Pakistan was among the first countries to end official diplomatic relationships with the Republic of China and recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) regime on Mainland China. Since then both countries have made good relations amongst them as a priority.
The PRC has provided economic, military, and technical assistance to Pakistan, and each country considers the other a close strategic ally. China is one of Pakistan’s largest supplier of arms and its third largest trade partner. Diplomatic relations were established in 1950, boundary issues resolved in 1963, military assistance began in 1966, a strategic alliance was formed in 1972, and economic co-operation began in 1979.
A central part of Pakistan’s foreign policy is maintaining good relations with China. In 1986, President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq visited China to improve diplomatic relations, and Pakistan was one of only two countries, to offer crucial support to the PRC after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. China supports Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, while Pakistan supports China on the issues of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan.
Pakistan serves as the main bridge to connections with the Islamic World, and also played an important role in bridging communication gaps between China and the West.
As economic relationships between the two countries have grown stronger a free trade agreement has been signed, and China has pledged to increase its investment in Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure. On 26 April, China Mobile announced $1 billion of investment in Pakistan in telecommunication infrastructure and in the training of its officials within a period of three years. On 22 April 2015, China released its first overseas investment project under the Belt and Road Initiative for developing a hydropower station near Jhelum. The biggest economic development yet is to open up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which has changed the situation completely as China has carved an enormous plan for economic growth and development in Pakistan.
Pakistan is reported to have the most positive view of China in the world.
Balochistan is home to most of the mineral resources available in Pakistan and it possess great explored and unexplored potential of metallic and non-metallic minerals, some of which are currently being exploited and some which have future plans of exploitation.
Reko Diq is a small town in Chagai District, Balochistan, Pakistan. The town is located in a desert area, 70 kilometers north-west of Naukundi, close to Pakistan’s border with Iran and Afghanistan due to which it is located in the Tethyan belt that stretches all the way from Turkey and Iran into Pakistan. Reko Diq which translated into a sandy peak in the Baluchi Language is famous due to its Reko Diqmine which is known for its vast Gold and Copper Reserves and is believed to have the world’s 5th largest gold deposit.
The mine has an estimated reserve of 5.9 billion tonnes of ore grading 0.41% copper and gold reserves amounting to 41.5 million oz. The area is under the control of the Tethyan Copper Company which holds 50% of the share and the company completed a feasibility report in respect for the project and submitted it to the Government of Balochistan.
The initial plan contemplate or hopes that in the processing plant about 110.000 tons of ore per day will be processed and transported to Gwadar through a pipeline to a marine terminal facility for storage and transfer. The proposed processing plant will produce approximately 600,000 tons of copper concentrate a year, which will contain 28-31% copper and 7-22 g/ton gold which translates to about 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold per year.
The mine has an estimated life of over 56 years with an estimated annual operating expense of US$400 million. The mining initiative is committed to the development of the project in order to cause the potential transformation of Balochistan’s dormant mineral resources into profitable mineral reserves. The project also will significantly contribute to the uplift of the local people and strengthen the economy in general by generating long term revenues in the form of royalties, taxes, profit-sharing and employment opportunities.
As soon as the Reko Diq project will go into development it will become the road for further investment in the exploration and mining sectors in Balochistan hence Pakistan in general.
Since the independence of Pakistan, Pakistan and the United States have kept a multifaceted and broad-based relationship, driven by co-operation ranging from education to energy and from defense to trade and investment. The United States was one of the first countries that established relations with Pakistan after its independence and Pakistan allied itself with the US during the war against the Soviet Union and played an integral party in CENTO and SEATO.
Relations further improved during the Operation Cyclone against the Soviet Expansion in Central Asia and South Asia in the 1980s. Pakistan once again assumed an important role in American geopolitical interests in the region following the September 11 attacks, and the subsequent War on Terror. Relations further strengthened after the US declared Pakistan a major non-NATO ally in 2002 which allowed Pakistan to be given aid of over $25 billion. Pakistan also appreciated the efforts that the US made for the relief of Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake.
The United States today engages in extensive economic, social, and scientific assistance as well as vital military relations with Pakistan. The United States is also Pakistan’s second largest supplier of military equipment.
Child Labor in Pakistan
Child labor is the employment of children for work which causes them mental, physical, moral and social harm. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated that in the 1990s, 11 million children were working in the country, half of which were under the age of 10.
More than 12.5 million children are involved in child labor in Pakistan. According to Reuters, “Pakistan’s Labor Force Survey, 2014-15 showed that of those children aged between 10 and 14 years active in child labor, 61 percent were boys and 88 percent came from rural areas.”
The International Labor Organization (ILO) suggests that poverty is the greatest cause for child labor in Pakistan. As of 2008, 17.2% of the total population lives below the poverty line, which is the lowest figure in the history of Pakistan. Over the years the government of Pakistan has taken several measures to put an end to child labor.
The Children Support Program is one which given money to parents to send their children to school rather than to work and is eligible for children from the age of 5 to 16. So far the government has distributed almost $3 million to families.
In 2017 a bill passed by the Sindh Government called, The Sindh Prohibition of Employment of Children Bill banned children under the age of 14 to work. The law also prohibit children from the age of 13 to 19 from working between the hours of 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. and for those who opt to work are only allowed to work three hours a day. The bill also states that anyone caught not abiding by the law will be imprisoned for six months and fined Rs. 50,000. It also states that factory owners or offenders caught with child labor taking place in dangerous workplaces will be sentenced to imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 100,000.
Several NGO groups have also been creating awareness against child labor in Pakistan. An NGO called Save the Children has been working with the sporting goods manufacturers represented by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce, and Industry and their international partner brands, represented by the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. This joint venture makes sure that no children are employed in the stitching of footballs factories.
Child labor over the years has slowly decreased and will continue to decrease in Pakistan until it is completely eliminated with the help of measures taken by the government and awareness created by NGOs.
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