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.

Steel Bridges on Multan-Qila Saifullah Section of Highway N-70 Connecting Punjab and Balochistan. Source: Dawn

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.  

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54 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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

Riaz Haq said...

Balochistan: The Fruit Basket of Pakistan
By: Sana Samad

http://thebalochistanpoint.com/balochistan-the-fruit-basket-of-pakistan/

Though Balochistan is full of natural resources and profiting the country, it is also called “The Fruit Basket of Pakistan”. Balochistan is sharing 90 percent national production of grapes, cherry and almonds, almost 60 percent of peach, pomegranate, apricot and around 34 percent apple and 70 percent of dates. In Balochistan, 149,726 hectares areas are covered by the fruit crops and nearly 889490 tons of production is successfully being achieved every year. Over thousands tons of apples are exported from Balochistan annually and around 80 percent of the quality apples are produced in the province.

Fruit production is in high land of Balochistan which contains south-western regions are depended on ground water. The province is also well-known for its grape production of different varieties. Mostly the grapes are grown in Quetta, Pishin, Kalat, Zhob, Loralia and other districts. These districts are not only profiting the province but almost the entire country. Unfortunately, in few years, these districts have been facing problems of power shortage. The acute of water, due to frequent power break down the fruits are completely being destroyed.

The experts have estimated that Balochistan tremendous yield potential an efficiently be tapped by establishing crop specific zone and fruit processing units in Balochistan. The experts believe that the province should be divided into zones for quality fruit production. In last few years, Balochistan has tremendously developed in fruits farms. So a research is required to efficiently and fully tap fruit export potential of the country’s basket. The private forms related to agri-business from other provinces have shown great interest to invest and set up their business in Balochistan but they are not being encouraged nor supported by the provincial government or local communities.

Primarily, the apples and dates are the most well-known fruits, and they are exported to other places. Pakistan enjoys robust position in the world apple market because of Balochistan where 80 percent of the apples are produced. It is unfortunate that, despite getting profits from apple, no treatment plant for their preservation was established by the government in past. This loss is not only harming the country, but in reality, it is causing loss of the small farmers who are totally depended on these things. If the provincial government will work for these fruits then the better management can increase the earning income of the local farmers in Balochistan.

The provincial government should provide cold-storage facilities at the district level. Mainly these facilities are only present in Lahore, Karachi, Multan and other big cities. The other facilities including farm of market road, regular and sustainable supply of electricity for the purpose to enhance production and export of quality fruits.

The best source is micro-irrigation system to cope with water shortage in the fruit growing areas of the province. In last few years, the fruit crops in the areas of northern Balochistan have been suffering from scarcity of water shortage as tube well were not operating fully and other problems were also occurring.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese investment in #Pakistan’s #infrastructure driving country’s real estate growth. Foreign investors are pouring more capital into Pakistani #RealEstate as Chinese infrastructure investment improves the country’s accessibility. #CPEC #fdi #China

https://www.worldfinance.com/featured/chinese-investment-in-pakistans-infrastructure-driving-countrys-real-estate-growth

Rather than investing in the centre of densely populated cities like Karachi, foreign investors are tending to create urban clusters in more peripheral locations

The Pakistani property market has experienced growing interest in recent years, largely due to close international ties between China and Pakistan. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $62bn project to develop Pakistani infrastructure and energy. With better access to cities across Pakistan, investors are seeing more opportunities to build on the land near these new developments. CPEC projects include the $2.8bn Peshawar-Karachi Motorway, set to open in August 2019, and the East Bay Expressway in Gwadar Port in the south, which is due to be completed later this year. Both will dramatically help to facilitate real estate developments on previously barren land.

Rather than building in megacities like Karachi, investors are taking their money to more peripheral locations in order to create urban clusters on formerly agricultural ground, a move that is known as ‘peri-urbanisation’. “The landscape has visibly changed with the proliferation of housing societies and gated housing enclaves moving along highways towards secondary cities,” according to Anjum Altaf of the Lahore University of Management Sciences. As a consequence, investment in residential property increased from five to seven percent between 2015 and 2016.

Luxury appetites
Pakistan’s growing middle class is a major driving force in the rising popularity of these gated housing communities. Luxury development projects, carried out by companies like Bahria Town, DHA City and the Fazaia Housing Scheme, for instance, are some of the most sought after – by those who can afford them.

The rising number of luxury developments, however, is not solving the housing gap currently bedevilling Pakistan. With a population of almost 200 million people, Pakistan is suffering a shortage of 12 million houses. Karachi, with its behemothian population of 16.6 million, has an annual shortage of 300,000 houses. “It’s not about the catering to actual demand or housing shortages. It’s much more about the tastes of richer Pakistanis,” Aisha Ahmad, a research student from the University of Oxford, told World Finance.

Lucrative real estate
Real estate has become an attractive option for investors: numerous housing schemes are launched with the promise of 10 to 40 percent returns. Meanwhile, FDI has also been made easier as a result of measures introduced by the government in 2013. These include a new open entry system, which waivers pre-screening and government permission for investment into real estate. Furthermore, investors are no longer limited on the transfer of ownership or entitlement to lease land unless they breach federal or
provincial regulations.

These measures have encouraged foreign investors, and Pakistani expats in particular, to pour money into the housing sector. At present, much of this FDI comes from Egypt. Serving as an example of this is a new $2bn real estate development just outside Islamabad – the first of its kind from Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. Once finished, the complex will cater to every need of its occupants, providing everything from luxury housing units and schools to hospitals. “That’s what every Pakistani housing scheme coming from FDI looks like. They all tout the same thing: the American dream for Pakistani citizens,” Ahmad explained.

Riaz Haq said...

ADB approves $100m loan to address Balochistan’s water shortage
A separate $2 million technical assistance from JFPR will help the provincial government improve its institutional capacity to address the risks and potential impact of climate change in the agriculture sector

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/pakistan/adb-approves-100m-loan-to-address-balochistans-water-shortage/

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) on Monday approved a $100 million loan to address chronic water shortages and increase earnings on farms in southwestern Pakistan province of Balochistan.

The Balochistan Water Resources Development Sector Project will focus on improving irrigation infrastructure and water resource management in the Zhob and Mula river basins, the ADB said in a statement.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Bolochistan’s economy,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist Yaozhou Zhou. “This project will build irrigation channels and dams, and introduce efficient water usage systems and practices, to help farmers increase food production and make more money,” he added.

Among the infrastructure that will be upgraded or built for the project is a dam able to hold 36 million cubic meters of water, 276 kilometers of irrigation channels and drainage canals, and facilities that will make it easier for people, especially women, to access water for domestic use.

In total, about 16,592 hectares (ha) of land will be added or improved for irrigation.

The project will protect watersheds through extensive land and water conservation efforts, including planting trees and other measures on 4,145 ha of barren land to combat soil erosion.

Part of the project’s outputs are the pilot testing of technologies such as solar-powered drip irrigation systems on 130 ha of agricultural land, improving crop yields and water usage on 160 fruit and vegetable farms and demonstrating high-value agriculture development.

The project will also establish a water resources information system that will use high-level technology such as satellite and remote sensing to do river basin modelling and identify degraded land for rehabilitation.

ADB will also administer grants from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) and the High-Level Technology Fund (HLT Fund) worth $3 million and $2 million, respectively, for the project.

