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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


Riaz Haq said...

China Outbidding US For Pakistan’s 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


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.



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.