Friday, December 18, 2009

Pakistan's Infrastructure and M2 Motorway

As Pakistan struggles to bring a sense of stability and security amidst daily carnage, it is important to recognize that there is more to Pakistan than meets the eyes of a casual consumer of the images and reports by the world's media. For example, Pakistan is a developing country with functional bureaucracy, well-organized police force, democratic institutions and a powerful army. And Pakistan has more advanced infrastructure than its neighbors, including India. Among the modern infrastructure pieces in place in Pakistan are its motorway system, extensive road network, mobile telecommunications systems, airports, high-speed Internet system, extensive railroad network, gas pipeline etc. A British writer William Dalrymple who visited and compared India and Pakistan on their 60th anniversary described Pakistan as follows:

"On the ground, of course, the reality is different and first-time visitors to Pakistan are almost always surprised by the country's visible prosperity. There is far less poverty on show in Pakistan than in India, fewer beggars, and much less desperation. In many ways the infrastructure of Pakistan is much more advanced: there are better roads and airports, and more reliable electricity. Middle-class Pakistani houses are often bigger and better appointed than their equivalents in India. Moreover, the Pakistani economy is undergoing a construction and consumer boom similar to India's, with growth rates of 7%, and what is currently the fastest-rising stock market in Asia. You can see the effects everywhere: in new shopping centers and restaurant complexes, in the hoardings for the latest laptops and iPods, in the cranes and building sites, in the endless stores selling mobile phones: in 2003 the country had fewer than three million cellphone users; today there are almost 50 million."

More recently, Alistair Scrutton filed a Reuters report about Pakistan's infrastructure, particularly its 367 Km long M2 motorway that connects Lahore with Islamabad:

"Indeed, for sheer spotlessness, efficiency and emptiness there is nothing like the M2 in the rest of South Asia.

It puts paid to what's on offer in Pakistan's traditional foe and emerging economic giant India, where village culture stubbornly refuses to cede to even the most modern motorways, making them battlegrounds of rickshaws, lorries and cows.

There are many things in Pakistan that don't get into the news. Daily life, for one. Pakistani hospitality to strangers, foreigners like myself included, is another. The M2 is another sign that all is not what it appears in Pakistan, that much lies hidden behind the bad news.

On a recent M2 trip, my driver whizzed along but kept his speedometer firmly placed on the speed limit. Here in this South Asian Alice's Wonderland, the special highway police are considered incorruptible. The motorway is so empty one wonders if it really cuts through one of the region's most populated regions.

"130, OK, but 131 is a fine," said the driver, Noshad Khan. "The police have cameras," he added, almost proudly. His hand waved around in the car, clenched in the form of a gun.

On one of my first trips to Pakistan. I arrived at the border having just negotiated a one-lane country road in India with cows, rickshaws and donkey-driven carts.

I toted my luggage over to the Pakistan side, and within a short time my Pakistani taxi purred along the tarmac. The driver proudly showed off his English and played U.S. rock on FM radio. The announcer even had an American accent. Pakistan, for a moment, receded, and my M2 trip began."

Here are another western tourist's impressions of M2 from

A strange relief to get to drive 3 lane asphalt in such serene quietness! It was unreal, we had to pinch our arm if this was really happening. Is this Pakistan? We decided to spend the night at the 3rd big service area with restaurant, gas station, police and clean toilets. It was strange to see there was no trace of locals selling stuff on the curbs – something which is really normal in Pakistan. Probably these place are off limits to the small business men.

Going to India – something we have long looked out for. We’ve heard a lot about India from other travellers – good and bad experiences. One thing’s for sure – India must have a LOT of people, each and every traveller from India has mentioned this explicitly. With Pakistan and Nepal (1998) as context we’re curious and somewhat anxious how we will experience India. We’re not crowd maniacs and both appreciate a ‘bit of air’ between people. Anyhow India happened quicker than we expected – we left Islamabad on the 25th, the next day we already sat in the garden of Ms Bandari’s Guesthouse. The superb M2 motorway with overnight parking and the road to the Indian border was uneventful. We drove the canal bank road through Lahore a long drive on a straight road. But look carefully to find this road separated by a canal – it’s sign posted rather miniscule by “Wagah border”.

"The road to Amritsar was like wading upstream in extreme suicidal traffic – the independence day ceremony must be something special. It must be totally worth risking your life for this. Naturally we had our usual ‘end of the day – near dark – took the wrong turn in mega dense traffic’ exercise. Just to make our arrival in Amritsar a little bit more special. We arrived in the dark - asking directions many times. This way we came a few 100 meters closer to Ms Bandari’s guesthouse each time we asked. We nearly seen the golden temple by truck. Ain’t that a relaxed truck ride in the dark! Cool!
And yes, even with GPS coordinates of the place it’s still a nice puzzle to solve after a border crossing day like this."

According to BMI research, Pakistan has experienced a high level of activity in its infrastructure sector in 2008. This has mostly been focused on the power sector and the road network. In addition, construction of housing has been a top priority. However, the global downturn is hitting Pakistan hard, and the BMI's 2009 Annual Infrastructure Report for Pakistan is forecasting the construction industry to contract by 6.31% y-o-y in 2009. The power sector has been the major focus in Pakistan's infrastructure sector in 2008. Years of underinvestment in electricity generating and distributing infrastructure came to a head in 2008, when there was not enough supply to meet demand, further exacerbated by lack of rainfall almost knocking out Pakistan's large hydropower sector. It is currently estimated that there is a 3,300MW shortfall in capacity at peak hours; as a result, load shedding has been a common practice. In an attempt to combat the shortages, a US$30bn investment plan has been announced, which has seen the development of a number of projects. Construction started in 2008 on the 969MW Neelum-Jhelum power plant, which is being built by a consortium comprising Chinese Gezhouba Group Company and China Machinery Export Corporation. Construction of the Diamer Basha Dam, which will have a capacity of 4,500MW once completed, is expected to start in 2009. Within the transport sector, the roads have benefited from the majority of attention in 2008. This has been the result of the National Highways Authority's plans to invest US$5.36bn into the sector. The plans benefited from a US$900mn multi-tranche loan from the Asian Development Bank. The main project being pursued is the National Trade Corridor, envisaged as a main thoroughfare connecting the north of the country to the ports in the south; it is estimated to cost US$6.58bn. Construction of housing has been a major feature in 2008. Residential construction is being carried out under the prime minister's 'mega housing scheme' which involves the construction of one million low cost houses per year. Pakistan's economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and BMI's is forecasting real GDP growth of 2.5% y-o-y in 2009, down from 6.8% in 2007. In November 2008, the country received a US$7.6bn 23-month standby loan from the International Monetary Fund to "support the country's economic stabilization program". The move might help boost investor confidence in the short term; however, it may put off investors looking at long-term infrastructure investments.

Pakistan Energy Infrastructure (Source: PPECA)

The 2008 World Bank assessment says that Pakistan is one of the most water stressed countries in the world, and water resources are depleting rapidly. With its water infrastructure in poor condition, the report argues that Pakistan has to invest around Rs60 billion (US$1 billion) per year in reservoirs and related infrastructure over the next five years. In the energy sector, the country will face severe power shortages of around 6,000 megawatts by 2010. Similarly, inefficiencies in the transport sector cost the economy between 4-5 percent of GDP each year.

To overcome these constraints, the Government of Pakistan is tripling its annual infrastructure investment from an average of Rs150 billion (US$2.5 billion) to Rs440 billion (US$7.3 billion). However, the bank report points out that mega projects in the past have experienced frequent delays and cost overruns, illustrating a lack of capacity in the industry to plan, program, and execute large projects.

Many infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including power plants and motorways, are being built and financed on build-operate-transfer or BOT basis. Built on the BOT basis, the M2 motorway has already paid for itself and now generates revenue for Pakistan government.

Here's a video clip of British Writer William Dalrymple comparing India and Pakistan:

Here is a slide show of some of the infrastructure development projects underway in Pakistan:

Here is a video with pictures of Pakistan's extensive roads network:

Related Links:

Foreign Visitors to Pakistan Pleasantly Surprised

Digital Maps of Pakistan
Pakistan's daily carnage

Pakistan's Road Network
Life Goes On in Pakistan

Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India, Pakistan

Urbanization in Pakistan Highest in South Asia

A Review of Global Road Accident Fatalities

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Clean Energy

Karachi Fashion Week

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Karachi Fashion Week Goes Bolder

More Pictures From Karachi Fashion Week 2009

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised
Start-ups Drive a Boom in Pakistan

Pakistan Conducting Research in Antarctica
Pakistan's Multi-billion Dollar IT Industry

Pakistan's Telecom Boom
Pakistan's Infrastructure Assessment by World Bank
ITU Internet Data

Eleven Days in Karachi

Pakistani Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Infrastructure and Real Estate Development in Pakistan

Pakistan's International Rankings

Assessing Pakistan Army Capabilities

Pakistan is not Falling

Jinnah's Pakistan Booms Amidst Doom and Gloom


Shams said...

Alistair and other Brishiters have limited clue.

Pakistan's infrastructure is a joke.
What your article totally misses is that there is just enough electricity for less than 20% of the population and that for 75% of the day.
Natural gas is now rationed.
Drinkig water quality is such that you could die washing your rear end with it.

Other than Karachi and Lahore, all other airports' terminals are only as good as servant quarters. The Piss ant John Wayne Orange County airport is bigger and better than Karachi and Lahore.
Not a single mile of new railway track has been added since the Brits left the area.

Riaz Haq said...

In absolute terms, Pakistan's infrastructure is not sufficiently well developed yet to serve its people well. However, I know from personal experience that the infrastructure in Pakistan is much better than what its neighbors have to offer. That's the point made by Alistair Scrutton, William Dalrymple, Yoginder Sikand, and many others who have done direct comparisons and reported on them in their writings.

As to the electricity, gas, drinking water and public sanitation, Pakistan is still significantly ahead of its neighbors, as reported by many international agencies and reaseach groups.

According to BMI research, Pakistan has experienced a high level of activity in its infrastructure sector in 2008. This has mostly been focused on the power sector and the road network. In addition, construction of housing has been a top priority. However, the global downturn is hitting Pakistan hard, and the BMI's 2009 Annual Infrastructure Report for Pakistan is forecasting the construction industry to contract by 6.31% y-o-y in 2009. The power sector has been the major focus in Pakistan's infrastructure sector in 2008. Years of underinvestment in electricity generating and distributing infrastructure came to a head in 2008, when there was not enough supply to meet demand, further exacerbated by lack of rainfall almost knocking out Pakistan's large hydropower sector. It is currently estimated that there is a 3,300MW shortfall in capacity at peak hours; as a result, load shedding has been a common practice. In an attempt to combat the shortages, a US$30bn investment plan has been announced, which has seen the development of a number of projects. Construction started in 2008 on the 969MW Neelum-Jhelum power plant, which is being built by a consortium comprising Chinese Gezhouba Group Company and China Machinery Export Corporation. Construction of the Diamer Basha Dam, which will have a capacity of 4,500MW once completed, is expected to start in 2009. Within the transport sector, the roads have benefited from the majority of attention in 2008. This has been the result of the National Highways Authority's plans to invest US$5.36bn into the sector. The plans benefited from a US$900mn multi-tranche loan from the Asian Development Bank. The main project being pursued is the National Trade Corridor, envisaged as a main thoroughfare connecting the north of the country to the ports in the south; it is estimated to cost US$6.58bn. Construction of housing has been a major feature in 2008. Residential construction is being carried out under the prime minister's 'mega housing scheme' which involves the construction of one million low cost houses per year. Pakistan's economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and BMI's is forecasting real GDP growth of 2.5% y-o-y in 2009, down from 6.8% in 2007. In November 2008, the country received a US$7.6bn 23-month standby loan from the International Monetary Fund to "support the country's economic stabilization program". The move might help boost investor confidence in the short term; however, it may put off investors looking at long-term infrastructure investments.

Mayraj said...

Just wanted to let you know. The Karachi mayor is now learning something he didn't know before: the type of system Karachi has. A lot of time has been wasted;as now Pakistan is teetering on the precipice of losing the most modern integrated local system in South Asia thanks to PPP and PML-N ignorance.

Although I do remember that in the 1990s when Mr. Sharif learned of the muni bond vehicle, They also announced some bond vehicle with help of WB for sewer financing in the Punjab. Wasn't well designed;but, hey they did see advice of muni bond specialists, so little wonder. His brother suddenly announced there would be a Lord Mayor of Lahore. Of course, no mayor for any other city in Pakistan. So perhaps PML-N is maybe a little bit more enlightened than PPP!

By the way, I shared this with a local official in Karachi:
I am going to update the long version of my updated article on federated systems already on the website. It has been requested by an urban policy think tank in Jordan. It is the article which discusses different systems and their operational pros and cons. I mention both Karachi in it and the panchayat system in West Bengal (which CPM in India resurrected when they came to power and inspired Indian revival of the same). Essentially they are where France was at the start.

The panchayat system is the British adoption of the original French rural model with the British difference. The weighting of the system is hierarchical;which wasn't the French case. In France, the lowest level has same power at its level as top tier, which is why by 1890 France moved for greater integration given the high fragmentation of the French local system and also because there were not enough counties in French system to coordinate the local bodies. There were 80 counties and over 40,000 local bodies. The counties are what are termed Districts in Pakistan. This need for coordination was realized in US and West during the suburbanization era in the Post WW II period. President Obama has announced a new plan to encourage regionalization in America. Unfortunately, not much different from that which put in place the regional councils et al that have been ineffectual. So maybe this time they will be slightly less ineffectual and maybe not! This is because local system is where it is today with that explosion of special districts that now need to be accounted for. As BC has revealed states need to consistently support local regionalization;otherwise, ineffectual regional bodies will remain the order of the day as few regions are enlightened enough to see the benefits of regionalization.

You in Pakistan are fortunately not having to suffer this situation as what you have if you can stick with it is the more structured model. That model needs to be worked on to increase productivity level and to be amplified beyond district level to regional level. I think with proximity of Hyderabad, there needs to be a regional body to coordinate planning for that area. Something like what is in place in Montreal in Canada (the only Canadian regional example so far) or in France all over the country would help also.
The Indian panchayat system is ineffectual when compared to other integrated federated systems because they have paucity of finances and there is lack of capacity building. The Indian states generally like the provinces in Pakistan see local government as their rival rather than their complement. They lack the intelligence of the Chinese who have realized and proven in spades like no other country in just a few decades what an economic boon they can be.

Mayraj said...

If you visit the Ash Institute award website, you can a small glimpse of the innovative spirit unleashed by the local system in China: This Illustrates how the different parts of the system are innovation engines. This aspect needs to be realized in karachi more. A decentralized system can unleash the productive capacity of all of a system's parts. Othwerwise as NYC and other US cities illustrate most parts of cities languish except those that are best off economically. So there is a ghettozed system that develops. Little surprise then that recent UN Habit report said inequality in major US cities rivals that of Africa.


Here is what is pertinent parts of cities that are innovation engines. These are amongst the award winners and finalists for 2008 and thus just a tiny reflection of what is going on in China.
Construction of Sub-district Public Service Halls
Xicheng District Government, Beijing

Purchasing Services for Senior Citizens at Home
Haishu District, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province

Reform of the Community-based Non-governmental Organization Management System
Changshoulu Subdistrict Office, Putuo District, Shanghai City

Public Budgeting System Reform
Huinan Town, Nanhui District, Shanghai

The panchayat system has failed to deliver anything like this even though China is new to this systemic approach and South Asian has had panchayat system prototype since late 1800s! Is that not a a reason to hang your head in shame. South Asia should have been by now much more advanced than China, not the other way around!

Anonymous said...

amazing that a country with such significant infrastructure is so pathetic in human capital. While its neighbor has shown remarkable improvement in intellectual capability, be it R&D for MNC, designing chips for Intel, or designing software, Pak is in the dust doing nothing. May be one day priorities of Pakistanis will change.

