Politicians hit out at 'unfair' Pakistan-China Economic Corridor

Published: April 22, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Politicians complained on Wednesday that a plan for projects worth $46 billion to be built with Chinese funding has been unfairly changed to the disadvantage of provinces.  

Speaking at a press conference, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed reservations on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said the provinces were not taken on board to build the economic corridor. Albeit welcoming all the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed with the Chinese government, Qureshi said only one chief minister was present when the deals were agreed upon.

Read: Trade corridor tops Chinese investment bonanza

The plan, launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pakistan on Monday, involves energy and infrastructure projects linking the neighbours’ economies and creating an “economic corridor” between Gwadar port and China’s western Xinjiang region.

“Only CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif was present when the MoUs were signed,” Quresh said.

He added that that all political parties should have been taken on board when the deals were finalised. Further, he said the plan to build the corridor was not one party’s achievement but the project roots back to General Pervez Musharraf’s rule.

Read: China’s security as important as Pakistan’s, Nawaz tells Chinese president

“The plan to build the economic corridor spans multiple governments,” Qureshi said. “Talks about the project were taking place when I was serving as foreign minister in the Pakistan Peoples Party government and even during Musharraf’s regime.”

Qureshi said that even though he cannot speak on behalf of the Balochistan government, he is aware that the Balochistan CM Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was also not consulted over the project.

Balochistan politicians also termed the move to build the corridor unfair.

Read: Baloch ire prompts security fears for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

“We will not accept this decision and will resist this move very strongly,” provincial Minister for Planning and Development Hamid Khan Achakzai told Reuters. “It will be a big injustice.”

Jaffar Khan Mandokhel, a former provincial minister, said there would be a “strong reaction” to the change which would only benefit Pakistan’s richest province.

“The change is meant to give maximum benefit to Punjab, which is already considered the privileged province,” he said.

Read: Two security personnel killed in Gwadar gun battle

The complaints highlight the political risks for a plan China sees as a key part of its aim to forge “Silk Road” land and sea ties to markets in the Middle East and Europe.

The army said it was tackling the security risks by setting up a special division for the corridor, including nine army battalions and paramilitary forces. The move was welcomed by the PTI on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, six separatist militants and two soldiers were killed in clashes in Balochistan, officials said.

Militants have also attacked Chinese workers in Pakistan. And China worries about separatists from Xinjiang, whom it blames for a series of attacks across China over the past year.

Read: Security forces successfully repelled attack on Air Traffic Control Radar in Pasni

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised Xi Pakistan would step up efforts to battle terrorism.

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Reader Comments (64)

  • Manju
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:13PM

    I am an Indian but can still smell the fear of Imran Khan and company’s loosing publicity and credit to Sheriff brothers who are bound to use these agreements with Chinese as their credit in the next elections…
    Therefore the drama that state governments / (imran khan) is/are not being involved and given a chance to snatch some credit..
    But I don’t get one thing. How can a state/provincial government demand a stay in international relations when you have an elected government in the center to manage the same..?Recommend

  • pakistani
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:32PM

    The safer road should be adopted, no matter from where it passes. Its clear china can’t danger their econmic corridor due to terrorisim in KPKH and balocishtan.Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:46PM

    @Manju:

    These small time roaches are just making noise and nothing else. Give em’ a silent treatment and these termites will just go back into their nests. If these small time nobodies have a problem with Shahbaz Sharif being so ubiquitous, then so be it. The guy is the hardest working CM and it was due to his constant parleys with the Chinese over the last couple of years that these initiatives are about to bear fruit which would benefit all Pakistanis across the board.

    Instead of complaining, these people should instead ask the question from PPP on why it is still persisting with a CM in Sindh who was born in 300 B.C. and PTI should answer what qualities does Pervaiz Khattak possess besides rolling a good joint and getting high on it. Recommend

  • Haider
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:49PM

    @Manju
    No way Imran Khan will be next prime minister.What Shah Mahmood stated was correct.Why other CM’s werent invited. Shabaz Sharif cant get special privileges bcz of brother of PM.KPK performing better than PunjabRecommend

  • Ranjha
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:55PM

    @Manju:

    No wonder India is in the soup it finds itself in today. It u s thanks mainly to call centre cowboys like you.

