi Jinping’s vision and aims to follow China as a role model in all sectors. China created millions of opportunities for whole world and is helping to escalate poverty.
‘We have good coordination and clarity in thoughts between civil and military leaders,’ he said.
Qureshi also said that Pakistan is open for entire world after online-visa regime decision. Travelers from 50 countries can visit Pakistan and get on-arrival visa. Moreover, citizens of 175 countries can apply online-visa of business and tourist category. ‘The applicants will get visa in one week without any hurdle and difficulty through the online system of National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA). This step will promote tourism and encourage foreign investors,’ he said.
Qureshi also expressed that China support Pakistan to come out from grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Pakistan to take strict action against money laundering and eliminated almost all terrorist in Pakistan. Government has been taking every possible step to chock the funding of extremist and terrorist banned outfits.
Miami’s top architect Kobi Karp enters Pakistani market
ISLAMABAD: Miami’s leading architect Kobi Karp the name behind some of Miami’s most iconic developments including the Four Seasons Private Residences and the Legacy Tower, South Beach has completed the designs for the $30 Million luxury residential tower One Canal Road by Diyar Homes.
The design includes in excess of 25,000 square feet of amenity space finished with the finest VERSACE ceramics by the leading Italian design house and includes a sky pool which will be amongst Lahore’s highest above the penthouse floor of the building.
Commenting on the design of the project from an exclusive press conference in London’s plush Grosvenor House, Hotel on Park Lane, Kobi said “I have designed One Canal Road to the highest of international standards, the development rivals any of the best buildings I have designed in Miami or the Middle-East. One Canal Road will be an icon in Lahore’s skyline”.
Kobi Karp architects are Miami’s leading design studio, a multi award winning practice that have been involved in projects across the world including some of the most iconic developments in Miami including Astor & Edison Hotels, Palazzo Del Sol, Four Seasons Private Residences and private luxury homes for the likes of NBA start Juwan Howard and landmark developments in the Middle-East in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Further adding Kobi said “It’s an honour to work on our first project in Pakistan and in a location of this kind at the heart of Lahore, I don’t think we could have had a better project and developer (Diyar Homes) to start with in Pakistan. For me great architecture is the crossover over between design and art. At Kobi Karp Architects we create timeless landmark architecture that stands the test of time. One Canal Road will be a landmark in Lahore”.
On his vision for One Canal Road Kobi added, “Every part of One Canal Road has been planned with exceptional attention to detail, from capitalising on the 360 degree views a location of this kind boasts, to the hotel style 6500 square foot lobby with 28 feet high ceilings, to the fitness centre, spa, and sky pool every inch of this development has been planned to create the penultimate luxury residential address in Lahore”.
Discussing the amenities Kobi said “Our amenities are en-par with the most luxury hospitality sector 5* hotel projects I have done across the world. With over 25,000 square feet of amenities and only 111 luxury residences One Canal Road presents the pinnacle of luxury living”.
Luxury residents private fitness suite.
One Canal Road, Lahore is a $30 Million project by UAE based Diyar Homes. Diyar recently announced a collaboration with VERSACE ceramics as Lahore’s first project where finishing of floors and walls will be by the leading Italian design house.
Pakistan records 70 per cent rise in exports to China
Pakistan enjoys zero duties on exports of hundreds of products to China under free trade deal
ISLAMABAD – In a major development, Pakistan has recorded nearly 70% increase in exports to China in the first quarter of 2021, an official has told media.
“Impressive figures of Pakistan’s exports to China in 1st quarter of year 2021. $888 million as compared to 2020′ Q1 $526 million. An increase of 69%,” Moin ul Haque, Pakistan’s ambassador to China, said on Twitter.
Haque praised his team for, encouraging for more: “Let us keep this momentum to achieve a historic record in 2021.”
Last year, phase two of the much-touted China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement came into effect, which now allows Pakistani manufacturers and traders to export around 313 new products to the Chinese market with zero duties.
Pakistan is already enjoying zero duties on exports of 724 products to China under the first free trade pact signed between the two countries in 2006. After implementation of the second pact, Pakistan has been now allowed to export more than 1,000 products to China with zero duties. The new facility is particularly benefiting the agriculture, leather, confectionary items, and biscuits product sectors as well.
