Here’s what’s happening across the border: Mike Pompeo has accused Islamabad of mistreating US officials in Pakistan & Nawaz Sharif has an unexpected guest.
For PM Abbasi, CPEC is the future
Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has batted for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying it will play a key role in building a sustainable future for the country.
Writing in the Dawn, Abbasi stressed upon the connectivity that CPEC is creating between Western China and Central Asia, and added that it will also provide two-way trade routes to the world, not only for Pakistan but for Afghanistan as well.
The project has been a bone of contention with India, which has raised sovereignty concerns as it passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
Abbasi also highlighted that two turnkey power projects had been completed within three years under CPEC, while a third was nearing completion. According to Abbasi, economic viability and environment sustainability are the two principles on which the CPEC project function.
“Even the coal plants that we are building to diversify our energy needs will replace the very inefficient oil generation mechanism, and they will also be environmentally positive,” he wrote. He also wrote that CPEC’s long-term plan will focus on the use of technology for agricultural support and poverty alleviation
Pompeo cries foul
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Wednesday that US officials in Pakistan were not being treated well by the Pakistani government, GeoTV reported.
“My officers, our state department officers are being treated badly as well. Folks working in the embassies and councils [and] in other places are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either,” Pompeo claimed, while presenting his testimony before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.
During his testimony, he also claimed that the US had provided Pakistan with far less funding compared to previous years while giving it directions on the necessity of cracking down on “terrorist safe havens.”
Nawaz Sharif has an unexpected guest
An unwelcome party was spotted in court Wednesday, as former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was walking out after testifying on multiple charges of corruption, in the wake of the Panama Papers leak.
As Sharif left court, people noticed a 5-foot long snake on the premises. It led to a furore, and security personnel had to be called in to kill what was speculated to be a Russell’s viper.
The venomous snake, common in Pakistan, is responsible for the largest number of bite-related deaths in the country.
The gangster town of Lyari
The Express Tribune profiled Lyari, a Karachi neighbourhood infamous for its mafia. It was once the home of gangster brothers, Zikri and Shiraz, before they were driven out by police.
However, the two brothers who had consolidated power in the region through the trafficking of drugs had also recruited many of the town’s youth into their gangs as their influence had grown.
As some semblance of peace prevails over the town, locals are hopeful that the calm will hold and more of Lyari’s warring men won’t be taken too soon.
Locals have also blamed political parties — the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — for sheltering gangsters and fuelling unrest in the region, for personal gain.