Anonymous said...

Why are metro trains not considered as infrastructure. In India Calcutta has for about 20+ yrs. Delhi has for 5 yrs and Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai to have it soon.

Many India cities have local commuting trains infrastructure. Why is that not counted as infrastructure.

You know when Europeans visit USA they laugh at the infrastructure of USA, lacking public transportation system. They never are impressed by freeways.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from blogger Sean-Paul Kelly's piece "Reflections on India" published earlier this year:

If you are Indian, or of Indian descent, I must preface this post with a clear warning: you are not going to like what I have to say. My criticisms may be very hard to stomach. But consider them as the hard words and loving advice of a good friend. Someone who's being honest with you and wants nothing from you. These criticisms apply to all of India except Kerala and the places I didn't visit, except that I have a feeling it applies to all of India, except as I mentioned before, Kerala. Lastly, before anyone accuses me of Western Cultural Imperialism, let me say this: if this is what India and Indians want, then hey, who am I to tell them differently. Take what you like and leave the rest. In the end it doesn't really matter, as I get the sense that Indians, at least many upper class Indians, don't seem to care and the lower classes just don't know any better, what with Indian culture being so intense and pervasive on the sub-continent. But here goes, nonetheless.

India is a mess. It's that simple, but it's also quite complicated. I'll start with what I think are India's four major problems--the four most preventing India from becoming a developing nation--and then move to some of the ancillary ones.

Then Kelly goes on to mention pollution, lack of infrastructure, big bureaucracy and rampant corruption as India's biggest problems.

Riaz Haq said...

"It puts paid to what's on offer in Pakistan's traditional foe and emerging economic giant India, where village culture stubbornly refuses to cede to even the most modern motorways, making them battlegrounds of rickshaws, lorries and cows."

To me, "puts paid" always means "case closed" to the argument comparing the village-like environment of India to the much more modern and urbanized Pakistan with much more advanced infrastructure to serve its population.

Shams said...

I cannot believe that in this day and age, we still have to read what others have to say about Pakistan.

As for the "well-travelled" label, I have been to 74, read that "SEVENTY FOUR" countries of the world, ONE HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN" cities. I can bet fifty thousand dollars that Alistair and others are far less travelled than I am. I always stayed in five star hotels, but did travel on foot, by rental cars, cabs, and yes tongas too.

That said, I ask Riaz to stop citing references from the Brishit a---- who take a cab ride on one motorway and claim to have the world knowledge to write useless articles.

Trust your own first hand experience or calculations - that is my mantra. I am fiftyeight years old. I shoud know.

Riaz Haq said...


I have also extensively traveled the world, probably been to places that you or some of the commentators I cite have never been to, including places in India and Pakistan. But that doesn't mean that others' opinions don't count. And it's not just the Brits I quote, if you follow the links in my post you'll see quotes from many Indians, Europeans, Americans etc. that have a similar theme. And I think some of these people can be more objective than you or I because they have no particular attachment to either India or Pakistan.

Mayraj said...

Phoenix, Arizona; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon and Minneapolis-St Paul in the Twin Cities Region of Minnesota are cities that a developing country city should have sister relations with. They are all leading American cities for performance. San Francisco has a had an innovative culture which has usually then been adopted in other cities also.

For instance the San Francisco mayor has been term limited to two terms since the 1950s. Now that is the California norm across the state and applies to state positions as well. Term limits have spread nationwide.

I should also say that non-partisan elections have also spread nationwide and also have shown positive results in Latin America where they also have term limits. Under the new system in Pakistan along with integrated local system you have council-manager system, non-partisan elections and term limits. This is really the most evolved system any South Asian nation has ever had. It is something I never expected to see in Pakistan, let alone in my lifetime.

Austin is a green capital of US along with Portland. San Francisco is also green oriented.

Phoenix and Charlotte are council-manager cities; which is also the formula that Karachi has. The council manager form is the dominated local government local formula in US now, generally. Amongst the largest cities mayor-council formula is dominant;but, that doesn't mean some of the largest cities do not have council-manager systems.

I did an article in 2005 about this:

Here is some info about Phoenix:

Creating a Culture of Innovation:

10 Lessons from America’s Best Run City

Phoenix City Manager to Retire

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has been rated a ‘Rising Star’ in research multiple times over the last couple of years by, a Thompson Reuters website which tracks trends and performance in research by analyzing its database of scientific papers and citations. The ‘Rising Star’ rankings are published every two months to acknowledge new entrants, by identifying the scientists, institutions, countries, and journals which have shown the largest percentage increase in total citations. In the May issue of the ratings, Pakistan was named a ‘rising star’ in two areas, ‘Materials Science’ and ‘Plant & Animal Science’. Amongst other countries of the region, Bangladesh was also listed as a rising star in ‘Computer Science’ and ‘Pharmacology & Toxicology’. Iran was named in four categories, and Qatar and UAE in one category each.

This is not the first time that Pakistan has been named in these ratings recently. In fact, Pakistan’s record has been very consistent since March 2008, the earliest ratings that are available on the website. Here’s a listing of Pakistan’s mention in the ‘rising star’ ratings:

* March 2008: Engineering, Mathematics
* May 2008: Materials Science
* July 2008: Engineering
* September 2008: Computer Science, Engineering, Materials Science, Mathematics, Plant and Animal Sciences (5 areas!)
* November 2008: Engineering
* January 2009: Computer Science
* March 2009: Computer Science
* May 2009: Materials Science, Plants and Animal Sciences
* July 2009: None

Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, the country’s top university in terms of the number of publications per year, has also been recognized as a ‘rising star’ institution, in Jan 2009 and July 2008 issues, both times in the area of ‘Engineering’.

The ratings are based on the largest percentage increase and not the absolute numbers, and therefore, cannot be used to quantify research productivity in absolute terms. However, they definitely demonstrate the trend of a substantial increase in international publications from Pakistan compared to previous years. It is very healthy that a number of different areas are covered in these past two years, showing an across the board enhancement of research productivity.

While there has been a lot of debate on the effectiveness of HEC’s reforms in higher education, at least one thing is clear: the increased emphasis on research, largely due to HEC’s programs, has started to bear fruit. These are hard numbers here, based on data by the company that maintains the largest scientific citation index in the world, and cannot be easily refuted by the nay-sayers.

Anonymous said...

rising star pakistan should also produce rising star pakistanis who will give Pak a better name by doing intellectual things. Until then rising star has no meaning.

Anonymous said...

Irfan Hussein shits on your Shining Pakistan myth

"During the lawyers’ movement for the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Nawaz Sharif declared at a televised rally: ‘Once the chief justice is restored, I swear upon God that all of Pakistan’s problems will be solved!’ (‘Jub chief justice sahib wapis apne odhay pay lag jayengai, to mein Khuda ki qasam katha hoon kay Pakistan kay saray maslay hal ho jain gay!’

Well, the chief justice was restored some months ago, and as I was away for some of this time, I can be excused for not noticing that all our problems had been solved. But as far as I can tell, we are still struggling with loadshedding; prices have not suddenly come down; and above all, the jihadis seem to have missed Nawaz Sharif’s speech altogether because their terrorist activities have increased, if anything."

Riaz Haq said...

Here are "Reflections on India" published by an American traveler-blogger:

First, pollution. In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don't know how cultural the filth is, but it's really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all to common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one's health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum--the capital of Kerala--and Calicut. I don't know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India's productivity, if it already hasn't. The pollution will hobble India's growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small 'c' sense.)

The second issue, infrastructure, can be divided into four subcategories: roads, rails and ports and the electrical grid. The electrical grid is a joke. Load shedding is all too common, everywhere in India. Wide swaths of the country spend much of the day without the electricity they actually pay for. With out regular electricity, productivity, again, falls. The ports are a joke. Antiquated, out of date, hardly even appropriate for the mechanized world of container ports, more in line with the days of longshoremen and the like. Roads are an equal disaster. I only saw one elevated highway that would be considered decent in Thailand, much less Western Europe or America. And I covered fully two thirds of the country during my visit. There are so few dual carriage way roads as to be laughable. There are no traffic laws to speak of, and if there are, they are rarely obeyed, much less enforced. A drive that should take an hour takes three. A drive that should take three takes nine. The buses are at least thirty years old, if not older. Everyone in India, or who travels in India raves about the railway system. Rubbish. It's awful. Now, when I was there in 2003 and then late 2004 it was decent. But in the last five years the traffic on the rails has grown so quickly that once again, it is threatening productivity. Waiting in line just to ask a question now takes thirty minutes. Routes are routinely sold out three and four days in advance now, leaving travelers stranded with little option except to take the decrepit and dangerous buses. At least fifty million people use the trains a day in India. 50 million people! Not surprising that waitlists of 500 or more people are common now. The rails are affordable and comprehensive but they are overcrowded and what with budget airlines popping up in India like Sadhus in an ashram the middle and lowers classes are left to deal with the overutilized rails and quality suffers. No one seems to give a shit. Seriously, I just never have the impression that the Indian government really cares. Too interested in buying weapons from Russia, Israel and the US I guess.

Anonymous said...

Business start-ups in India in 2007 numbered 20,000 and the evidence for India's economic optimism is vast:

India's automobile industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, boasting exports greater in number than China.
India is one of the world's leading outsourcing destinations for many of the world's top businesses, with annual revenues of nearly $60 billion.
It is home to a $52-billion textile manufacturing sector.
Mumbai is a recognized global financial centre.
India is also a world leader in innovation from ultra-inexpensive cars to pioneering computer software.

More than half of the respondents (53 per cent) of a survey commissioned by London-based independent think-tank Legatum Institute said India is likely to be the world's most important economic power by 2030.

Anonymous said...

not in a position to compare indian infra with pakistan's since never been to pakistan. few thoughts though

1. Comparing M2 motorway (looking impressive in pics) to Amritsar roads is like comparing newyork skyline with sky line of indianapolis (where i live). your credential tells me you should be a reasonable man but your selective comparison of india and pakistan is laughable.

2. india is also witnessing a lot of expendiure in infra including power sector. the percentage figures (6.31% or something you mentioned) almost mean nothing. 8 years back when i joined my present software company, we had a strength of 450. Infosys was 20000 head count strong at that time. once our MD told the whole company - in past year we grew by 21% in comparison Infosys grew only 7% (something like this). i laughed at his statement. obviously he was trying to motivate us. my point is % almost count for nothing depending on situation.

both countries have some glaring problems. As a whole - atleast going by western media - pakistan is lacking far behind india. you can call it western media frenzy but there must be some truths in the reports.

Suhail said...

I think you've missed Alistair Scrutton point. His writing is more in a satirical tone intended to ridicule rather than praise a poor country where an expensive motorway has been built and is being maintained despite the fact that it has very little utility for the populace. It is kept off limits to the general public so as to maintain it well.

Riaz Haq said...


This motorway was built and financed by Daewoo on build-operate-operate or BOT basis. It's already paid for itself and now generates revenue for Pak govt.

The motorway is a toll road and it is open to everybody ...most trucks and public buses ply on it unhindered...patrolled by top class motorway police...

Modern infrastructure is extremely important for any nation, particularly a developing nation like Pakistan.

It is widely acknowledged by most independent observers that Pakistan's infrastructure in better than India's or any other nation in South Asia, and that is a point acknowledged by Scrutton. As to the slow-moving traffic, it is kept out of modern freeways to maintain the usefulness of such roads. From personal experience, I can tell you that no roadway is immune from stray animals which slow traffic and cause accidents. I even saw a dangerously overloaded contraption called "jugad" plying on an intercity highway between Delhi and Agra.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "It is home to a $52-billion textile manufacturing sector."

Then why is it that per capita cloth consumption in India is one of the lowest in the world?

According to Werner International, Pakistan's per capita consumption of textile fibers is about 4 Kg versus 2.8 Kg for India. Global average is 6.8 Kg and the industrialized countries' average consumption is 17 Kg per person per per year.

Riaz Haq said...

There is a six-lane controlled access motorway in India between Mumbai and Pune. Mumbai-Pune Expwy is impressive. At 58 miles in length, it's relatively modest in length but a good start toward building modern infrastructure in India.

Another major infrastructure project in India is the Delhi metro. It's been very well done.

Riaz Haq said...

India has more deaths in road accidents than any other country. During one of my visits to India I nearly got killed when my driver almost ran into an nondescript vehicle on the road between Delhi and Agra. It was a makeshift diesel engine mounted on a wooden cart with no lights or safety devices of any kind being used in near darkness to transport people. After the near-miss, it was described to me as Jugaad, with the warning to stay away from it, and other contraptions like it.

Here is a BBC report about road accidents in India:

It's an all-too-depressing sight on India's chaotic roads. An accident - the crushed remains of a car or a van - and more anonymous victims.

There are now more road deaths in India than anywhere else in the world - a man-made epidemic according to a government committee.

In 2006 - the latest year for which figures are available - more than 100,000 people died, and an estimated 2,000,000 were seriously injured.

The economic and social costs of these shocking figures are enormous.

India loses 3% of its GDP to road crashes every year. Many of the deaths happen in rural areas, and one study found that 70% of families who lose their main wage earner in a traffic accident subsequently fall below the poverty line.

It is a scourge which claims far more victims than communicable diseases like Aids, TB and malaria combined. And yet far less money is spent on trying to do something about it.

"It's a national crisis," said Rohit Baluja, a leading road safety activist. "Not only casualties, but violations are increasing. We need strong political will to bring down the number of accidents."

Riaz Haq said...

A couple years ago, a Dutch diplomat in New Delhi couldn't take it any more. He came under fire from the Indian foreign ministry after he reportedly labeled the capital as "miserable" and a "garbage dump", according to a newspaper report.

Arnold Parzer, agriculture counsellor at the Royal Netherlands Embassy, also reportedly told the Dutch daily Het Financieele Dagblad that New Delhi residents were a "darn nuisance”, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Anything that can go wrong, does go wrong; everyone interferes with everyone else; the people are a darn nuisance; the climate is hell; the city is a garbage dump,” Parzer reportedly told the daily.

“New Delhi is the most miserable place I have ever lived in,” the diplomat was quoted as saying.

The Hindustan Times said India’s foreign ministry had summoned Dutch ambassador Eric Neihe, who in turn had “taken the officer to task”.

More recently, a Mercer survey ranked New Delhi, along with Mumbai and Dhaka in South Asia, among the dirtiest cities in the world.

Riaz Haq said...

According to global road accident report, there are 4 fatalities in Pakistan versus 7 in India per 100,000 people. And there are 18 fatalities in Pakistan versus 20 in India per 10,000 vehicles.

And I can understand why based on my own personal experience.

Anonymous said...


Seems like the trolls have succeeded in making you mad. I mean the cut and paste of random blog posts and links in your own comments section.

Do get back to writing relevant articles like you used to. Proving whether Pakistan or India is a bigger loser using random statistics is a waste of your time. Time will tell and anyway this is a topic of endless and pointless comparison.

To me your posts based on your own ideas, those sparked off from happenings in the subcontinent or those based on writings of subcontinental writers and intellectuals are much more interesting and relevant than those based on some random article in NY times etc. (which are generally written by reporters who may be curious and passionate about their subject but unfortunately they are outsiders and by-standers whose articles are based on short experiences and written to amuse their audience in between real articles).

More thoughtful and insightful posts like these: please.

And you may want to stop feeding the trolls - that is what they want.

Best of luck from an Indian reader.

Anonymous said...


NEW DELHI -- The Indian unit of Honda Motor Co. Monday said it will globally premiere a new concept small car at the week-long New Delhi Auto Expo starting Jan. 5.

"Honda New Small Concept is a concept model of a new small-sized vehicle, which Honda is currently developing especially for India and other emerging nations," Honda Siel Cars India Ltd. said.

