Tuesday, January 9, 2018

CPEC is Transforming The Least Developed Parts of Pakistan

In a New York Times Op Ed titled "How Not to Engage With Pakistan",  ex US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson says "Its (CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken".  Olson goes on to warn the Trump Administration that "Without Pakistani cooperation, our (US) army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale".

Among the parts of Pakistan being transformed by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are some of the least developed regions in Balochistan and Sindh, specifically Gwadar and Thar Desert. Here is more on these regions:

Gwadar Port City:

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traffic grew by 23% last year, according to Anna Aero publication.  A new international airport is now being built in Gwadar to handle soaring passenger and cargo traffic.




In addition to building a major seaport that will eventually handle 300-400 million tons of cargo in a year, China has built a school, sent doctors and pledged about $500 million in grants for an airport, hospital, college and badly-needed water supply infrastructure for Gwadar, according to Reuters.

The Chinese grants include $230 million for a new international airport in Gwadar, one of the largest such disbursements China has made abroad, according to researchers and Pakistani officials.

New development work in Gwadar is expected to create as many as 20,000 jobs for the local population.

Thar Desert:

Thar, one of the least developed regions of Pakistan, is seeing unprecedented development activity in energy and infrastructure projects.  New roads, airports and buildings are being built along with coal mines and power plants as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There are construction workers and machinery visible everywhere in the desert. Among the key beneficiaries of this boom are Thari Hindu women who are being employed by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) as part of the plan to employ locals. Highlighted in recent news reports are two Hindu women in particular: Kiran Sadhwani, an engineer and Gulaban, a truck driver.

Kiran Sadhwani, a Thari Hindu Woman Engineer. Source: Express Tribune

Thar Population:

The region has a population of 1.6 million. Most of the residents are cattle herders. Majority of them are Hindus.  The area is home to 7 million cows, goats, sheep and camel. It provides more than half of the milk, meat and leather requirement of the province. Many residents live in poverty. They are vulnerable to recurring droughts.  About a quarter of them live where the coal mines are being developed, according to a report in The Wire.

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters

Some of them are now being employed in development projects.  A recent report talked of an underground coal gasification pilot project near the town of Islamkot where "workers sourced from local communities rested their heads after long-hour shifts".

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters 

In the first phase, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is relocating 5 villages that are located in block II.  SECMC is paying villagers for their homes and agricultural land.

SECMC’s chief executive officer, Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, says his company "will construct model towns with all basic facilities including schools, healthcare, drinking water and filter plants and also allocate land for livestock grazing,” according to thethirdpole.net He says that the company is paying villagers above market prices for their land – Rs. 185,000 ($ 1,900) per acre.

Summary:

Ex US Ambassador Richard Olson is absolutely right in his assessment that "(CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken".  Olson goes on to warn the Trump Administration that "Without Pakistani cooperation, our (US) army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale". The "magnitude" of CPEC and its "transformation" that Olson refers to is clearly visible in some of the least developed regions of Pakistan in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.  Gwadar port city and Thar desert are humming with unprecedented development activity fueled by billions of dollars of funds allocated by China and Pakistan.  

Related Links:










22 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Gilgit Baltistan, another least developed region in Pakistan, is benefiting from CPEC:

Billions of rupees were being spent on expanding road network for boosting business and tourism activity in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

This was stated by Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman while talking to a news channel. The present government was working to expand tax and road networks to benefit the people of the area, he said.

A committee had been formed to bring the tax reforms, he said adding Anti-corruption laws was also being implemented in G-B areas.

About 15 to 20 lakh tourists had been visiting the Gilgit-Baltistan, due to peaceful environment restored by the efforts of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), government, he said.

To a question the CM G-B said that an amount of Rs 47,00,000 had been collected through withholding tax.

Appreciating the federal government initiatives, he said that besides Gilgit-Baltistan budget, the Center had also provided 19 billion rupees for special projects and development of the area. Two power projects of 100 mega watt and 80 mega watt capacity, costing 52 billion rupees would be completed through China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said.

To another question Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman said that Gilgit-Skardu road was being completed with the cost of 35 billion rupees. More than 100 billion rupees was being invested to link and expand road networks, he added.

Completion of roads would reduce the distance besides save the precious time of the people travelling from Gilgit to Islamabad, he said. A regional grid station would also be built in near future, he added.


https://pakobserver.net/billions-rupees-spent-expand-road-network-gilgit-baltistan-chief-minister/

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC to open development era for KP’s southern districts

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Federal Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Durrani has said that the multi-billion project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would usher in new era of economic progress and prosperity in the southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Talking in a meeting with elders on the occasion of a wedding ceremony of a renowned social worker here, the minister said that southern district which had long been awaiting development-oriented measures were included into development projects under the CPEC in wake of efforts of the party’s chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman.

He said the mega project featured establishment of industrial zones at designated places all along the route besides other billions of dollars worth development schemes.

He said that industrial zones would bring economic prosperity to southern districts of KP and generate job opportunities for its people who had long been ignored by other political parties.

He said with construction of the route, people of the area would have access to modern facilities of life.

He said the CPEC would promote trade ties with neighbouring countries Central Asian States and South Asian countries, which would ultimately prepare the ground to make Pakistan a trade hub in this whole region.

He said CPEC project involved billions of dollars worth development schemes and would bring prosperity not only for the two countries but for the region as well, adding this mega project would create job opportunities and the country would move ahead on the path of progress and development.

Referring to the FATA merger issue, the federal minister said that future of FATA should be decided in line with wishes and aspirations of tribal people.

He said that Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman was struggling to achieve bright future for the people of tribal belt and had always stressed the need to keep in view interests and rights of the tribal people.

He said FATA people had rendered supreme sacrifices for the sake of the country so decisions may not be imposed against their will and aspirations.

He also said the revival of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) was a welcome sign and would supplement efforts for strengthening democracy in the country.


https://www.brecorder.com/2017/12/27/389322/cpec-to-open-development-era-for-kps-southern-districts/

Riaz Haq said...

The Gilgit-Baltistan Working Development Party (GBWDP) approved on Wednesday several mega projects worth millions of rupees for uplift of different sectors to provide better services to people. The meeting reviewed scores of development schemes and approved key projects for departments of Home, Social Welfare, Education and Energy with special focus on improving socio-economic conditions of the masses besides providing quality services. To effectively tackle aftereffects of natural calamities, a mega project of Rs100 million is to be completed and two schemes costing Rs240 million for tourism, sports and culture departments have been approved.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1605446/2-g-b-approves-economic-uplift-plan/

GILGIT, Pakistan: Gilgit Baltistan (GB) registered 25 percent increase in domestic and foreign tourists last year due to significant improvement in the security, law and order situation in the province.

The growth in foreign and domestic tourists that visited different areas of GB had increased by 25% as compared to last year owing to effective measures taken by the government to improve law and order situation in the province, official sources in GB Tourism Department told the state-run news agency on Friday.

The official said arrival of 1.75 million international and 38.8 million domestic tourists to Pakistan, successful holding of Peace Cup 2017 in Miranshah North Waziristan Agency, Asia Peace Festival, Pakistan Motorcar Rally from Khunjrab to Gwadar and PSL Final in Lahore, establishment of Counter Terrorism Force and rehabilitation of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) have clearly showed that peace and normalcy was fully returned to the Country besides enhanced its soft image of being tourists and sports loving Country.