    Tell me Einstein, is the Baluchistan PM angry also because of election mileage? There are more Baluchis in Karachi than in all of Baluchistan so what election prospects to form a Federal government were jeopardised?

    Half the problems on this planet are created by dimwits like you mouthing inanities day in and day out on subjects you have no clue about.

    Now ho back and focus on helping tge screaming lady from Nebraska to help her use the mouse!Recommend

  • Lobster
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:58PM

    @Manju:
    Dear Manju, provinces are given more autonomy and they indeed have a say in any agreement. Specially since Gwadar is in Balochistan, Federal govt can’t decide on its own, unless provincial CM agrees.Recommend

  • Talking Point
    Apr 22, 2015 - 5:58PM

    @Manju: The issue here is that only one finger out of a hand of four fingers is getting all the diamond rings while the other fingers are still under shackles lest the growth of the diamond finger called P is affected. The federal govt much like our GoI is like the hand but without the fingers in harmony of what use is the hand. Recommend

  • Babloo
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:03PM

    Babloo,
    Any idea how much Pakistan is paying Pakistan for ‘land aquisition costs’ for building a chinese highway , with chinese labor through Pakistan to carry chinese goods ?Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:11PM

    @Haider:

    KPK performing better than Punjab

    This is just about the only line that you have been chirping like a low pedigree parrot in almost all of your posts. Tell me, does jailbreaks and slaughter of 130 kids at APS qualify as a “Better Performance?” ET ain’t the right place for you dude. Grow up.Recommend

  • Shehryar
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:18PM

    I am afraid that people are being too optimistic on this economic corridor. Pak’s politicians have a habit of pulling the rug from under each other’s feet. This, together with their unbounded greed and nonexistence of accountability (in fact, the justice system being one of the most corrupt in the world as well), this economic boom will only be to the benefit of politicians like Sharifs, Zardaris and their ludacris family/friends.. The common man will likely remain poor. How many times have we heard about change of fortunes, a bright future, asian tiger? These are all made up stories… Recommend

  • Kiran
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:21PM

    @Manju, Trying to snatch credit of good deals by party which rule is common in Indian too, right? Its quite natural. It would have been great if PM had got a consensus from all CMs of provinces before negotiating with Chinese. Singing MOUs without consulting with province heads will delay or derail projects whether in Pakistan or India or elsewhere.

    Having said that, I think Pakistan is on right track now by focusing on economic activities over military competition with India. But depending heavily on Chinese is not a good idea. Pakistan should try to diversify such corporations with other countries including India. Ideally share of one foreign country should not go beyond 10% of the total international trade revenue. Otherwise It will lead to kind of British colonialism.Recommend

  • Apr 22, 2015 - 6:28PM

    @Ranjha:
    Who ever you are, you need help.Recommend

  • S
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:40PM

    Nothing good can come out of PTI. It really doesn’t matter who was consulted or not. At the end, it will benefit all. It was because of PTI that Chinese President cancelled his visit last year. Admit it PTI, after this investment, you are going to be wiped out in next elections. Infact, you already are. It will be better if PTI and co. concentrate their energies on making the investment successful. As this is all they can do right now. :)Recommend

  • Shah(Berlin)
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:43PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:

    What a lame comparison…You cannot compare progress with terrorist attacks…we all know tht Peshawar always gets hit harder as it has a common border with ahem Afghanistan….

    Secondly can you answer the above mentioned question…NO U CANNOT..so either follow Democracy or let dicators rule…Recommend

  • Anarchist
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:44PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi: SS is a hardworker only when it comes to increasing Sharif’s wealth. They guy is a murderer of 14 innocent lives.