In addition, Honda will also exhibit the CR-Z Concept 2009, a concept model for a new hybrid, at the show. The concept model was unveiled for the first time at the Tokyo Motor show in October 2009.

Write to Santanu Choudhury at

Anonymous said...

why is railways not considered part of infrastructure. Indian Railways covers 64000 km as opposed to paltry 8K of Pakistan. In other words India Railways covers 8 times more than Pak for a land size 4 times as big.
All major trunk routes are now electrified. Indian railways use concrete sleepers with pandol clips to fasten rail to sleepers. Pak still uses wooden sleepers (some of it is concrete) with nails to fasten it to sleepers.

Pakistan still imports majority of its rolling stock, be it Diesel Locos or Passenger railcars. India not only manufactures it, but also exports it to Africa and even Malaysia. In fact Malaysia Rail has indian diesel engines leased to them.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on FDI:

KARACHI: The Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has launched Investment Survey Report (ISR) 2009 according to which the business margins have come under pressure, leading to declining profitability and hence declining investments in Pakistan.

The results of the OICCI ISR show a limited increase in FDI by 0.97 percent, Rs 148 billion in FY08 as compared to Rs 146 billion in FY07. Behind this nominal increase law and order, power deficit and implementation of policy remain significant concerns impacting both new FDI and re-investment by existing companies.

However, this cautious but continued increase in investments comes as a positive surprise, forecasts for the following year i.e. FY09 indicate that members plan to withhold investments by approximately Rs 55 billion – a substantial decline of approximately 37 percent.

“This clearly indicates that foreign investors who had over the years continued to show confidence in the country are now cautious of bringing additional capital for the time being – Rs 93 billion planned for FY09.”

It is worth mentioning that despite declining profitability, tax paid to the government has increased by 8.41 percent.

Basically, the ISR 2009 report is based on the responses of 124 member companies (71 percent of OICCI members) and gives a snapshot of foreign investors and companies present in Pakistan.

Farrukh H. Khan, President, OICCI, while launching of ISR 2009 said that the key conclusions to be drawn from the Survey are that although OICCI member companies have continued to grow in terms of revenue, margins have come under pressure, leading to declining profitability and hence declining investments in Pakistan.

Pointing out the main issues he said that important issue impacting profitability, highlighted by OICCI members repeatedly, is the high incidence of direct and indirect taxes in Pakistan – which remains the highest in the region. He further added that as important stakeholders and partners in Pakistan’s progress, OICCI would urge the government to implement its recommendations and continue to include OICCI in policy-making forums. However, “most of the OICCI budget proposals were also neglected in the previous budget,” he claimed.

The ISR 2009 highlights that new and concrete measures are needed to enhance tax revenue by expanding the tax base rather than imposing further taxes on existing taxpayers, which has started to yield negative results. Despite the challenging global climate, exports from OICCI member companies increased by 33 percent to RS 34.8 billion during FY07 and FY08.

While recorded figures in Corporate Social Expenditure indicate a decline, it must be noted that these are not completely reflective of the full degree of contributions. Whether it is contribution towards national tragedies like that of the recent Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the aftermath of the military operations in the North or investing in society for overall development, member companies continue to make generous contributions in cash and kind as well as in the form of sharing of skilled personnel.

It should be noted that the 124 members (survey respondents) of OICCI have invested paid-up capital worth $9.6 billion in Pakistan with the majority of investment in sectors such as Financial Services (27 percent), Oil/Gas & Energy (21 percent) and Food & Consumer Products (18 percent). The total equity (capital plus reserves) would be significantly higher.

While Pakistan’s intrinsic comparative advantages have succeeded in attracting significant amounts of foreign investment into the country, it is important to realize that unless the potential for development and growth is carefully utilized in the near term, OICCI members or other potential investors may reconsider their priorities with regards to existing and planned investments in Pakistan.

Vikram said...

Pakistan's infrastructure might well be 'better' than its neighhbours in some aspects, but one has to question what benefit if any this infrastructure is bringing its people any real benefits.

We can consider the examples of Karachi and Mumbai. The per-capita incomes of the two cities (2008 projections using 2002 data) were $ 6430 (Karachi) and $ 10960 (Mumbai) [Source:]. Obviously both cities have huge inequities in income distribution, Mumbai probably has more squalor and slums.

But the point I want to make is that Mumbai invested early in expanding its British initiated suburban railway, railways that have been similarly derided by people from abroad and elite Indians. One can conjecture that this investment has lead to expanded opportunities in terms of livelihoods for most residents and also very low costs of transport. This is atleast part of the reason for the large difference in per capita incomes of Karachi and Mumbai. Make no mistake though, Mumbai's urban problems, from water supply to pollution are huge and formidable.

What I want to emphasize is that all of us elites have our heads infused with images of modernity that correspond to fancy highways and airports, but it is the lowly, slow chugging rails and other such infrastructure that might bring real benefits to the population.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times story about India's decrepit rail system slowing freight movement:

MUMBAI, India — S. K. Sahai’s firm ships containers 2,400 nautical miles from Singapore to a port here in four or five days. But it typically takes more than two weeks to make the next leg of the journey, 870 miles by rail to New Delhi.

For most of that time the containers idle at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port near Mumbai because railway terminals, trains and tracks are severely backlogged all along the route. Counting storage and rail freight fees, Mr. Sahai estimates the cost of moving goods from Mumbai to Delhi at up to $840 per container — or about three times as much as getting the containers to India from Singapore.

“They don’t have any physical space,” Mr. Sahai, who is chairman of SKS Logistics of Mumbai, said about the government-owned Indian Railways. “And all their trains are booked.”

As the world looks to India to compete with China as a major source of new global economic growth, this country’s weak transportation network is stalling progress.

Economists say India must invest heavily in transportation to achieve a long-term annual growth rate of 10 percent — the goal recently set by the prime minister, Manmohan Singh. But whether measured by highways, airways or — particularly — far-reaching railways, India’s transportation is falling short.

Critics say the growth and modernization of Indian Railways has been hampered by government leaders more interested in winning elections and appeasing select constituents, rather than investing in the country’s long-term needs. It is one of the many ways that the political realities of India’s clamorous democracy stand in contrast to the forced march that China’s authoritarian system can dictate for economic development.

A 40,000-mile, 150-year-old network, Indian Railways is often described as the backbone of this nation’s economy. And in fact it is moving more people and goods than ever: seven billion passengers and 830 million tons of cargo a year. But its expansion and modernization is not keeping pace with India’s needs.

“If it has to serve as the backbone of the Indian economy, the leaders of the Indian Railways have to think big, and they need to have a larger vision,” said S. Ramnarayan, a professor at the Indian School of Business and co-author of a book about the railways. “Thinking in terms of incrementalism — a little extra here, a little extra there — doesn’t solve anybody’s problem.”

The crash on an eastern rail link late last month that killed 151 people and injured hundreds of others underscored the vital nature of the railroads, as well as their vulnerability. The crash, which authorities have attributed to Maoist rebels, was particularly disruptive because it disabled a busy east-west line that, along with many others, was already stretched thin.

Traffic between big cities like Mumbai and Delhi, for instance, often runs at more than 120 percent of planned capacity, which means trains travel more slowly and tracks wear out faster than intended.

And because the railways’ tracks are too lightweight and the locomotives underpowered, Indian trains can haul no more than 5,000 tons of cargo, compared with 20,000-ton capacities in the United States, China and Russia.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal story comparing roads in India and Pakistan:

A major conundrum to those who visit both India and Pakistan is why the roads are so much better in the latter.
For all its problems, Pakistan’s 367-kilometer-long M2 motorway between Lahore and Islamabad strikes a visitor as being streets ahead of India’s decrepit inter-state roads even if roads minister Kamal Nath is on a binge of fund-raising to try to improve India’s highways.
For one, there’s a disciplined motorway police that patrol Pakistan’s highways and don’t take bribes. If you go above 120 kilometers an hour, and are caught on camera, a fine awaits you at the toll gate. Nonpayment means you can’t get out. The M2 motorway passes through the densely populated Punjab countryside but there are no cows, rickshaws or motorbikes coming at traffic on the wrong side of the road which is a common experience in India.
The M2 road was built in the late 1990s by South Korean firm Daewoo, whose name is still emblazoned on the modern service stations that line the route.
Sunita Kohli, a New Delhi-based interior designer who recently did work on a boutique hotel in Lahore, says she was impressed with the road compared to similar developments in India.
“We really lag behind on infrastructure,” she said. “Now we’re trying to make up for lost time.”
That’s not to say Pakistan doesn’t face its own infrastructure challenges. Its most pressing need is to build more power plants and stop people from stealing electricity to avoid hours of blackouts across the country.
And Pakistan’s motorways — at just over 600 kilometers in combine length — are only a small fraction of the total road network, much of which is old. Ms. Kohli says she sees the M2 as a “showcase.”
India still slightly edges out Pakistan in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which measures per capita GDP, literacy, life expectancy and other development criteria.
Until a couple of years ago, Pakistan’s economy was booming and there was plenty of public and private money for infrastructure spending. Now, foreign direct investment has dried up and the government, running a large deficit, has had to turn to the IMF for more than $11 billion in loans.
But first-time visitors to Pakistan, many expecting a failed state, are surprised by some of the modern infrastructure.
Apart from the roads, Pakistan’s broadband and wireless roaming speeds also compare favorably with India. Doing business in Pakistan is easier than in India and China, according to the World Bank.
With regular Taliban suicide bombings, though, Pakistan is unable to capitalize on these positives and continues to generate only negative headlines.

Anonymous said...

Mr Riaz,

I congratulate you for such a wonderful blog on the achievements and progress of Pakistan.

You have backed your blog with strong evidences. Whatever, you have said about the progress of Pakistan has been the analysis of "outsiders" and Experts on Pakistan.

It is unfortunate that some Pakistanis and mostly Indians counter your arguments by discrediting any progress of Pakistan and holding very negative views about this great land.

Their arguments show their inferior intellect, ignorance and bias. No one is saying that Pakistan is free from flaws but to not acknowledge the good that Pakistan has done, is nothing more than a pessimistic mind infecting the world with pessimism.

I, for one, appreciate that you have brought forward the aspects of Pakistan that are hidden to the masses. I am glad that Pakistan has invested considerably in infrastructure compared to before (obviously still under what it is supposed to be). I am also surprised to know Pakistan taking education so seriously and was quite pleased to see research being conducted in Pakistan.

Although many improvements need to be made, the fact that Pakistan has come thus far in spite of all the terrorism it faces (in spite of all the enemies who are bent in stopping this progress and balkanizing Pakistan)

The critics of your assessments are PESSIMISTIC fools who live their lives with a very negative attitude.

Keep up the good Work.


Anonymous said...

To all Indians who are jealous of Pakistan's progress (as is evident from their unnecessary criticism)
my advice is to swallow your pride and acknowledge the good Pakistan has done.

Pakistan and India both are far behind (in general terms) if we compare the rest of the world. Even Taiwan and Korea have made their marks.

Pakistan has started on a new journey of progress. It is only a matter of time that Pakistan will solve all her problems.

Riaz Haq said...

India's transport system is the most dangerous in the world costing hundreds of thousands of innocent lives each year, but it's hunger that takes the biggest toll with over 7000 dying of hunger every day.

Here's a story from the Guardian titled "Indian roads officially the most dangerous in the world":

It is an unenviable statistic but India's chaotic roads are now officially the most dangerous place to drive in the world.

Last year road accidents claimed more than 130,000 lives – overtaking China, which has seen fatalities drop to fewer than 90,000, and prompting a government review into traffic safety that until now has been best summed up by local drivers as "good horns, good brakes, good luck".

Ministers are considering a range of new measures, such as making airbags and anti-braking system mandatory in all cars. Trucks may also be fitted with speed breakers in a bid to bring down fatalities.

However, many experts say that new laws will have little effect in India, where seat belts are rarely worn and where no one can anticipate with any certainty the behaviour of the average road user.

Nor can most road users guess what type of vehicle they will face – Delhi alone has 48 different "modes of transport" including cows, elephants and camels as well as cycle-rickshaws and SUVs.

Rohit Baluja of Delhi's Institute of Road Traffic Education says "the real issue is not car design but road design. About 85% of all deaths on the roads are pedestrians and cyclists not drivers. We do not design traffic management systems to separate different streams of traffic. In America this began in 1932".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on US investment to build a modern 28-story building in Karachi:

WASHINGTON: A U.S. finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, announced on Monday to extend a $20 million loan towards completion of a 28-story office building in Karachi.

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who presided over the signing ceremony of the arrangement, hailed the transaction, saying it represents the tremendous opportunities existing between the two countries for stronger economic cooperation.

“I hope this is the beginning of a long-term association,” Dr Shaikh said. The presence of the modern building will help the country attract multinational investors by meeting an urgent need for top-quality office space.

The property will feature several green building characteristics, including a natural-gas fired cogeneration power plant which will increase its energy efficiency and mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Project sponsor TPL Properties expects to complete construction of the Centrepoint office building in central Karachi in 2012, and will then begin leasing space to large local and multinational organizations.

“This is a sign of close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States — the private sectors of the two countries have huge potential to further expand bilateral relationship,” Ali Jameel, Chief Executive Officer of TPL Holdings, said.

In the process, the project will provide new management and professional employment opportunities with benefits, including those specific to female employees. The building will be fully automated, with world-class IT and security systems.

This office building will help Karachi meet a growing need for high- quality office space, creating professional jobs in the process and becoming only the second property in the city to offer services such as world-class IT and security systems, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said.

“We expect that its many green building features will encourage similarly environmentally-conscious construction in Pakistan.”

In addition to the cogeneration plant, the office space will feature an exhaust heat recovery system, air dehumidification using heating pipes, condensation collection for water usage, efficient lighting fixtures, and clean eco-friendly refrigerants used for air conditioning.

Deepak said...

Mr Riaz Haq,
I am not here to laugh at Pakistan but it is very disappointing that you are dragging India into it. First of there are so many Infrastructure projects Going on in India which Pakistan could not really match.
1) 18 Indian cities have got planning commission approval for starting Metro Train in India. 7 Cities are getting Monorail. Metro rail is under construction in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kochi etc.
2)You just talking of 300 km M2 highway, we have build massive Golden Quadrilateral and East-West North-South Highway of 13,000 KM.
3)All big cities of India are getting massive airports by expansion or by creating new Airport. Mumbai is getting its second International airport.
4) In this winter session, Indian government is passing a bill to form a body to look after construction of Bullet train in India on six routes viz. Delhi-Amritsar, Delhi-Patna, Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Pune, Hyderabad-Chennai, Chennai-Bangalore-Pune, Howrah-Haldia.
5)Indian railway is going to add 25,000KM routes in its map and adding extra fleet of 9,000 engines in coming 10-15 years. There are also many mountain rail projects going on.
6) Mumbai India financial capital is getting so many sky scrapers, slum rehabilitation, metro rail and particularly 22km Mumbai TransHarbour Sea Link which will have 6 lane road and double lines of Metro rail in mid of the sea.

Riaz Haq said...


Glad to hear about the work in progress in India.

But clearly, your opinion is not as objective and honest as the opinions of those independent observers I have quoted in my post who compare India and Pakistan.

Besides, what infrastructure could be more basic than the toilets? And you know how India is doing in this dept?

UNICEF says India tops the world in open defecation, according to the Times of India:

NEW DELHI: With India facing the slur of topping the global list in open defecation, the Centre is keen to put the sanitation programme back on the centrestage by sensitizing the population about public hygiene.

The Union rural development ministry along with states will organize a month-long campaign from October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, to create awareness for its flagship scheme of Total Sanitation Campaign.

According to a UNICEF survey, 58% of the world's population practicing open defecation lives in India while China and Indonesia come a distant second by accounting for just 5% of the world numbers. Pakistan is down to third with 4.5%, tied with Ethiopia.

