Chinese President visits Pakistan Yemen Crisis Karachi By-Election Other News
Chinese President visits Pakistan
Chinese President’s visit to Pakistan remained in the headlines throughout the week as this was the first visit by any Chinese president to Pakistan in nine years. During the visit Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the investment worth $46 billion which involves investment in infrastructure, ports, energy and industrial sector. Both the leaders signed agreements aimed at establishing a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor between Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea and China’s western Xinjiang region. This plan is part of China’s aim to forge ‘Silk Road’ land and sea ties to markets in the Middle East and Europe. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the corridor would transform Pakistan into a regional hub and give China a shorter route for trade with Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Atleast 51 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed during this visit of Chinese president. China also reaffirmed its support and solidarity for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Pakistan.
Later Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the joint session of parliament and praised Pakistan for its contribution to security in China’s far west. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan considered Chinese security as important as its own and expressed to further enhance defence cooperation with China.
Meanwhile the government of Pakistan has approved raising of a special security division of Pakistan Army to provide security to the Chinese working at various projects in Pakistan.
Military sources said a total of 10,000 troops will be dedicated for this purpose and a two-star general, who would report directly to the General Headquarters (GHQ), would head this security division.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had announced an end to air strikes in Yemen against Houthi rebels and to start rebuilding process. But on Wednesday, hours after ceasefire announcement, Saudi-led coalition warplanes started bombing Yemen again while ground fighting also resumed. Earlier, announcement of ceasefire by the Kingdom after a month of air strikes drew positive responses from across the world.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and other senior ministers visited the kingdom on Thursday where they met King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and discussed the situation arising out of Yemen crisis as well as the matters of mutual interest. The prime minister also met President of Yemen Mansour Hadi in Riyadh. Media reports quoted sources as saying that the visit by the prime minister along with the army chief was aimed at giving assurance to the Saudi leadership that Pakistan would stand by the kingdom. Prime minister also held a high level preparatory meeting before leaving for Saudia Arabia on Wednesday.
Earlier, parliament had voted against Pakistan’s military participation in Yemen against Houthis and called for neutrality in the crisis. Meanwhile Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said that Pakistan had been in contact with Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia, for the early solution of Yemen crisis.
By- election in Karachi’s constituency NA-246 was held on Thursday after the seat fell vacant after MQM’s former Member National Assembly Nabeel Gabool resigned over differences with the party. The seat from this constituency in Azizabad Karachi went back to MQM as its member Kanwar Naveed won the election with a sizeable number of votes with PTI candidate Imran Ismail coming in second and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Rashid Naseem third. Many predicted the win of MQM candidate as not only this seat lies in vicinity of Nine Zero, headquarters of MQM, but party has also enjoyed repeated victories in last few decades.
Around 12 candidates were in run for this seat. However, the main contest in the constituency was between candidates of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Jamat-e-Islami. Meanwhile during the polling process, MQM chief Altaf Hussain called on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to extend polling time by three hours. Kanwar Naveed also wrote a letter to the ECP requesting it to extend the poll timing by three hours. However, the ECP did not comply with requests.
To avoid any untoward situation and to monitor the whole process, Rangers were given the control of polling stations. As pre- emptive measures, there was zero tolerance on display of arms and only voters with their original national identity cards were allowed to enter the polling stations.
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