    As far as his performance is concerned, we just have to look at what has become of Punjab police and what happened after last August’s floods when he had had been in government for 6 years. Recommend

  • Shah(Berlin)
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:45PM

    @Kiran:

    than PM should have excluded CM Punjab from the table as well….Recommend

  • ZAK
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:48PM

    I think those so called politicians who are against development in pakistan and speak against project of national interest must be bained.

    These people has nothing to do with betterment of common man rather play politics.

    They all believe in sectaranism,lingustic and provincialism.

    Donot play politics with poor people of Pakistan.
    .

    They all working for vested interest.
    Govt should go on with these projects of National intetest.We strongly back up PM for his steps toward right direction.Recommend

  • Waleed Khan
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:48PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:

    Punjab steals the KPK, Balochi, and Sindhi gas. Punjab steals electricity generated in KPK, Punjab steals automobiles manufactured in Sindh. What does Punjab even make? Wheat? Punjab is where it is because of the other provinces. Punjab couldn’t survive a day without KPK, Sindh, and Balochistan.Recommend

  • VJ Yousafali
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:49PM

    In a way the objections raised by PTI are not wrong. Though the decision was taken by the Central Govt. the provincial Govt heads should have been taken into confidence. At the same time China is not doing it for Pakistan’s benefit, it is primarily to suite their own benefit of getting an access to the Arabian Ocean and developing their Western province of Xinping. Looking at the poverty and lack of education of Pakis, tomorrow China will start asking for more favors with their finance and one day occupy most of the areas of Pakistan. Is Pakistan going to be a slave of China with the way China is throwing favors at them and Pakistan obliging in the name of friendship. Look at India, which never became a satellite state of Russia irrespective of their time tested friendship. After getting so much from China, will Pakistan be in a position to say ‘No’ to them tomorrow to any of their demands. Today Gawadar Port is given to China to manage it, tomorrow they will demand the management of Balochistan province because of their interests there, will Pakistan oblige? China is a communist state and are ‘atheist’, whereas Pakistan is an Islamic State believing in Islam religion and that will be a major irritant with China tomorrow as they sink their feet in Pakistan. China is historically known for acquiring land clandestinely and Pakistan should be careful about it before it converts automatically to ‘Communist State of Pakistan’. Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 22, 2015 - 6:56PM

    These losers and practitioners of pagan rituals of Piri Muridi in Multan have made a habit out of denigrating Punjabis in the hope that it would undermine PML-N in Punjab and Punjabis would vote for these traitors. Remember, PPP tried it’s hand with the same kind of illogical politics between 2008-2012 and got it’s backside handed on a platter from across the province, even from it’s bastion of South Punjab in 2013 elections.Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 22, 2015 - 7:04PM

    one question only, no body is telling how Pakistan will be benefited a lot from this after handing gwader over to china for 40 years, incapacitated individuals and institutions like Sharifs and foreign, trade and home ministries respectively are likely to bring prosperity to Pakistan, hilarious Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 22, 2015 - 7:10PM

    @Shahid:
    how kind hearted you are, you have been helped by some one earlier Recommend

  • Hickter
    Apr 22, 2015 - 7:12PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi; Attacks by non-state actors is different from State Sponsored Terrorism, which we saw in the Punjab. On the orders of Shahbaz Sharif, 100 people were fired upon, the judge held Sharif culpable but they still formed a JIT, which concluded he was culpable too.
    South Punjab is neglected, there’s no need for it’s elaboration.
    The LHC has quashed proposals to build three highways in Lahore as ‘unneccessary’.
    89% of Punjab’s Elite Force is in Protocols at the moment.
    The Young Doctors are not given their pays, which is why they’ve called for protests again.
    Kissan Movement is on the rise, because the farmers were not provided subsidies and the market prices were lowered, affecting them adversely.
    Of all the projects taken up by Punjab, ONLY 3 WERE AUDITED, I don’t even need to state who’s pocket the money went into.
    This Year, Polio refusals have decreased by 60% in KPK and in South Punjab, polio is still a major threat to the children.
    The Rotavirus vaccine was ‘short’ because of inadequate funds, surprisingly, the funds were provided in full amounts last year.
    The Minimum wage rate in Punjab is less than that of KPK.
    Christians are targeted in Punjab. The Blind are not given their rights and when they protest in Assemblies, they’re pushed away, as are minors, who protest against the government.
    I hope this gives you an idea as to who is in his ‘ET’ at the moment.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 22, 2015 - 7:19PM