The numbers are astounding as the prosperity of liberalized India does not seem to translate into better sanitation.

RD minister Jairam Ramesh said, "I consider these numbers a matter of great anguish and shame. We must make sanitation a political campaign like Gandhiji did. Kerala, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Haryana and Himachal are doing well but other states have to pick up significantly."

There is little denying the anguish given that the numbers do not tie up with the sanitation standards expected of improving financial economy as well as urbanizing India.

As per national population figures, 54% of India's population practices open defecation against China's 4%.

The national figures do push up numbers in smaller and poor countries. Like Indonesia has 26% of its population practicing open defecation as against its contribution of only 5% to the world population. The national figure stands at 60% for Ethiopia, 28% for Pakistan and 50% for Nepal.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka, in contrast, has only 1% of its citizens going to toilet in the open.

Ramesh said, "We are going to focus now on `nirmal gram abhiyan' -- today 25,000 nirmal grams are a tiny fraction of 6 lakh villages. These nirmal grams are in Maharashtra and Haryana. Maharashtra is a success of social movements while Haryana an example of determined state government action."

As part of the awareness drive, the states have been asked to take active interest with chief secretaries issuing directions for the awareness drive up to the panchayat level. It may include household contact programme and gram sabha meetings to highlight the benefits of an environment free of open defecation. The panchayats would also train masons to construct toilets.

Deepak said...

Dr. Mr. Riaz,
I will say M2 motorway is very nice but Pakistan is facing huge crisis due to mounting debt and economic chaos. In present Five year Plans Indian government is investing $500 Billion only on infrastructure projects.

I read somewhere in Pakistani news Channel that Pakistan allot only 17% of budget on development purpose.

I came to know that Pakistan present budget of $32 Billion every year. Out of which Pakistan Army take away 26% or $9 billion. In total 83% of budget wastes in defense, Repaying international debt, aiyashi or luxury of Islamabad. In the last only 17% money remains for development purpose like infrastructure, education, health etc. Mounting international debt is forcing Pakistan to reduce its development budget so that they can repay the debt but at the same time putting no effect on running Islamabad or defense.

Out of 18,000MW requirement of electricity, there is a deficit of 9,000MW. 454 engines out of 500 engines of Pakistan railways is useless. I saw Mubashir Lucman's show where he was telling that total route length of Pakistan railways has decreased from 12,000 km to 5,000Km in 2011. India has growth rate of 8% vs Pakistan 2.2%, the figure tells everything who is better.

Like other Pakistanis if you will say Pakistan uses its resources judiciously and India has corruption then I will tell you, transparency International put Pakistan much more corrupt than India.

Deepak said...

Dear Mr. Haq,
India do have sanitation problem and I won't claim India as a Utopian State and we do criticize our government for this.

But in this article we are talking about infrastructure project and comparison. How come a country which is spending just 17% of its budget on development(& also decreasing it every year) could manage a better infrastructure. 454 engines out of 500 engines of Pakistan railways are obsolete. Power sector is the back bone of economy as industries run on it, but Pakistan has crisis of 50% shortage. I read a wikileaks report which says Pakistan don't have money to build Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and buy gas from Iran.

I read a news in Pakistani newspaper that Pakistanis are moving business out of Pakistan. If they will invest $1 million in US/Canada, they will get citizenship there.

Also read this article about current economic and political chaos in Pakistan.

If you want to show your economic progress show it but why you compare everything with India.I know you are among many hurt Pakistanis who could not digest your arch enemy India's economic boom. Pakistanis are flooding internet try to prove India's economic boom as a hoax. It is a big joke that a country with economic growth of just 2.2% and branded as 12th most failed state and 2nd most dangerous country on earth will have a better economic boom than India.

Riaz Haq said...

As per Economic Survey of Pakistan, roads have become the most important segment of transport sector in Pakistan. In 1947, reliance on roads was only 8%, however, currently, it accounts for 92% of national passenger traffic and 96% of freight. However, neglect of other modes of transportation (particularly Railways) in favor of improvement of the road infrastructure has been a prevalent problem in the country s transportation sector.

In the year 1996-97, Pakistan Railway had 10.45% share of passenger traffic and 5.17% of freight traffic, which has dropped to 9. 95% and 4. 72% respectively by the year 2006-07, according to Economic Survey of Pakistan.

Primarily on account of increasing preference for road transport by passengers as well as goods forwarders over rail transport and owing to a diversion of already scarce resources towards the expansion of the road network, the performance and condition of Pakistan Railways has declined and its share of inland traffic (if compared with the early 70s) has reduced from 41% to 10% for passenger and 73% to 4% for freight traffic.

The above qualitative and quantitative analysis reveals that Pakistan Railways has lost its significance and it is no more an attractive mode of transport. The railwaymen have to realise this fact and forget Railways has absolute benefits over road transport and that the Railways is the biggest mode of transport. It is a requirement today that rail transport is restricted to and enhanced on the corridors where long haul and mass scale traffic both for passengers and freights is available, and where there is sufficient revenue generation to bear the O&M (Operation & Maintenance) cost.
The government, in close collaboration with the World Bank, is preparing a detailed road map for revitalizing the cash starved Pakistan Railways that requires a multi-billion dollar injection over the medium to long term to ensure a complete turnaround, official documents available with The News disclosed on Sunday.

The government had constituted a Core Team, as specified by the Planning Commission, which was assigned to formulate a Pakistan Railways Issue Note (PRIN) based on a rapid governance analysis. According to the PRIN executive summary Pakistan Railways (PR) has been facing serious crisis since 2007-08 as its passenger traffic reduced by 16 percent and freight traffic (on a tonne-kilometer basis) by 70 percent. Revenues of PR has fallen by 6 percent while working expense increased by 80 percent with labor related costs and pensions being 120 percent of revenue in 2010-11.

Under the current organization structure and financial arrangement, the executive summary states, it would be very difficult for PR to even return to break-even on working expenses without radical surgery. In the absence of substantial reforms, PR will almost certainly suffer a continuing decline, slowly but steadily becoming almost irrelevant to the general economy of the country.

Riaz Haq said...

Daily Times report on Pakistan joining international railway org:

As part of its endeavor to expand rail network to Europe, Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Middle East, Pakistan is set to become member of Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) soon, said Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour on Sunday.

Talking to media, the minister said the federal cabinet had already given its consent for the membership.

Set up in 1985, OTIF was principally aimed to develop uniform law applicable to the international carriage of passengers and freight through traffic by rail.

Currently, 46 states are OTIF members. The European Union acceded to this uniform law, COTIF in July 2011.

The OTIF membership would help Pakistan to have contracts of carriage for the international carriage of passengers and goods, dangerous goods, use of vehicles, use of railway infrastructure and validation of technical standards and adoption of uniform technical prescriptions for railway material.

In this connection, a capacity building and awareness workshop was held here in which the top management of OTIF and ECO briefed the representatives of Ministries of Railways, Communication, Commerce, Finance and other stakeholders about the potentials of the membership and how to deal with the future matters.

Bilour said there was no bottleneck in getting the OTIF membership. He said now the Railways Ministry would move a summary to the Prime Minister for final approval and once the process is finalised, Pakistan would be in the position to expand its international rail operations to other regions.

The railways minister said the things were moving ahead smoothly and the membership process would be completed within two to three months.

He said as India was not yet a member of OTIF, Pakistan would also have a competitive edge to spread its trade route to the region that has vast potential for international trade.

The ECO countries route to Istanbul-Islamabad via Tehran is operating successfully, however some issues were identified while heading forward to other regions those would be resolved once the country becomes part of OTIF family, Bilour added.

He said currently eight trains were plying between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey having transit time of 11 days, but the service faced issues including lack of central monitoring mechanism to watch the running of trains, error in the preparation of railway receipts and mechanism to address the dispute between consignee, consignor and carrier. Bilour told media that the government was also working on new tracks including Peshawar–Jalalabad (140 km) and Chaman–Kandhar (107 km).

Bilour said the Railways Ministry was in touch with Islamic Development Bank involving the ECO Secretariat to rehabilitate Quetta-Taftan link to curtail transit time.

He said Pakistan having its border links with Afghanistan, Iran, China and India has the shortest link to Arabian Sea, as besides Karachi, Bin Qasim and Gawadar sea ports help increase maritime activity and bulk transportation to landlocked countries.The minister said the WTO regime, reconstruction of Afghanistan and rising trade links with CAR are compelling the needs to develop international corridors.

He said the government was now encouraging the private sector to invest in railways under public-private partnership mode in conformity with the assets especially shortage of locomotives, though efforts are also underway to restructure and corporatise the railways.\12\12\story_12-12-2011_pg7_17

Riaz Haq said...

Express Tribune on the impact of competition for state-owned Pakistan International Airline:

The country’s aviation regulator has allowed two airline companies to operate passenger flights, prompting reservations from the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), which said the approval will only enhance losses of the national flag carrier that is mired in deep financial crisis.

Indus Airlines is a new carrier that is among the two companies granted approval by the Civil Aviation Authority. PIA has demanded that Indus Airlines’ licence be cancelled.

Sources say Indus Airlines’ application for provision of space for an office and a hanger is also in the final stages of approval. After the new licences, the total number of airlines authorised to operate on commercial basis is six, including PIA, Air Blue, Shaheen Air, Indus Air, Bhoja Air and Pearl Air.

Bhoja Air’s licence expired last year, sources say, but has now been renewed. It is mandatory now for the airline to start its operations, sources add.

In a letter to the CAA, PIA has requested the regulator to cancel Indus Airlines’ licence, granted a year ago, citing financial and technical problems for the national carrier.

At present, two airlines are operating successfully in the private sector including Air Blue and Shaheen Air.

According to sources, however, Indus Airlines has already acquired an office at the Jinnah International Airport, which is not operational yet. The company has hinted that it plans to start its operations by mid-March. Sources add that the company has hired executive officers from PIA as well as other airlines, but has not yet decided about the types of aircraft it will induct in its fleet.

The name of the new airline’s chief has not been announced yet.

A spokesperson for Indus said the airline is a consortium of various companies, has acquired offices and is hiring staff in different departments.

The airline will host an inauguration ceremony soon where further details will be provided to the media, the spokesperson added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from "Back to Pakistan" by Leslie Noyes Mass talking about the extensive telecom coverage in remote Northern areas of Pakistan:

"The Eagles Nest is aptly named: it perches on top of a ridge amid rocky scree and jagged peaks. Behind us are 24000-feet snowcapped summits, soaring into the sky. Below, the valley where we have spent the past few days is recognizable by its row of cell phone towers and the Hunza River. I have been astonished that, remote as we are in Hunza, first-class cell phone and Internet connections are available 24/7. We are as close to civilization as the briefest click and as far away the loosest stone on that crumbling highway north or south."

The highway Mass is referring to is the world's highest called Karakoram Highway at an altitude of over 15000 feet. It's currently being repaired and expanded with Chinese help. Talking about it, she writes:

"I wonder what a wide, asphalt highway would do to this area--bring more tourists and trade and change forever the lives of the people in the distant villages hidden among the rocks, I imagine."

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of a report by Daily Mail on Indian trade delegation's Pakistan visit:

....When Indian journalists and members of a business delegation flying from Lahore to Karachi on board a PIA flight asked the flight attendant for a vegetarian meal, they were told that there was only non-vegetarian fare in the packet.
However, a smart attendant pointed out that while one of the sandwiches in the food packet was 'chicken', the other was 'cheese'. 'So you can have the cheese sandwich,' was his solution.

Of course, he overlooked the fact that two were part of the same dish and their proximity far too disturbing for the vegetarian mindset. Similarly, on the early morning PIA flight from Karachi to Islamabad the air hostesses were quite apologetic about not having any vegetarian breakfast on board.

While the world over, commercial airlines factor in dietary preferences, it appears PIA still has to move up the learning curve.
Pakistan deserves credit for building an excellent 8-lane expressway from Islamabad to its cultural capital Lahore.

With a permissible speed limit of 120 km an hour, cars cruise through the 370 km distance in four hours.

There is a 15 km stretch through the salt range where vehicles have to slow down as there is danger of disturbing the rocks due to vibrations.

Speed cameras placed along the expressway ensure that motorists do no exceed the maximum speed limit.

Interestingly, there are prominently displayed signs on the highway which warn drivers that there is a 'speed camera ahead' which tends to maintain discipline.

This is in sharp contrast to the approach of Delhi police, who believe in hiding behind bushes with their speed cameras to catch motorists unaware as though the main objective of the exercise is to make money instead of ensuring the safety of motorists.

The signage on the highway is up to the best global standards and boards at overbridges carry intelligent advice for motorists ranging from 'check your gauges frequently'; 'Retire the worn out tyres'; 'Drive slow in fog and rain.' A Lahore-based industrialist told Mail Today that he prefers to go to Islamabad by the motor way instead of catching the flight.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report on Singapore company buying stake in Karachi's container terminal operator:

Singapore's International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTS) said on Tuesday its subsidiary plans to acquire up to 55 percent of a Pakistan container cargo terminal operator.

ICTS's unit ICTSI Mauritius Ltd is intending to buy 35-55 percent of Pakistan International Container Terminal Ltd , whose terminal is located at the Karachi port, it said in a statement.

The company did not say how much it will pay for the acquisition, but noted that the Pakistan firm handled a total of 669,806 twenty-foot equivalent container units for the year ended June 30, 11 percent higher than the year before.

Riaz Haq said...

NHA to implement 82 highway schemes at Rs 569bn, reports Daily Times:

National Highway Authority (NHA) is implementing 82 highway schemes at the cost of Rs 569 billion, while 14 new projects are in pipeline costing Rs 95 billion.

The participants of 11th Senior National Management Course visited NHA head office here on Wednesday where

NHA’s member (planning) Sabir Hasan while briefing about the functioning of the NHA to visiting faculty members of the 11th Senior National Management Course said 98 Toll Plazas have been approved on NHA, out of which 84 were operational.

NHA is striving hard for availability of National Trade Corridor (NTC), in the country. Practical advancement is being made for achieving North South economic corridor, providing linkages with Gwadar and up gradation of Karakoram Highway in particulars.

Under NTC programme highways, Motorways, Expressways are being constructed from ports to borders with the view to provide linkages for the Transit Trade. NTC will reduce 50 percent travelling time, decrease 10 percent transportation cost and reduce 70 percent road fatalities.

Rs 300 billion will be spent during the next 5 to 7 years for this gigantic programme. Toll Collection System is being established on modern lines, he added.

He said pragmatic steps have been taken to save asset of highways from bad effects of overloading. To this effect weigh stations have been set up at specific locations to check the overloaded vehicles. In order to ensure construction of durable roads state of the art and advanced technologies are being employed. NHA is attaching great importance to make journey safe and sound on its network, he added.\05\08\story_8-5-2012_pg5_5

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on Pak and US efforts to develop FATA:

Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani inaugurated a US-funded road project in South Waziristan Agency on Monday — a move that may indicate easing of tensions between the estranged allies.

The development is being seen as a significant one as the army chief has recently distanced himself from being associated with the Americans. Furthermore, Kayani inaugurated the Tank-Gomal-Wana Road amid reports that Washington had shown willingness to accept some of Islamabad’s demands, including an apology for last year’s Salala air strikes.

A Pakistani official described the development as ‘positive’ saying despite recent hiccups in relations between the two countries, the US continued to fund important projects in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

“The US is proud to partner with the government of Pakistan in rebuilding key roads and infrastructure in Fata,” said Karen Freeman, acting director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Pakistan.

“We believe our joint efforts will bring commerce, jobs, trade and long-term security to this important region of Pakistan,” Freeman added.