The official said tourism was the most important sector where people can knew about each others’ culture, customs, traditions and civilizations besides earned valuable foreign exchange for the Country. He said Pakistan’s foreign missions and overseas Pakistanis can play a key role in promoting tourism in the Country especially in GB and assured full cooperation in this regard.

https://dnd.com.pk/gilgit-baltistan-registered-25-more-tourists-in-2017/137555

Riaz Haq said...

China Outbidding US For Pakistan’s Future – Analysis

https://www.eurasiareview.com/11012018-china-outbidding-us-for-pakistans-future-analysis/

Trump has accelerated the process of deteriorating relations at breakneck speeds, and China is well-poised to pick up the replace the U.S. as Pakistan’s global backer. It’s not just the tweet or fraying of diplomatic relations, but the lack of concerted effort to secure Pakistan as a partner as U.S. interests are drowned out by other powers.

As Trump works on “Making America Great Again,” China is literally building inroads to become West Asia’s hegemon.

During Trump’s short tenure, his administration has overseen the rapid retrenchment of U.S. power from West Asia and the Middle East: Trump has relinquished Iraq to Iran, stepped back on the Iranian nuclear deal, withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, retreated from a meaningful part in the Israeli/Palestinian peace process, and now is seemingly turning its back its alliance with Pakistan.

Both economically and militarily, China is successfully implementing a plan to outbid the U.S. for Pakistan’s future.

According to John Fei, an independent consultant who has previously served as a manager to John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Asia Security Initiative, China views Pakistan as a vital part of a larger initiative to establish a globally dominant economy.

“China’s interests in Pakistan dovetail closely with its Belt and Road Initiative. Through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China will be able to exert economic influence and gain a strategic foothold in the region.”

The Belt and Road Initiative is a massive project spanning nearly the entire world, and involves China forging accessible trade routes between China and countless other countries. Part of that initiative is CPEC, a $62 billion investment in Pakistan’s infrastructure to facilitate China’s economic agenda.

In other words, China is essentially reworking Pakistan’s entire infrastructure and economy so that it is routed to China. The project not only promises to fundamentally reshape the world economy around China, but it also spells danger for the U.S., which risks losing leverage over countries that could simply sign on to China’s economic world vision.

CPEC also looks to renovate Pakistan’s businesses, agriculture, defence and telecommunications, and societal structures. In the words of Firstposts’ Tara Kartha, “The currency was the last bastion of the Pakistani state that remained inviolate. It seems that this is now about to be breached.”

According to Fei, now that CPEC is well underway and Pakistan has adopted the Chinese yuan, it no longer needs the U.S. dollar to conduct international trade.

China has quickly become Pakistan’s most critical trade partner, importing far more from China ($17.2 billion) than the closest competitor, the U.S. ($2.1 billion). China has also rapidly rose through the ranks to become Pakistan’s second-largest export destination, just behind the U.S.

So while Trump attempts to revitalize the U.S. economy by ‘bringing jobs back,’ and advocating for a kind of anti-globalist isolationism, he has largely remained silent on the slow leaching of critical U.S. assets abroad which bolster the American economy.

Riaz Haq said...

Dubai vs Gwadar: port cities chart a course for share of world’s economy

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid and 3 collaborators

https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2018/01/11/pakistan/dubai-vs-gwadar-port-cities-chart-a-course-for-share-of-worlds-economy/30686/

A strategic port at the confluence of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in southern Pakistan is continuing to push its rival megaports in the United Arab Emirates, pitting the lesser-known Gwadar against Dubai in a bid to move goods faster and more cheaply to some of the most populated countries of the world.

“Many economic analysts believe that Gwadar is another Dubai emerging on the world’s map,” said Tariq al-Shammari, a writer and self-described activist, who wrote about the expansion of the Pakistani port for OpenDemocracy, a UK-based political website. “Gwadar port will become the main sea gate for Central Asia.”

As it becomes easier to send goods through Gwadar, Dubai may see a threat to its regional influence, al-Shammari said.

“This challenging point, recently, has caused a silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman between two groups of countries; Pakistan, China and Qatar on one side, India and the UAE on the other,” he wrote.

How the ports stack up

Dubai’s two major commercial ports — Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali — provide significant revenue to the UAE. Jebel Ali has the biggest man-made harbor in the world and the biggest Middle East port, and more than 5,000 companies from 120 countries rely on its services for goods ranging from consumer items to heavy construction machinery.

Gwadar’s deep sea port is strategically located to provide easier access to the Gulf region and the Middle East for China, especially the northwest Xinjiang region, and central Asia countries. The overland distance from Gwadar to Kashgar, in China, is 1,500 miles, while it is another 2,500 miles to move across China to Shanghai. Cargo ships have to move double the distance, again, to reach the Middle East waters.

The Gwadar corridor will reduce the transport time for goods to Western China by about 60 or 70 per cent, according to Liu Ying, a research fellow at the Chongyang Institute who studied the economics of the port (The Telegraph).

China’s influence

The Gwadar port is a key project in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative (South China Morning Post), which seeks to build strong economic connections between China and the countries along the old Silk Road – and well beyond.

Gwadar was built with financial and technical assistance from China, which took operational control after the Port of Singapore Authority pulled out of a 40-year port management and development contract because it was unable to get the land it sought to develop a free trade zone. The Gwadar port had been unable to become fully operational because of unsettled issues between Islamabad and the port authority.

The pivot to China “will also enable the dragon to swim in the Indian Ocean, which is strategically important for China as it expands its influence across the region, according to The National, a newspaper based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“To ensure the security of shipments along existing routes, a Chinese naval presence at Gwadar could also patrol the Indian Ocean sea lanes. Of concern to Washington and New Delhi is the Chinese naval presence near the Strait of Hormuz and its strategy of building a ‘string of pearls’ presence on the Indian Ocean rim,” the newspaper reported.

The Gwadar Development Authority is working on developing residential and commercial areas at the port, spurring growth in real estate and services. As observers note, some of the projects mirror those in Dubai, of which it may always be more of “sister city,” than a true rival (The Express Tribune).

Riaz Haq said...

India Ranks Below China, Pakistan On This World Economic Forum Index
Norway remains the world's most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum said.

https://www.ndtv.com/business/india-ranks-much-below-china-pakistan-on-wefs-inclusive-development-index-1803140

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Forum_IncGrwth_2018.pdf

Davos: India was today ranked at the 62nd place among emerging economies on an Inclusive Development Index, much below China's 26th position and Pakistan's 47th.

Norway remains the world's most inclusive advanced economy, while Lithuania again tops the list of emerging economies, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said while releasing the yearly index here before the start of its annual meeting, to be attended by several world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

The index takes into account the "living standards, environmental sustainability and protection of future generations from further indebtedness", the WEF said. It urged the leaders to urgently move to a new model of inclusive growth and development, saying reliance on GDP as a measure of economic achievement is fuelling short-termism and inequality.

India was ranked 60th among 79 developing economies last year, as against China's 15th and Pakistan's 52nd position.