A separate $2 million technical assistance from JFPR will help Balochistan’s provincial government improve its institutional capacity to address the risks and potential impact of climate change in the agriculture sector, as well as build a climate-resilient and sustainable water resources management mechanism in the province.

JFPR, established in May 2000, provides grants for ADB projects supporting poverty reduction and social development efforts, while the HLT Fund, established in April 2017, earmarks grant financing to promote technology and innovative solutions in ADB projects.

ADB said it is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members of which 48 are from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.

Riaz Haq said...

Federally Administered Tribal Area (Fata) Development Authority has completed seven small dams and 13 small irrigation schemes since 2004 to till date.

https://nation.com.pk/06-Mar-2018/seven-small-dams-13-irrigation-schemes-completed-in-fata-so-far

Official source told APP here today 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...

Five years on: Belt and Road projects changed lives of many


https://tribune.com.pk/story/1805002/1-five-years-belt-road-projects-changed-lives-many/


Qasir Abbas, a 40-year-old Pakistani farmer who owns a 400-acre mango farm in Multan in the central Punjab Province, witnessed changes brought about by the construction of the Multan-Sukkur Motorway, locally known as M5.

Abbas sells mangoes from his hometown, known for conditions favourable to food and crops such as mango, cotton and sugarcane, to the southern major port city of Karachi, some 900km away. However, the two cities were connected with a poorly maintained highway, with the whole journey taking about 21 hours.

Governor inaugurates CPEC’s Centre of Excellence

The 392km six-lane M5 is the largest transportation infrastructure project under the CPEC, a corridor linking Karachi and northwestern Peshawar and running through the populated provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

The first 33-km section of the M5 was inaugurated in May this year, with a speed limit of 120 km per hour. The whole project is scheduled to be completed by August 2019. “By then, it will take only 14 hours to transport my mangoes to Karachi,” Abbas said.

In Laos
Life took a surprising turn in early 2016 for Bounmy Phonmixay, a 21-year-old young woman in the central Lao town of Kasi, when a team of engineers arrived for a rail project near her home.

CPEC to bring development revolution, says Bizenjo

It was literally a game-changer.

A single mum, Bounmy lives with her mother and her three-year-old daughter. Two years ago, she was almost in a depressing state of hopelessness, struggling to make ends meet by growing paddy rice and vegetables on leased land. Then, she found a job working at the construction site of the China-Laos railway, an infrastructure project under the Belt and Road Initiative.

When she showed up for an interview with Xinhua recently at the railway project site in Kasi, she was wearing the makeup she likes. “I like wearing makeup, but I seldom did it in the past since I didn’t have much money back then. Now I can afford my own cosmetics and put on makeup whenever I want to,” she said joyfully.

The game changer

The Chinese engineers were there to prepare for the railway project, which links the Mohan-Boten border gate in the northern part of the landlocked country with the capital Vientiane.

Is CPEC also a game changer for Balochistan?

Bounmy was offered the job in 2016 to cook for the builders who were away from home. She got to know many of the builders and was happy with her new job. She learned to cook some dishes, both Chinese and Lao.

“I earn 1.5 million kip (about $176) every month. I give 200,000 kip to my mother, spend 500,000 kip on my daughter’s snacks, milk and toys, and still have 800,000 to myself,” she said. “Although it is quite a busy job, working here makes me feel like being home.”

The China-Laos railway is the first overseas route to connect with the railway system in China, leveraging Chinese technology, equipment and investment. It is designed to have an operating speed of 160 km per hour.

“We grow excellent paddy rice and xiaomila (a pepper) here in Kasi, but not many people know it,” she said. “Hopefully, with the new railway in place, more people would travel to Kasi and take our products farther away so they would be better known to all.”

China rejects reports of talks with Baloch rebels to protect CPEC investment

The railway is expected to be fully operational in 2021, but Bounmy does not worry about losing her job by then. “I have learnt a lot from my work, especially Chinese cooking. When the railway is in place, there will be many people traveling around the station, then I’ll start my own restaurant there,” she said.

Riaz Haq said...

The importance of educating girls in the Newly Merged Districts (Ex FATA) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-importance-of-educating-girl...

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the Newly Merged Districts (NMDs) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) formerly known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan—are moving toward normalization. The Talibanization period has ended and the Pakistani military has largely cleared violent extremism from this area (see Box 1 for details on the history of the NMDs). At this historic time for this war-torn area, to bring it on par with the rest of the country, it is highly important to focus on the gender aspects of the NMDs’ policies and their implementation. This is especially urgent given that traditionally, this area has operated as a patriarchy. There should be immediate attention to gender equity in two sectors that are fundamental for development and where the NMDs’ reform program will roll out: health and education

https://youtu.be/JocUDDMD8SE



The Directorate of Education (DoE), housed in the FATA Secretariat, developed a five-year comprehensive Education Sector Plan (ESP) for the NMDs—a planning document that was based on the 2009 National Education Policy. While developing the ESP, the FATA Secretariat identified barriers to education, taking into account input from teachers, head teachers, and government officials. However, it appears that most of the barriers identified are applicable to both boys and girls, despite the fact that more girls don’t attend school. The few gender-specific barriers mentioned are distance from school and related security concerns, parents’ reluctance to send girls to school, and other cultural issues. However, the ESP lacks specifics about which cultural or environmental aspects and parental perceptions stop families from sending their daughters to school. Furthermore, under the ESP’s section on “Gender Issues,” the only issue identified is the shortage of women staff in the DoE. Without a deeper understanding of the problem, it will be difficult to devise a plan that can address the core reasons for the low participation of girls in education.

Most importantly, the ESP’s macro-level performance indicator list does not include indicators that measure quality of education and gender equity. Without relevant and adequate indicators, it will be hard to measure the progress in achieving gender equity.

Riaz Haq said...

China will extend all possible support to upgrade social services in Pakistan’s remote regions, especially in Baluchistan.

https://nation.com.pk/01-Jan-2019/china-to-upgrade-social-services-in-pakistans-remote-region

Gwadar will be the main focus of attention for improving the living conditions of the people, it was stated here on Tuesday by Sun Wukong, a representative of the Chinese companies that are engaged in development work under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The work on the new international airport, vocational training centre and friendship hospital at Gwadar will be intensified in the coming months.

Both Chinese and the Pakistani officials hold regular consultation to decide the modalities of using the Chinese grant in implementing the social sectors' projects.

According to the sources, all the initial work of the new airport including design and the feasibility study has already been finalized.

The completion of the new airport will place Gwadar, an important component of the CPEC framework, on the global aviation map.

It will be an airport of international standards capable of handling the largest of passenger planes, including the A380 Boeing Jet and is aimed at facilitating the movement of international investors and visitors.

The Civil Aviation of Authority (CAA) has earmarked 3000 acres of land 26km northeast of the existing airp

The new airport will be given international status and operate under the open skies policy. In the meantime, there are plans at the existing airport to further facilitate the movement of wide-bodied aircraft.

Efforts are also on to start work on technical and vocational institute early next year to meet the demand of the skilled workers for the port and the free zone.

The land has been acquired for the purpose, while the design and feasibility study have also been completed.

The construction of China-Pakistan friendship hospital to ensure medical facilities to the local population will start in the next few months.

The pilot phase of the free economic zone has already been completed.

