Pakistan dismisses India’s comments on bus service to China

A private company said that work was underway for a proposed bus service between Pakistan and China to be launched this week. If the plans see the light of day, it would ply buses from Lahore to Kashgar. (Photo courtesy: NSTN Facebook page)
Updated 02 November 2018

Pakistan dismisses India’s comments on bus service to China

  • Insists it was protesting against “frivolous issues”
  • New Delhi says initiative would be a “violation of India’s sovereignty”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said it rejected India’s comments protesting the launch of a luxury bus service between Islamabad and Beijing, adding that by “raising frivolous issues,” New Delhi cannot “mislead the international community.”
“We reject the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) purported protest and statement regarding bus service through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India’s repeated regurgitation of claims over India-held Kashmir can neither change the facts of history nor the legality of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
A private company, namely the North-South Transport Network (NSTN), said that work was underway to kickstart the service this week, which would operate from Lahore to Kashgar in China, adding that it had undertaken the initiative under the flagship of the CPEC project.
Opposing the plans, India said on Wednesday: “We have lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate through Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’. It is Government of India’s consistent and well-known position that the so-called China-Pakistan "Boundary Agreement" of 1963 is illegal and invalid, and has never been recognized by the Government of India,” the Indian MEA said in a statement.
The statement added that any such bus service through Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir would be a “violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that as per the resolutions set by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is disputed, the final status of which is to be determined through a democratic and impartial plebiscite to be held under the auspices of the UN.
“In complete violation of the UNSC resolutions, and against the wishes of the Kashmiri people, India continues to maintain its illegal hold over Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir through brutal use of force. It may be recalled that Indian leaders had committed to hold the plebiscite,” the statement said.
“We call upon India to vacate its illegal occupation. We also call upon India to allow the Commission of Inquiry (COI) recommended by the OHCHR to investigate human rights violations, and resolve the Jammu &Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people,” the statement added.
Pakistan and China are linked through a land route which is used for both trade and travel. In 2015, the two countries launched the CPEC, a flagship project worth $60 billion.
Both the countries maintain traditionally-close, cooperative and friendly ties in diverse fields and the CPEC involves a host of projects which connects China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan's Gwadar port in Balochistan province.

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.