The 2018 index, which measures progress of 103 economies on three individual pillars -- growth and development; inclusion; and inter-generational equity -- has been divided into two parts. The first part covers 29 advanced economies and the second 74 emerging economies.

The index has also classified the countries into five sub-categories in terms of the five-year trend of their overall Inclusive Development Growth score -- receding, slowly receding, stable, slowly advancing and advancing.

Despite its low overall score, India is among the ten emerging economies with 'advancing' trend. Only two advanced economies have shown 'advancing' trend.

Among advanced economies, Norway is followed by Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Denmark in the top five.

Small European economies dominate the top of the index, with Australia (9) the only non-European economy in the top 10. Of the G7 economies, Germany (12) ranks the highest. It is followed by Canada (17), France (18), the UK (21), the US (23), Japan (24) and Italy (27).



The top-five most inclusive emerging economies are Lithuania, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Poland.

Performance is mixed among BRICS economies, with the Russian Federation ranking 19th, followed by China (26), Brazil (37), India (62) and South Africa (69).

Of the three pillars that make up the index, India ranks 72nd for inclusion, 66th for growth and development and 44th for inter-generational equity.

The neighbouring countries ranked above India include Sri Lanka (40), Bangladesh (34) and Nepal (22). The countries ranked better than India also include Mali, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Ukraine, Serbia, Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Macedonia, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia.

Although China ranks first among emerging economies in GDP per capita growth (6.8 per cent) and labour productivity growth (6.7 per cent) since 2012, its overall score is brought down by lacklustre performance on inclusion, the WEF said. It found that decades of prioritising economic growth over social equity has led to historically high levels of wealth and income inequality and caused governments to miss out on a virtuous circle in which growth is strengthened by being shared more widely and generated without unduly straining the environment or burdening future generations.


Riaz Haq said...

Mega #oil city to be constructed in #Gwadar as part of #CPEC. Plan includes oil terminal and storage tanks, oil #refinery and #petrochemical #industrial complex. #Pakistan #China

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/271367-mega-oil-city-to-be-constructed-in-gwadar-under-cpec

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to construct a mega oil city at Gwadar on 80,000 acres under much hyped China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This mega oil city will be used for transportation of imported oil through the Gwadar Port to China. The oil will be imported from Gulf and will be stored at this proposed mega Gwadar oil city.

The distance to China will be reduced, and it will take just seven days to cover the distance from Gwadar to Chinese border as import through western China took almost 40 days by covering double distance.

“We have forwarded PC-1 to the Ministry of Petroleum for acquiring 80,000 acres for this mega oil city at Gwadar with estimated cost of Rs10 billion. There will be additional cost for construction of its storage and other aligned facilities with the help of investments,” Director General, Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), Dr Sajjad H Baloch, told Islamabad based journalists who visited the Gwadar Port last week. This visit was arranged by the Planning Commission in order to show case different ongoing projects under CPEC.

A refinery, petrochemical industries and storage will be established in the oil city, he added.

The Gwadar oil city, he said, would be used for storing oil for its onward transportation to China. Usually, it takes 40 days for vessels to transport oil to China but via Pakistan it will reach China within 7 days, he added. He said that the total area of Gwadar Model City is 290,000 acres which includes 160,000 acres of residential area while the remaining is for industrial purposes. A Chinese company is working on the Model City Plan and it will be ready by August 14, 2018.

To another query regarding different measures for overcoming water shortages at Gwadar, he said that the current water requirement stood at six million gallons per day and there is no direct water supply taking place to the area. Two MGD water is being supplied from two water small dams through tankers and nearest distance is almost 70 kilometres.

“We have a deficit of four million gallons per day in water supply to the area,” he said and added that by 2020, the water requirement of Gwadar would be 12 million gallons per day, for which additional arrangements were made to get 10 million gallons of water.

New Gwadar International Airport: Earlier, the journalists visited the site of proposed new airport at Gwadar. The China Airport Construction Group Engineering Company representative Jianxin Liao told the visiting journalists that they were conducting soil investigation on the basis of which, the design of new airport at Gwadar will be finalised. He said that the procured land for this new airport stood at 4,300 acres, and this airport will possess capacity to handle one million passengers on annual basis. He said that by April this year the design will be completed after which the cost of the project will be estimated. It will be the biggest airport of Pakistan.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) representative Zohaib Soomro said that the initial cost of the project was estimated at $228 million, but its cost would be finalised after completion of design, and it would be estimated again.

The sources said that it would be premature to give any assessment related to cost, but it would be more than $2 billion to $2.7 billion at least if we want to construct state of the art airport in accordance with international standards.

Riaz Haq said...

5 airlines to venture into Pakistan
Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-29 20:13:38|Editor: Lifang

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-01/29/c_136934060.htm

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Five national and international airlines have applied for regular public transport airline license of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to venture into the country's aviation industry, local reports said Monday.

The airlines are expected to get permission to carry out the flight operation in the country's skies during the next one year, which is likely to bring down passenger fares, local newspaper Express Tribune said.

Airlines including Askari Air, Air Siyal, Go Green, Liberty Air and Afeef Zara Airways have applied for the license to be a part of the aviation industry which is expected to be around 9 percent per annum and likely to keep the same pace till 2020, according to a forecast of the International Air Transport Association, a trade body of world's airlines.

Pakistan's air traffic has soared up to 40 percent over the past five years to 20 million passengers, and is continuously witnessing an upward trend due to improvement of law and order situation in the country, which is bringing in more tourists in the country.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has also resulted in the increase of air traffic in the country.

Most of the upcoming carriers will target low-profit, far-off destinations including Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur, Khuzdar, Dalbandin, Zhob, in Balochistan province where CPEC projects are in full swing, and the tourist destinations of Rawalakot, Skardu, Chitral, Gilgit, Bannu and Parachinar.

The destinations could generate immediate profits because of their tourism potential and work on CPEC projects.

For these remote regions, the new carriers will bring airplanes suitable for small airports.

The entry of new airlines in the country's airspace is expected to further increase challenges of the country's national flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines, which was the sole operator in most of these routes in the past.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, China Jointly Showcase Arabian Sea Gwadar Port

https://www.voanews.com/a/pakistan-china-jointly-showcase-arabian-sea-gwadar-port/4229612.html

Pakistan and China have jointly organized the first international exhibition to showcase the significance of the Arabian Sea Gwadar Port and its economic free zone as an emerging international business hub.

The warm water deep sea commercial port, which overlooks some of the world’s busiest oil and gas shipping lanes, has been built and recently expanded with Chinese financial assistance.

More than 200 companies from both China and Pakistan were present in Monday’s event at Gwadar, while six Chinese provinces also sent their representatives, said Beijing’s ambassador to Islamabad, Yao Jing, while addressing the ceremony.

Foreign diplomats and business leaders were also invited to the opening session of the two-day event.

Chinese operators of the port say the Gwadar Free Zone shall bring extensive economic benefits, like a tax holiday for 23 years and land lease up to 99 years to the upcoming businesses along with other incentives and pro-business policy frame work for general trade, services, manufacturing, logistics, trans-shipment and bunkering business.

Direct benefit for Pakistan

Gwardar port is to be a trans-shipment hub connected to landlocked western Chinese regions, giving Beijing a secure and shorter international trade route through Pakistan.