In the initial stage of the project, $48 million invested by five Chinese and three Pakistani companies. The main coverage area of the free economic zone will be 923 acres and work on it is likely to start in the next phase.

A project for provision of 200,000-gallon water to the residents of Gwadar has been started.

In February 2015, Gwadar port was handed over to the Chinese Overseas Port Holding Company to make it operational.

Riaz Haq said...

#Commercial #Olive #farming in #Pakistan gets boost with arrival of 100,000 plants from #Spain, #Turkey. A total of 550,000 plants will be imported under the project which is being implemented by the National #Agricultural Centre. http://www.radio.gov.pk/22-02-2019/olive-farming-gets-boost-with-arrival-of-100000-plants-from-spain-turkey#.XHCNYsA7OJw.twitter

The move is part of a project to promote cultivation of olive on commercial basis in the country.

A total of 550,000 plants will be imported under the project which is being implemented by the National Agricultural Centre.

The project for the promotion of cultivation of olive on commercial basis has been approved under the Public Sector Development.

Dr Bari said that a survey of the potential areas had been completed and it was found that these areas were best suited for olive plantation.

The olive cultivation will not only offer an ‘olive branch’ to peace in Fata, but will also serve as a source for livelihood of farmers in the entire Waziristan belt and agencies of Fata.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #ImranKhanPrimeMinister announces 10-year mega plan for former #FATA. People in the #tribal area will see unprecedented development over the course of 10 years as Rs100 billion is spent annually on tribal districts. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/pakistan/pakistan-pm-imran-khan-announces-mega-plan-worth-billions

Taking to Twitter on Monday to announce the plan, Imran said that as per their commitment, a three-week consultative process on a 10-year development plan for the tribal area is being initiated.

He added that people in the tribal area will see unprecedented development over the course of 10 years as Rs100 billion is spent annually on tribal districts.

Earlier, in 2018, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly approved the KP-FATA merger bill with a two-thirds majority.


The landmark bill paved the way to bring tribal borderlands, comprising seven agencies and six Frontier regions into the mainstream.

Tribal people will get representation in the KP Assembly.

The Pakistani PM won the general elections in 2018, under the mandate of eradicating corruption in the country and development of human capital.

Since then he has announced many ambitious projects including a five million homes project that aims to generate six million jobs in five years.

He recently tweeted his futuristic vision for Pakistan's 'vertical cities' - and a law to allow the building of tall and safe building of international standards.

Riaz Haq said...

#ImranKhanPrimeMinister performs groundbreaking of #Balochistan #Health Complex, #Quetta-#Zhob Dual Carriageway as part of western alignment of #China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (#CPEC) and New #Gwadar International Airport. #Pakistan https://www.geo.tv/latest/232487-pm-performs-groundbreaking-of-balochistan-health-complex


The premier announced that a cancer institute will be made with the help of Pakistan Army and the provincial government.

Speaking about the Quetta-Zhob Dual Carriageway, the premier said it was a difficult project. "The Quetta-Zhob Dual Carriageway will connect the province to other parts of the country," he said.

"We also needed to pay attention towards the western route," PM Imran said and added that the government wishes to make a railway track from Quetta to Taftan and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid is making efforts in this regard.

"We need to make a master plan for Quetta," he urged while stating that Pakistani cities are expanding. "As cities expand, people will not be able to receive facilities and will face more difficulties."

PM Imran further said that under CPEC, the western route should have been made first.

The premier also stressed the need for a "strong local government system for Balochistan". "Till local government system is not improved, people's quality of life will not be improved. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we improved the local government system owing to which we emerged successful there for a second time," he added,

"The country also faces water issues for which we are building a dam. We do not want to think about other elections but our country's progress," he asserted. "If Balochistan is focused on then the whole country will progress," he stated.

--



Gwadar airport, uplift schemes for city
Prime Minister Imran Khan also launched work on New Gwadar International Airport and announced various other development schemes for the city, what he believed would become an engine of growth for Pakistan.

“What a pleasure it is to be in Gwadar. In sha Allah, in coming months, years, Gwadar would be, I see, as engine of growth for Pakistan,” he said addressing the ground breaking ceremony of the airport.

The event was attended by federal ministers, Balochistan chief minister, parliamentarians, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, besides huge number of Chinese workers and government officials.

The airport was included among Early Harvest High Priority Project of the CPEC in January 2014. The Chinese government would assist Pakistan in construction of the airport under Chinese Grant Assistance.

The project is part of overall infrastructure development of Balochistan.

It would be developed as a green-field facility with all modern facilities for safe operation.

The new Gwadar airport would be able to accommodate large aircraft such as Airbus A380. It would comprise a modern terminal building with cargo terminal having initial handling capacity of 30,000 tons per year.

On this occasion, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for construction of Pakistan and China Vocational Training Institute and Pak-China Friendship Hospital.

---
Khan said it was pleasing that the capacity of the hospital in Gwadar would be enhanced and a vocational training institute would also help create employment opportunities.

He announced to launch Insaf Sehat Card to provide health insurance cover worth Rs720,000 to every family.

The premier said previously power was being transmitted from Iran, but now the government had decided to link the area with national grid.

A desalination plant would also be set up in the city and under Clean and Green Pakistan, one million saplings would be planted. Besides, a solid waste management system would also be established to protect the area from pollution, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Balochistan’s #CPEC potential. #Industrial zones are planned for #Quetta, #Gwadar, Khuzdar, Uthal, Hub and Dera Murad Jamali as well as #mineral processing zone for extraction of #copper, #gold. Gwadar port city will rival #Dubai. #Pakistan https://dailytimes.com.pk/375458/balochistans-cpec-potential/


So how will CPEC benefit Pakistan and Balochistan? The answer is simple: through development. The deep sea port holds great trade potential. The infrastructure development will prove a great boost to trade and economy. Infrastructure developments will also open new and better markets. Resultantly, more investors would be attracted. The investment they bring will lead to the creation of more job opportunities. The living standards will improve gradually, but surely.


The road and rail network will help improve efficient movement of goods making the trade more efficient. Besides the road and rail network, three major energy projects are planned in the province, namely, Gwadar Coal Power Project, HUBCO Coal Power Plant and Gadani Power Park Project. These projects will contribute approximately 2,940 MW of energy to the national grid.

Most importantly, Gwadar is going to be the anchor and key driver of this mighty collaboration between China and Pakistan. It is hoped that Gwadar, having one of the world’s deepest sea ports, will become another Dubai by the time the project gets into its final stages. Balochistan is thus going to be a bridge between Asia on one side and the West on the other. The city itself will see massive modernization. Theses project will bring the federation and the province closer to each other.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Federal Govt to undertake #Karachi Northern Bypass, #Sukkur-#Hyderabad motorway (M6) projects: Murad Saeed https://www.brecorder.com/2019/04/25/492494/govt-to-undertake-karachi-northern-bypass-sukkur-hyderabad-motorway-projects-murad-saeed/

Minister for Communications Murad Saeed Thursday said the government would undertake the projects of Karachi Northern Bypass and Sukkur-Hyderabad (M-6) motorway to be executed on built, operate and transfer basis.

Replying to a question of MNA Shahida Rehmani in the National Assembly through Question Hour, the minister said presently most part of Karachi Northern Bypass was single carriageway, however, level of service on it was good and the accident ratio was not high.