In 2019, Pakistan also signed an agreement with China to use Chinese currency for bilateral trade to get rid of the dollar burden in $15 billion bilateral trade.
According to official data, Pakistan and China’s bilateral trade volume grew to some $15.6 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $2.2 billion in 2005.
The two longtime allies are also partners in the multi-million-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious project to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks to boost trade and stimulate economic growth.
The $64 billion mega-project signed in 2014 aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.
The economic corridor will not only provide China with cheaper access to Africa and Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports to other countries
Despite rise in exports to China, Pakistan has witnessed fall in exports to its western neighbour Afghanistan and other regional countries apparently due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic during past year.
The country’s exports to Afghanistan fell 5.57% to $746.3 million over the last nine month of fiscal year 2021, compared to $790.3 million during the same period of last year, according to leading daily Dawn.
A few years ago, Afghanistan was the second-major export destination for Pakistan after the US.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s exports to India also plunged 90.5% to $2.2 million this year from $23.1 a year earlier, according to the report.
Islamabad’s exports in 2020 dropped by over 90% to $28 million from $311 million in 2019, following suspended trade and diplomatic ties with India after New Delhi’s move to scrap the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.
However, Pakistan’s exports to Japan and some central Asian countries witnessed an increase.
Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to Pakistani premier on commerce and investment, said in a statement that Islamabad’s exports to Japan grew by 47% to $86.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021.
“The exports of seafood, petroleum, dry fruits, spices, minerals, woven fabric, knitted garments, sports goods, cutlery & dates increased,” he said.
The official also said that Pakistan’s exports in April also stood at $2.19 million.
“This is the first time since 2011 that our monthly exports have crossed the 2-billion mark for seven consecutive months,” Dawood stated.
However, he said, “the export growth of 129% over Apr-2020 cannot be taken into account due to lockdown last year.”
The country’s exports from July 2020 to April 2021 rose by 13% to $20.8 billion compared to $18.4 billion year-on-year, Dawood noted.
Another 0.5 Million SinoVac doses arrive from China
Vaccine arrives as Pakistan gears up to provide vaccine jabs to people at large
ISLAMABAD – A special plane of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) carrying 0.5 Million consignment of SinoVac Vaccine arrived here at NurKhan Airbase Islamabad from China on Thursday. The consignment is procured on payment from China.
The consignment arrives as Pakistan gears up to provide vaccine jabs to all its people across country after Eid-ul-Fitr. SinoVac vaccine has been tested in Pakistan’s three major cities including Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore and has proved its worth.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned an emergent meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for COVID-19 on Friday as key decisions are expected from the meeting in the wake of rising coronavirus cases and deaths across country.
Sources have told DiploMag that the meeting chaired by Prime Minister will be attended by federal ministers, chief ministers and chief secretaries of the four provinces. The meeting will review the situation in Coronavirus Pandemic across the country.
Sources in the federal government have informed this correspondent that the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister would evaluate its options to counter the recent spike in infections of Covid-19. Over the past week or so, the average cases across country stand at 11 percent and the numbers are not dropping down from five thousand new infections on a daily-basis.
The sources said that the meeting led by prime minister would discuss the possibility of imposition of lockdown in major cities of the country with a rate of more than ten percent, while business activities in major cities and areas could be suspended and offices closed.
It is said that the decision of lockdown is likely in the cities of Corona with a rate of more than ten percent. Businesses are likely to be suspended and offices closed in the lockdown cities and areas.
The NCC will give final approval to the lockdown decision in the most affected cities. On the other hand, according to the data released by the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), 57,591 Coronavirus tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of code 19 tests to 1137,742. A further 5,857 positive cases have been reported.
Thus, the number of certified corona patients in Pakistan has reached 778,238. So far, 275,081 in Sindh, 279,437 in Punjab, 19,704 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 71,533 in Islamabad, 21,242 in Balochistan, 16,026 in Azad Kashmir and 16,026 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Coronavirus Pandemic has been diagnosed in 5,215 people. Similarly, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar has already warned that big cities are not being closed yet but caution has not been observed during the third wave of the pandemic.
“If SOPs are not followed by the people, then big cities will have to be shutdown under lockdown,” Asad Umar warned.