After the Chinese left the project, another contractor who was awarded the project could not continue M8 construction. Eventually, Pakistan Army's Frontier Works Organization (FWO) completed the project 13 years later in 2017. This success has come at great cost in terms of time, money and human lives. FWO has lost dozens of military and civilian employees and many more have been injured in insurgent attacks. Meanwhile, a combination of military and intelligence operations by Pakistan Army and serious infighting among militants have significantly weakened the Baloch insurgency.
|Pakistan Motorways. Source: Pakistaniat.com|
The M8 motorway connects Ratodero in Sindh to Gwadar in Balochistan. It is 893 long and runs through Baloch cities of Khuzdar, Awaran, Hoshab and Turbat along its east-west route. Its recently completed first phase has two lanes and an additional two lanes are planned to handle future traffic growth. The motorway passes over Dasht River and also provides access to Mirani Dam completed in 2006. It is the world's largest dam in terms of floodstock capacity of 588,690 cubic hectometer
Local Baloch residents now use M8 motorway on a daily basis. They say it has significantly reduced the time needed to travel from Gwadar to Turbat, and indeed, reduced the time for produce and supplies to be transported between cities, according a report in local Pakistani media.
|Detailed M8 Map. Source: Scroll.in|
Indian Support of Baloch Insurgency:
The current Baloch Nationalist revolt in Pakistan started in 2003, the same year that Indian intelligence agency RAW recruited Kulbhushan Jadhav and gave him a new identity as Hussein Mubarak Patel, according to Indian media reports. This was three years before the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti on August 26, 2006. Jadhav was sent to Chabahar in Iran to orchestrate insurgent attacks next door in Balochistan.
Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in 2016. He has confessed to orchestrating insurgent attacks on targets in Balochistan that resulted in deaths, injuries and destruction of property.
India's former RAW officers, including one ex chief, have blamed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, arrested by Pakistan in 2016, for getting caught in Pakistan as a "result of unprofessionalism", according to a report in India's "The Quint" owned and operated by a joint venture of Bloomberg News and Quintillion Media. The report that appeared briefly on The Quint website has since been removed, apparently under pressure from the Indian government.
State of Baloch Insurgency:
Baloch insurgency has been significantly weakened recently by the continuing military and intelligence operations of the Pakistan Army. The other probably more significant reason for it is serious infighting among insurgent groups from various tribes, according to pro-insurgent US-based Baloch analyst Malik Siraj Akbar and a former US military intelligence officer retired US Lt. Col. Ralph Peters who supports Baloch insurgency.
In a US Congressional hearing on Balochistan, Peters said the most serious issues with the Baloch independence movement is “deeply troubling” infighting, according to a report in HuffPost. He condemned such bickering; going so far as to assert: “they are quickly becoming their own worst enemies.”
Peters has also pointed out gross human rights violations committed by Baloch insurgents against civilians. He said, “I am very concerned with Baloch extremists. Killing teachers and doctors is just dumb. It might feel good as revenge but it is not going to win you friends in Washington. Assassinating these folks is just hurting their movement.”
Frontier Works Organization (FWO):
The Frontier Works Organization (FWO) is a branch of the Pakistan Army that employs both active duty military officers and civilians. It was commissioned in 1966 and its first major project was the construction of the Karkoram Highway, the world's highest road that connects Pakistan with China. Since then, the FWO has built motorways, bridges, roads, tunnels, airfields and dams in Pakistan.
FWO has successfully completed several large construction projects in some of the most hostile conditions ranging from rough hilly terrains to insurgency-hit parts in Balochistan and federally administered tribal areas (FATA). This success has come at great cost in terms of human lives. Dozens of FWO's military and civilian employees have lost their lives and many more have been injured in insurgent attacks.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor:
Currently, FWO is engaged in several large infrastructure projects related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In addition to major road construction, FWO is building housing, water projects, power plants and oil refineries in different parts of the country.
Various militant groups, including Indian government proxies, are engaged in sabotaging CPEC. While some attacks have been successful, it is believed that the Pakistani military has been able to prevent many more. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of intelligence officers are believed to be working to manage the security situation all along the western route and in Gwadar.
The construction of the recently completed 893 kilometer long Gwadar-Ratodero motorway, also known as M8, was started by a Chinese contractor back in early 2004 on former President Pervez Musharraf's watch. The work was soon abandoned when three Chinese engineers were killed by a car bomb during the first week of May, 2004. In 2003, a year before this incident, Indian intelligence agency RAW had recruited Kulbhushan Jadhav as an undercover agent. He was issued a passport under an assumed name of Hussein Mubarak Patel and sent to Chabahar in Iran to orchestrate insurgent attacks next door in Balochistan.
After the Chinese left the project, another contractor who was awarded the project could not continue M8 construction. Eventually, Pakistan Army's Frontier Works Organization (FWO) completed the project 13 years later in 2017. This success has come at great cost in terms of time, money and human lives. FWO has lost dozens of military and civilian employees and many more have been injured in insurgent attacks. Meanwhile, a combination of military and intelligence operations by Pakistan Army and serious infighting among militants have significantly weakened the Baloch insurgency.
Footprints: Road trip Balochistan
THERE was a time when the drive from Gwadar to Quetta could take up to five days, across gruelling jeep tracks. But now you can do it in two if you want to take it easy, or even one if you’re in a rush, on a highway so smooth you can sip tea while driving. How this happened is a story that weaves together the disparate strands that make up Pakistan’s troubled political landscape, as well as the forbidding geography of the terrain through which the road travels.
Following the ceremonial departure of two vessels carrying Chinese cargo from the Gwadar port on Sunday, I hitched a ride with some officers from the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) who were returning to Quetta by the road they had spent the last two and a half years building. It turned out to be a most memorable journey along 750kms of newly built highway-grade road that cuts through barren deserts and rocky mountains in majestic swoops all the way to Sorab, where it links up with the Karachi-Quetta road.
The route takes you across three highways. The M8 motorway from Gwadar to a small town called Hoshab, largely invisible from the road, near Turbat. From there it links up in an elegant Y-shaped turn with the N85, an almost 700km-long highway-grade road that takes you to the N25, which carries you through Kalat and Mastung before arriving at the mouth of the Lakpass tunnel at the entrance of Quetta.