Northern bypass linked Karachi Port Trust to National Highway and Super Highway. He said dualization of 56 kilometer long Northern Bypass was planned and hiring of consultants had been initiated.

Its dualization through public private partnership mode or funding through Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) was being considered.

The construction work might start after hiring of consultants and the contractor by the end of year 2019.

The project was commercially feasible and would be undertaken on built, operate and transfer basis.

He told that his ministry was focusing on axle management of heavy vehicles. A mechanism for implementation of National Road Safety Policy was being prepared in consultation with the provincial governments.

Accidents on highways occur due to heavy traffic, he said adding Pakistan had 13,000 kilometres long roads and revenue collection from 75 toll plazas were spent on maintenance of roads.

He said repair work on Pindi Jhelum road was started, adding the revenue of National Highway Authority (NHA) would be taken to Rs 100 billion and the money earned would be spent on repairing roads.

He said a part of Sukkur-Multan (M-5) motorway was being executed in Sindh province. The project was started in August 2016 and the present government was ensuring its timely completion, the minister said adding the government was also preparing a detailed design and commercial feasibility of Sukkur-Hyderabad (M-6) km motorway. The timeline for award of this project is December, 2019 and the federal government would release funds for the project.

The previous government did not release funds for the projects announced by it, Murad added.

The minister said Chakdara-Timergara, Akhagram-Dir and Kalkatak-Chitral roads would be rebuilt and made part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The minister told that the government approved the PC-1 amounting to Rs 17,423 million for the roads.

The improvement and widening of 30 kilometres long Chakdara-Chitral (N-45) road would be partly funded through Korean EXIM Bank.

He said Rs 542,149 million was allocated in PSDP in the year 2018-19 for construction of sections of Chakdara-Timergara (38.85 km), Akhagram-Dir section (43.39 km) and Kalkatak-Chitral section (47.98 km).

Timergara-Akhagram (26 km) section of N-45 was rehabilitated through periodic maintenance scheme under Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP) of National Highway Authority in 2015.

It was a two lane carriageway and was in fair condition, Murad said adding Prime Minister inaugurated the western route which would benefit the smaller provinces.

Riaz Haq said...

CPEC-funded Multan-Sukkur Motorway to be operational by August 2019

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/01/17/cpec-funded-multan-sukkur-motorway-to-be-operational-by-august/

Sukkur-Multan motorway has a design speed of 120km per hour, and it is a two-way six-lane road with a contractual value of $2.889bn
ISLAMABAD: The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)-funded Multan-Sukkur motorway is likely to be opened for traffic by August this year as work on the project is in progress according to the set schedule, a senior official of National Highway Authority said on Thursday.

“At present, 83 per cent of the total work has been completed, out of which 392-kilometer-long roadbed and culvert passage, as well as other structures, already been completed,” the official added while talking to APP.

He said up till now, all the bridges have been completed, while asphalt pavement works are advancing at full speed, whereas building construction and ancillary works are also being implemented actively.

The Multan-Sukkur Motorway is part of the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway, which is also known as the eastern route of CPEC. “This route starts from Karachi via Hyderabad, Sukkur, Multan, Islamabad, Lahore and other cities, and ends in Peshawar with a total length of 1,152 kilometers,” he added.

Sukkur-Multan motorway has a design speed of 120km per hour, and it is a two-way six-lane road with a contractual value of $2.889 billion (excluding $180 million tax exemption).

The Export-Import Bank of China provided loan support while China State Construction Company Limited (CSCEC) is responsible for construction on Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) basis.

With a contract period of 36 months (including design period of four months), the project officially started on August 5, 2016.

Meanwhile, the official said Lahore-Abdul Hakeem section of M-3 would be opened for traffic by February 15. He said that all physical work of this section had already been completed but due to some technical issues, such as delay in approval for deployment of motorway police on the section, the motorway could not be opened yet.

Similarly, the official informed that the Gojra-Shorkot section of Faisalabad-Multan motorway had also be nearly completed and it would be opened for traffic by next month.

Zafar Hayat, Project Director for Shorkot-Dinpur section of M-4, told APP that work on the 34km section has been completed and it would also be opened for traffic by next month.

He said this section is being built at a cost of Rs11,220 million and the project is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“Work on the 31km Dinpur-Khanewal section is in progress and would be completed soon,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

The Swat Expressway (Urdu: سوات بزرگراه‎) or Nowshera–Swat Expressway (Urdu: نوشہرہ–سوات بزرگراه‎) is an 81-kilometer-long (50 mi) six-lane under-construction expressway in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

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FWO starts supporting govt schools along Swat Motorway

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/476517-fwo-starts-supporting-govt-schools-along-swat-motorway

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) has started supporting government schools along the Swat Motorway that it is building as part of its corporate social responsibility.


The 82-kilometres long Swat Motorway is a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government project contracted to the FWO. It is nearing completion and would be opened to light traffic in June.

Recognizing the cooperation of the villagers living along the stretch of the Swat Motorway in Swabi, Mardan and Malakand districts during the construction of the road, the FWO decided to contribute to the improvement of the state-owned primary schools. With the help of local social workers and organizations and teachers, 10 schools in Katlang tehsil in Mardan district were identified initially and provided mats, carpets, chairs and tables, white boards, water tanks, water coolers, ceiling fans, tea sets, etc keeping the needs in view. It was also decided to build two toilets in one of the primary schools.

The handing over functions were held in two primary schools in Shamozai and Chail Dheray in which FWO officials, local elders, teachers, social workers and students were present in large numbers. The Shama Welfare Organisation, a local non-governmental organization, organised the events. In the speeches made on the occasion, the public welfare activities of the FWO were praised for meeting the needs of the primary schools and facilitating the students and teachers. The locals hoped the FWP would continue to undertake public welfare activities in the area in the field of education, healthcare, drinking water supply, etc.

The school materials were also delivered to primary schools in Inzargay, Arhatoona, Badar Banda, Matta, Babozai, Charchor, Sarobi, Peepal and Kohi Barmol villages.

Riaz Haq said...

Bloom in the desert
By Kamal SiddiqiPublished: April 15, 2019

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1950826/6-bloom-in-the-desert/

It seems now there are plans for a permanent bloom in Thar. Last week, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari inaugurated the Thar coal power plant. It is a unique project.

The power plant has the capacity to generate 660 megawatts of electricity and consists of two power generation units of 330MW each. The first such unit came online this month. The project is a coal-fired power plant in Tharparkar district, 25 kilometers from the town of Islamkot near the village of Singharo-Bitra.

The project is being developed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (a joint venture between the Government of Sindh and Engro Corporation) and China Machinery Engineering Corporation in the Thar Block-II of the Thar Coalfield. For this project to move ahead, the Sindh government provided a sovereign guarantee of $700 million.

It is believed that this project will change the fortunes not only of Thar but of Pakistan as well given how indigenous fuel is being used to generate the much-needed power for the national grid.

The social aspects of this project seem to be also looked after. The villages of Senhri Dars and Thareo Halepoto are being relocated. Developers of the project also have pledged to refill coal pits once coal reserves are exhausted, and have also pledged to “plant hundreds of thousands of indigenous trees to maintain the natural ecosystem of the desert.” Nurseries have already been set up for this purpose.

