Istanbul to Islamabad: a Train Journey

The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) railway line which was jointly built by Pakistan, Iran and Turkey was launched recently. A train started from Margalla station in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The ceremony was attended by ministers and other officials from these three countries.

The work on the project of ITI train which is also called Eco Container Train started in 2009 before it got suspended for ten years because of the delays in Pakistan.

Turkey is aware of its geographic importance. It works as a link between Europe and Asia. This is the reason; we have noticed that Ankara was focusing its efforts to make Turkey a pivotal logistical centre in the region. It will enable Ankara to regain control over the historical Silk Road which linked China at European ports, passing through Turkish ports in the Mediterranean.

After Turkey became a central transit point for international flights, following the opening of Istanbul Airport in late 2018, it is now announcing its ambitious and strategic plans to expand its land transport networks to deep Asia and Europe. This is done through land corridors and railways, especially the international freight railway line, which Turkey used as a transit station through the Marmaray Tunnel on its first trip, which started in November 2020 from China to Europe.

Besides the new line linking Pakistan with Turkey via Iran, there are 10 international trains running today between China and Europe via Turkish territory, according to the Turkish Railways Administration.

[TRT Arabi]

Problems of Lebanon

The news of the postponement of polls in Lebanon has created doubts in the minds of the people that these elections will be held in their country. The Lebanese Parliament had set March 27 as the date for holding Parliament elections. But the President of the Republic has objected to the date, and to the method of calculating the votes of the immigrants. The matter went to the Constitutional Council which failed to resolve the matter. Most of the Lebanese politicians and journalists are of the opinion that the President did not want elections. Others said the Shiite duo did not want elections either.

Who wants it? Christian parties opposed to the President of the Republic, which hope to benefit from his waning popularity. But will it change the balance in the parliament? In the 2018 elections, the alliance of Aoun and Hezbollah gathered a majority of 74 out of 128 deputies. If Aoun’s party led by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil loses, the coalition will be less than 65 deputies. But on the other hand, the Shiite duo will almost retain its size, and the opponents of Aoun, Bassil and Hezbollah will not unite.

Armed organisations cannot be a substitute for the state. There is one global model for the integrity of the state and its political action. In the countries of turmoil, including Lebanon, first the central authority then the rest of the facilities and authorities were weakened.

[by Dr Ridwan Al Sayyid in Al Ittihad, Abu Dhabi]

Compiled and Translated by Faizul Haque

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