Only a few years ago the journey was nearly impossible to make. When I covered the NFC award ceremony in Gwadar in December 2009, I asked my bureau chief in Quetta about the possibility of travelling there straight from Gwadar.
“Forget it,” he told me. “The road is non-existent and security virtually absent. We go to Gwadar via Karachi.”
This time was different; the road was impeccable. And although security remains a concern, matters are vastly improved since at least a year.
The construction of these roads actually began in 2007, but was abandoned in a year or so due to security fears coupled with a fiscal emergency that befell the government in 2008. From 2010 onwards an insurgency raged in the area, and two of the towns past which the road travels — Turbat and Panjgur — became epicentres of discontentment. In 2014, as the fiscal situation stabilised, the FWO was redeployed in the area.
“The first year was difficult,” says one of the officers I’m driving with. “IED [improvised explosive device] attacks were common, rocket fire was regular. It was quite difficult working here initially.” Almost 40 people were killed in that first year, half army and half civilian, and another 350 were injured, some seriously.
This (M8) is no ordinary road. The FWO men who built it have spent more than two years deployed in the area. At its peak, there were almost 7,000 of them but now the figure has come down to 5,000 army and 7,000 civilian contractors. “When we first came, many of the people in this area had no concept of the outside world,” one of them tells me. “They viewed us with suspicion. But now that they have had some exposure, and are able to travel more easily, their outlook is beginning to change.”
NHA to build Bajaur (FATA) -Zhob (Balochistan) road
After approval of its PC-I, procurement of the project will be initiated .The road is part of proposed 933 mm long Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) Highway and feasibility study is initiated on the alignment proposed by the FATA Secretariat.
The project will be part of FATA Highway.
The project envisages the construction of two-lane highway as per NHA specifications.
The road will also connect the China Pakistan Economic Corridor at Zhob via DI Khan-Kuchlak Highway (N-50). The project is included in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2017-18 with an allocated amount
Rs 250 million for conducting the feasibility study and design.The construction period of project will be 24 months.
Ahmar Mustikhan, a pro-insurgency Baloch activist based in Washington D.C., has released a video recorded in Urdu in which he has lambasted Indian intelligence agency RAW for letting him down. Mustikhan has been part of Indian sponsored media campaign to attack Pakistan in the United States. He is known to collaborate with Tarek Fatah known for his advocacy for Baloch insurgency in Pakistan. He has been in the news for heckling visiting Pakistani leaders during presentations at think tanks in the US capital.
Mustikhan says he "was promised huge help by those who were interested in the heckling of Nawaz Sharif. None of those promises were ever fulfilled. There was this gentleman in the Indian embassy who left (for India) in January and never fulfilled his promise. There were other things that happened too," according to Pakistani media reports.
"RAW's system is so corrupt that its high officials keep 40 percent of what's earmarked. India should have been engaged in public diplomacy and helping those who are involved in raising the profile of Balochistan issue but while China is trying to build, India is choosing to bomb. India is going in the opposite direction—it should have helped the people who are involved in diplomatic effort," he said.
The RAW man he named in his video is Nagesh Bhushan. He says Bhushan worked at the Indian spy agency's Balochistan Desk. Another Indian journalist Aveek Sen has described Bhushan as "media fixer" in a 2016 tweet in response to pro-independence Baloch activist Shah Nawaz Bugti. Sen's tweet said "hello, Mr. Nagesh Bhushan. Introducing the media fixer to the world".
Here's Mustikhan's video:
From Dawn newspaper:
A senior Baloch activist claimed on Tuesday that he heckled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during his 2015 visit to Washington at the behest of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Ahmer Mustikhan, founder of the American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) group, posted three online statements on Facebook on Tuesday after a district court in Maryland rejected an appeal to muzzle him.
AFB’s two Indian supporters — Soumya Chowdhury and Krishna Gudipati — had filed the appeal, asking the judge to stop Mr Mustikhan from publicly sharing the internal affairs of the group. The court agreed with the Baloch activist’s plea that the US constitution guaranteed his freedom of expression.
Mr Mustikhan, who is also a journalist, claimed in the videos that he was “let down” by RAW operatives working from the Indian embassy in Washington. He identified one of them as Nagesh Bhushan who, Mr Mustikhan said, manned RAW’s Balochistan Desk.
On Oct 22, 2015, Mr Mustikhan heckled Mr Sharif during his speech at the US Institute for Peace in Washington and was removed by security personnel as he continued shouting for several minutes.
He then appeared on a series of Indian talk shows, explaining why he heckled the prime minister. He also heckled other Pakistani leaders, particularly former president Pervez Musharraf.
“I did this with a heavy heart, as I have no fight with Nawaz Sharif. He is an elected prime minister,” he told Dawn.
“Others, I heckled willingly.”
Mr Mustikhan said that India was supporting terrorism in Pakistan and this support started after the Kargil war and that’s why the current insurgency had continued for 12 years.
Mr Mustikhan claimed that RAW encouraged militants to kill Punjabi, Pakhtun and even Sindhi civilians. “We have no fight with civilians. They are our brothers,” he said. “They gave me a lot of mental torture [for opposing their plans]. They say if you kill, you are a hero otherwise you are zero.”
RAW: India’s External Intelligence Agency
India’s primary espionage agency and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have long been at odds in a long-standing battle for influence.
Backgrounder by Jayshree Bajoria
Since its inception in 1968, RAW has had a close liaison relationship with KHAD, the Afghan intelligence agency, due to the intelligence it has provided RAW on Pakistan. This relationship was further strengthened in the early 1980s when the foundation was laid for a trilateral cooperation involving RAW, KHAD, and the Soviet KGB. Raman says RAW valued KHAD’s cooperation for monitoring the activities of Sikh militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Sikhs in the Indian state of Punjab were demanding an independent state of Khalistan. According to Raman, Pakistan’s ISI set up clandestine camps for training and arming Khalistani recruits in Pakistan’s Punjab Province and North West Frontier Province. During this time, the ISI received large sums from Saudi Arabia and the CIA for arming the Afghan mujahadeen against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. “The ISI diverted part of these funds and arms and ammunition to the Khalistani terrorists,” alleges Raman.