The road connects to the US-funded 110 kilometre Tank-Makin Road, which was completed earlier this year at Kaur. The road will provide the people of Murtaza Kot, Nilikatch, Gomal Zam, Tanai, Tiarza and Wana in the South Waziristan Agency access to Tank, DI Khan and other parts of Pakistan, a statement issued by the US Embassy said.

USAID has contributed over $260 million for roads and other key infrastructure projects in Fata.

Meanwhile, the army chief attempted to strike a delicate balance when he suggested the military was compelled to launch an operation against militants in Waziristan.

However, after flushing out terrorists in the area, the army’s focus has now become centered on maintaining peace in the area by concentrating on rehabilitation and reconstruction activities, the army chief pointed out.

In a meeting with tribal elders, Kayani insisted that no army wanted to fight within its own borders.

“The army is concentrating on health and education facilities,” he added.

He also inaugurated Spinkai Ragzai Cadet College and reviewed the security situation besides ongoing developmental work in South Waziristan.

According to APP, Kayani said the army was deployed in the area on the demand of locals and would stay till the completion of development projects.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn story on US AID projects in FATA:

The United States Agency for International Development will construct 200-kilometre roads in South and North Waziristan agencies in addition to undertaking longer term interventions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s education and health sectors.

Andrew Sisson, the agency’s mission director in Pakistan, told Dawn that the USAID had already constructed over 200km roads in South Waziristan and it was planning construction of additional 200km roads primarily in North Waziristan Agency and some in South Waziristan Agency.

“It (road construction) is an excellent investment in opening the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in terms of economy and business to the rest of the country,” he said.

The US agency, he said, had provided $201 million for roads linking North Waziristan and South Waziristan to the rest of Pakistan. He said that USAID was also planning to provide more resources for roads directly to the Fata Civil Secretariat later this year.

Similarly, the USAID signed an agreement in October last year for disbursing funds for the construction of irrigation network downstream Gomal Zam dam that, he said, would irrigate 120,000 cultivable acres, benefiting thousands of farm families. Some $9 million for construction irrigation network, he said, had been released to the Water and Power Development Authority in December last.

Mr Sisson said that investment in this part of Pakistan (KP and Fata), especially for education, health, infrastructure, community level activities, irrigation and business development, remained ‘a very high priority’ of the US government.

“We are budgeting for the future..we are hopeful that the funds would come after approval by our Congress,” said Mr Sisson, adding that the Obama administration was committed to maintaining high level of aid to Pakistan even during this rocky period (of relationship).

“Despite our relations, our aid levels are high,” he said, adding that his organisation would continue building schools in Fata and KP, which was a very important part of the bilateral relationship.

He said that their assistance to Pakistan was in the interest of the people of both the countries and that it had been achieving great results. The USAID-funded projects, according to him, put 400MW to the grid last year, some 500MW would be added to the system next year, and one million children went to schools constructed by the agency over the past few years.

“We want Pakistan to succeed, to be more stable and have a more prosperous economy,” he said, adding that their interest in Pakistan would continue no matter who was in power in the US.

He said that apart from funding five major interventions in the energy sector the US was looking into making other investments to help Pakistan overcome its energy sector. “We are in discussion with the government for carrying out feasibility studies for Diamer-Bhasha dam,” said the USAID director.

He said that the USAID was also assisting the Fata secretariat and the KP to help build their capabilities. Justifying delays in the execution of infrastructure projects in the KP and Fata, Mr Sisson said “Even in the United States complicated infrastructure projects don’t go on schedule and that’s very true in Pakistan (as well).”

He said that some of the infrastructure projects were being carried out in tough regions where security formed a major impediment to the on time completion of projects.

About corruption-free use of USAID funds, he said that except for two cases in which the USAID Office of Inspector General had collaborated with National Accountability Bureau, a majority of the projects had seen apt and honest use of funds.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Nation report on Karakoram Highway progress:

HUNZA - Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Friday launched two landmark multi-million dollar strategic projects at the Karakorum Highway (KKH), aimed at restoring the historic road linkage with China that was severed due to the artificial Attabad Lake created as a result of landslides.The Prime Minister performed the ground-breaking of realignment of a 17-km long section of the Karakoram Highway (KKH). He also inaugurated the 510.42 million dollars upgradation of a 335 km long section of the road from Raikot to Khunjerab that has now been widened and meets international standards of construction.Prime Minister, who earlier had an aerial view of the Attabad lake, the upgraded road and the proposed road alignment site, said that the new roads were part of an effort of the government to provide the people of remote areas a fast and easy linkage with the rest of the country. He said that the road would not only ease travel, but also help provide all facilities of life. He said it would further deepen the strong ties between Pakistan and China. Raja said that road links were known to bring progress and prosperity to the areas they touch and hoped that a new era of development would usher in.He said that road links were a priority of the government and recalled his meeting with Chinese leaders during his recent visit to China where the KKH's upgradation and re-alignment were discussed. He appreciated and thanked the Chinese government for keeping its promise of despatching the required heavy machinery for completion of the project....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on WB and ADB financing infrastructure projects in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has signed eight new projects worth $2.24 billion with the World Bank while six projects of $69 million have been signed with Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) during the last fiscal year.

Documents obtained by this correspondent showed that the Project of Tertiary Education worth $300 million, Social Safety Net TA Additional Financing of $150 million, Tarbela (Fourth Extension) worth $840 million, Punjab Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Project $250 million, Natural Gas Efficiency Project $200 million, Punjab Education Sector program worth $350 million, Sindh Skill Development of $21 million and Highway Rehabilitation Additional Financing project worth $130 million were signed between Pakistan and the World Bank during 2011-12.

The projects of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Emergency Road Recovery Project worth $8 million, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Fata Economic Revitalisation Project $20 million, KP Fata Governance Support Project of $6 million, Fata Rural Livelihood and Community Infrastructure worth $12 million, Fata Urban Centre Project of $7 million and the project of Revitalizing Health Services in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa worth $16 million are the projects signed by Pakistan with MDTF.

Documents also showed that the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) active portfolio in Pakistan comprised $3.3 billion in loans for 23 ongoing projects: $143 million in grants and $9.37 million in technical assistance as of June 30 this year. In terms of lending modality, the Multi tranche financing Facility accounted for 49 percent of the portfolio and project leans at 41 percent while disbursement achieved during FY 2011-2012 amounted to $429.4 million.

One of the key pillars of reform in the power sector of Pakistan is to enhance power generation, replacement of inefficient plants and improve the transmission and distribution system. In this regard, ADB has committed a financing facility of $2.9 billion over medium-term.

Documents also showed that the ADB organised 55 capacity-building initiatives for 2011-12 for Pakistan in areas of irrigation, energy, transport, environmental safeguards, gender statistics, poverty reduction, regulatory practices, financial inclusion approaches, sustainable and millennium development goals, taxation, public sector management, planning, budgeting and evaluation, foreign direct investment, procurement, project processing and regional integration.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's KMC's release regarding 4 planned flyovers on Shahrah-e-Pakistan:

Karachi: Sept02: KMC Administrator Muhammad Hussain Syed has said that the construction work of flyovers at Shahrah-e-Pakistan and S.M Taufeeq Road will be started this week and will be completed within the estimated time which is 6 months. He said this during an inspection visit at the construction place of four flyovers at Shahrah-e-Pakistan where he was accompanied by Director General Technical Services Altaf G. Memon, Sr. Director Mass Transit Rasheed Mughal, Sr. Director Transport & Communication Muhammad Ather, Project Directors Syed Muhammad Taha, Abdul Rehman Shaikh, Noor-ul-Haq Shaikh and other high officials. He said that planning for construction of four flyovers at Shahrah-e-Pakistan was already made and offices of concerned contractors have been setup whereas traffic diversion plan was also made final. He said that construction work of four flyovers will be started at the same time with least effect on traffic and no inconvenience for people whereas service road will be widened after removing encroachments. Administrator Karachi Muhammad Hussain Syed was informed by Project Director Syed Muhammad Taha that construction of flyover at Water pump will cost 383.37 million rupees and flyover at Aisha Manzil will cost 378.20 million rupees and the length of flyover at Water pump will be 140 meter long with 3 lanes for each side of traffic which will consist of 11.80 meter width whereas the length of flyover at Aisha Manzil will be 590 meter long for both sides. Project Director of S.M Taufeeq Road Dakhana, Abdul Rehman Shaikh informed that the construction of flyovers at this road will cost 385.5 million rupees and the length of the flyover will be 497 meter long whereas two tracks with 11.80 meter length will be made whereas 5 spans, 78 piles and girders will be made. Administrator Karachi on this occasion directed engineers and contractors to take special care of quality and time during construction of flyovers. He said that the construction of these flyovers will maintain traffic flow on this road and provide transportation facilities to the citizens.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a BR story on Zardari's visit to South Korea:

A major breakthrough came in the area of modernization of Railways. Pakistan, under the agreement, will seek high speed railways, communication systems, signaling, rail stock, modernization of operation and management, development of logistics parks and freight terminals, exchange of construction and maintenance technologies for infrastructure including tracks, bridges, overhead electrification and power supply systems.

The agreement was signed by Muhammad Arif Azim Secretary Railways and Minister of Railways of South Korea Kwon Do-youp. President Zardari in his meeting with President KORAIL Chung Chang-Young said Pakistan desired modern and efficient railways to help meet its growing industrial, agricultural and freight needs.

He said the current fleet of Pakistan Railways was unable to meet the needs of a growing nation and there was an urgent need to upgrade it.

The President who had a number of meetings with the heads of top Korean business houses said Pakistan was a heaven for foreign investors as the country's large consumer population promised good profits and lucrative business.

He said a large number of Korean companies were already operating in Pakistan and doing good business.

He said other companies can invest in many new areas while the existing ones can expand and diversify their operations. President KORAIL assured President Zardari that his company was willing to share its experiences and expertise with Pakistan Railways and help it develop on modern lines.

The President later witnessed the inking of a MoU under which Pakistan will be able to acquire used diesel locomotives and work for modernization, maintenance, operation and training of existing ones.

President Zardari during his meeting with the President and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung C&T said Pakistan needs to augment its energy resources to meet the growing demand of its industrial and domestic requirements...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on PIA scrutiny by Pak Supreme Court:

Another notorious entity landed into court this week, probably because of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry himself. According to a report, “Already in the headlines for all wrong reasons, PIA again came under the flak on Monday when counsel Khalid Anwar requested the court to take a suo motu notice of the pathetic state of affairs in the airline. The request was made against the backdrop of Sunday’s incident when an Islamabad-bound PIA aircraft developed fault in one of its engines and was stuck at the Karachi airport for hours. The chief justice and some federal ministers were among the passengers.”

The report says, “The Pakistan International Airlines bemoaned in the Supreme Court on Monday that the unilateral grant of liberal traffic rights to foreign airlines was one of the reasons for the national flag carrier’s decline. It said Pakistan had become a lifeline for foreign carriers, mainly from the Gulf region, which were sucking away the resources of Pakistan (Pakistani passengers). The report regretted that foreign airlines had been increasing their capacity on Pakistan routes because of the facility of liberal traffic rights. Successive governments have allowed foreign airlines to fly to and out of the country without offering any reciprocal rights to PIA to fly to their countries.” Is PIA justified in blaming its substandard performance on foreign competition which it can’t seem to come to terms with? What about the unrelenting decline of customer services, which is a major part of the business that is being questioned by the court?

Another recent analysis states, “Pakistan recently allowed five international airlines to begin direct passenger and cargo flights from Sialkot International Airport. Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Etihad Airways and Emirates would start their operations from Sialkot soon. The number of international flights to various foreign destinations from the industrial city will reportedly rise to 45 from the existing 21 in a month.

The business community was thrilled. “The transport costs and the ability to respond to demand swiftly in a fast changing, competitive international market makes or breaks a business. Better connectivity will save local businesses time and money. Siakot will return favour by investing in modernisation of the airport and jacking up efforts to outperform their competitors in the international trade”, Mohammad Azam, a businessman from Sialkot commented.

“Sialkot is a big commercial centre with a motivated business community. The decision is a step in the right direction”, Zubair Motiwala, a known business leader said when reached over telephone.

The ministry that authenticated the government’s decision, however, did not share the euphoria. The ministry of defence, responsible for the aviation industry, detested the move that, it said, was forced on it. It believed the decision compromised national interests.

“People will still be happier if you allow them to travel free but would you do that?” a senior officer in the ministry asked when contacted in Islamabad for comments. “The sound economic decisions are not necessarily popular”, he answered without waiting for a reply. Why is the ministry not inclined to favour ‘sound economic decisions’? Why is fair and productive competition being regarded as detrimental? Could the fact that a self-absorbed ministry (that has too much on its plate in the first place) been given control of the aviation industry is proving out to be a disastrous decision?

With only three Pakistani airlines in the market, that seem are ever ready to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, what possible options are left for improvements in Pakistan’s aviation industry

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Korean news agency Yonhap on Zardari's visit:

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari agreed Tuesday to bolster all-round economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas of railways and hydropower, the presidential office said.

Zardari arrived in Seoul on Monday for a three-day official visit, and held summit talks with Lee with a focus on strengthening cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure construction, energy and development assistance, the office said.

The two sides signed two memorandums of understanding, one calling for Pakistan to provide supportive measures for South Korean aid projects to the country and the other calling for cooperation in railway modernization and related projects in Pakistan.

Lee and Zardari noted that trade between the two countries climbed to US$1.56 billion last year following a fall in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis, and that South Korean firms are getting actively involved in infrastructure, chemical and other projects in Pakistan, the office said.

Zardari expressed gratitude for South Korea's official development aid to the country, and South Korea agreed to help Pakistan draw up a national development plan, known as the "Country Partnership Strategy," by the first half of next year, the office said.

Zardari also offered congratulations to South Korea on its election as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and the two countries agreed to strengthen cooperation at the global body. Pakistan also holds membership on the council.

Riaz Haq said...

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council on Thursday approved a dozen development schemes worth Rs428 billion including projects related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and raising of Balochistan Constibulary.
Under the chair of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the ECNEC also approved the construction of Karachi-Multan-Lahore Motorway (KLM) Project’s Sukkur-Multan leg. The approval came just days before a Pakistani delegation is set to leave for China to discuss financing issues of infrastructure and energy sector projects that will be completed under the economic corridor project.
The 387 kilometer long Sukkur-Multan project will be completed at a cost of Rs259.4 billion. 90% of the project cost will be funded by China, according to a handout issued by Ministry of Finance after the ECNEC meeting. The remaining cost of the project will come from PSDP.
The project is expected to be completed by October 2017 and will be executed by National Highway Authority. The project envisages construction of 387 km long, six lanes, Sukkur-Multan section and is part of 1,148 km Karachi-Lahore Motorway.
The body also approved land acquisition, affected properties compensation and relocation of utilities for construction of the Motorway. This will cost Rs51 billion.
With the approval of the land acquisition and construction of a section of the Karachi-Lahore motorway, the issue of Pak-China corridor route has been settled. In order to address security concerns on the old western route through Balochistan, the government has opted for the new Eastern route despite protestations from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan parliamentarians.
The old route was along the western lines of the country but passes through some restive areas. Pakistan and China have agreed to construct the economic corridor that will give access to western parts of China to Gwadar port for international trade and secure energy supplies for the future.
Balochistan projects
The ECNEC approved a project for raising the Balochistan Constabulary at a cost of Rs5.2 billion. The project is aimed at assisting police and district administration in maintaining law and order in the crisis hit province.
The project will see a 10,000 strong Balochistan Constabulary for which 6,000 personnel will be recruited. 4,000 reserve police personnel will be merged into this force to raise it to 10,000 members.
The constabulary will also be responsible for ensuring security along the economic corridor.
Gwadar free trade zone
The body also approved acquisition of land for establishment of Free Trade Zone in Gwadar at a cost of Rs6.5 billion.
The project aims to acquire 2,281 acres of land for establishing a free trade zone at Gwadar Port. 1,627 acres of the required land would be acquired from private land owners.
The meeting also approved the widening and improvement of the 250 km long Kalat-Quetta-Chaman Road section of National Highway N-25 with a revised cost of Rs 19.2 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

From Hindu: Comparison of Azad Kashmir and Indian Occupied Kashmir:

As a resident of Baramulla, I should have been able to make it to Muzaffarabad, the capital on the other side, within five hours by road, had the governments of India and Pakistan allowed our three-member delegation to travel on the much-vaunted cross LoC bus.