Gwadar is celebrated as the gateway to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, a flagship of President Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road Initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Under CPEC, networks of road, communications, rail, economic zones and power plants are being built and upgraded in Pakistan with an estimated Chinese investment of $62 billion.

Around $27 billion in projects are underway or completed, including “early harvest” energy projects, adding much-needed electricity to Pakistan’s national grid.

“I would like to say that the Chinese government will continue to invest and send our input to further support the development of this project. Also, we will encourage Chinese companies and Chinese businessmen to join the development of Gwadar,” vowed Chinese envoy Jing.

Wider benefit planned

During the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said CPEC is the “most visible part” of China’s of BRI, saying the mega project will cater not only to the needs of his country, but to the needs of the region.

Officials expect Gwadar’s cargo handling capacity to increase to 1.2 million tonnes by the end of this year and it will be able to process about 13 million tons by 2022, making it the largest port in South Asia.

Chinese partners say they would need around 38,000 skilled workers by 2023 for the Free Zone, according to Dostain Jamaldini, Chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority. He says of the 2,500 current workers, around 500 are Chinese nationals and the rest are locals.

An international airport with a 12,000 meter runway is being constructed in the once sleepy town with a Chinese financial grant of around $300 million.

The Arabian Sea port is located in Pakistan’s largest province of Baluchistan where militant groups, including Islamic State, and a low-level insurgency remain key security challenges to CPEC.

Additionally, the corridor runs through Pakistan-controlled portion of the divided Kashmir region, drawing objections from rival India. The United States suspects China may also turn Gwadar into a military base.

But Chinese officials reject those concerns, maintaining “CPEC is merely an economic cooperation project,” and Islamabad dismisses New Delhi’s opposition as politically motivated.

Riaz Haq said...

Economist Magazine: "Just 1% of the vast #Thar #coal reserve discovered in 1992 could supply a fifth of #Pakistan's current #electricity generation for half a century" #CPEC #energy #infrastructure

https://www.economist.com/news/business/21736185-just-1-vast-reserve-discovered-1992-could-supply-fifth-countrys-current

PAKISTAN’s enormous mineral wealth has long lain untapped. Since a 1992 geological survey spotted one of the world’s largest coal reserves in Thar, a scrubby desert in the southern province of Sindh, prospectors have hardly dug up a lump. Among those to flounder is a national hero. Samar Mubarakmand, feted for his role in Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons programme, has just shut the coal-gasification company he founded in 2010, when he vowed on live television to crack Thar.

---

To such qualms, the government offers three rejoinders. First, severe power shortages have long blighted the nation, and renewable sources cannot offer the daylong, year-round power it needs. Second, coal accounts for less than 1% of current generation, compared with 70% in neighbouring India and China. And third, domestic coal would allow the country to forgo expensive imports of the fuel for newly built power stations, a drain on fast-dwindling foreign-exchange reserves.

---

Eight years ago Engro bought the rights to one of Thar’s 13 blocks, containing 1% of the reserve (more than enough given the gargantuan size of the mine). To work on extraction, it formed the country’s biggest ever public-private partnership, the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), in which Engro digs and the state provides infrastructure. Relying on the state can break strong firms. Engro itself almost went bankrupt in 2012 after the government refused to honour a sovereign guarantee to provide gas to one of its fertiliser plants. Yet without similar government support, no other Thar block-owners have secured financing, leaving Engro’s diggers, which began work last year, to move ahead.

The endeavour benefits from being in the group of infrastructure projects that make up the $62bn China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a hoped-for trade route. Western banks shook their heads when approached about a coal project, so Engro has relied on Chinese financing. Analysts note an irony in China’s promotion of coal abroad as it withdraws from the fuel at home. Handling the extraction at Thar is the China Machinery Engineering Corporation, a state-owned firm with expertise beyond Pakistan’s reach.

Around 126 metres below the sands of Thar, with just 20 more to go, Engro’s diggers can now almost touch their prize. When the coal is reached, as is expected in mid-2018, it will feed a pit-mouth power station constructed by Engro, and, in time, three others owned by partners in the SECMC. These stations will furnish around a fifth of the country’s electricity for the next 50 years. The financial rewards could be vast. “All my richest friends are jumping up and down [because they did not get there first]”, says the boss of one big multinational construction business.

Hurdles remain, not least complaints from nearby villagers about the disposal of the vast quantities of wastewater from the mine on their ancestral grazing lands in the form of a reservoir. In reply, Engro stresses its social work in the surrounding district of Tharparkar, the poorest in Sindh, which includes the construction of several free schools. More self-interestedly, it is training locals to drive so they can man the dump trucks that trundle day and night around the mine. According to Shamsuddin Shaikh, chief executive of Engro Powergen, the conglomerate’s energy division, Engro also has its sights on Reko Diq, a gargantuan and long-stalled copper mine in Balochistan, the least developed of Pakistan’s provinces. To tap one of the country’s two largest and most niggardly mines is hard enough. Imagine cracking them both.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's #Gilgit-#Baltistan region gets #3G, #4G internet service. #Mobile #Broadband https://tribune.com.pk/story/1631513/1-gilgit-baltistan-gets-3g-4g-internet-service/


Residents in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) can now enjoy 3G and 4G internet service provided by Special Communication Organization (SCO), Radio Pakistan reported on Saturday.

An SCO spokesperson confirmed the news, saying the internet service will continue on a trial basis and can be accessed free of cost until further notice.
Internet facility in Gilgit

He said the SCO mobile phone SIMs for this purpose are available at the organisation’s franchises in the area.

Radio Pakistan reported that subscribers have been asked not to pay more than Rs200 after acquiring a receipt for purchasing the Sim.

SCO is a public sector telecommunications service provider, established by the government in 1976. It is responsible for developing, operating and maintaining telecom services in G-B as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan to get 3G/4G services by Feb 2018

In October 2017, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority announced plans of introducing fast-paced information technology services – 3G/4G – in AJK and G-B, which it said would materialise by February this year.

Last year, the number of subscribers of 3G/4G in Pakistan rose to 44.4 million, which PTA expects will rise further.

The arrival of 3G and 4G service in such remote areas promises to boost commerce, bring socio-economic prosperity for the entire region and also benefit people living along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor routes in AJK and G-B.

Pakistan set to outdo India in introducing 5G internet: PTA

As people of AJK and G-B are heavily dependent on remittances, the 3G/4G service will provide them easy access to the financial services.

The technology will also boost tourism, local economy as well as create job opportunities for local people. The hospitality industry and tourism value chain will also improve as it will make online marketing more efficient and effective.
As transportation in the area is also difficult, better connectivity through modern communication technology is important for its people.

Riaz Haq said...

The Pakistani army has got serious about defeating domestic terrorism
Chinese investment could depend on Pakistan overcoming its security problem

https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21737478-chinese-investment-depends-pakistan-getting-top-its-security-problem

The army lost nearly 500 men in the fighting (in Waziristan). About 3,400 militants were killed; many more fled across the border to Afghanistan. Signs of the violence are everywhere. But so too are efforts to provide greater prosperity for traumatised civilians (nearly 1m people living in the region were displaced). New roads fan out from the town. Lots of buildings, including shops, clinics and a sports stadium, are going up. A children’s playground has been laid out next to the river that flows through the town, dotted with Disneyfied fake cows.