As a result, India established a dedicated external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. Founded mainly to focus on China and Pakistan, over the last forty years the organization has expanded its mandate and is credited with greatly increasing India’s influence abroad. Experts say RAW’s powers and its role in India’s foreign policy have varied under different prime ministers. RAW claims that it contributed to several foreign policy successes:
the creation of Bangladesh in 1971;
India’s growing influence in Afghanistan;
the northeast state of Sikkim’s accession to India in 1975;
the security of India’s nuclear program;
the success of African liberation movements during the Cold War.
Over the last forty years the organization has expanded its mandate and is credited with increasing India’s influence.
RAW’s first leader, Rameshwar Nath Kao, led the agency until he retired in 1977. Many experts, including officers who worked with him, credit Kao with RAW’s initial successes: India’s triumph in the 1971 war with Pakistan, and India’s covert assistance to the African National Congress’s anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. “To a large extent, it was Kao who raised RAW to the level of India’s premier intelligence agency, with agents in virtually every major embassy and high commission,” writes Singh. But the organization has been criticized for its lack of coordination with domestic intelligence and security agencies, weak analytical capabilities, and complete lack of transparency.
Pakistan Adopting Advance Technologies Rapidly: Anusha Rehman
Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman Friday said, Pakistan was one of those countries that had been adopting the advance technology most rapidly to counter challenges of modern, digital era.
While addressing the concluding ceremony of five-day "Huawei mobile Pakistan Congress 2018" the minister said, the technology advancements were coming in Pakistan adding "we also hope that we can have huawei made in Pakistan as soon as possible." Anusha said, Ministry of IT had started projects for Baluchistan worth Rs 26 billion to provide 3g service to the people there.
In the history of IT of Pakistan, this was the biggest investment for Balochistan, which aimed to target hundreds of villages to connect these remote areas with 3G service, she added. She said,a population of about 196,177, covering 269 mauzas and an area of 39,434 sq kms would get modern broadband facilities through this project.
The project would cover Awaran, Jhal Jao and Mashkai tehsils/sub-tehsils of Awaran district and Bela, Lakhra, Liari, Uthal, Dureji, Hub, Sonmiani and Kanraj of Lasbel district, she added. The Minister said, after launching 3G services in Baluchistan, other services like careem would be start in in the province which would be a great achievement of Ministry of Information Technology.
She emphasized the importance of technological advancement and virtual assistance for the generations to come to bring this nation on path of Technology evolution and prosperity. "Government is making all out efforts to introduce 5G technology in Pakistan by 2020 to bring it at par with Developed economies in term of technology advancements." She emphasized that women's economic empowerment was at the heart of the sustainable development and essential to achieve gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.
She shared initiatives steered by IT ministry in this regard, particularly ICT for Girls program. She said, achievements of Pakistan in the arena of ICT and future plans for continued growth in this sector would enable transformation into "Digital Pakistan".
Anusha described the DigiSkills program as an important part of Information Technology initiative of the government that would create online employment opportunities to enable youth to earn 200 to 300 dollars per month and with the help of this program, youth from across the country would provide services across the globe.
She appreciated the Huawei Technology role in setting such precedent to promote emerging technologies in Pakistan by involving Industry players and engaging the Government to make it reality. The Minister hoped that people of Pakistan were going to use the opportunities that were created by Huawei, the technology giant.
Western route of CPEC to be completed earlier than eastern route: Chinese envoy
Acting Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Zhao Lijan Friday said that under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), western route of the project would be completed earlier than the eastern route.
Speaking at the National Press Club here about CPEC Project, the Chinese envoy dispelled rumors about the Western Route and said that western route of CPEC would be completed earlier than the eastern route.
He said work on various project under the CPEC was going with full speed and 22 projects would be completed during the current year while 18 projects would be completed next year.
He said around 70,000 Pakistanis had got employment in these projects.
The Chinese envoy said under the CPEC, the government had plan to complete a total of 200 projects till 2030 which would provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of people.
He expressed the hope that the next government in Pakistan would also continue the pace of progress on CPEC projects.
About Gwadar Port, he said, Gwadar International Airport would be completed in October this year. He said fisheries was an important sector of Gwadar and establishing a re-processing plant at the port Pakistan could further increase its exports.
He invited the overseas Pakistanis to come to their country and invest in Gwadar Port, adding that more than 30 Pakistanis companies had been registered at the Port.
He said the investors were being provided facilities of electricity, gas, water and wifai.
In energy projects under the CPEC, he said, $13 billion were being invested, adding that several energy projects had been completed which had overcome load-shedding problem in Pakistan to a great extent.
Under the CPEC, he said industrial parts would be established in Pakistan.
To a question, he said Pakistani were hard workers and capable people and if they could make an atomic bomb then stabilizing their economy was not a big task for them. He said in the 1970s decade Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was equal to China, adding that today’s success story of China was a result of hard work and dedication of Chinese people.
He said that China desired improvement in Pak-India relations and both Pakistan and India could resolve their issues with peaceful dialogue.
ADB approves $100m loan to address Balochistan’s water shortage
A separate $2 million technical assistance from JFPR will help the provincial government improve its institutional capacity to address the risks and potential impact of climate change in the agriculture sector
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) on Monday approved a $100 million loan to address chronic water shortages and increase earnings on farms in southwestern Pakistan province of Balochistan.
The Balochistan Water Resources Development Sector Project will focus on improving irrigation infrastructure and water resource management in the Zhob and Mula river basins, the ADB said in a statement.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Bolochistan’s economy,” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist Yaozhou Zhou. “This project will build irrigation channels and dams, and introduce efficient water usage systems and practices, to help farmers increase food production and make more money,” he added.
Among the infrastructure that will be upgraded or built for the project is a dam able to hold 36 million cubic meters of water, 276 kilometers of irrigation channels and drainage canals, and facilities that will make it easier for people, especially women, to access water for domestic use.
In total, about 16,592 hectares (ha) of land will be added or improved for irrigation.
The project will protect watersheds through extensive land and water conservation efforts, including planting trees and other measures on 4,145 ha of barren land to combat soil erosion.