    PTI now do a dhrana in Beijing and ask for resignation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
    Express Tribune never show anything positive.Recommend

  • Layman
    Apr 22, 2015 - 7:36PM

    Adnan siddiqui..shame on you on calling fellow Pakistanis roaches only because you have political difference with them, this shows you mental sickness and upbringing..and how come moderators of ET allowed such an obnoxious comment,Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 22, 2015 - 9:04PM

    These punjabi rats are now even snatching from KP and Balochistan what was given by China not Pakistan. For them Punjab is everything and then they say Baloch don’t like us. Recommend

  • Syed Ahmed
    Apr 22, 2015 - 9:31PM

    @Manju:
    why are you so interested in what happens in Pakistan? Dont you have any issues of importance to comment on in India?

    Dont worry about us.Recommend

  • Syed Ahmed
    Apr 22, 2015 - 9:33PM

    This is a game changer and many jealous people will try and raise objections, the nation will and must defeat them.

    Anyone who opposes this will instantly lose favor with the people and their loss will be sure shot, so think carefully before opening your mouth…all politicians.

    The world is watching how Pakistan will avail this opportunity, many rich overseas Pakistanis are waiting to invest in Pakistan as well.Recommend

  • Grace
    Apr 22, 2015 - 10:18PM

    @Anarchist: Tell me why people prefer the stability and progress in Punjab over any other province? The reason is Shahbaz Sharif who works to improve his province while other CMs involve themselves in filling their pockets. All I can see is that PTI is desperate for all the economic plans of Nawaz Sharif to fail. Nawaz Sharif has done a great job of turning things around and strengthening the economy and it scares other parties. So just like the dharnas when PTI scared away Chinese president, PTI is now raising issue of route of corridor to scare away Chinese. Tell me what investor wants an unstable route for trade? No one of course. When stability comes to rest of Pakistan, the Western route can be made too but now is not the time for PTI to damage Pakistan’s plans and future.Recommend

  • Tariq
    Apr 22, 2015 - 10:22PM

    who needs enemies when we have such corrupt politicians that they dig grave of their own country. This reminds me of scientific study by ‘Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad’ in which monkeys were put in the cage with a ladder inside and banana on the top of ladder. All monkeys would pull each other legs so that none get the banana. Recommend

  • Ranjha
    Apr 22, 2015 - 10:27PM

    @Shahid:

    Who ever you are, you need help.

    May be. But darbaris like you are beyond any help! Cheap mouth morons like you will be the greatest source of cracking up our beautiful country.Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 22, 2015 - 11:20PM

    @S:
    day dreaming is not badRecommend

  • Palijo
    Apr 22, 2015 - 11:30PM

    Why is anyone surprised that provinces other than Punjab were once again left to fend for themselves while the richest daddy province finalized plans to rake in more ill-begotten money? Only Punjab matters in Pakistan.Recommend

  • roarwali
    Apr 22, 2015 - 11:50PM

    @pakistani:

    The change of route will further strengthen the separatist movement in Baluchistan and the nationalist parties will use it against the federation.
    Moreover, we need not india but Shareefs are enough to break the countryRecommend

  • Rana prince
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:31AM

    may god or allah give pak sharp mind……this communist will be benefitted from corridor not pak . Pak will kater repent i m sure…Recommend

