'A dispute left over from history,' Kashmir needs peaceful resolution — China

A Pakistani girl holds a candle during a vigil for peace between Pakistan and India in Lahore on March 3, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 17 January 2020

'A dispute left over from history,' Kashmir needs peaceful resolution — China

  • China believes UN Security Council’s review of the Kashmir issue ‘will help ease the situation’
  • It is a dispute ‘left over from history’ and should be resolved in accordance with international law, says Chinese Foreign Ministry

ISLAMABAD: India should give serious consideration and positive response to the request of the United Nations Security Council, which called “for observance of the UN Charter and international law” with regard to New Delhi’s ongoing lockdown of Kashmir, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said during a press briefing on Friday.
At the request of Pakistan, which was backed by China, the Security Council reviewed the issue of Kashmir on Wednesday.
“Members of the Security Council are concerned about the current situation in Kashmir, and call for observance of the UN Charter and international law, and peaceful resolution of disputes through political dialogue. They believe relevant parties should remain restrained and deescalate the tension,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters, according to a statement published on the ministry’s website.
He said Beijing’s position on the issue of Kashmir remains unchanged, as the Chinese government sees it as “a dispute left over from history,” which should be resolved “properly and peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.” 
However, according to Shuang, the council should pay attention to the region “in light of new developments” and its review “will help ease the situation in the region.”
As one of the Security Council’s five permanent members, “China will continue to play a constructive role in upholding regional peace and stability,” Shuang said, adding that Beijing has been calling on India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint, step up dialogue and enhance mutual trust to deescalate the situation as soon as possible.”

Daily wagers say government’s virus relief package won’t cover minimum needs

Updated 30 March 2020

Daily wagers say government’s virus relief package won’t cover minimum needs

  • Assistance to reach 3 million workers — less than a half of the affected, according workers’ association
  • The support package is part of the government’s Rs1.2 trillion scheme to minimize the impacts of the pandemic

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government on Monday approved Rs17,500 ($106) monthly cash assistance for around 3 million daily wage workers who lost their jobs amid cutbacks and shutdowns over the coronavirus crisis. The amount may be insufficient for them to survive.

“Something is better than nothing in this critical time, but this amount (17,500 rupees) isn’t enough even for a small family of five members to get by, ” Zahoor Awan, secretary general of the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF), told Arab News.

“A small family needs at least 50,000 rupees per month to fulfill all its expenses including house rent, food and utilities,” he said.

The Rs200 billion financial support package is part of the government’s Rs1.2 trillion fiscal stimulus scheme to minimize the adverse impacts of the disease outbreak on the country’s fragile economy.

“It was estimated that around 3 million workers will fall in this category and they will have to be paid a minimum wage of Rs17,500 ($106) per month,” the government’s Economic Coordination Committee said in a statement on Monday.
The government will disburse the money to workers through provincial labor departments.

“This is a substantial and major commitment from the government at this difficult time,” Khurram Husain, business analyst and editor at Dawn daily, told Arab News, adding that the labor departments will have to generate “authentic data” on the workers for the funds to be fairly distributed.

However, the very data on which ECC based its relief may be unreflective of the reality. 

While the ECC estimates that 3 million daily wage workers have been affected by the shutdown of commercial activity across the country, according to PWF’s Awan the number is at least 7 million.

He said the government’s package covers only the formal industrial sector. “What about those thousands working in small hotels, shops, self-employed, and others who aren’t registered with labor departments?” he said, adding that it is necessary for the government to broaden its definition of daily wage earners.

Ghulam Mustafa, a daily wager at a textile mill in Chakwal, said that prior to the business shutdown his monthly income was Rs26,000.

“It’s impossible to meet all the expenses with Rs17,500,” he told Arab News. “The government should waive off our utility bills along with this allowance.”