Part of the project’s outputs are the pilot testing of technologies such as solar-powered drip irrigation systems on 130 ha of agricultural land, improving crop yields and water usage on 160 fruit and vegetable farms and demonstrating high-value agriculture development.
The project will also establish a water resources information system that will use high-level technology such as satellite and remote sensing to do river basin modelling and identify degraded land for rehabilitation.
ADB will also administer grants from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) and the High-Level Technology Fund (HLT Fund) worth $3 million and $2 million, respectively, for the project.
A separate $2 million technical assistance from JFPR will help Balochistan’s provincial government improve its institutional capacity to address the risks and potential impact of climate change in the agriculture sector, as well as build a climate-resilient and sustainable water resources management mechanism in the province.
JFPR, established in May 2000, provides grants for ADB projects supporting poverty reduction and social development efforts, while the HLT Fund, established in April 2017, earmarks grant financing to promote technology and innovative solutions in ADB projects.
ADB said it is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members of which 48 are from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in co-financing.
China strengthens its grip on south Asia By: Elliot Wilson Published on
@ 2018 Results index If the Belt and Road Initiative has a blind spot, it is surely to be found in south Asia. The region is home to one country that can’t get enough of the project (Pakistan), and another (India) that wants nothing to do with it. Does this matter? Well, yes and no. On the plus side, Pakistan, which is chronically short of friends and capital, shows no sign of falling out of love with a project that continues to shower it with financial largesse. The list of Chinese-funded and Chinese-built infrastructure projects is long and impressive. Take the $2.9 billion, 400-kilometre stretch of the M5 Motorway funded by China Development Bank (CDB) and built by China State Construction Engineering. When the motorway is completed later this year, the cities of Karachi and Lahore will finally be linked, by a project that was first drawn up as long ago as the 1990s. CDB is the financial driving force behind many of the big local BRI deals. In December 2017, the policy bank was a key player in a 10-year, $700 million syndicated term loan raised for the finance ministry, a deal that included partial guarantees from the World Bank. It is funding an $883 million coal-fired power plant at Port Qasim. And in April, CDB shelled out $1 billion to a government that, not for the first time, faces a looming financing crisis. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves dipped below the $10 billion mark this July, for the first time since 2014. China is unlikely to turn off the spigot, even though the position of prime minister, vacated after the arrest of Nawaz Sharif in July, has been filled by Imran Khan, the former cricketer who campaigned hard against alleged corruption in local China-backed construction projects. Yet Beijing is clearly keen to keep Khan on-side: days after his election, it handed Pakistan another $2 billion, bolstering the perception that however bad its finances get, China will not turn its back on the south Asian state. That should come as no surprise. Beijing plans to spend up to $57 billion by 2030 on a profusion of new domestic infrastructure projects – ports, airports, highways, power plants, transmission lines, solar parks – which are all part of the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Both can see clearly what they get out of this transactional alliance: for China, a reliable overland route to the Indian Ocean that bypasses the Malacca Strait, and for Pakistan, the infrastructure it always wanted and needed, but couldn’t afford. And so we turn to India, which has, to say the least, a different relationship with its giant neighbour. It was a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in 2014, and is the second-largest contributor after the People’s Republic, funding the China-led multilateral to the tune of $8.4 billion. It is also a founding member of another multilateral, the Shanghai-headquartered New Development Bank, which is chaired by KV Kamath, the former chairman of Indian IT firm Infosys. Yet India adamantly refuses to be considered a belt-and-road nation. Rafiqul Islam At a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June, India was the only member state that did not tacitly endorse the BRI programme. New Delhi resents the mere existence of the CPEC project with Pakistan, and fears being outflanked in its own backyard by Beijing, which is funding a series of massive infrastructure projects in states that border India, or are historically aligned with it. The question arises: does India need to be part of the BRI project?
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Five years on: Belt and Road projects changed lives of many
Qasir Abbas, a 40-year-old Pakistani farmer who owns a 400-acre mango farm in Multan in the central Punjab Province, witnessed changes brought about by the construction of the Multan-Sukkur Motorway, locally known as M5.
Abbas sells mangoes from his hometown, known for conditions favourable to food and crops such as mango, cotton and sugarcane, to the southern major port city of Karachi, some 900km away. However, the two cities were connected with a poorly maintained highway, with the whole journey taking about 21 hours.
Governor inaugurates CPEC’s Centre of Excellence
The 392km six-lane M5 is the largest transportation infrastructure project under the CPEC, a corridor linking Karachi and northwestern Peshawar and running through the populated provinces of Punjab and Sindh.
The first 33-km section of the M5 was inaugurated in May this year, with a speed limit of 120 km per hour. The whole project is scheduled to be completed by August 2019. “By then, it will take only 14 hours to transport my mangoes to Karachi,” Abbas said.
Life took a surprising turn in early 2016 for Bounmy Phonmixay, a 21-year-old young woman in the central Lao town of Kasi, when a team of engineers arrived for a rail project near her home.
CPEC to bring development revolution, says Bizenjo
It was literally a game-changer.
A single mum, Bounmy lives with her mother and her three-year-old daughter. Two years ago, she was almost in a depressing state of hopelessness, struggling to make ends meet by growing paddy rice and vegetables on leased land. Then, she found a job working at the construction site of the China-Laos railway, an infrastructure project under the Belt and Road Initiative.
When she showed up for an interview with Xinhua recently at the railway project site in Kasi, she was wearing the makeup she likes. “I like wearing makeup, but I seldom did it in the past since I didn’t have much money back then. Now I can afford my own cosmetics and put on makeup whenever I want to,” she said joyfully.
The game changer
The Chinese engineers were there to prepare for the railway project, which links the Mohan-Boten border gate in the northern part of the landlocked country with the capital Vientiane.
Is CPEC also a game changer for Balochistan?
Bounmy was offered the job in 2016 to cook for the builders who were away from home. She got to know many of the builders and was happy with her new job. She learned to cook some dishes, both Chinese and Lao.
“I earn 1.5 million kip (about $176) every month. I give 200,000 kip to my mother, spend 500,000 kip on my daughter’s snacks, milk and toys, and still have 800,000 to myself,” she said. “Although it is quite a busy job, working here makes me feel like being home.”