This isn’t on paper. It has become a reality. At its peak, it is expected that 3,000 unskilled workers — mostly locals — will be given employment. It is very encouraging to see these people working in different positions side by side with others from all over Pakistan. We are also seeing the establishment of a campus of NED University of Engineering and Technology in Thar to help enhance skills of local people.

But to get to this point was a struggle. In his speech at the inauguration of the power plant, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah recalled how time and again the Sindh government and interested parties were told that this project would not succeed. It took sheer grit and determination to push through and make this project succeed finally and change the fortunes of the people of Thar and Pakistan. One wonders how many more of such projects are being denied by the babus in Islamabad for reasons best known to them.

Whether it is the Islamkot Airport or the artificial lake that has been created 26 kilometers away to drain the saline water extracted from the coal mines, the Thar coal site continues to impress not only because of the technology used but also how it has started to change the lives of the people living here.

There is much to see here. The women drivers of dumper trucks who bring the coal to the power plant. The amazing sight of the open cut coal mine. The power plant itself — with its chimney — is believed to be the highest man-made structure in Pakistan today.

Thar coal is not just an achievement of the Sindh government but of Pakistan. That is why it was sad to see that no one was there from the PTI or from the Centre to celebrate the inauguration of the power plant. Old mindsets seem to continue to proliferate in the new Pakistan. We need to think of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan breaks ground on Gwadar Airport project

https://www.airport-technology.com/news/gwadar-airport-project/

The proposed airport, which is being funded by China, will cover an area of 4,300 acres. It will be capable of accommodating narrow-body aircraft, as well as big aircraft such as the Airbus A380.

The airport is one of numerous projects in Gwadar being financed by the Chinese government as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

In order to finance the airport, a grant agreement between Chain and Pakistan was signed in May 2017.

“The projects in Gwadar are conducted under a framework agreement with NDRC and a MoU with MOFCOM and the Exim Bank. Unlike many of the other China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Gwadar, the New Gwadar International Airport is not financed by a loan from China but through a Chinese grant,” cpecinfo.com said in a statement.

Scheduled to become operational over the next three year, the new airport will be developed under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Once commissioned, it will become the second largest airport in Pakistan.

Pakistan believes that the new international airport, which will operate under the open skies policy, will help Gwadar to emerge as a regional economic hub.

The soil testing on the land, which started in January last year, has been completed through 300 boreholes made on various locations.

The aviation authorities have already approved the design and work plan for the airport.


Riaz Haq said...

Malakand Division Attracts Influx Of Tourists After Swat Expressway's Opening

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/malakand-division-attracts-influx-of-tourists-639566.html

SWAT, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 7th Jun, 2019 ) :All the six districts of Malakand division have witnessed massive influx of foreign and domestic tourists during week long Eid holidays following an opening of multi-faceted Swat Expressway to enjoy its pleasant and cool weather conditions.

The scenic hilly areas and tourism resorts in Malakand division including Swat, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Chitral, Shnagla and Buner have attracted tourists in droves from plain areas of Pakistan mostly from Khyber Pakthunkhwa and Punjab provinces after the distance between Malakand division and Islamabad was cut short to only two and half hours following an opening of 81-kilometer long Swat expressway before Eidul Fitre on the directives of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

The four-lane fenced Swat expressway commences from Karnal Sher Interchange in Swabi district on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway (M-I) and concludes at Chakdara in Dir Lower district after passing through 21 bridges and 1300 meters twin tunnels on National Highway N-45, inter-connecting Swat, Chitral, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Shangla, Buner, Mohmand and Bajaur districts with rest of the country.

Former KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had performed the ground-breaking of Swat expressway on August 25, 2016 to provide an extra and fast track communication facilities to hundreds of thousands of travelers visiting this part of the country on daily basis.

The expressway brought massive surge in tourists at scenic Kalam, Malam Jabba, Maho Dhand, Fizagut, Maidan, Bahrain in Swat, Pir Baba in Buner, Komrat in Dir, Shangla and Chitral where finding a room in hotels, restaurants and rest houses for staying along with families was highly a challenging task these days.

Kalam has remained main centre of attraction of tourists due to its cool weather and pleasant climate where tourists from AJK, Punjab, KP and Gilgit Baltistan were seen in droves. They enjoyed waterfalls, lush green valleys, meadows, snow-covered peaks, water boating, horse and camel ridings in a very pleasant atmosphere.

Located on River Swat some 99 kilometers of Mingora Swat, Kalam's scenic areas Matiltan, Usho, Utror, Gabral and Mohodhand lake saw tourists of all social class during Eid vacations where low income groups stayed at makeshift hotels, tents and rooms of houses vacated by local people earning great profits.

"I came from Nowshera along with my friends to enjoy Eid vacations at Kalam due to its pleasant and cool weather to beat the scorching heat," Zeeshan Khan, 25, a tourist told APP. "The weather of Kalam is very pleasant and tourists can come here to enjoy its natural waterfalls, lakes and snow covered mountains peaks in a safe atmosphere," he said.

Malama Jabba, the country's lone skiing resort in Swat district has attracted influx of tourists with families enjoyed chair-lift ride.

'I came to Malam Jabba after visiting Kalam to enjoy Eid holidays in a pleasant weather," Haseeb Khan, a resident of Peshawar told APP.

"I enjoyed ride an imported chairlift at Malam Jabba as it was very comfortable, safe and tourists must come here to enjoy its natural beauty, lush green valleys and chairlift ride," he said. However, he complained over high prices being charged by private hotels, restaurants and shopkeepers that needed to be checked by the district administration and proper arrangements should be made for car parking in famous tourists' destinations to avoid traffic jams.

Haseeb said private hotels are charging Rs 6,000-10,000 per room per night stay from families at Kalam and demanded strong actions against profiteers.

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Chairlift at Malam Jabba, which was destroyed during militancy in 2008-09, has been reconstructed and opened for tourists, adding the newly reconstructed chairlift has been imported and safe in all aspect.

Riaz Haq said...

Opening of Swat Expressway facilitates people

https://www.dawn.com/news/1486990/opening-of-swat-expressway-facilitates-people

MINGORA: The tourists visiting Malakand division showed satisfaction over temporary opening of Swat Expressway during the Eidul Fitr holidays, saying it saved their time and shortened the journey between Islamabad and Swat by about two hours.

According to the district administration, more than 60,000 vehicles used the expressway to enter Swat.

“When we heard that the expressway was opened for traffic, we immediately planned to visit Swat on the second day of Eid. The expressway till Palai interchange is complete and is under construction at several locations onwards. But it is good that temporary roads have been built for light traffic,” said Haris Iqbal, a tourist from Islamabad, who was travelling to Swat with his family.

He said that he reached Swat in three hours using the newly opened expressway. The tourists said that they enjoyed lush green scenes stretched along the expressway.

“It has not only shortened the distance between Islamabad and Swat but the route also offers enchanting scenes of lush green landscape and beautiful mountains. I invite people from all over the country to come and travel on the route to see the natural beauty of Pakistan,” said Jamila Qureshi, a tourist from Lahore.

The expressway, which was temporarily opened for Eidul Fitr holidays, would be closed to traffic after the holidays. According to FWO officials, the motorway would be officially opened by Prime Minister Imran Khan after two months.

However, people of Malakand division requested the provincial government to keep the route open for them.