The army has also painstakingly reconstructed a jihadist complex, complete with bomb-making factory, escape tunnels, an armoury stuffed with assault rifles and a blood-spattered torture-chamber. The courtyard is shared by a bullet-scarred Humvee stolen from American forces in Afghanistan and two tethered goats.

There are ambitious plans for development elsewhere in North Waziristan. The army wants to build schools and bring water and electricity to neglected villages. It even talks of tourism. But the forts dotted across the barren hills are a reminder that security is more tenuous outside Miranshah than the briefing given by the army in an underground bunker suggests. Indeed, a rocket attack on an army vehicle just a few miles away on the day of your correspondent’s visit killed two soldiers and injured three more.

Riaz Haq said...

Seven small dams, 13 irrigation schemes completed in FATA so far
MADIHA SHAKEEL MAR 6TH, 2018

https://www.brecorder.com/2018/03/06/403121/seven-small-dams-13-irrigation-schemes-completed-in-fata-so-far/


Official source told APP here on Tuesday, he said that as a result of completion of these projects a huge land has been brought under cultivation.

As some of these completed projects are multi-purpose, therefore, a huge population is also benefited by using clean drinking water.

Moreover, the power generation projects have been initiated by FATA Development Authority which will play key role in reducing the energy crisis after their completion.

So far, FATA DA has completed these projects including Dargai Pal Small Dam, SWA, Dandy Small Dam, NWA, Moto Shah Small Dam Mohmand Agency, Sheen Kach Small Dam FR Tank, Zao Small Dam, Khyber Agency,Kand Small Dam, NWA, Ping Small Dam, FR Bannu, Sheen Warsak Irrigation Scheme, SWA, Musa Nikka Irrigation Scheme, SWA, Zeera Letta Irrigation Scheme, SWA, Sadda Weir Lower Kurram, Agency, Walai Killi Bazar Zakha Khel Irrigation Scheme, Khyber Agency,Pir Qayum Drinking Water, Kurram Agency, Makha Zai Irrigation Scheme, Kurram Agency, Zarwam Irrigation Scheme, FR Bannu, Jallandar Irrigation Scheme, Kurram Agency, Shahbaz Sum Irrigation Scheme, Kurram Agency, Shawa Irrigation Scheme, NWA, Maula Khan Sarai Irrigation Scheme, SWA.

Riaz Haq said...

257 projects to be completed during current fiscal

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/285806-257-projects-to-be-completed-during-current-fiscal

The government is going to inform the National Economic Council (NEC) on Monday (today) that total 257 development projects including Kachhi Canal, Chashma Nuclear Plant-4, Neelum-Jheleum Hydropower, two 1200MW RLNG plants each at Balloki and Havali Bahadarshah, survey and feasibility studies of six additional nuclear power plants and many more projects with estimated allocations of Rs246.115 billion will be completed during the ongoing fiscal year.

The NEC under chairmanship of PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will be briefed that the government is all set to complete construction of office building for National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Headquarters at G-5/1 Islamabad with estimated cost of Rs1,769 million during the current fiscal year.

The government seems desperate to complete as many projects as possible just ahead of completing five-year tenure of the PML-N-led regime in order to get political dividends at different constituencies in the upcoming general elections. Many projects related to much-trumpeted China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be completed in the ongoing fiscal year.

According to prepared list of 257 development projects which is available with The News but due to scarcity of space only important projects will be highlighted here. The total approved cost of these projects stood at Rs1.534 trillion and expenditure incurred was standing over Rs1.112 trillion up to June 30, 2017. Now the government has allocated Rs246.115 billion in the current fiscal year’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for completing these projects within the tenure of the incumbent PML-N-led regime.

The Kachhi Canal project at Dera Bugti, Naseerabad, Bolan and Jhal Magsi in Balochistan with approved cost of Rs80.352 billion was going to be completed during the current fiscal year. The government has allocated Rs10 billion during the current fiscal for completing this project.

The approach road for New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) and land acquisition plus shifting of utilities having estimated cost of Rs5.455 billion will be completed in the current fiscal year. The construction of infrastructure and allied work for Metro Bus Service from Peshawar Mor to NIIA will be completed within the current fiscal year. The construction of road network for New Islamabad International Airport main link, Thalian Link and periphery road with estimated cost of Rs11.295 billion will be completed in the ongoing fiscal for which the government made allocation of Rs5 billion.

---
The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant-3 and 4 with estimated cost of Rs234.925 billion were expected to be completed during the current fiscal year as the government had allocated Rs7.110 billion for completion of these projects.

The Neelum Jheleum Hydropower project with installed capacity of 969MW and its first unit will be completed during the current fiscal year. In a classic example of cost and time overrun, this project will be completed with estimated cost of Rs404.321 billion and the government had allocated Rs19.573 billion during the current fiscal year for completion of its first unit.

The 1,200MW RLNG based power plant at Balloki, District Kasur, Punjab having estimated cost of Rs92.336 billion is expected to be completed during the current fiscal year for which the government has allocated Rs39.256 billion in the current PSDP.

For another 1200MW LNG Based plant Haveli Bahdarshah will be completed this year with estimated cost of Rs98.104 billion and the government has allocated Rs37.184 billion in the ongoing fiscal year.

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC Western route to be completed by end of this year
By Sehrish WasifPublished: February 12, 2018

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1633076/1-cpec-western-route-completed-end-year/

The western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be completed by the end of this year along with other 11 mega projects which were initiated in 2015-16.

The completion of those projects will reduce travelling time and boost economic activities.

“Hakla-DI Khan having the length 285km with a cost of Rs122 billion and 81km Zhob-Mughalkot costing Rs8.8billion funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be completed by December 2018,” a senior National Highway Authority (NHA) official told The Express Tribune.

“The completion of these two projects will connect the port city of Gwadar with Quetta by Khuzdar,” he said and added, “With it the western route will become completely functional.”

According to the NHA the under-construction projects – the Hakla to Dera Ismail Khan motorway — is an important part of the western route of CPEC, and will reduce the travel time from Islamabad to DI Khan from five hours to just two-and-a-half hours.

It will greatly help the movement to the country’s southern cities such as Quetta and Gwadar.

Meanwhile, another important project — Khuzdar- Ratodero (151 km) that has been completed at a cost of Rs8.8 billion is all set to be inaugurated this year in April.

This project though is not part of CPEC.

“The significance of this project is that it will provide the much-needed connectivity between Balochistan and Sindh and also facilitate CPEC traffic originating from the Gwadar Port,” said the NHA official.

Other projects include the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) where 95% work has already been completed and will see the finish line in March.

The 136km, the six-lane motorway with the two-lane service road on either side, is being built on the BOT basis at a cost of Rs44 billion.

Being the country’s busiest section with over 30,000 daily traffic count, this motorway will be immensely helpful in catering to the commercial traffic originating from the Karachi Port and the Port Qasim.

Following the recent inauguration of the Lyari Expressway, M-9 will offer an added benefit to commuters to reach their destinations without facing the city congestions.