The China-Laos railway is the first overseas route to connect with the railway system in China, leveraging Chinese technology, equipment and investment. It is designed to have an operating speed of 160 km per hour.
“We grow excellent paddy rice and xiaomila (a pepper) here in Kasi, but not many people know it,” she said. “Hopefully, with the new railway in place, more people would travel to Kasi and take our products farther away so they would be better known to all.”
China rejects reports of talks with Baloch rebels to protect CPEC investment
The railway is expected to be fully operational in 2021, but Bounmy does not worry about losing her job by then. “I have learnt a lot from my work, especially Chinese cooking. When the railway is in place, there will be many people traveling around the station, then I’ll start my own restaurant there,” she said.
Leader of #ChineseConsulate attack in #Karachi #Pakistan reported dead.“The important #BLA commander Aslam Baloch, along with five associates in the organization were martyred in an enemy attack on Monday,” BLA's Jiand Baloch announced #Balochistan #CPEC https://reut.rs/2Ly6ljL
One of the alleged masterminds of an attack by a Pakistani separatist group on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last month has been killed along with five associates, the insurgent group said on Wednesday.
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), which opposes projects linked to China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative in resource-rich Baluchistan, issued a statement on Tuesday confirming the death of Aslam Baloch, one of its leaders.
“The important BLA commander Aslam Baloch, along with five associates in the organization were martyred in an enemy attack on Monday,” Jiand Baloch, a spokesman for the separatist group said in a statement that gave no further details.
Pakistan’s Samaa Television reported that Aslam was killed along with a number of his commanders in a suicide attack in Aino Maina in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, across the border from Baluchistan.
There was no claim of responsibility for the killings and a spokesman for the Pakistani foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Last month, three attackers stormed the Chinese consulate in Karachi, killing four people. Security forces killed the three attackers who were carrying explosives.
Pakistan has long accused its old rival India of supporting insurgents in Baluchistan. India denies helping Baluchistan insurgents and accuses Pakistan of nurturing Islamist militants throughout the region.
China has funded development of a deepwater port at Gwadar in south Baluchistan, and is also investing in other projects as part of the giant China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Baluchistan, on the borders of Afghanistan and Iran, has rich mineral and natural gas reserves but is Pakistan’s poorest province.
Separatists have for decades campaigned against what they see as the unfair exploitation of resources, in particular natural gas and minerals.
#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 https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/01/17/cpec-funded-multan-sukkur-motorway-to-be-operational-by-august/#.XEaP-OdJqQc.twitter
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.
FWO starts supporting govt schools along Swat Motorway
The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) has started supporting government schools along the Swat Motorway that it is building as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The 82-kilometres long Swat Motorway is a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government project contracted to the FWO. It is nearing completion and would be opened to light traffic in June.
Recognizing the cooperation of the villagers living along the stretch of the Swat Motorway in Swabi, Mardan and Malakand districts during the construction of the road, the FWO decided to contribute to the improvement of the state-owned primary schools. With the help of local social workers and organizations and teachers, 10 schools in Katlang tehsil in Mardan district were identified initially and provided mats, carpets, chairs and tables, white boards, water tanks, water coolers, ceiling fans, tea sets, etc keeping the needs in view.
85% of work completed on #Pakistan's Rs. 14 billion national #highway N-70 project: Rakhi Gaaj-Khar-Bewata, project funded by #Japan widens hilly sections for #Gwadar-bound heavy #cargo traffic with the installation of 8 steel bridges- UrduPoint. #CPEC https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/85-pc-work-of-rakhi-gaj-bewata-section-of-n-657787.html
Improvement and strengthening projct of Rakhi Gaj- Bewata section of Multan- Qila Saifullah Highway (N-70) is nearing completion and so far its 85 percent physical work has been completed.
Costing Rs 13753 million, Rakhi Gaaj-Khar-Bewata, project funded by Japan aims to make the hilly portion of the road wide and safe for Gwadar-bound cargo traffic with the installation of eight steel bridges, an official of National Highway Authority (NHA) told APP on Sunday.
He said that work on the project started in July 2016 and as per schedule it was to be completed in July this year. He said due to hilly terrain the project may be completed by end of the year.
He said that road from Multan to Qila Saifullah was being improved and widened to link it up with the road network under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The hilly portion of N-70, which was constructed in the late 19th century had seven difficult turns to negotiate to climb up the high mountain of Girdo to reach Fort Munro or Bewata. To remove these hurdles for Gwadar-bound heavy cargo traffic, Japanese technology of steel bridges was being used,he said.
He said almost 33-kilometre portion of N-70 was being widened and improved with installation of eight steel bridges having a total length of 1.5 kilometre.
The Japanese engineering company which had made Kohat tunnel was working on this project too, he said.
NHA Plans Dualization Of Indus Highway By 2023
National Highway Authority (NHA) has been working on dualization of Indus Highway (N-55) and as per plan the highway would be dualized by 2023.
An official of NHA told APP on Thursday, the authority has already working on the dualization of Peshawar-DI Khan Road as per following details.
He said Peshawar-Kohat section and Sarai Gambila-DI Khan section have already been dualized while dualization of Kohat-Sarai Gambila section was under way.
He said an allocation of 2,000 million has been made in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19.
He said work has already been started and would be completed in 24 months.
To a question, he said due to increase in traffic volume NHA has already undertaken the dualization of 330 km Peshawar to DI Khan section of the Indus Highway.
In recent years, Indus Highway has been unable to cope with the increasing traffic volume mainly large size of vehicles due to the lack of road capacity and deterioration of the road.
Jamshoro-Sehwan section: ‘Construction of Indus Highway to help control accidents’
Federal Secretary Communications Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to under-construction Jamshoro-Sehwan Section of the Indus Highway and emphasized upon the scheduled completion of the project as per international standards of construction.
Senior officers of National Highway Authority gave a detailed briefing to the secretary communications regarding progress on the project. While talking to the media during his visit, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said he was inspecting the construction work of the project on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
We desire, he said, earlier completion of Jamshoro-Sehwan Road project that will pave the way for socio-economic development of the area besides gearing up the pace of industrial development. Federal and provincial governments are cooperating with each other for giving relief to the people of the Sindh province, he said.