  • rk from ny
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:34AM

    A billion dollar ‘investment’ by china with none of it being ‘loan’ or ‘aid’ clearly shows how the Chinese have purchased the Pakistani territory… not one cent of the ‘billion’ is going to the Pakistani hand… everything is invested by Chinese and the resultant profits go to the Chinese… the only thing Chinese may pay for is cheap labor and everyone knows the kind of working conditions the Chinese provide… this investment is for Chinese access to asian and European markets… and for looting mineral wealth like they have already been doing.. anyway….. and the poor Pakistanis are jumping up and down as if they are being treated as equal partners … ! the Chinese prez is doing a fine job of looting the Pakistanis and controlling their territory while seemingly patting the Pakistani head with a smile.!!!. Recommend

  • Proud Pakistani
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:44AM

    @Pakistani: Are u Pakistani NO YOU AREN’T i am sureRecommend

  • aisha
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:45AM

    Our politicians know only how to convert projects to Kalabagh dam.Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:52AM

    @pakistani,

    You are in title to your opinion. So, what you are saying is just keep on giving everything to Punjab and don’t ask for what is yours? Even the attempt of alienating Pukhtun and Baloch is a suicide. why don’t you tell us what is next? Build Kalabagh Dam to drown other provinces just to benefit Punjab? Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Apr 23, 2015 - 1:14AM

    @Haider:
    Imran khan has no chance at being PM until he proves himself in kpk. At least nawaz sharif has shown results, what has Imran accomplished?? A lot of nothing.Recommend

  • Czar
    Apr 23, 2015 - 1:51AM

    That’s the reason this country does not progress. Too many spoilers spoiling the game.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Apr 23, 2015 - 1:58AM

    @Ranjha:
    Funny hearing that from a Pakistani surviving on Saudi, Chinese and American dole.Recommend

  • Khattak
    Apr 23, 2015 - 2:14AM

    A 10000 thousand force to safeguard Chinese from Baluch & Pashtun. Why don’t the Punjab Government find a better way(political) to manage projects. What if Baluch & Pashtun access external support to stop China Punjab Corridor? After all there are many waiting to exploit such an opportunity. I thought Chinese were doing it to manage Ugheris problem but this could aggravate it further.Recommend

  • Malveros
    Apr 23, 2015 - 2:19AM

    Well done to the federal govt. PML(N) must torpedo any negativity coming out of closed minds with progress on the ground. Congrats again. Termites will remain termites weakening the foundations of the country.Recommend

  • Khattak
    Apr 23, 2015 - 3:02AM

    9 Battalion & paramilitary forces will be protecting Chinese from Baluch & Pashtuns. And PTI a people political party support this decision. If Baluch & Pashtun do not want it then who is this Corridore for? Recommend

  • shafaqat khan
    Apr 23, 2015 - 3:38AM

    I am suue this is a game changer moment for my beloved homeland and many jealous politician will try and raise objections, as a Pakistani we must defeat them.
    Anyone who opposes this will instantly lose favor with the people and their loss will be sure shot, so think carefully before opening your mouth.
    The world is watching how Pakistan will avail this opportunity, many rich overseas Pakistanis are waiting to invest in Pakistan as well.Recommend

  • Aftab
    Apr 23, 2015 - 6:03AM

    @pakistani:

    So you are saying places which are not safe shall remain unsafe, and do not deserve a fair share, then why are the part of Pakistan ?Recommend

  • ajeet
    Apr 23, 2015 - 6:49AM

    Pakistan is a country for Punjab, of Punjab and by Punjab. The Bengalis were intelligent and created Bangladesh and have been doing better since then.Recommend

  • Ray
    Apr 23, 2015 - 7:04AM

    @manju what u said is correct…who are we to challenge their preference they don’t want the workers dead …the fact KPK and Baluchistan not at all capable of protecting chinese personel as we have seen recently.
    Who cares if routes goes through Punjab or Lahore or Larkana.Recommend