Gojra-Shorkot (62km) and Shorkot-Khanewal (65km) sections of M-4 are scheduled to complete by August with a cost of Rs17 billion and Rs22 billion, respectively.

Financed jointly by the Asian Development Bank and Government of Pakistan, their completion will reduce travel time from the federal capital to Multan to just 5 hours.

Lahore-Abdulhakim Motorway (230 km) is another important project that is expected to complete by May. Built at a cost of Rs 148 billion, the six-lane motorway will provide a swift and easy route between Lahore and Multan.

CPEC toll income — myth and reality

One of the important links of CPEC and the country’s longest planned motorway, Multan-Sukkur (M-5) is though scheduled to complete in 2019.

Its two sections — Multan to Shujaabad and Pano Aqil to Ghotki — will be completed this year. The 392km-long motorway is being financed by China at a cost of Rs294 billion.

Lahore-Sialkot Motorway (89 km) will be completed on the BOT mode by December at a cost of Rs44 billion. It will link the industrial city of Sialkot with the rest of the country, leading to swift movement of industrial products.

Islamabad Metro Bus (26.5km), another challenging project, is under execution and will be completed by the end of April. The project will link the traffic from the twin cities with the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA).

Hazara Motorway (E-35) from Burhan to Shah Maqsood Interchange (47km) is already completed and open to traffic. The 15km addition is scheduled to complete by May, thus reducing the distance between Islamabad and Abbottabad to one-and-a-half hours.

The widening and improvement of GT Road section from Thokar Niaz Baig to Hudria Drain (10km) is underway and will be completed this year.

Riaz Haq said...

Thar — The Future of Pakistan

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/307505-thar-the-future-of-pakistan-by-senator-rehman-malik-sitara-e-shujaat-nishan-e-imtiaz

Population of Tharparkar district is around 1.65 million and Thar is spread over both sides of India and Pakistan where the life always remained hard because of the non-availability of sweet water.

The region derives its names from Thar and Parkar. The name Thar is from Thul, the general term for sand region or sand ridges and Parkar literary means “to cross over”. The region was earlier known as Thar and Parkar, later theses became one word, Thar and Parkar coined together and formed a beautiful name Tharparkar.

The people of Thar have been underfed because the area being desert has no reliable irrigation system. The lands, whatsoever, are irrigated on rainwater. Historically, Thar receives low pour but when it receives rains it makes the desert lush green where peacocks dance and sing making the scene most fascinating.

The water is drawn out from deep water wells but that water also contains highest volume of TDH.

The people of Thar used to face various health hazard problems such as waterborne diseases, inadequate health facilities, famine and lack of basic infrastructure. Apart from it, poverty, population growth, lack of clean drinking water, unemployment and high illiteracy had trapped Tharparkar in a state of catastrophe. Therefore, people used to migrate from Thar to revering area to save them and their cattle and those who fail to migrate used to lose their dear ones and cattle, the only source of their livelihood.

Crop failure due to low rainfall, coupled with loss of small animals has greatly reduced the impoverished communities’ purchasing power. Poverty is endemic in the sparsely populated district with acute malnutrition rates in children as high as 20 per cent, well above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent.

The biggest reason perhaps of disease and death in Tharparkar is malnourishment of its mother. It is no secret that Thar people do not have access to clean water, health facilities or food because of which mothers in Tharparkar give births while their hemoglobin level is as low as four.

Death is a regular visitor at the doors of Tharparkar’s mothers. More than 190 children have died and 22,000 have been hospitalized in Tharparkar district in 2016 because of drought-related waterborne and viral diseases. Tharparkar is facing severe drought for the fourth consecutive year, and access to health services is reported to be very difficult, with families travelling an average distance of 17 km to reach the nearest health facility.

Whereas sweet water condition in Tharparkar is worst and access to water is a key problem for the district of Tharparkar, which comprises an area of 22,000 sq km. More than 1.4 million people and about five million heads of livestock live in the area, where annual rainfall averages can be as low as 9mm, and drought is common.

Barely 5 percent of the population has access to a sweet water supply. Even the district capital, Mithi, [only] gets sweet water twice in a month. Laying down water supply lines at high cost is also open to question. Most of the population relies on dug wells. The worst conditions are basically the byproduct of non-availability of basic needs of life. There are deserts in the world, which are now productive and life is more than normal. Just take the example of UAE with total area is 83,600 km and part of UAE is producing oil and gas and rest of the UAE is desert but the good planning and attention has converted the area into a most developed area.

Thar coalfield is located in Thar Desert. The deposits—16th-largest coal reserves in the world, were discovered in 1991 by Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and the United States Agency for International Development.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Adopting Advance Technologies Rapidly: Anusha Rehman
Daniyal Sohail

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/technology/pakistan-adopting-advance-technologies-rapidl-321642.html

Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman Friday said, Pakistan was one of those countries that had been adopting the advance technology most rapidly to counter challenges of modern, digital era.

While addressing the concluding ceremony of five-day "Huawei mobile Pakistan Congress 2018" the minister said, the technology advancements were coming in Pakistan adding "we also hope that we can have huawei made in Pakistan as soon as possible." Anusha said, Ministry of IT had started projects for Baluchistan worth Rs 26 billion to provide 3g service to the people there.

In the history of IT of Pakistan, this was the biggest investment for Balochistan, which aimed to target hundreds of villages to connect these remote areas with 3G service, she added. She said,a population of about 196,177, covering 269 mauzas and an area of 39,434 sq kms would get modern broadband facilities through this project.

The project would cover Awaran, Jhal Jao and Mashkai tehsils/sub-tehsils of Awaran district and Bela, Lakhra, Liari, Uthal, Dureji, Hub, Sonmiani and Kanraj of Lasbel district, she added. The Minister said, after launching 3G services in Baluchistan, other services like careem would be start in in the province which would be a great achievement of Ministry of Information Technology.

She emphasized the importance of technological advancement and virtual assistance for the generations to come to bring this nation on path of Technology evolution and prosperity. "Government is making all out efforts to introduce 5G technology in Pakistan by 2020 to bring it at par with Developed economies in term of technology advancements." She emphasized that women's economic empowerment was at the heart of the sustainable development and essential to achieve gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.

She shared initiatives steered by IT ministry in this regard, particularly ICT for Girls program. She said, achievements of Pakistan in the arena of ICT and future plans for continued growth in this sector would enable transformation into "Digital Pakistan".

Anusha described the DigiSkills program as an important part of Information Technology initiative of the government that would create online employment opportunities to enable youth to earn 200 to 300 dollars per month and with the help of this program, youth from across the country would provide services across the globe.

She appreciated the Huawei Technology role in setting such precedent to promote emerging technologies in Pakistan by involving Industry players and engaging the Government to make it reality. The Minister hoped that people of Pakistan were going to use the opportunities that were created by Huawei, the technology giant.

Riaz Haq said...

Rural Pakistanis Take to Solar After Power Cuts Deepen in Karachi
---------

Small-scale solar in Pakistan attracted $540 million in 2017, having received less than $100 million in each of the previous two years, according to a report published last month by the United Nations and and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar and wind energy contributed 3 percent to Pakistan’s electricity generation, or about 300 megawatts as of March, according to Arif Habib Ltd.