Former chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak had inaugurated work on the 81-kilometre project in August 2016 and it was claimed the road would be completed by December 2017. However, the project could not be completed within the stipulated time.

Later, the PTI government claimed to open it by December 2018 and once again it could not be opened according to the schedule.

The four-lane road costing Rs40 billion starts from Colonel Sher Khan Interchange and passes through Sawabi and Mardan to reach Chakdara.

Riaz Haq said...

$1.315b Karakoram Highway project to complete next year (2020)

https://nation.com.pk/28-Jan-2019/-1-315b-karakoram-highway-project-to-complete-next-year

The travel time from Havelian to Thakot will reduce from existing four hours to 1.5 hours after the completion of $1.315 billion Karakoram Highway (KKH) Phase-II, an early harvest project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, next year.

The road infrastructure project being completed at an estimated cost of US$ 1.315 billion, is likely to be completed in the year 2020, according to official sources on Sunday.

The project is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with a total length of 118km, of which 39km is an expressway with subgrade width of 24.7m, and 79km is Class-II highway with subgrade width of 12.3m ( minimum widths of lanes are generally between 2.5 to 3.25 metres (8.2 to 10.7 ft).)

After the completion of the project, the travel time from Havelian to Thakot will be reduced from 4 to 1.5 hours.

Giving further details of the project, the sources informed that commercial contract was signed on December 22, 2015, between National Highway Authority and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).


The project includes 105 bridges among which 60 are large bridges, 42 medium and three small bridges. There are six tunnels, among which two on expressway and four on Class-II highway.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 28, 2016. On the same day, the Pakistani Government and the Export-Import Bank of China signed the government to government loan agreement, and it came into force on June 24, 2016. The project formally commenced on September 1, 2016. The construction period is 42 months.

This project is to build a new road, not an up gradation of the existing road. As it is located in the mountainous area with complicated terrain, the construction work is extremely difficult. The milestones on tunnels, bridges, subgrades are all ahead of schedule. Two tranches of advance payment have been released in 2016.

Up to now, 2071 Pakistani staff have been employed on the project which has created many indirect jobs and played a positive role in the local economic development. The project also provides a great opportunity for cultivating and training a large number of engineering talents.

In terms of environmental protection, the executing company has hired a well-known local third-party environmental monitoring agency, and strictly complied with the local standard.

Riaz Haq said...

#Engro #Energy to build 200 MW #solar in #Balochistan #Pakistan. According to the filings, the company plans to invest a total of USD 144 million (EUR 127.8m) in four farms and finance them with a combination of debt and equity at a ratio of 80:20. https://renewablesnow.com/news/engro-energy-applies-for-licence-for-200-mw-of-solar-in-pakistan-658109/

Pakistani power sector regulator NEPRA is considering to grant a generation licence to local developer Engro Energy Limited for four solar photovoltaic (PV) farms totalling 200 MW in the province of Balochistan.

NEPRA admitted on Wednesday four applications for the proposed projects, named Kuchlak-I, Kuchlak-II, Kuchlak-III and Kuchlak-IV, of 50 MW each. According to the filings, Engro Energy plans to invest a total of USD 144 million (EUR 127.8m) in the four farms and finance them with a combination of debt and equity at a ratio of 80:20.

The next step in the process is a 14-day period during which all stakeholders and interested and affected parties will comment on the generation licences.

If Engro Energy receives all necessary approvals, the Kuchlak PV farms will be constructed near the namesake town in Balochistan and commissioned in June 2020.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.89)

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan, #China agree to expedite work on #Sukkur-#Hyderabad 296 km long M-6 #Motorway as part of 1650 km #Peshawar #Karachi Motorway. M-6 will be 6-lanes with a design speed of 120 km/hour, 89 bridges, 15 interchanges and 243 underpasses. #CPEC https://nation.com.pk/18-Jun-2019/pakistan-china-agree-to-expedite-work-on-sukkur-hyderabad-motorway

Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and Ambassador of China Yao Jing during a meeting here on Monday agreed to expedite the work on Eastern Corridor from Sukkur to Hyderabad in BOT (Build, Operate, and Transfer) mode for its early completion.

The two dignitaries expressed satisfaction over the pace of projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

The minister said that the incumbent government was committed to fast track the progress on this flagship project between Pakistan and China. He appreciated the Chinese leadership and government for expanding the scope of CPEC by including socio-economic and agriculture sector development under its platform.

The minister noted that signing of framework agreement on agriculture cooperation was a major milestone, adding that Pakistan would welcome Chinese agriculture companies to explore investment opportunities for initiation of joint ventures.

The minister apprised the Chinese ambassador that less developed areas including the merged districts of KP and Balochistan had been accorded priority in the next year’s development budget. The minister said that Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan would be finalized soon which would chalk away out the way forward for development of the coastal city.

Various projects under CPEC framework including 300 MW Coal based power plant in Gwadar and Kohala Hydro power Station also came under discussion.

Riaz Haq said...

1 billion Dollar grant from China to fund social sector development projects under CPEC

http://www.cpecinfo.com/news/1-billion-dollar-grant-from-china-to-fund-social-sector-development-projects-under-cpec/NjcxMg==

After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China and the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting, socioeconomic development officially became part of the portfolio of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Now, a Chinese team is set to visit Pakistan this week to discuss various social sector projects in the country, which will be funded by a $1 billion Chinese grant. A priority list is expected to be shared by the Ministry of Planning with the Chinese team, after reviewing the proposals given by the provinces.

A team of Chinese experts is scheduled to visit Pakistan this week which is expected to announce and investment of over $1 billion in various social sector development projects in the country.

According to official sources, the Chinese experts will be evaluating a number of social sector projects being proposed by all the provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The ministry of Planning and Development, has already sought the proposals from the provinces for the Chinese grant.

“The ministry has started receiving list of the projects from provinces, which will be discussed and evaluated by both the Chinese and local experts. The $1 billion investment will be a grant from China under the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” the sources said.

Ahead of the meeting with Chinese experts, the Ministry of Planning and Development is expected to hold a meeting with all stakeholders on Monday, February 25, to scrutinize the proposals made by provinces. A priority list of projects will later be shared with the Chinese team, which is expected to visit Pakistan from February 26.

“The Chinese team will also hold separate meetings with representatives of provinces and concerned officials to discuss the provincial priorities in the social sector. As announced earlier, the Chinese side will extend grant of over $1 billion for the selected social sector development projects,” sources said.

As CPEC progresses, Pakistan is looking to attract investment in agriculture and social sectors, diversifying away from the energy sector, in which China has already made substantial investment.

China’s Ambassador in Islamabad Yao Jing had earlier said that CPEC was a long-term project, adding that the five years of work done on CPEC, was just the start of the journey towards achieving socio-economic development in the region.

He said that China, in consultation with the Government of Pakistan, had decided to enter the next phase of CPEC which would focus on investment, joint ventures, establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), engagement in the power sector as well as export-oriented cooperation. The Chinese Ambassador said that the second area of focus for cooperation in the next phase of CPEC was the social sector and the areas identified were education, health, agriculture, poverty reduction and human resources.

According to officials at the Ministry of Planning, during the last Joint Coordination Committee of CPEC held in Beijing the two countries had agreed to work for speedy implementation of initiatives in already identified six areas including agriculture, education, medical treatment, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training projects.