Federal Secretary Communications Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui also planted a tree at Aamri in connection with Clean & Green Pakistan drive initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He urged the civil society to join hands with the government to make this drive a success.
Khuzdar-Shahdadkot Motorway Likely To Become Functional In April
Khuzdar-Shahdadkot Section of Gwadar-Rattodero Motorway has nearly been accomplished and would likely to become fully functional in April this year.
An official of National Highway Authority (NHA) told APP on Monday that 188 Km section of 231 km project has already been completed and open for traffic and people of Baluchistan and Sindh are benefitting by transportation of vegetables and by generating other business.
He said that only 5 km of Khori-Wangu Package is under construction.
In this five-KM portion, the remaining work would be completed within couple of months, the official said .He said that cause of delay was non-availability of funds.
The M-8 project is also known as the Gwadar-Rattodero Motorway. The project is dividedinto two sections; the first from Gwadar to Khuzdar, and the second from Khuzdar to Ratodero.
After #BLA #terrorist listing by #US, will the #British and the #Swiss governments deny asylum to #Indian proxies Hyrbyair Marri and Brahmdagh Bugti? #Balochistan #Pakistan #India https://tribune.com.pk/story/2005438/6-bla-terrorist-listing/
The United States on Tuesday took a step of massive significance to Pakistan by declaring the Balochistan Liberation Organisation (BLA) to be a terrorist group. It was a welcome change from the norm, where Pakistan usually has to scramble to ban organisations well after the world has declared them to be terrorists. The BLA has been a proscribed entity in Pakistan since 2006. The listing means that all of the BLA’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US individuals and entities are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. The US also declared Jaish al-Adl, which has been involved in deadly terrorist attacks against Iran, a global terrorist organisation. Jaish al-Adl is essentially the successor to the previously banned Jundallah group.
Pakistan has long claimed that the BLA is a proxy of India’s premier external intelligence agency, the innocuously-named Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). If true, the listing would also be a potentially massive embarrassment for New Delhi. But even if Pakistan cannot prove to the world that India is explicitly sponsoring the BLA, and thus terrorism in Pakistan, India has openly been hosting a number of BLA leaders and sympathisers, giving them a platform from which to spew their terrorist vitriol before the media in the ‘world’s biggest democracy’. It would be more-than-fair for Pakistan to push for the case that India is actively sympathising with terrorists by doing such things.
It will also be interesting to see what they do with the asylum application filed by alleged BLA leader Brahamdagh Bugti, and for that matter, what the Swiss do, since he is currently living it up in the picturesque and famously neutral European state. There is also the issue of another alleged BLA leader, Hyrbyair Marri, who has been granted asylum by the British. Will the British reinvestigate the terrorism charges Pakistan filed against him a decade ago, and will the US back Pakistan if it tries to prove that the British and Swiss are harbouring terrorists?
#US designates #BLA "terrorist". #Pakistan demands that “perpetrators, organizers, financiers and external sponsors including those glorifying these acts of terror against Pakistan [must be] held accountable and brought to justice”. #India #CPEC #India https://www.dawn.com/news/1492218
ON Tuesday, the US acceded to a long-standing demand by Pakistan when it designated the banned Balochistan Liberation Army as a global terrorist organisation, describing it as “an armed group that targets security forces and civilians, mainly in Baloch areas of Pakistan”. With that, the BLA’s assets in the US, if any, stand frozen and it is now illegal for anyone in that country to assist it in any manner. The Pakistan Foreign Office responded by pointing out that “perpetrators, organisers, financers and external sponsors including those glorifying these acts of terror against Pakistan [must be] held accountable and brought to justice”.
Gratuitous violence, especially against civilians, is the hallmark of terrorist organisations; it cannot be glossed over by terming it a freedom struggle. Moreover, when groups who profess to be fighting for their rights resort to such actions, they damage their own cause immeasurably. Over the years, of the main Baloch separatist groups, the BLA — led by late Khair Bux Marri’s son Hyrbyair Marri from exile in London — has taken responsibility for some of the most heinous acts of violence in Pakistan. With the gathering pace of CPEC — anathema to the separatists — the BLA appears to have taken a yet more proactive role in the insurgency. In November 2018, it launched a brazen attack on the Chinese Consulate in Karachi; only a swift response by the security personnel present managed to avert multiple casualties. On April 18, around a dozen gunmen belonging to an alliance of separatist groups, including the BLA, singled out and killed 14 bus passengers; the toll included 11 personnel of the navy, air force and Coast Guards, while they were travelling on the coastal highway near Ormara in Gwadar district. On May 11, several of its operatives launched an audacious attack on Gwadar city’s only luxury hotel where Balochistan-based Chinese overseeing CPEC projects as well as visiting Chinese delegations are lodged. Given that ‘Free Balochistan’ banners frequently pop up in Europe — the ongoing Cricket World Cup in the UK has also been witness to an aeroplane flying the banner — money is obviously being funnelled into the campaign. Even as Pakistan is asked to crack down on terror financing by extremist groups on its soil, the avenues of funding for groups threatening the country’s integrity must also be shut down. Meanwhile, the gains from the US move against the BLA must be reinforced by the state recognising Balochistan’s legitimate claims.
Pakistan's Miracle Motorway - the Multan-Sukkur
On the banks of the Chenab River sits Pakistan's 7th largest city, Multan. The air on July 24 was as humid as any other summer day, only this time, the residents awoke to an unprecedented level of activity. The major cultural and economic center of southern Punjab was now connected to surrounding regions by the Motorway 5.
Inaugurated on May 6, 2016, the M5 mega project was developed as part of a pilot project for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), under the framework of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with a total investment of around $2.89 billion.
The strategically-placed six-lane M5 starts from Multan and connects Jalalpur, Peerwala, Ahmed Pur East, Rahimyar Khan, Sadiqabad, Ubaro, Pano Aqil and finishes at Sukkur. The 392-kilometer M5 Sukkur-Multan Motorway is a part of the country's Peshawar-Karachi Motorway. It is designed for speeds of up to 120 km. The motorway has 12 service areas, 10 rest areas, 11 interchanges, 10 flyovers, and 426 underpasses.