“Pakistan is one of the biggest frontier markets that has not been tapped,” Jeremy Higgs, co-founder at EcoEnergy, said during a trip to southern Pakistan.

-----------



https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2018-04-26/rural-pakistanis-take-to-solar-as-power-cuts-deepen-in-karachi

Solar companies have made inroads into Pakistan’s countryside
Blackouts are still common despite a rise in power generation
In a small tea shop along a dusty, unpaved road in the marketplace of Sujawal, a town about 93 miles east of Karachi in Pakistan, Imam Dino has hit upon a profitable idea. He attracts customers with a 24-inch television playing Bollywood movies through the day and by providing mobile phone charging sockets in a town that otherwise suffers long outages.

Power for the TV and charging points comes from a solar-panel system that he rents for 2,500 rupees ($22) a month. It’s been a sound investment. Dino makes as much as 3,000 rupees extra a month because of the attractions. Previously, he spent more to run a gasoline generator.

Rural Pakistanis like Dino are increasingly turning to renewable energy to circumvent the country’s notoriously unreliable power supply. Deficient generation and distribution shave an estimated 2 percentage points off Pakistan’s economic growth annually and faults in the national grid are exposed every summer as demand increases. That’s despite a rise in generation by 35 percent to 31,000 megawatts since 2013.

---
As customers like Dino are discovering, off-grid solar may be the answer. With global panel prices plummeting in the past five years, units powering fans and lights are being sold or rented in the nation’s poorest regions for 1,000 rupees to 3,000 rupees a month, according to distributors EcoEnergy and Nizam Energy. About 10,000 solar systems have been installed since 2013 ranging in size from 50 watts to 200 watts, enough to power six light bulbs and two fans.

One of EcoEnergy’s customers, Mohammad Ishaque, who farms sunflower and rice fields, pays 1,000 rupees a month for a 50-watt solar system. He previously used oil lamps and battery-powered torches.

“When we went for farming in the morning, it used to be completely dark, when we came back it used to be dark,” Ishaque, 69, said while smoking a cigarette and sheltering from the midday sun in the small village of Gul Muhammad Rao. “It’s daytime at night now.”

Meanwhile, at Nizam Energy’s office in Karachi, Chief Executive Officer Usman Ahmed boasts they aren’t crippled by the city’s shortages. Their headquarters is powered partially by solar panels on the roof, which he says is 30 percent cheaper than electricity from the grid. The off-grid market may double annually over the next three years, he said.

Back in Sujawal, Dino is happy with his returns.

“We are making more money, so it’s been great,” he said, as he mixed tea over burning coals for a packed room. Across the road, a competing tea shop with no electricity was empty.






Rural Pakistanis Take to Solar After Power Cuts Deepen in Karachi
---------

Small-scale solar in Pakistan attracted $540 million in 2017, having received less than $100 million in each of the previous two years, according to a report published last month by the United Nations and and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar and wind energy contributed 3 percent to Pakistan’s electricity generation, or about 300 megawatts as of March, according to Arif Habib Ltd.

“Pakistan is one of the biggest frontier markets that has not been tapped,” Jeremy Higgs, co-founder at EcoEnergy, said during a trip to southern Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Has Pakistan Truly Tamed its Tribal Frontier?
APRIL 27, 2018 | BENNETT SEFTEL

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/pakistan-truly-tamed-tribal-frontier

Maligned as a bastion of extremism and a top terrorist safe haven, Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), along the country’s northwestern border with Afghanistan, have endured a significant transformation in the last few years. Between June 2014 and May 2016, the Pakistani army launched operation Zarb-e-Azb, literally translated as “swift and conclusive strike,” which focused on clearing terrorist organizations such as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Punjabi Taliban, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Haqqani network from the seven administrative units that comprise FATA. According to Pakistani military officials, at the start of the operation, approximately one-third of the FATA had been under “miscreant control” with the North Waziristan district earmarked as the key terrorist stronghold.

The operation commenced on June 15, 2014, one week after 10 TTP militants attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, leaving more than 30 people dead. Overall, an estimated 3,500 terrorists were killed during the nearly two-year-long operation while 840 Pakistani soldiers died in combat. Additionally, approximately one million people were internally displaced, although Pakistani military officials maintain that they will return to their homes as soon as possible.

Today, Pakistani government and military officials contend that the entire FATA has been secured under army control and that the priority has shifted to rebuilding and developing the FATA region. Projects spearheaded by the army include building military schools, sports complexes, hospitals, community centers, and power plants. In addition, several energy projects relating to oil, gas and mining have been initiated, as have the construction of new roads to connect the FATA to key cities across the country. While spearheaded by the military, officials explain that each of these projects offers new employment opportunities for FATA residents.

Despite claims by Washington that Pakistan continues to harbor terrorist groups, Pakistani officials contend that Zarb-e-Azb is a clear sign of Islamabad’s willingness to fight terrorism and improve the lives of their citizens.

Kevin Hulbert, former CIA Chief of Station:

“I guess we have to be thankful for every step in the right direction with Pakistan and operations against militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas are almost always something worthy of praise. We have been coaxing the Pakistan government to get tough in the FATA for over 15 years now, so when they actually go in there with a military operation – that’s a good thing.

“The great challenge for Pakistan is to see if they can be a sustained presence in the FATA and a force for good so that the locals come to think that they have a lot more to gain by supporting the government than by supporting militants like the Taliban, or the Haqqani Network, or al- Qaida. Right now, villagers face an immediate threat from assorted militants and the reality is that the central government is usually nowhere in sight. There is very little reach by the central government into the FATA to make the lives of the locals better with federal government largesse in the way of health care, schooling for their children, services, paved roads, community centers, etc. So a useful federal government that might help them is an abstract concept for many people in the tribal areas whereas militants threatening them is far from an abstract concept. The other big challenge for the Pakistanis is to slow down and stop the pervasive sectarian violence and extremism that is destroying the country.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan PM Abbasi, COAS Bajwa inaugurate new markets and bus terminals in Miranshah in #Waziristan #FATA. #Afghanistan border crossing Ghulam Khan, 3rd crossing after #Chaman, #Torkham inaugurated

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/headline/north-waziristan-pm-abbasi-coas-bajwa-inaugurate-new-markets-bus-terminals-and-logistics-cell-terminal-in-miramshah/

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa made a joint visit to Miramshah in North Waziristan on Monday, where they inaugurated new markets, bus terminals and the Ghulam Khan National Logistics Cell (NLC) terminal.

Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Corps Commander Peshawar accompanied the top civil and military leaders during the visit.

“Miramshah is the gateway to Central Asia,” said the prime minister while addressing a gathering of tribal elders. “People of FATA should have access to the same facilities as enjoyed by people of Lahore and other Pakistanis.”

“Government and all political parties are serious in bringing FATA into the national mainstream,” PM Abbasi reiterated. “Work for bringing FATA into the national mainstream is seeing rapid development.”


The elders of the Utmanzai tribe urged the government to fulfill all the promises made to the affectees of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. “The government should give reasonable compensation to the affected traders, shopkeepers and house owners,” the tribal leaders maintained.