However, the walls between the two sides built over 60 years forced me to travel via Delhi-Lahore-Islamabad — the journey thus took me almost three days.

Nevertheless, this longer route was interesting in itself. The 180-km Islamabad-Muzaffarabad road reminded me of the winding Srinagar-Jammu highway, while the mountainscape and the gushing waters of the Jhelum resembled Patnitop and the waters of the Chenab.
Muzaffarabad, with a population of just over 6,00,000, looks cleaner than Srinagar (PoK has 10 districts with an estimated population over three million in 2009). Even during my previous visit in 2004, I found that the stories of “under development in PoK,” fed to us on this side, are off the mark. This time, I noticed road connectivity and power supply to houses even on the upper reaches of a hill. In contrast, many villages in Jammu and Kashmir even today are without basic facilities. Neither does Muzaffarabad seem to be lagging behind in education and health compared to the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir though progress is more in tune with Pakistani literacy rates. In the past few years the development in these two sectors has been rapid. The literacy rate in PoK has touched 65 per cent which is higher than for any other area in Pakistan. In conversations, both the young and old in Muzaffarabad say that Pakistan has “never discriminated” against the region.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian airline SpiceJet hits buffalo during take-off

Correspondents say animals straying into Indian airports over the years have led to serious safety concerns. In June 2008, close to 100 flights were disrupted on a single day after a family of monitor lizards crawled out onto the Delhi airport runway, forcing its closure for an hour.

On other occasions, reports said jackals, antelopes, peacocks, porcupines, snakes, monkeys, foxes and dogs have strayed onto runways.

Riaz Haq said...

Business tycoon and Bahria Town chairman Malik Riaz on Thursday announced his plans of building a 54-kilometre expressway in Karachi.

Bahria Town will lend the Sindh provincial government Rs42 billion to execute the project, which Riaz said would be completed in 11-months time. The loan will have a repayment period of 15 years.

The project will enable approximately a quarter million people to travel on the expressway on a daily basis, said the Bahria Town chairman.

Riaz added that an agreement has also been reached with a private company for the procurement of 150 public transport buses for use on the expressway.

Riaz Haq said...

Planes Landing On Autobahn NATO Exercise "Highway 84" West Germany 1984

Yes, #India Mirage landing on Yamuna Expressway is a big thing but #Pakistan did it much before via @firstpost …

Highway strips are strategic assets for a nation which double up as auxiliary bases in war times. Many European countries have used this tactic for decades, particularly Germany, Sweden, Finland and Poland. Countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia too have done so many times before.
But what should bring a reality check for the Indians is the fact that Pakistan has done it twice before – first in 2000 and then again in 2010.
The first time Pakistan achieved the feat was way back in the year 2000 when Pakistan Air Force (PAF) used the M2 motorway (Islamabad-Lahore) as a runway on two occasions. For those who have an appetite for technical details, Pakistan’s M-1 Motorway (Peshawar-Islamabad) and the M-2 Motorway (Islamabad-Lahore) each include two emergency runway sections of 2,700 m (9,000 ft) length each. The four emergency runway sections become operational by removing removable concrete medians using forklifts.
PAF used the M2 motorway as a runway for the first time in 2000 when it landed an F-7P fighter, a Super Mushak trainer and a C-130. PAF did it again in 2010 by using a runway section on the M2 motorway on 2 April 2010 to land, refuel and take-off two jet fighters, a Mirage III and an F-7P, during its Highmark 2010 exercise.
India has finally woken up to the need to have many road runways. The Agra-Lucknow expressway is the first Indian road runway.
There are many prerequisites for having road runways. For example, there should be a smooth road at least three kilometers long. Moreover, the road segment has to be straight, leveled, located on non-undulating ground without slope and must not have electricity poles, masts, or mobile phone towers.
For a country like India, whose worst security nightmare is having to fight a two-pronged war with Pakistan and China, road runways are crucial. This underlines the importance of expressways – the highest class of roads which are six-or-eight-lanes controlled-access highways.
As of now, India boasts of 23 expressways totaling a length of 1324 kms, but the truth is that all of these so-called “expressways” are misnomers.
If one goes by the strict definition of “expressways”, India has under 1000 kms of such network; and barely a couple of hundred kms network if one goes by the international parameters.
In other words, the more international-class expressways India has, the more Indian strategic interests are secure.
The moral of the story: expressways are not only lifelines for transportation but also key assets for national security.

Riaz Haq said...

A startling sight in #Pakistan: Fast, affordable, air-conditioned buses #Islamabad #MetroBus

For hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis, the miserable, sweaty, cramped commute is coming to an end.

Pakistan, one of the world’s fastest-growing countries, has long lacked an efficient public transportation system. Instead, Pakistan’s 180 million residents have jammed onto unreliable buses and vans prone to breakdowns and grisly traffic accidents.

The haphazard transportation system — which sometimes involves passengers riding on the roofs of buses or sitting on top of each other in taxis or passenger vans — has been the butt of jokes here and abroad. But now, in two of Pakistan’s largest cities, residents are enjoying new mass transit options that even commuters in Western nations might envy.

Rapid-bus systems that together cost $700 million are running in Lahore and the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the capital. In both metropolitan areas, more than five dozen air-conditioned buses circulate in dedicated lanes that use new bridges and tunnels to avoid traffic lights. Commuters wait no more than three minutes for a bus, reducing overcrowding while slashing average commute times by half. And at about 20 cents a ride, the heavily subsidized systems are accessible even to the poor.

Riders “feel respected, they feel more at home, and they can commute with dignity,” said Sibtain Fazal-i-Haleem, chief executive of the Punjab Metro Bus Authority, which manages both bus systems. “It’s a step toward modernization, it’s a step toward development, and it’s an improvement we should have done much earlier.”

In 2013, Shahbaz Sharif’s provincial government spent $300 million to open the 17-mile Lahore bus route. Ridership has grown to about 140,000 passengers daily, officials said. Last year, the two brothers pooled provincial and federal money to construct the 14-mile, $400 million Islamabad-Rawalpindi route.

Using a 24-hour labor force, it was built with Dubai-like speed, opening last week after just 13 months of construction. The route includes 24 stations between working-class Rawalpindi and the wealthier capital, where most well-paying jobs and government agencies are located.

Within hours of its launch, residents flooded into the stations. Now, in a country where the average income is just $1,513 per year, the new service is offering a window into how transformational mass transit can be for the poor and middle classes.

The buses feature rechargeable fare cards, screens that show their current location, recorded messages announcing next stops and a cooling system that showers passengers with a final burst of chilled air before they disembark into the hot Pakistani summer.

Sardar Muhammad, 85, emerged from one station carrying a shepherd’s stick.

“I never imagined I would see such facilities in my life,” said Muhammad, a farmer who lives on the outskirts of Lahore. He said he recently learned how to use the system for trips into town. “Traveling earlier was very slow, like using a donkey cart.”

Despite all the glowing reviews, questions remain about whether Pakistan’s chronically cash-strapped governments will be able to maintain the subsidized service.

But Kaiser Bengali, a prominent Pakistani economist, said the cost of the system should also factor in what he expects will be heightened productivity from the workforce.

“They used to have to spend an hour-and-a-half, two hours getting to their office in crowded buses, hanging out of buses,” Bengali said. “By the time they reached their office, their mood was as crumpled as their clothes.”

Riaz Haq said...

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said the Peshawar, Karachi motorway under the China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project should be completed by 2017.

“Work on different sections of the Peshawar, Karachi motorway should be completed by 2017,” the premier said, while chairing a meeting to review the progress of projects under the China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

During the meeting, PM Nawaz directed authorities to expedite work on the projects under the CPEC to materialise the dream of a prosperous Pakistan.

“Energy projects under CPEC should be completed on fast-track,” the premier said.

Read: CPEC to be completed at all costs: Army chief

“Railway stations from Peshawar to Karachi should be upgraded and maximum facilities should be provided to the passengers,” he added.

PM Nawaz also upheld that the Gwadar International Airport should be completed in the shortest possible time.

Earlier this week, Army chief General Raheel Sharif visited Panjgur area of Balochistan and vowed to torpedo the campaign run by the country’s enemies against the CPEC and help get the project off the ground.

Read: Eastern CPEC route unfeasible: report

Emphasising the importance of the CPEC, the army chief said construction of these roads would link Gwadar port with the rest of the country at Chaman and the Indus Highway.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan — the world’s best-kept secret, writes a foreign vistor. #Lahore #Islamabad …

I have been an extensive traveller, a true backpacker, having visited numerous countries on all continents. Pakistan had never figured in my calculus until I developed friendships with two Pakistanis; one gentleman from Lahore and the other from Karachi. These two shared a dormitory with me during my studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS). I found these individuals to be poles apart from the general depiction of Pakistanis that the media regularly portrays. What I had always gleaned from the media was that Pakistan was a country mired in terrorism and religious extremism, and was a highly unsafe place, especially for foreigners. Stories about how women were treated in the country were just as dismal. In stark contrast to these images, my Pakistani friends exuded warmth and wit; they were generous, well-meaning and easy to relate to. My curiosity about their country often led me to lengthy discussions with them. Their advice to me was that the only way to truly understand Pakistan was by paying it a visit. As my Lahore-based friend returned to Pakistan upon his graduation from NUS, I thought of grabbing a chance to visit the country. His response was very encouraging. My biggest problem, however, was my mother, who when learning of my plan, screamed and proclaimed me to be crazy. I cannot blame her, as her only knowledge about the country was through the media, which is solely interested in displays of violence and misogyny, thus missing 99.9 per cent of the Pakistan story.

However, as I had made up my mind to visit Pakistan, nothing was going to stop me. Since I desired to visit the Northern Areas as well, my friend from Lahore not only lined up a visit for me, he also took a break from his office to give me company. My journey from Singapore to Lahore (via Bangkok) felt strange, or rather unique, as I was the only foreigner on the flight. The gentleman sitting next to me was a doctor from Lahore. His amazement as to why I had chosen Pakistan as my holiday destination unhinged me for a moment. Later I understood that this was genuine curiosity rather than a voicing of concern regarding my security.

I was received at the airport by my friend. While driving to his home, I saw alleys of trees and greenery, clean streets and orderly traffic — quite unlike how I imagined Lahore to be. The next day, I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and went around the city: to the historic fort and the Badshahi Mosque. I was wearing the traditional shalwar kurta that my friend’s father had kindly gifted to me. Contrary to my expectations, nobody on the street gave me strange ‘look-there’s-a-foreigner’ looks. The evening was spent sitting on the rooftop of a restaurant on food street, listening to live instrumental music against the backdrop of the splendidly-lit Badshahi mosque, presenting an awe-inspiring spectacle. The desi cuisine was delicious and the spices were toned down at my request. The decor and architecture of the street were indescribably beautiful. I visited shopping areas, busy malls, high-end restaurants and roadside dhabas. There was not a moment, which gave me the feeling that I was at a dangerous or a conservative place. People were open, cheerful and absolutely normal while they went about their daily lives.

The bus ride from Lahore to Islamabad on the motorway was an experience in itself. Passengers were offered complimentary high-speed WiFi internet, sandwiches, juices and headphones, should they want to listen to music or watch a film. While in Islamabad, a visit to a local coffee shop was an eye-opener. I could see petite girls, walking in re-assuredly, hanging out with their friends late into the night, giggling and chatting. My stereotypes as to how women in Pakistan lived were now gradually fading away; more so when I saw so many of them all alone and independent, trekking the woods of the Astor Valley.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday signed a loan agreement of $178 million for construction of the Gojra-Shorkot section of the M-4 Motorway, aimed at linking the southern parts of the country with the northern belt.

The United Kingdom will also fund road construction and would provide $90.7 million as a grant. The UK will disburse funds through the ADB. The government will invest the counterpart share of $46 million, bringing the total cost of the project to $315 million.

The M-4 Motorway will have four sections. The Faisalabad-Gojra’s 58-kilometre section has been opened for traffic. The project was completed by obtaining a loan of $170 million from the ADB. However, a dispute between the contractor and the NHA remains unresolved.

The Gojra-Shorkot section of 62km will be completed by 2019. The rest of the sections are Shorkot-Din Pur-Khanewal (64km) and Khanewal-Multan (45km).

Once the M-4 is completed, it will link the southern parts of Punjab with the north through already established networks of motorways. The M-4 Motorway will extend the already completed M-1, M-2 and M-3 motorways southward and shorten the distance between Multan and the twin cities of Islamabad-Rawalpindi.

Upon completion, the M-4 Motorway will provide a four-lane access controlled alternative to the existing narrow and congested routes notably in the heavily trafficked Faisalabad and Khanewal-Multan-Muzffargrah areas.

Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Saleem Sethi and the ADB Country Director Werner Liepach signed the loan agreement.

It is the second project that is being co-financed by the UK government. Britain is already a participant of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and provided $121.6 million in grant to fund construction of the Burhan-Havelian Expressway, which falls on the northern route.

The ADB said the new investment will boost the flow of trade and travel while reducing transportation cost and time from Pakistan’s textile producing hub Faisalabad towards Multan, which is the major trade centre in southern Punjab.

The ADB and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) have joined hands to assist Pakistan in improving the country’s vital north-south road network to promote economic growth, job creation and regional connectivity, according to an official handout issued by the local office of the Manila-based lending agency.

Acting head of the UK’s DFID Judith Herberston said UK’s partnership with ADB and the government of Pakistan will help improve road safety and enhance local and regional trade.

The M-4 is also a step towards positioning Pakistan to act as a transit artery for goods moving between the port city of Karachi in the south to Torkham on the northern border with Afghanistan through the country’s major business and population centres.

The 1,800-km route will also eventually link Pakistan’s ports with the land-locked regions of Central Asia, and will allow Pakistan to reap dividends of its active membership in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme, said the ADB.

The EAD secretary thanked ADB and DIFD for providing vital support to Pakistan, particularly for efficiency gain from road traffic operation along the National Transport Corridor. He assured Pakistan’s commitment to mobilise all-out efforts and scale up practices for improving and developing inter-provincial linkages to improve local connectivity.

Riaz Haq said...

Renovation of M2 to be completed by May 2016

Re-carpeting and renovation work of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M2), scheduled to be completed by December this year, would be completed by much ahead of time by the end of next month.

Talking to APP on Thursday, an official source said that the work is in full swing and it would be completed by May or June.

The total cost of the project is Rs30.935 billion, which includes renovation of toll plazas weigh stations workshops, as well and the total length of the M2 being recarpeted is 714kms. An official of the National Highway Authority (NHA) said the expenditures incurred on re-carpeting of the M2 were made from the revenue generated through toll tax; therefore, no expenditure is made from other development heads of the NHA.

Renovation and overlay work on the M2 had started in January last year by MORE (FWO) the build operate transfer (BOT) concessionaire of the project.

M2 was handed over to FWO on December 15, 2014 for operation and maintenance for the next 20 years.

Signing ceremony of the BOT agreement between the NHA and the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) for redesigning and beautification of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway (M2) was held in April 2014. He said that the overlaying fencing beautification of the road would make travel along it all the more a wonderful experience.

The government is not seeking any loans from abroad for the construction of the road, he said.

On the contrary, the FWO would pay an amount of Rs206 billion to the government of Pakistan over the agreement period, besides looking after the road.