During the next 5 years, small projects will be the focus of attention under the CPEC, which include renovation of schools, innovation in hospital system, poverty reduction, model villages and supply of clean water for the public.

Riaz Haq said...

754-meter long Nahakki Tunnel in Mohmand opened for traffic

https://arynews.tv/en/nahakki-tunnel-mohmand-opened/

MOHMAND AGNECY: With the efforts of Pakistan Army, 745 meters long Nahakki Tunnel has been completed in Mohmand Agency, ARY News reported.

According to details, the tunnel has been opened for all kinds of traffic as well.

Locals told ARY News that after the construction of the tunnel, the traveling of five hours has been reduced to merely 2.5 hours.

People said that they were very happy with this infrastructure as it will facilitate a lot in traveling.


Earlier in June, the construction work of 81 kilometer-long Swat Motorway was completed and it was opened for small vehicles.

The motorway was built to facilitate tourists in traveling towards Kalam, Kumrat Valley and Dir. Moreover, the distance between Islamabad and Swat has shrunk to only five hours after the construction of the motorway.

Riaz Haq said...

Sixty percent construction of DI Khan-Hakla Motorway completed

https://arynews.tv/en/construction-di-khan-hakla-motorway-completed/

Sixty percent work on the construction of Dera Ismail Khan-Hakla Motorway has been completed, Radio Pakistan reported.

According to details, the 285-kilometer-long motorway is part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

It will be completed at a cost of 129 billion rupees by December this year.

For ensuring timely completion of the project, Hakla- DI Khan Motorway has been divided in five sections.

Upon completion, the motorway will boost trade and business activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan.

Few days earlier, Provincial Minister for Communication and Works Akbar Ayub Khan said Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to inaugurate Swat motorway on 25th of next month.

The work on the construction of 81 kilometer-long Swat Motorway will be completed by the month of May, at a cost of 34 billion rupees.

He said motorway has been linked with Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway at Karnal Sher Khan Interchange near Swabi.

Swat Motorway will boost tourism, trade and economic activities in Malakand and Mardan divisions, the minister added.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's #Multan-#Sukkur 392 kilometers #Motorway M5 will be operational by August 2019. 6-Lane Motorway will reduce travel time between Multan and Sukkur from 6 and a half hours drive to only 3 hours and 30 minutes. #CPEC via @incpak https://www.incpak.com/info/sukkur-multan-motorway-m5/

Multan Sukkur Motorway (M5) is 392 kilometers long the work on M5 Section started in August 2016 and expected to be operational by August 2019.

The Sukkur Multan section, 392 Km essentially follows the Left Bank of River Indus from Multan onwards connects with (M4) towards the Faisalabad and Abdul Hakeem Motorway (M3) towards Lahore.


Sukkur Multan Motorway M5 is a component of the multi-phase Peshawar Karachi Motorway planned under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

6 Lanes wide Motorway will reduce travel time between Multan and Sukkur from 6 and a half hours drive to only 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Once the Motorway M5 gets operational, the travel time from Lahore to Sukkur will be 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Khanewal to Abdul Hakeem section is about to be completed soon which will connect Peshawar, Islamabad, and Lahore with Multan directly.

According to some commuters, Motorway M5 is partially open for light vehicles however, officially it will be operational in August 2019.

Riaz Haq said...

85% of work completed on #Pakistan's Rs. 14 billion national #highway N-70 project: Rakhi Gaaj-Khar-Bewata, project funded by #Japan widens hilly sections for #Gwadar-bound heavy #cargo traffic with the installation of 8 steel bridges- UrduPoint. #CPEC https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/85-pc-work-of-rakhi-gaj-bewata-section-of-n-657787.html

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1145390663514542080

Improvement and strengthening projct of Rakhi Gaj- Bewata section of Multan- Qila Saifullah Highway (N-70) is nearing completion and so far its 85 percent physical work has been completed.

Costing Rs 13753 million, Rakhi Gaaj-Khar-Bewata, project funded by Japan aims to make the hilly portion of the road wide and safe for Gwadar-bound cargo traffic with the installation of eight steel bridges, an official of National Highway Authority (NHA) told APP on Sunday.

He said that work on the project started in July 2016 and as per schedule it was to be completed in July this year. He said due to hilly terrain the project may be completed by end of the year.

He said that road from Multan to Qila Saifullah was being improved and widened to link it up with the road network under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The hilly portion of N-70, which was constructed in the late 19th century had seven difficult turns to negotiate to climb up the high mountain of Girdo to reach Fort Munro or Bewata. To remove these hurdles for Gwadar-bound heavy cargo traffic, Japanese technology of steel bridges was being used,he said.

He said almost 33-kilometre portion of N-70 was being widened and improved with installation of eight steel bridges having a total length of 1.5 kilometre.

The Japanese engineering company which had made Kohat tunnel was working on this project too, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

East-West Road Improvement Project (I) (N-70) (PK-P57)

https://www.jica.go.jp/pakistan/english/activities/activity02_05.html

The road condition of N-70 is poor. In particular, the road section on the hilly terrain suffers from frequent falling of rocks and debris and occasional land slide from the mountain side. Its narrow road width, coupled with small curve radius and relatively steep slope, prevents two opposite traffic passing at the same time, and keeps away articulated lorries or trailers from using the route, forcing them to take alternative route via N-65 to Quetta.

Objective

To facilitate mobility of both people and goods between East and West of the country, by improving the road section between Punjab and Balochistan on the National Highway No.70 (N-70), thereby contributing to socio-economic development of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Exchange of Notes signed on May 3, 2008
Term 9 years, beginning October 24, 2008
Total Amount of Aid 15,492 million Yen
Project Location Punjab Province
Executing Agency National Highway Authority (NHA), Ministry of Communications
Project Summary

The National Highway N-70 forms a part of an inter-regional trunk road that runs from east to west across the centre of Pakistan linking Punjab and Balochistan province. N-70 starts at Multan, which is one of the major cities in Southern Punjab, crosses over a high plateau called the Sulaiman Range ranging form 800m to 2,000m in elevation, ends at Qila Saifullah, and further connects via N-50 to Quetta which is the provincial capital of Balochistan.

Project Highlights

Construction of the steel "land bridge" is proposed to improve the narrow road on steep slope.

Riaz Haq said...

United States Rehabilitates Kalat-Quetta-Chaman Highway

https://pk.usembassy.gov/united-states-rehabilitates-kalat-quetta-chaman-highway/

American Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale along with National Highway Authority Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar and Frontier Works Organization Director Major General Muhammad Afzal today opened an exhibition displaying photos of the recently rehabilitated section of National Highway (N-25) connecting Chaman to Kalat through Quetta, Balochistan. At the exhibition, which commemorates the recent completion of American-funded improvements on the road, attendees viewed the many photos of scenes of Pakistani life on and around the new highway.

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), funded the construction of the 111 kilometers needed to complete the N-25 highway, in cooperation with the Frontier Works Organization, the prime contractor, and the National Highway Authority (NHA). USAID provided $63 million to rehabilitate the highway and has committed an additional $27 million for further improvements including a bypass road at Kuchlak, four bridges, two weighing stations, and three toll plazas. The newly-restored N-25 highway will increase trade and economic integration by linking Pakistan with Afghanistan and its Central Asian neighbors. The road, which stretches from Chaman on the border with Afghanistan to Karachi, will also improve the lives of the people of Balochistan by expanding access to basic healthcare, education, and other social services. The Frontier Works Organization began construction in October 2014.

