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India skips BRI forum, Pakistan says CPEC to go ahead

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Beijing, Apr 26: India on Friday skipped Beijing’s Belt and Road forum for a second time in protest against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) even as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the controversial project has entered a new phase and would go further ahead.

India sternly opposes the CPEC, a key artery of the Belt and Road project that cuts through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, New Delhi’s raison d’etre for staying away from the trillion-dollar connectivity scheme.

Like the launch of the Belt and Road forum in 2017, India gave the second edition of the summit a miss over the CPEC.

 

India not approving the corridor has become a sticky point in its relations with China.

China maintains that the project is purely economic in nature and won’t impact Beijing’s neutral stance on the Kashmir issue.

Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

The heads of 37 countries and official representatives from nations and international organisations have gathered at the three-day event on the trillion-dollar connectivity project that President Xi Jinping sought to defend against mounting criticism that it was pushing poor countries into “debt trap”.

Pakistan, China’s close ally, is said to be one of the countries saddled with Chinese debt.

In his keynote address at the opening ceremony, Khan lauded the CPEC.

“Together Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of CPEC, with greater emphasis on socioeconomic uplift,” he said, adding that the next phase would be “supplemented” by the signing of an expanded free trade pact between the countries.

The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.

The project has come under criticism from some Pakistani government officials who have expressed concerns about their country’s inability to pay back Chinese loans.

The US and other nations have also raised questions about China pushing countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives into “debt traps” by giving them loans at usurious interest rates.

At the event, Xi tried to dispel those fears.

“In pursuing the Belt and Road cooperation, everything should be done in a transparent way and we should have zero tolerance for corruption.

“We welcome the participation of the multilateral and national financial institutions in BRI investment and financing. And we encourage third market cooperation. With the involvement of the multiples stakeholders, we can surely deliver benefits to all.

“We have also formulated guiding principles of financing the development of the Belt and Road and published a debt sustainability framework for participating countries of the BRI to provide guidance for BRI financing cooperation.

“The laws and regulation of participating countries should also be respected. We need to take people’s centric approach and give priority to poverty alleviation and job creation to see the joint pursuit of Belt and Road cooperation would deliver true benefits to the people of the participating countries,” the Chinese leader added.


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Pak man who crossed LoC in Tangdhar to undergo medical check up

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Tangdhar, May 19 : Jammu and Kashmir Police has registered a case and taken into custody a Pakistani resident, who was apprehended along Line of Control on Friday evening by the Army. The medical examination of the person is being conducted to find out whether he is mentally unsound.

A police official told KNO that they have registered an FIR against the said person for attempt to cross the border line, while as he said that it is investigating whether he has crossed intentionally or unintentionally and that will be disclosed once thorough investigation into matter is conducted. 

The official said that they have presented the person identified as Shabir Ahmed before  court in Tangdhar where from they have availed remand for more investigation. “He is likely to be taken to Kupwara for more investigation. His medical check-up was also carried out to check the physical condition,” the official said.

 

Reliable sources said that it was believed that Shabir was mentally unsound but official confirmation in this regard was still awaited.  Talking to KNO, SSP Kupwara Shri Ram Ambarkar said that, an FIR has been lodged and investigation is on into matter. “Once he’s brought to Kupwara more questioning will be done according police will act,” he said.. Replying to a questing about the mental health of Shabir, the SSP said that it will be decided by a medical team (doctors) not by police. Earlier on Friday evening Army’s 17 Bihar regiment posted along the Line of control in Tangdhar sector in north Kashmirs Kupwara district claimed to have apprehended a person who had crossed  into this side who after questioning was handed over to police for further investigation.

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Hurriyat ready to support if Indo-Pak start fresh talks on Kashmir : Mirwaiz

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Srinagar, May 19 : Hurriyat(M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday said they were ready to support the dialogue provided India and Pakistan initiate the process of talks afresh on Kashmir.

He said they were not against development of talks but India should accept Kashmir as a disputed territory “We aren’t against the people of India, we are against the policies of India which are being implemented here,” he told KNO while addressing a seminar at Hurriyat headquarters at Rajbagh here .

Mirwaiz said that it was unfortunate that New Delhi has choked all means of peaceful protests, seminars and even pro freedom leaders aren’t allowed to meet people. “How can ideas come up when all space stands choked,” he said.

 

He said there is no military solution to the Kashmir dispute as even late Atal Bihari Vajpayee too realised that dialogue was the only solution to resolve Kashmir. “That’s why he advocated solution within the ambit of humanity,” he said.

Mirwaiz said that the GoI must roll back all the decisions especially ban on organisations, CBMs, and should also release all leaders without any pre-condition.

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DC orders enquiry after pregnant woman denied ambulance for ‘shortage of fuel’

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Rajouri, May 19 : Deputy Commissioner Rajouri has ordered an enquiry after a pregnant woman was denied ambulance “due to fuel shortage” in the mountainous district of Jammu division. The deputy commissioner has also ordered the withholding of salary of concerned Medical Officer pending enquiry.

Reports reaching GNS said that the woman Rubeena Akhtar of Gabbar village in Budhal was admitted at PHC Budhal yesterday. Following complications, the doctors at the PHC referred her to Kandi hospital. However, according to the family, they were shocked on being informed that there is no fuel in the ambulance as such the facility cannot be provided.

While the poor family arranged a private vehicle and took the woman to Kandi, the incident has once again exposed poor health care facilities in the district.

 

Sources in the health department said that around 29 lakh rupees are available in the account of BMO NHM Kandi for meeting expenditures for day to day affairs.

When contacted Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri Mohd Aijaz Asad told GNS that he has ordered an enquiry into the incident.

“Immediately, I have ordered the withholding of salary of the BMO,” he said, adding “necessary action based on enquiry report would be taken”.

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