The Monday’s visit of PM Abbasi and COAS Bajwa comes a week after a jirga was held in Miranshah to discuss the prevailing issue pertaining to compensation of shopkeepers whose businesses were affected by the military operation.


According to a political agent of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), it was decided that the committee of affected shopkeepers shall make an estimate of the amount that needs to be compensated.

“The same shall be processed in the administrative chain for its speedy implementation,” he said.

The Fata additional chief secretary, PA, Assistant PA, Anjuman Tajiran Pakistan President Ajmal Baloch, NWA GOC, civil and military officials, and the Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor attended the jirga.

The military spokesman said there exists no issue that cannot be resolved through talks. He added that residents of the tribal areas had joined hands with the forces to make great sacrifices for the establishment of peace, adding that operations conducted by the armed forces had eliminated terrorism.

“The resolution of problems faced by citizens is the first priority of the state,” said Major-General Gahfoor while stressing that he would not let the country’s peace be put at stake by enemies of the state.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor

@OfficialDGISPR
Brave tribes of FATA have achieved peace & stability after lot of hardships & sacrifices. Restoration of normal life after kinetic operation is part of ‘clear-hold-build-transfer’ strategy. State including security forces is committed to rehabilitate the affected population.

However, after years of living as temporarily displaced persons, they have now returned home to a peaceful North Waziristan, free from militants, weapons and fear.

Riaz Haq said...

Daral Khwar Project Of 36.60megawatt To Start Power Generation In June: Official

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/daral-khwar-project-of-3660megawatt-to-start-317514.html

The government has almost completed work on Daral Khwar hydropower project with 36.60 megawatt capacity, which would start operation in June this year to provide inexpensive and affordable electricity to agriculture, industrial and domestic consumers.

Officials in Energy Department KP told APP on Monday that physical work on this mega project has been completed and it was now in testing stage and would formally be operational in June 2018. He said National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has granted license for power generation to Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (PEDO) for the project's plant constructed at Daral Khwar near Bahrain in Swat district.

PEDO has identified around 6000 megwatt hydropower potential at various sites in province and the selected sites are at different stages of implementation, and that one of such power sites is at DaralKhwar located on a tributary of River Swat on which work has almost been completed by the relevant authorities.

The project will help utilizing its water, which is Renewable Energy (RE) source and all necessary arrangements and care was made to overcome environmental concerns including soil, water and noise pollution in the area.

He said PEDO had carried out required Initial Environment Examination Study and obtained NOC from Environmental Protection Agency KP. He said PEDO has successfully completed six small and medium sized hydel power projects including 81.00 MW Malakand-Ill, 18.00 MW Pehur, 1.80 MW Shishi, 4.20 MW Reshun, 2.40 MW Machai and 17.00 MW Ranolia Projects in the province.

He said Ronalia, Machi and Daral Khwar projects were completed with an estimated cost of around Rs15 billion in about four years time. He said PEDO is currently working on several hydropower projects, which are at different stages of implementation and completion in Chitral, Dir, Swat, Mansehra and Kohistan.

Khyber Pakthunkhwa and FATA are most suited for hydel power generation and the Federal Government has taken full advantage of this huge potential by initiating scores of energy projects worth thousands of megawatts to get rid of load shedding.

Federal Government has completed gigantic Golen Gol electricity project of 108 megawatt capacity costing Rs29 billion in Chitral that was a leap step forward towards autarky in energy sector besides addressing the long inherited problem of load shedding in the province.

The installed generation capacity of Chitral Gol project is 108 MW with three generating units having a capacity of 36MW each as its first unit has already been completed and was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

This project will provide 436 million units of electricity to the national grid every year with about Rs 3.7billion benefits per annum. Work on multi dimensional Kurram-Tangi dam in North Waziristan Agency has been started and would be completed in two stages with gross water storage capacity of about 1.2MAF besides 83.4MW of electricity capacity.

USAID would provide about Rs8.5 billion to WAPDA for construction of Stage-I of Kurram-Tangi dam, being built on Kaithu river in North Wazirstan Agency and an agreement to this effect has already been signed.

---
Efforts was underway to complete stage-I of the dam by April 2019 and on its completion more than 16,000 acres of agricultural land would be irrigated and an additional 18.9 MW of electricity would be produced to benefit 100,000 people.

Gomal Zam dam in South Waziristan Agency with 17.4MW capacity has been completed by the Federal Government and has started electricity generation by facilitating people of Tank, DI Khan and South Waziristan Agency besides irrigating 1,91,0000 acres of barren land of southern districts of KP.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan requires another Rs18 billion to provide IT services in un-served areas

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1696244/2-pakistan-requires-another-rs18-billion-provide-services-un-served-areas/

The government has taken a number of measures for the development of information technology sector over the past around five years, but the country still has a long way to go to tap the potential growth level, which will come largely from the neglected rural areas.

“It is estimated that around 7,700 kilometres of routes are un-served and at least Rs18 billion will be required to provide this (IT infrastructure and services) coverage,” read the Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18.

This was needed even though the government spent more than Rs27 billion worth of subsidy over the past five years to connect the unconnected in un-served and underserved areas of the country, it said.

In the current financial year, 191 mauzas (villages) have been provided with telephone and mobile internet services, including the seven projects launched under the Broadband for Sustainable Development Programme.

Pakistan’s IT sector advancing rapidly as exports jump to $5b

According to the survey, the telecom sector recorded a positive growth in the first two quarters (Jul-Dec) of FY18. Total teledensity reached 72.7% at the end of the second quarter compared to 72.5% at the end of previous fiscal year in June 2017. In February 2018, the reading reached 74.2%. Revenues of the telecom sector reached Rs235.5 billion in the first two quarters of FY18. New faster technologies 3G/4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) opened new revenue generation streams for mobile operators since people in the country were quickly adapting to these new technologies and services.

Telecom operators invested $322.9 million in the first two quarters of FY18 and the main driver behind that was the cellular mobile sector that invested $267.94 million, according to the survey. In the first two quarters, the sector contributed approximately Rs79 billion to the national exchequer in terms of taxes, regulatory fee, initial and annual licence fee, activation tax and other charges.



Cellular subscribers in the country reached 144.53 million by the end of December 2017 with net addition of 4.77 million from July to December 2017. By February 2018, the number rose to 147.5 million. Increasing coverage and reduced tariffs helped step up the pace of 3G, 4G and LTE subscriptions which stood at 51.2 million by the end of February 2018 while total broadband subscribers reached 53.5 million.

Local loop subscribers kept on declining. The subscribers of Fixed Local Loop (FLL) and Wireless Local Loop (WLL) were recorded at 2.76 million at the end of December 2017, down from 2.99 million at the end of previous fiscal year in June 2017. The number was more than double at 5.23 million in June 2014.

According to the survey, the government undertook extensive consultation with stakeholders for the auction of unsold 2×10 MHz of frequency spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band.

The base price for the spectrum was set at $295 million which industry experts described as too high because of which the government could not sell the spectrum.

“It is planned that the first rolling spectrum plan for Pakistan will be issued during FY 2018-19,” said the economic survey.

Owing to increasing e-commerce, e-banking, e-health, e-education and other business-related IT applications, the information technology sector was exhibiting accelerated progress with approximate total turnover of $4 billion including both exports and domestic revenues, it said.