  • S
    Apr 23, 2015 - 9:48AM

    @raider:
    I have sympathy for PTI and its supporters. I know they are in shock. I hate Nawaz poltics but I absolutely detest PTI gimmicks who have only harmed Pak interests.
    The only people who daydream is IK and his supporters who think that by doing dharnas you could become PM and or could build “New Pakistan”. Let’s admit it, Nawaz is showing results. Give credit where its due. If Nawaz and co. managed to implement even 25% of the projects before the next elections, then he is going to sweep elections next time and you know it.Recommend

  • Saad
    Apr 23, 2015 - 9:57AM

    @rk from ny:
    Indians ware jumping up and down too when Obama visted India and pledged investment so why can’t we be happy? Pak is focusing on economics over defence. Isn’t that what you guys want?
    China is not giving us a charity. Certainly they are going to gain from this project but so will Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2015 - 11:28AM

    @Ranjha:
    I love you too!Recommend

  • Mohtisib
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:06PM

    What is not being reported is that out of 45 billion investment 4 is invested in Punjab 9 in Sindh and rest in other parts of Pakistan.

    The CM who could not keep himself awake at the investiture ceremony in honour of the guest president how can he be serious in making strategy for the province.

    It is not the matter of routes it’s simply they don’t want the country to progress no other reason.Recommend

  • raider
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:09PM

    @Ray:
    have you felt ashamed of receiving gas from Baluchistan ever, gwader is situated in Baluchistan, take it to lhr or some where else in Punjab it is will be vulnerable as security concern here in Baluchistan Recommend

  • Khaptaan
    Apr 23, 2015 - 12:43PM

    Come on guys, what do you expect from IK & Co. These pathetic people can’t think anythink other than thmeselves.
    Gov. is not bothering and shall no bother filth like this. Keep it up PM.Recommend

  • Apr 23, 2015 - 12:44PM

    @Ranjha:
    See I was right, you must see a doctor asap and let me know when you feel better.Recommend

  • Factual
    Apr 23, 2015 - 1:11PM

    Timely reporting by ET. We must ask though that if Punjab can have prosperity for its people then why not allow the same for Baluchistan? if people of Baluchistan are not even worthy of third rate so-called economic corridor then why not set them free? Why latch on to Baluchistan? Recommend

  • Lolz
    Apr 23, 2015 - 1:21PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi: you are right, you speak the language of a slave dude, I wish your lords could teach you democracy that no matter how efficient or hardworking a leader is, in democracy, doesnt rule for 30 years!!!!! Recommend

  • Truth_Prevails
    Apr 23, 2015 - 2:02PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi: You & those who recommended your post deserve to be ruled by Sharifs and the irony is u wouldn’t understand what I mean :(Recommend

  • sabi
    Apr 23, 2015 - 3:04PM

    The only difference between yesterday and today is, yesterday they (inquilabis) lick the boots of agencies today they are licking their wounds. This is the fate of a hypocrite
    Message of NS to all these losers:
    Catch me if you can!Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Apr 23, 2015 - 7:04PM

    @ajeet:

    Have you even know why China is making this deal or you are here just to bash Pakistan? One hand washes another. China and Pakistan both will benefit from this deal.

    According to WSJ, making this deal will reduce Chinese ships journey, from Europe and Africa, from 45 days to only 10 days. Recommend

  • Lakhkar Khan
    Apr 23, 2015 - 7:06PM

    @ajeet:

    Based on your logic, Sikhs will be better off without being Indians. Don’t you think, Raj?Recommend

  • waseem
    Apr 24, 2015 - 12:00AM

    Baseless criticism by opposition parties. These defeated elements always do dirty politics of hate and provincialism.
    Allah bless Pakistan. Allah bless Nawaz Sharif.Recommend

  • Aqeel
    Apr 24, 2015 - 9:48AM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    “PTI should answer what qualities does Pervaiz Khattak possess besides rolling a good joint and getting high on it”.

    Not sure about his other qualities, but there is one he seriously lacks, that he is not the brother of the prime minister.Recommend

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