Riaz Haq said...

BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) becoming popular mode of road construction in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Jan 14 (APP): National Highway Authority (NHA) has been focusing on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects to involve private sector in highway building projects as the present government wants to upgrade road infrastructure in the next five to seven years.
The government wants to double the road density till 2025 and this mammoth development goal can only be achieved with the support of private sector, an official of National Highway Authority ( NHA ) told APP on Saturday . He said that public private partnership is becoming an essential component of NHA development strategy.The objectives set by NHA,he said, include development,off-budget financing, efficiency, investment, sustainability and revenues generation.
Re-carpeting and renovation work of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M2) completed recently is one of the big achievements of NHA on BOT basis, he added.
The total cost of the project was Rs30.935 billion, which includes renovation of toll plazas, weigh stations workshops, as well and the total recarpetted and renovated length is 714kms.
Renovation and overlay work on the M-2 had started in January 2015 by MORE (FWO), the build operate transfer (BOT) concessionaire of the project.M-2 was handed over to FWO on December 15, 2014 for operation and maintenance for the next 20 years.
He said another major under-construction BOT project of NHA was 136 km Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) which connects Karachi to Hyderabad and would cost about Rs. 24 Billion. The project work started on March 16,2015 and will be completed by December 2017. Its 80 km portion would be opened for traffic within a week time.
Among the upcoming BOT projects, he said construction work of 296 km Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway is likely to start soon . The project would be executed on BOT basis and its estimated cost is over Rs 160 billion.
The motorway project starting from Sukkur will touch Khairpur, Nowshehro Feroze, Nawab Shah, Mitiari, Hala and Jamshoro and terminate at Hyderabad.
About 90-kilometre Sialkot-Lahore Motorway would cost Rs 56 billion and will be built on BOT basis and it would be completed in three years. The proposed motorway project would help link remote areas with big cities and reduce the distance between Sialkot and Lahore.
Starting from Sahowala-Sambrial,the motorway will end at Kala Shah Kaku via Daska, Gujranwala and Kamonki.
Moreover the NHA plans to undertake the up gradation and dualization of Multan-Muzaffargarh-D.G. Khan Section of Multan-Qilla Saifullah Highway (N-70) on BOT basis.
The NHA invited bids for undertaking upgradation and dualization
of the section and a Concession Agreement has been finalized, the official informed.
The Concession Agreement has been signed, and the construction work shall be commenced after achievement of Financial Close by the Concessionaire. He said that the project construction period will be 24 months from achievement of financial close.
The existing 20 km of Tarnol-Taxila section of Grand Trunk Road (N-5) would be improved and widened to provide a fast track facility of international standard is among the BOT Projects at Procurement Stage. Scope of work also includes a flyover at Tarnol railway crossing. Concession agreement is at negotiation stage.
About 111-kilometre four-lane Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad Motorway (M-3) and Faisalabad-Gojra Section of Faisalabad-Multan Motorway (M-4) would be converted into a 6 lane facility and overlay on existing 4-lanes would also be done.Land and 6-lane structures are of the project are already available.
Yet another upcoming BOT project is 32 km existing 2-lane Tarnol-Fatehjang section of Rawalpindi-Kohat Highway which would be converted into a 4- lane, divided highway and the project is at preparation stage.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to set up #infrastructure bank with $1 billion capital to finance private sector development. #IMF #IFC

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has announced that the government will set up Pakistan Infrastructure Bank with a paid-up capital of $1 billion, which will give financing to private investors for development projects.

Pakistan government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would have 20% shares each in the bank and the rest would be held by global organisations such as the International Finance Corporation, he said.

AJK plans tourism corridor along CPEC
He was speaking at a briefing held for the Pakistani media towards the end of his visit to Washington DC during which he attended spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.

Dar also revealed that the government would soon be launching Pakistan Development Fund (PDF) and its shares worth Rs100 billion would be offered to Pakistani diaspora in order to channelise their remittances effectively.

Later, these shares will be listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. “After the success of Sukuk (Islamic bonds), the PDF will be another attractive investment for overseas Pakistanis,” he remarked.

Giving a detailed round-up on the plenary sessions with the IMF and World Bank, the minister said there was positive sentiment about the tremendous economic rebound experienced by Pakistan over the last four years.

“Pakistan was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2014 and today it is likely to achieve approximately 5% growth during the current financial year,” he said. “Both IMF and World Bank are on the same page with the Pakistani government in these projections.”

Promotion of it: Work on innovation centres begins

Global credit rating agencies have upgraded the rating of Pakistan from negative to stable and from stable to positive in the last four years to an extent that the country is likely to be included in G-20 countries by 2030.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan prime minister inaugurates first deep-water container terminal

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the initial phase of the country’s $1.4 billion first high-tech deep-water container terminal on Friday.
Hutchison Ports Pakistan is a public-private partnership of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports Holdings. The terminal is one of the most advanced in the region, having broken its own productivity record four times and serviced some of the largest container ships in the world since test operations began on December 9, 2016. Its high performance is expected to raise Pakistan’s global trade competitiveness and set a strong foundation for further economic growth.
“The state-of-the-art new container terminal at KPT will be a key component to become part of the overall CPEC system, assisting and facilitating CPEC development in Pakistan, which the government of both Pakistan and China are pursuing so vigorously,” Abbasi said. “The CPEC is the initiative of BRI, which is the project of not only regional but global connectivity.”
As the incumbent government of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) is about to complete its five-year tenure, the prime minister highlighted the achievements of his government, claiming that it had undertaken major development projects that had not been done in the past 65 years.
“Turning the economy around, overcoming the energy crisis, combating extremism and terrorism and huge investment in human development sectors have remained our key priorities since the very first day of our government,” Abbasi said. “Our economic rebound is particularly remarkable because we achieved it while aggressively fighting terrorism throughout Pakistan, for which we had to allocate resources to our law enforcement agencies.”
He said that many projects in the energy sector were in the pipeline, including four LNG terminals, four power plants of 600 MW and a desalination plant of more than 50 million gallons. “I am confident that the new government after the elections will be more than willing to play its part to make it a success story,” Abbasi said.
Andy Tsoi, managing director of Hutchison Ports, Middle East Africa, said the port was being operated at international standards and applied the highest level of expertise to port operations. “The project is a glowing example of public-private partnership and the Pak- China friendship that will augment the economic environment of Pakistan while revitalizing the ports and shipping industry and strengthen the relationship between both countries,” Tsoi said.
Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, minister for maritime affairs, said that 97 percent of Pakistan’s international trade was handled through seaports and the ministry was committed to integrating the country’s ports. “Hutchison Port Pakistan project is an example of the successes of a public-private partnership in which KPT has invested around $800 million and Hutchison Port Holdings will be investing over $600 million,” Bizenjo said.
He announced the start of cruise line services from Karachi port to Chahbahar port via Gwadar port, connecting Oman and Dubai as well. “The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation has completed formalities and is in the process of buying three vessels. Soon foreign and local vessels will be registered in Pakistan like in Panama,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

A tale of two systems: urban development in China and India

On paper, India’s transport infrastructure is on a par with China’s. Yet anyone who has travelled to both countries can tell you there remains a vast gap between them.

India’s road and rail networks are only slightly shorter than China’s. But far more of the latter’s roads are multi-lane paved highways, compared with single-lane dirt tracks, and China’s bullet trains outclass India’s lumbering locomotives on virtually every metric.

The comparison between the world’s two most populous countries and their approach to building and maintaining cities and infrastructure is irresistible, especially since China has outpaced India so comprehensively over the past few decades. While the countries’ economies were roughly the same size as recently as 1980, China’s gross domestic product is now four and a half times the size of India’s.

In India, even politically important projects such as the “golden quadrilateral” highway network connecting the country’s four major metropolitan centres of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata have been hampered by chronic delays and obstacles.

In 1999, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee broke ground on the road project, which had a projected completion date of 2006. But the highways were not opened to traffic until 2012 and to this day upgrades and extensions remain bogged down by legal challenges, funding shortfalls and the inability to acquire land.

By contrast, China is already halfway through a three-decade, $300bn expansion of its motorway system that will connect all Chinese cities with a population of more than 200,000 people.

The scale of the country’s road-building frenzy is matched by the creation of hundreds of new cities and the world’s longest high-speed rail network. All of this construction is reflected in the incredible scale of Chinese cement production. China accounts for about 60 per cent of total global cement production and in just five years from 2012 China produced nearly three times as much cement as the US did in the entire 20th century.

India is on track to build 100 new cities of its own and add roughly 300m people to its population by 2050. Yet although it is now the second-largest producer of cement in the world, India’s annual output is only about a 10th of China’s.

Riaz Haq said...

#CPEC-funded 1,152 kilometers long two-way six-lane road valued at $2.889 billion #Multan-#Sukkur M5 #Motorway 83% complete. Expected to be operational by August 2019. #China #Pakistan - Profit by Pakistan Today

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...

Pakistan is ranked at 95 among 167 countries on the aggregated Logistic Performance Index (LPI), trailing behind a number of Asian countries due to lack of spending on infrastructure projects including airports and highways.

India is at 35th position while Sri Lanka stands at 92nd place in the list. Regional countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are far ahead of Pakistan, according to a report published by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Where’s CPEC?
Luckily, Pakistan’s performance on the infrastructure component of the LPI is likely to improve, particularly in the wake of CPEC-related development of roads, railways, and the Gwadar port. In addition, CPEC is also expected to boost the prospects of the shipping industry, and forward-thinking investors are reportedly keen to explore such opportunities.

Why Logistics Sector Holds Great Value?
A more concerted policy focus is required to tackle the shortcomings reflected in other LPI components. These can be viewed as a subset of the ease of doing business, and may thus be added to the agenda items that the country is looking to address in order to attract more FDI and boost exports.

The efficient logistics lie at the heart of competitiveness, both at the firm and country level. They enable firms to connect with domestic and international markets and affect a country’s prospects of integration within global value chains.

Logistics impact trade, job creation, and economic development. Given its importance, there is a need to track logistics performance and take corrective action as needed.

The Criteria
To this end, the World Bank’s LPI serves as a benchmarking tool that scores and ranks logistics performance. The index can be further categorized into 6 distinct components, namely:

International shipments: The ease of arranging competitively priced international shipments
Logistics competence: The competence and quality of logistics services
Infrastructure: The quality of trade and transport-related infrastructure (for example, ports, roads, railroads, information technology)
Customs: The efficiency of customs and border management
Timeliness: The frequency with which shipments reach consignees within the scheduled or the expected delivery time
Tracking and tracing: The ability to track and trace consignments
World Bank’s aggregated LPI 2012-2018 provides a composite, weighted score and ranking based on four surveys, which minimizes random variations across individual surveys and facilitates comparison across 167 countries.

Moreover, the six components reveal that Pakistan’s weaknesses are broad-based. In four out of six components, Pakistan’s ranking ranges between 100 and 112. In fact, the country ranks last on the ‘Tracking and tracing’ component compared to selected South Asian countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has a well-developed and integrated infrastructure for the transmission and
distribution of natural gas.

Its natural gas pipeline system is about 145,633 kilometers (km) long,
of which 134,489 km are distribution pipelines and 11,144 km are high-pressure transmission
lines (footnote 5). Transmission and distribution of natural gas in the northern and central
regions of Pakistan is undertaken by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL)6 while
Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) covers the southern region of Pakistan where the
project is located (footnote 6).

Riaz Haq said...


PARCO’s cross-country network of pipelines, including those of its subsidiary – PAPCO, starts from Karachi and goes up to Machhike near Lahore, covering over 2000 kilometres. These pipelines have played a major contribution in protecting the environment of our country and reducing congestion on the roads by substituting thousands of tank lorries. As this silent river of fluid energy flowing underground, much of the noise, fatalities and pollution on the surface, thefts and contamination of the product have become a thing of the past.

The 870-km Karachi-Mahmoodkot (KMK) Pipeline, commissioned in 1981, transports crude from Karachi to Mahmoodkot near Multan for its Mid Country Refinery. Its initial annual pumping capacity of 2.9 million tons has been upgraded and KMK is now capable of pumping up to 6 million tons per year.

PARCO commissioned 362-km Mahmoodkot- Faisalabad–Machhike (MFM) Pipeline, in 1997 to transport refined products like diesel and kerosene to Faisalabad and Machhike near Lahore. MFM has designed pumping capacity of approximately 3.7 million tons per year.

The US$ 480 million, White Oil Pipeline is the mega infrastructure project owned by Pak Arab Pipeline Company Limited (PAPCO). After conversion of PARCO’s existing pipeline network for Crude Oil transportation, the White Oil Pipeline (WOP) is catering to transport diesel to the central regions of Pakistan; which account for almost 60% of the total Petroleum consumption in the country.

For the implementation of the 786 km White Oil Pipeline Project (WOPP) from Karachi to Mahmoodkot, a joint venture company, Pak-Arab Pipeline Company Ltd. (PAPCO) was created. PARCO holds a 51% majority share in PAPCO while Shell, PSO and TOTAL PARCO Marketing Limited hold 26%, 12% and 11% shares in equity respectively. The 26” dia White Oil Pipeline is designed for a capacity of 12 million tons per year, starting with 5 million tons in the initial years.

The 22-km Korangi-Port Qasim Link (KPLP) Pipeline was laid by PAPCO, linking PARCO’s Korangi station with PAPCO’s Port Qasim station was commissioned in 2006. This tactical link has connected both the Karachi ports (Keamari & Port Qasim) with PARCO & PAPCO pipeline systems, providing flexibility in pipeline operations to receive crude as well as product from either port.

PARCO’s Pipeline System includes a network of highly sophisticated Telecommunication facilities and a comprehensive Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) System.

PARCO’s pipeline network is a critical and efficient life support system for the Central and Northern areas of the country. In addition to its strategic nature, it is contributing to the national exchequer not only through payment of attractive dividends, taxes and import duties but also by delivering major savings in freight expenses.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan’s new pipeline with Russia to increase LNG import capacity

Pakistan will start building a 1,100 kilometer (684 miles) pipeline in July with Russia that will allow the South Asian nation to operate more liquefied natural gas terminals.

The South Asian nation will have a majority share of 51% to 74% in the project, while Russia will own the remainder, Nadeem Babar, petroleum adviser to the prime minister, said in an interview on Dec. 14. Pakistan’s gas distribution companies Sui Southern Gas Co. and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd., which have started acquiring land for the pipeline, will be a part of the project, while a Russian consortium will lead construction.

Pakistan has become one of the top emerging markets for the super-chilled fuel in recent years as domestic gas production has plateaued, forcing the nation to import cargoes. The nation has also auctioned a record 20 oil and gas blocks to encourage exploration activity, with bids expected by mid-January, said Babar.

Pakistan, which imported its first cargo five years ago, currently has two LNG terminals. It’s running the two terminals at capacity to meet peak winter demand, with 12 cargoes secured for December and 11 for January, Babar said. Two more LNG terminals, Energas and Mitsubishi’s Tabeer Energy, are expected to start in the next few years.

Pakistan has LNG deals for 700 million cubic feet a day and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government will decide if the nation needs another medium-term LNG contract for five years after reviewing demand from power generators, the biggest consumers of the fuel, in the next three months, said Babar.

The nation has also decided that it will only import cleaner Euro-5 diesel from January after doing the same for gasoline earlier this year. Besides imports, Pakistan also plans to add 150 million cubic feet a day of domestic gas output this month, including 50 mmcfd from the Mari gas field, Babar said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan & #Russia agree to jointly finance/build 1,100 Km #gas pipeline from #Karachi to #Lahore. It'll cost $2.5-$3 billion & complete by 2023. Pak will own 76%, Russia 24%. Carrying capacity: 700-800 mmfcd, upgradabale to 2,000 mmfcd with compressors.