“This road is a concrete demonstration of America’s commitment to help bring peace, stability, and prosperity to Pakistan. It is a testament to the far-reaching benefits of our partnership, as it will serve the people of Pakistan for generations to come,” Ambassador Hale said at the inauguration.

The funding for this highway is one element of USAID’s $681.5 million FATA Infrastructure Program, which has restored essential public infrastructure in remote communities. To date, USAID has funded the construction and rehabilitation of more than 1,100 kilometers of roads in Pakistan, including the four major trade routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

PESHAWAR-TORKHAM ROAD REHABILITATION

https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/fact-sheets/peshawar-torkham-road-rehabilitation


The Peshawar-­Torkham section of National Highway N­5 was originally built by Sher Shah Suri in the 14th Century and was subsequently used by Mughal empires as a trade route. Over the last fifty years the road has been used as a key transit and trade route for Afghanistan. However, during the last 8 years the use of this road has increased exponentially, both for military and civilian purposes including serving as a NATO supply route and providing the Pakistani military with access to key areas in the FATA and KP. As a result of this increased use there has been extensive damage to the road over the past few years and considerable congestion at narrow bridge crossings. The 46 kilometer Peshawar­-Torkham section of the road requires extensive rehabilitation and in some areas new construction in order to meet increased commercial traffic, as well as military needs, through historically unstable tribal areas.

OBJECTIVES
The Peshawar-Torkham road project is intended to: Improve local economic opportunities
Allow internal and international trade to flow more easily Offer employment opportunities for local workers; and,
Extend and support the delivery of basic infrastructure services by the Government of Pakistan.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Bring the road up to the technical standards of the NHA (which are those of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials [AASHTO], meet all weather conditions and allow for standard speeds
of 80 km/hour and 50 km/hour in plain and hilly areas, respectively and allow for a maximum of 18,000 pounds per vehicle axle.
The existing carriageway is being reconstructed with a consistent 7.3 meters of pavement width, 2.5 meters Asphaltic shoulders on each side and a minimum embankment height of 1 meter.
Sharp curves will be mitigated in order to accommodate long heavy transport vehicles (maximum 60­feet in length).
Three new bridges will be constructed and four bridges will be rehabilitated. Protection walls (retaining and breast walls) will be constructed.
Cross drainage structure (e.g., culverts and causeways) will be constructed in order to allow rain water to drain off the road.
Weighing facilities will be establish at Jamrud and Torkham to control overloading.
RESULTS TO DATE
PIL for section 1 has been signed from mission and FATA sect. with a total cost of $9.97M.
The FATA Secretariat’s contractor, the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), has deployed to the site and detour for traffic diversion has been established.
Work on cross drainage structure is in progress and 3 no. culverts have been completed. work on main carriageway, Retaining walls, and side drain is in progress.

Riaz Haq said...

NHA Plans Dualization Of Indus Highway By 2023

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/nha-plans-dualization-of-indus-highway-by-202-538756.html

National Highway Authority (NHA) has been working on dualization of Indus Highway (N-55) and as per plan the highway would be dualized by 2023.
An official of NHA told APP on Thursday, the authority has already working on the dualization of Peshawar-DI Khan Road as per following details.

He said Peshawar-Kohat section and Sarai Gambila-DI Khan section have already been dualized while dualization of Kohat-Sarai Gambila section was under way.

He said an allocation of 2,000 million has been made in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19.

He said work has already been started and would be completed in 24 months.

To a question, he said due to increase in traffic volume NHA has already undertaken the dualization of 330 km Peshawar to DI Khan section of the Indus Highway.

In recent years, Indus Highway has been unable to cope with the increasing traffic volume mainly large size of vehicles due to the lack of road capacity and deterioration of the road.

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Jamshoro-Sehwan section: ‘Construction of Indus Highway to help control accidents’

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/468371-jamshoro-sehwan-section-construction-of-indus-highway-to-help-control-accidents

Federal Secretary Communications Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to under-construction Jamshoro-Sehwan Section of the Indus Highway and emphasized upon the scheduled completion of the project as per international standards of construction.


Senior officers of National Highway Authority gave a detailed briefing to the secretary communications regarding progress on the project. While talking to the media during his visit, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said he was inspecting the construction work of the project on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

We desire, he said, earlier completion of Jamshoro-Sehwan Road project that will pave the way for socio-economic development of the area besides gearing up the pace of industrial development. Federal and provincial governments are cooperating with each other for giving relief to the people of the Sindh province, he said.

Federal Secretary Communications Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui also planted a tree at Aamri in connection with Clean & Green Pakistan drive initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He urged the civil society to join hands with the government to make this drive a success.

Riaz Haq said...

Sialkot-Lahore Motorway To Be Completed In Current Year: DC

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/sialkot-lahore-motorway-to-be-completed-in-cu-662541.html


Deputy Commissioner Dr Syed Bilal Haider on Friday said that the Sialkot-Lahore Motorway project would be completed till the end of 2019.
He said that Rs 43.85 billion would be spent on the project of 91.2Km long motorway which will reduce travelling time between Sialkot to Lahore.

He added that it would be a four-lane motorway with seven inter-changes at Kala Shah Kaku, Muridkey, Narowal, Gujranwala, Pasrur, Daska and Sambrial.

Earlier, a meeting of officials of the National Highway Authority (NHA) and the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) was held at the DC's Office here to review construction of the project while DC Dr Syed Bilal Haider presided over the meeting.

The NHA and FWO officials told the meeting that construction work on Sialkot-Lahore Motorway's four different sections, namely Kala Shah Kaku to Muridkey Sction (21Km), Muridkey to Narowal Section (25Km), Narowal to Pasrur Section (20Km) and Pasrur to Sambrial Section (20Km) was briskly under way.


Riaz Haq said...

392 Km long 6-lane #Multan-#Sukkur #Motorway M5 to open in August 2019. #CPEC #Pakistan #China https://nation.com.pk/16-Jul-2019/multan-sukkur-motorway-from-next-month-murad

Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed on Monday revealed that the Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5) would be made operational from August. He said this during a meeting with Acting Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhao Lijian. Head of Chinese State Construction Company and Special Assistant of the Prime Minister on Media Iftikhar Durrani were also present in the meeting. The M-5 is an under-construction north-south motorway in Pakistan, which will connect Multan with Sukkur. The motorway is 392 km long and it is a component of the multi-phase Peshawar-Karachi Motorway planned under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. According to the PTI Media Department, Chinese acting ambassador Zhao Lijian called on Murad Saeed. Both sides exchanged views on matters pertaining to bilateral ties of the two countries exclusively focusing CPEC projects. During the meeting, Murad said that they appreciate China’s contribution towards Pakistan’s economic progressive in the form of CPEC. He added that CPEC is an alluring reflection of the Pak-China strategic partnership. Chinese envoy acknowledged the ministry’s commitment and diligence towards completion of the projects.

Meanwhile, UAE envoy to Pakistan Hammad Obaid Ibrahimi AlZaabi also called on Murad Saeed here. In the meeting, the envoy lauded policies of the incumbent government. It has been decided that a joint team of Ministry of Communications and Motorway Police will visit UAE in the ongoing month.