The project is particularly significant since it has been constructed to resist flooding with the help of the latest technology and methods, including the Intelligent Traffic System. It is equipped with FM broadcasting, 360-degree angle monitoring, WIFI in service areas and ample night lighting.
Sukkur-Multan Motorway relied on domestically produced materials and goods such as 60 million bricks, 6 million tiles, 1 million tons of cement, 9,200 sets of machines and tools and created more than 29,000 jobs for locals during construction. The M5 also enables residents to improve their standard of living by connecting schools, small bridges, avenues, wells and water channels.
CPEC projects have largely helped Pakistan overcome economic constraints, attracting large funds as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The world has begun ranking Pakistan among the top potential economic powers of the future, with a recent World Bank report listing Pakistan among the top 15 emerging economies of the globe.
Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said they appreciate China's contribution towards Pakistan's economic progress in the form of CPEC, which is an attractive reflection of the Pakistan-China strategic partnership.
At an opening ceremony held in Multan, National Highway Authority (NHA) M5 General Manager Muhammad Naseem Arif said the motorway is very impressive in terms of its quality and construction.
Authorities worked closely with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and overcame a number of difficulties so that they could complete the large project within three years.
Li Ganchun, chief of the M5 project from the CSCEC, appreciated the security provided by the Pakistani side, saying that the M5 will help Pakistan connect its northern and southern regions, improve the country's transportation and facilitate social economic development in the region along the motorway.
CPEC appears like a miracle for Pakistan's ailing economy. According to Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, CPEC has generated around 75,000 direct and indirect jobs - but this figure is just the tip of the iceberg. A recent World Bank report has claimed that at the current pace, CPEC will create more than one million jobs in Pakistan by the year 2030.
Since Prime Minister Imran Khan has refocused on establishing vocational training institutes and Special Economic Zones across the country, millions of new high- and low-end jobs are expected to be created due to economic activities generated by the CPEC.
HIGHWAYS OF HOPE
A closer look at Balochistan's roads of change
Muhammad Amir RanaUpdated Oct 06, 2019 11:22pm
Newly constructed highways in Balochistan are not only bringing connectivity to remote areas of the province. They are also boosting a process of unplanned urbanisation which is bringing about socioeconomic and political shifts within the populace and challenging stereotypes about it
The newly constructed M-8 — which connects Gwadar to the old RCD highway near Surab and passes through Turbat, Hoshab, Panjgur and Basima — had been under construction since 2007 but the project only completed in 2016 because of the security situation and fiscal difficulties. Dozens of labourers from Sindh and south Punjab lost their lives during its construction in attacks by insurgent groups.
Now that the project has finished it has created new avenues of economic activity for the inhabitants of the areas it crosses, but in a province with a long history of people being suspicious of development projects, some are still sceptical of the M-8.
Curiously, this highway is also called the CPEC highway, although it was not built by China or under the CPEC infrastructure projects; the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) constructed the highway which, through RCD highway, connects eastern Balochistan with Quetta and rest of the country.
Some locals believe this route will be used by China to transport goods and oil from Gwadar to the Xinjiang region. They fear heavy traffic will not only damage the highway but will also make commuting difficult for locals. Adding fuel to the fire, the recent heavy rains dilapidated parts of the two-year-old M-8 and locals fear that heavy containers will further deteriorate the roads. Others say that the highway is well made but, being a single road, it will get blocked or slow down public transport when a convoy of five to 10 containers will drive on it. These perceptions will only be tested when the load will come on the highway.
Locals also think that this highway has been built to facilitate trade and oil supply to China. And the neighbouring country should set up an industry, training institutions and other infrastructure alongside the road for the development of the area. These narratives appear to be a bit simplistic. The highway was planned before the CPEC and the Chinese footprints in the province. Nonetheless, these claims say a lot about the high hopes locals have pinned on the highway.
The real estate boom in Gwadar is no more the only “success” story in the region. Turbat city is following in its footsteps. Real estate in Turbat is attracting investment from not only the Makran region, but also from other parts of the province, which has transformed the whole city and become a symbol of the urbanisation of Baloch towns.
Turbat city has grown. Turbat University’s beautiful campus on the highway and billboards of new housing societies that frequently pop up along the route tell the story of expansion of a city which has welcomed a number of inhabitants from neighbouring towns. Five degree colleges affiliated with Turbat University offer better opportunities of higher education to students in the adjoining districts of Panjgur, Gwadar and Awaran. Apart from the university, the Makran Medical College, smaller elementary colleges and other public and private educational and health institutions have made Turbat a major urban centre in Balochistan after Quetta. These facilities are not yet comparable with those in major cities of Punjab and Sindh, but they have reduced the locals’ dependence on Karachi and Quetta in terms of educational and employment opportunities.
Dams started/built during Musharraf years:
Sabakzai Dam in Balochistan Started 2004 Completed 2007
Alai Khwar Dam in KP Started 2005 Completed 2010
Mirani Dam in Balochistan Started in 2001 Completed 2006
Gomal Zam Dam in Wana, KP Started 2001 Completed 2011
NHA Director Construction Muhammad Sulait Ahmar said that the Japan’s most advanced technology was utilised in the steel bridges (on N-70 connecting Multan in South Punjab with Qila Saifullah in Balocgistan. It goes over Koh e Sulaiman)). He said: “This unique type of steel is not available in Pakistan. The technology includes box shaped girders made of maintenance free steel for more than 100 years and special embankment wall using light and strong material.”
The seven steel bridges were 11.5 kilometer long, connecting south Punjab to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor via N-70 from Bahawalpur to Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Fort Munro to Qila Saifullah to Gwadar and Iran-Pakistan border at Taftan, he said, adding that Muzaffargarh-Dera Ghazi Khan dual carriageway had already been completed and inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan a couple of days ago.
He said that the then prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif had requested Japan for soft loan to establish the steel bridges. He said that the Fort Munro steel bridges project was executed in 2016 and Muzzafargarh-Dera Ghazi Khan dual-carriageway in 2017. The then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had laid down the foundation stone of Muzaffargarh-Dera Ghazi Khan dual carriageway on October 14, 2017, he added. He said that the hilly portion of Dera-Taftan Road from Rakhi Gaaj to high mountains of Girdo (Fort Munro) was constructed in the late 19th century by the British rulers as a part of the strategic forward policy in the subcontinent. Starting from Rakhi Gaaj-Khar-Bewata, the project made the hilly portion of the road wide and safe for Gwadar-bound cargo traffic, he added.