Pakistan and Russia have signed an agreement for the construction of about 1,100-km gas pipeline from Port Qasim in Karachi to Lahore at an estimated cost of USD 2.5-3 billion by the end of 2023, according to a media report on Friday.

The Heads of Terms (HoTs) of shareholders' agreement was signed on Thursday after four days of talks, the Dawn News reported. The two sides also signed minutes of the third meeting of the Russia-Pakistan Joint Technical Committee (JTC) for implementation of the Pakstream Gas Pipeline Project commonly known as North-South Gas project.

The two sides agreed over 74:26 per cent shareholding in the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project. This envisages both put option' and call option' to Russian side which means its entities can move out of the project if it is not found feasible or increase its shareholding to 49 per cent if it is able to provide attractive financing arrangements acceptable to Pakistan. In any case, Pakistani entities will maintain majority shareholding.

The Russian side will arrange funding for foreign exchange components through suppliers' credit or typical project financing to cover imported items like steel, consultancies, pipelines and related products and materials not available in Pakistan. The concession agreement for the pipeline will remain effective for 25-30 years. The pipeline size was agreed at 56-inch diameter to cater for next 30-40 years of energy needs in the country that will ensure 700-800 million cubic feet per day (mmfcd) of free gas flow which can go up to 2,000mmcfd with compressors.

The next steps will be the signing shareholders' agreement, financial agreement, gas transportation agreement and lenders agreement during which time the Russian side will complete the front end engineering design (FEED) and the Pakistani side will arrange dollar financing of local currency component against Rs321bn worth of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess.

The two sides committed to expeditiously implement the project to meet the emerging energy security scenario of Pakistan to ensure investment commitments by coming LNG terminals, the Pakistani daily reported.

At the signing ceremony in Islamabad, Pakistani side was led by Petroleum Division Secretary Arshad Mahmood while Deputy Director of Department of Foreign Economic Cooperation and Fuel Markets Development of Russian Ministry of Energy Alexander Tolparov led the visiting team.

Riaz Haq said...

Night view of a well-lit grid-station in #Lahore. It connects #Punjab to 878 Km 600 Kv HVDC $2.1 billion Lahore-#Matiari (#Sindh) #power #transmission line that recently became part of #Pakistan's national grid. #CPEC #China

Riaz Haq said...

79pc motorways and 68pc highways completed under CPEC

As many as 79% work on motorways and 68% on highways have been completed on eastern and western routes of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), according to Gwadar Pro.Both the Western and Eastern alignments will connect Khunjerab Pass to Gwadar.

The common alignment for all the three eastern, western and central routes including 790 km road from Khunjerab to Burhan and 193 km road from Hoshab to Gwadar has been completed already.

Burhan will be at the intersection of the Eastern and Western Alignment.

According to the officials in the Ministry of Communication, the distance of the Eastern route starting from Islamabad to Karachi is 1,419 km, out of which 79% work on motorways has been completed whereas 21% is left which is 306 km Sukkur Hyderabad motorway.This is the only patch left in the eastern route of CPEC. Sukkur Hyderabad motorway is expected to be complete in the next 30 months. The company which won the tender has already been allowed to start its construction.

On the other hand, the western route of CPEC starts from Islamabad to D. I Khan, then D. I Khan to Quetta, and from Quetta to Gwadar. Excluding the common alignment, the total length of this route is 1,714 km. Out of which 68% has been completed while 32% is under construction.

The Islamabad to D I khan motorway has been completed recently. The very important link of the western route of CPEC is D.I khan to Zoub and Quetta which is 540 km patch.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to Spend ‘Bare Minimum’ $6 Billion to Boost Growth
Targets 5% GDP growth next fiscal year to create new jobs
Finance chief sees this year’s fiscal deficit just above 7%
Video player cover image
WATCH: Pakistan's finance minister says the country plans to boost spending on large infrastructure projects by as much as 40% to create jobs.(Source: Bloomberg)
By Faseeh Mangi and Khalid Qayum
May 6, 2021, 8:37 AM PDTUpdated onMay 6, 2021, 9:46 PM PDT

Pakistan plans to boost spending on large infrastructure projects by as much as 40% to create jobs and foster productivity in an economy crippled by the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said.

The federal government will earmark as much as 900 billion rupees ($6 billion) for development expenditure in the year beginning July, Tarin, who took office last month, said in an interview in Islamabad. The economy needs to expand by 5% next year, he said.

“That’s the bare minimum we need for a country this size,” said Tarin, who is due to present a new budget next month for the world’s fifth most-populous nation. “There are almost 110 million youth.”

Tarin, a former banker, was appointed last month as the fourth finance minister since Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government took power in 2018. He also served in the role between 2008 and 2010, helping the nation avoid default by securing a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. He comes into office as Pakistan faces a third wave of coronavirus cases, prompting authorities to order a week-long shutdown that may weigh on economic activity and hurt incomes.

Tarin’s plan will reverse his predecessor’s decision to lower spending to narrow the budget deficit, which he estimates to be a little above 7% of gross domestic product in the current fiscal year through June, against 8.1% in the previous year. Tarin said he expects the deficit in the next fiscal to be 1 or 1.5 percentage points lower.

While balancing the budget will be key for Pakistan’s current $6 billion loan program with the IMF, the new finance minister is negotiating with the organization for more wriggle room to support economic growth.

The government’s GDP target for next year is a percentage point higher than the IMF’s 4% projection, and Tarin is seeking to boost growth to 6% in the year after. The Washington-based lender sees the economy expanding 1.5% in the current fiscal period after a rare contraction last year.

“We need 2 million jobs every year,” he said. “If we do not go into growth mode, we will have a major crisis on the streets.”

The central bank, which has cut interest rates to a three-year low to support the economy, has been on pause mode for a while and has left some of the heavy lifting to the government.

“First we have to get more revenues,” Tarin said, adding that he’s targeting about 6 trillion rupees next year in tax authority revenue, compared with this year’s 4.75 trillion-rupee target. “Unless we get more revenues, forget about any incentives to boost the economy.”

Other comments from Tarin’s interview:

On talks with the IMF: “All we are saying is that we are just basically going to give them alternate ways of achieving the same objective” including revenue generation and reducing energy debt, adding that the aim is for this to be the last IMF bailout in Pakistan’s history
Plans to tap undrawn allocated funds from Asian Development Bank and World Bank that total $20 billion
Aims to increase tech exports to $8 billion in two years, from an estimated $2 billion this fiscal year, a sector he said that he aims to support
Nation plans to soon launch global sukuk bond

Riaz Haq said...

or a long time we have known that improved transport accessibility leads to more opportunities and better lives.


Accessibility describes how easy (or difficult) it is for people to reach services and opportunities. When you look at the data, significant accessibility gaps persist around the world. Globally 51% of individuals living in low-income countries reside within an hour of a city compared to 91% of individuals in high-income countries. This limited access to urban centers hinders rural populations from accessing services and opportunities, including healthcare, education, jobs, and markets. Gender plays an important role as well: as these findings from Pakistan illustrate, women typically must cover greater distances to reach basic services. Even for people living in cities, accessibility may vary depending on the availability of public transport, the impact of traffic congestion.

Lack of access is systematically linked to inferior development outcomes, even more so if motorized transport is not available. The inability to travel to healthcare facilities, for instance, has been associated with increased mortality and morbidity from treatable conditions. Conversely, improved access is often synonymous with improved development outcomes. For example, women with access to roads in Pakistan are twice more likely (14% vs 28%) to go to pre-natal consultations. In rural Morocco, girls’ enrollment in primary schools increased from 17% to 54% when their access to roads improved.

Looking particularly at rural roads investments, the construction of a new road can lead to a chain of positive impacts. When a rural community gets connected to the road network, people who could not reach healthcare, schools, or other essential services before are suddenly able to do so. Workers can access more and better jobs. Farmers can sell their products in more distant markets. But these outcomes can only materialize if rural road projects are carefully planned and prioritized. Also, while investments in road networks are often a critical first step toward enhancing accessibility, they should be integrated into a broader investment package targeting social and technological development overall.

However, transforming this knowledge into action had been hard to operationalize. Lack of data regarding the transport network, opportunities, limited computing power to calculate travel times in large areas and lack of consistent framework had made it hard for us to take this academic research into an operational reality. We needed to understand exactly which transport projects will have the highest impact on accessibility? How would this accessibility transform into household welfare? And how do we create tools to inform planning and investment decisions?

To address these questions, the World Bank’s Transport and Poverty and Equity teams jointly developed a new framework that relies on high-resolution mapping and other sophisticated analytical tools to provide a more granular view of how rural road infrastructure can benefit communities.

We are now able to deploy all that knowledge into operational action, by developing an analytical framework that highlights spatial disparities in access to services and opportunities, calculates the expected gains in accessibility from investments into road infrastructure and thereby informs the placement of transport investments throughout the region.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan - Operational Design for the Project Development Fund and for the Viability Gap Fund

This final report is the fifth deliverable for the World Bank funded project 'operational design for the project development fund and for the viability gap fund'. Taking into account feedback and further consideration of issues rose in the previous Reports, it aims to: provide high level recommendations on the overall Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework in Pakistan, recognizing international best practice but also taking into account the specific Pakistan context and the challenges faced their-in; provide the analysis of the project pipeline for PPP projects in Pakistan, on the basis of consultations undertaken in Islamabad in May 2009; and design possible structures for the Project Development Fund (PDF) and for the Viability Gap Fund (VGF), that is informed by the current local enabling environment for PPPs, including the institutional capabilities and the existing pipeline of PPP projects. This final report incorporates feedback from the World Bank and the Government of Pakistan on each of the above-listed issues, which were set out and discussed in details in previous reports.

Riaz Haq said...

Mastercard partners with Pakistan’s One Network to Digitize Road Toll Payments | Middle East/Africa Hub

Islamabad, Pakistan; 08 November 2021 – Mastercard has signed a strategic partnership with the Pakistani intelligent transport systems provider, One Network, to digitize the country’s road toll payments network. The announcement was signed at the Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, where Mastercard is the Official Payment Technology Partner, in the presence of Frontier Works Organization, Pakistan’s biggest toll collection entity.

The partnership will see Mastercard integrate its digital payment gateway infrastructure into One Network’s newly launched Apple and Android smartphone app, allowing motorway commuters to top-up their M-Tag cards in advance from anywhere using their mobile devices. The newly developed app will also enable motorists to review their travel history and check their balance in real-time.

Every year, over three hundred million vehicles travel and pay Toll Tax on Pakistan’s motorways. M-Tag uses RFID technology (radio-frequency identification) to automatically and digitally deduct credit from commuters’ prepaid M-Tag accounts as they pass through RFID-enabled toll lanes. With the integration of Mastercard’s digital mobility payment solutions, commuters can add credit whenever and wherever is most convenient to them through the new application without interrupting their journeys.

Riaz Haq said...

ADB CAREC Energy Report

Electricity Generation
Pakistan’s electricity sector has a total installed capacity of 34.5 GW, with thermal generation dominating
the power mix, having a share of 66% (National Transmission and Despatch Company 2020). Gas-fired
plants are the main source of power, having an installed capacity of almost 9.3 GW, while oil-fired power
plants have 6.5 GW installed capacity and coal-fired plants have 4.6 GW. Since the regulatory framework
allowed independent power producers to develop generation projects, multiple new thermal power
plants were constructed. As the country’s oil and natural gas reserves are diminishing, further growth in
alternative energy sources is needed.
Historically, hydropower was one of the main sources of electricity generation in Pakistan. The total
hydropower resource potential is estimated at 60 GW (Faizi 2020). However, with the expansion of
thermal power, its share in electricity has declined significantly and currently holds a 29% share of total
installed capacity. The country has 30 hydropower plants in operation, with a total installed capacity
of 9.9 GW, including 17 categorized as major hydropower and 13 as small hydropower units operating
mainly as a run-of-river units. The three main projects are Tarbela Dam (4.8 GW installed capacity),
Ghazi–Barotha (1.4 GW), and Mangla Dam (1.1 GW). Tarbela and Mangla dams, commissioned in the
1970s, are considered the main contributors to hydropower generation. To enhance the quality and
reliability of supply, Mangla Dam is planned for refurbishment, and Tarbela Dam for extension.
Pakistan’s first nuclear power plant, Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP), began operations in 1970,
with a capacity of 100 megawatts (MW). Since then, nuclear power generation has experienced active
growth, and current capacity is 2.5 GW. Cross-country cooperation is a cornerstone of Pakistan’s strategy
to reach its goal of 8,800 MW of nuclear installed capacity by 2030. Currently, one new reactor of
1,100 MW is being built.
The country’s renewable energy potential has been realized to only a limited extent. The theoretical
potential of total wind energy is estimated at 340 GW, with the southern wind corridors being the most
auspicious—the Gharo–Keti Bandar wind corridor has over 50 GW of potential alone. However, only
around 1.1 GW of wind energy capacity is currently in operation. Likewise, solar power has tremendous
potential—as high as 2,900 GW, only about 0.4 GW of which is installed as of 2021. Although projects such
as the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (0.4 GW capacity) were successfully implemented, the lack of political
commitment, land availability, and the lower performance of outdated PV plants installed earlier are among
the reasons for limited development of renewable energy. Additional potential solutions include offshore
wind, floating solar PV in existing hydropower reservoirs, and wind farms near hydropower plants with
integration into existing grid infrastructure.

Power generation during fiscal year 2020 reached 121,691 GWh: 32% by hydroelectric plants, 57% by
thermal plants, 8% by nuclear plants, and 3% by renewable energy power plants.
Transmission and Distribution
Pakistan’s power T&D system is suffering from significant energy losses and disruptions. In 2020, 19.8%
of energy was lost during its transmission, distribution, and delivery to end consumers. Among the
10 distribution companies, losses vary greatly from 9% to 39% (NEPRA 2020). On average, the country
experienced 81 interruptions (system average interruption frequency index) lasting nearly 5,300 minutes
(system average interruption duration index) in 2020. The poor performance can be attributed to a
variety of factors, including poor technical conditions, insufficient collection rate of accounts receivable,
and issues with circular debt present in the country.
Pakistan had 7,470 kilometers (km) of 500 kilovolts (kV) and 11,281 km of 220 kV T&D lines in 2020.

Riaz Haq said...

ADB CAREC Energy Report

Transmission and Distribution
Pakistan’s power T&D system is suffering from significant energy losses and disruptions. In 2020, 19.8%
of energy was lost during its transmission, distribution, and delivery to end consumers. Among the
10 distribution companies, losses vary greatly from 9% to 39% (NEPRA 2020). On average, the country
experienced 81 interruptions (system average interruption frequency index) lasting nearly 5,300 minutes
(system average interruption duration index) in 2020. The poor performance can be attributed to a
variety of factors, including poor technical conditions, insufficient collection rate of accounts receivable,
and issues with circular debt present in the country.
Pakistan had 7,470 kilometers (km) of 500 kilovolts (kV) and 11,281 km of 220 kV T&D lines in 2020.
Distribution companies are responsible for T&D activities below 132 kV. Importantly, only 74% of Pakistan’s
population is connected to the power grid. With high electricity losses and frequent outages, Pakistan is
planning to introduce advanced grid management infrastructure and metering. Advanced conductors and
other smart grid upgrades could help reduce T&D losses.
There are two operators in Pakistan’s natural gas T&D system: Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited
(SNGPL), covering the central and northern regions of the country; and Sui Southern Gas Company
Limited (SSGCL), covering the southern regions. Total grid losses accounted for nearly 17% by SSGCL and
11% by SNGPL in 2020. According to estimates, average leakage rate is 4.9 leaks per km for SSGCL, and
2.2 leaks per km for SNGPL (for comparison, this value equals 0.2 in Germany and 0.4 in Massachusetts, on
average). The gas pipeline systems require a major overhaul and modernization to increase the efficiency
of transportation and to reduce leakages.