Embassy of Japan First Secretary Economic and Development Teruki Hanzawa said that the project site was traffic choke point with continuous steep, slopes and sharp curves. He said that Japan had provided concessional loan with the lowest markup rate of 0.2pc and the repayment period was 40 years with 10 years grace period. He said that Japan had provided $142 million to improve N-70.
Teruki Hanzawa said that the physical work had been executed in 2016 and it was completed in the shortest period of three years with the help of Japanese and Pakistani engineers. He said: “A single track road has been expanded to double track and sharp curves with a radius of eight meters to 30 meters.”
Meanwhile, big trailers and trucks carrying heavy loads, passenger buses, vans and picnic lovers riding vehicles are found frequently moving on the route after the steel bridges gave a solution to the most dangerous and sharp curves in more than 6,000 feet high hilly area across Fort Munro. The Iranian cargo trucks are also entering the Punjab through Fort Munro steel bridges.
Prof Ashok Swain's tweet: My Piece which no one in India Published: #India must remember that #Balochistan is not #Bangladesh
Following Prime Minister Modi’s comments about Balochistan in his independence day speech, Ashok Swain warns that open support for Baloch separatists will not solve the Kashmir conflict. What is more, he writes that by threatening its neighbour’s territorial integrity India risks alienating key allies, and in the worst case scenario intervention could result in a nuclear conflict which would threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on 15 August 2016 raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. This has brought a new excitement in New Delhi, particularly among the right wing commentators as if India has finally found a solution to the Kashmir issue.
Since the death of a charismatic militant Burhan Wani in the hands of the security agencies on 8 July 2016, Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violent protest. Modi and his advisors hope that Kashmir unrest will come to an end if India starts spreading the fire in Balochistan. If Modi and his advisors really believe that the Balochistan threat will dissuade Pakistani agencies to stay out of Kashmir and the contested state will be peaceful forever, they are living in a cloud-cuckoo land. History shows that Pakistani military establishment does not succumb to Indian threats. Instead, it uses this threat to accumulate more power for itself. India’s direct support to the East Pakistan liberation movement, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, did not succeed in changing the perception of Pakistani agencies. It only exacerbated their paranoia towards India further.
In the last decade, while Western attention has been mostly on the Taliban, the separatist struggle is turning quite violent in this scarcely populated but mineral-rich province in the south west of Pakistan. The Baloch have waged two major violent ‘freedom’ struggles against the state: an uprising from 1973 to 1977, which was crushed by the Pakistani Army using brute force. The second ongoing struggle started in 2005.
It is no secret that India has been supporting the separatists in Balochistan in their fight again Pakistani military without openly admitting it. Baloch activists have repeatedly admitted of receiving India’s ‘moral’ support and a representative of Balochistan Liberation Organization (BLO) has been living in New Delhi since 2009. Pakistan has been regularly accusing India for using its consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar to fund, train and arm Baloch militants. A decade back, senior officials of Pakistan had even alleged that 600 Baloch tribals were being trained by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Afghanistan to handle explosives, engineer bomb blasts, and use sophisticated weapons.
Pakistan has failed to provide much proof about Indian involvement, however, according to 2010 WikiLeaks cables, US and British intelligence cautiously agrees with the Pakistani accusations. Last year, Pakistan had handed over a dossier to the UN Secretary General containing ‘evidence’ of Indian support to violence in Balochistan. In March this year, Pakistan claimed to arrest an alleged RAW operative from Balochistan. India has been always denied these accusations, but has continued to remain engaged unofficially. However, by openly committing India to Balochistan’s cause in his speech, Modi is likely to expose India’s geo-strategic limitations without gaining any additional advantage, and there is a lot to lose.
Construction Work Of Shinzani Dam Gwadar In Full Swing
The construction work of Shinzani Dam for provision of drinking water facilities to citizen in Gwadar district was in full swing.
According to official sources, the project worth Rs 500 million will be completed in a transparent manner during the financial year.
Work has been started on the project by the construction firm after completing the tender process, it added.
Under the vision of Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan, the completion of ongoing development projects of Gwadar and provision of the clean drinking water to the masses on permanent basis was priority of the government.
According to a notification issued by the office of Deputy Commissioner Gwadar, a committee has been set up to compensate the victims of Shinzani Dam.
District Forest Officer Gwadar, Deputy Director Agriculture Gwadar, and a representative of the victims of the Shinzani Dam site have been included in the committee members list.
The committee will soon formulate a mechanism for compensation of the victims after conducting a survey.
The residents of Gwadar thanked Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal for approving important projects for the development of the city.
They said that current government has initiated record construction and development work in Gwadar district.
The new era has begun with the construction of dams in the rain-fed areas of Gwadar district to solve the problem of drinking water and urged to take timely steps to compensate the victims (displaced)
The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone of Shinzani Dam which cost is estimated Rs 50 crore and it would be completed in two years.
About sixteen thousand acre feet of water can be stored in this dam and over five thousand acre feet of water will be used for agriculture.
The Hingol River is 350 miles (560 km) long, the longest in Balochistan. It winds through the Makran Coastal Range and Hungol Valley between high cliffs. The river flows all year long, unlike most other streams in Balochistan which only flow during rare rains.
24 dams worth billions of rupees under construction in #Balochistan province of #Pakistan . #Water reservoirs are being built in Awaran, Washuk, Kharan, Zhob, Musakhel, Loralai. #CPEC #Gwadar | TNS World
Under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), twenty-four dams worth billions of rupees are under construction in Balochistan.
This was stated by the project director of 100 dams Muhammad Ibrahim Mengal in an exclusive interview with Radio Pakistan.
He said no compromise will be made on the quality of construction, which are likely to be completed by December this year.
He said the water reservoirs are being built in Awaran, Washuk, Kharan, Zhob, Musakhel, Loralai etc. The project director also said that measures are being taken to accomplish the dam project in order to improve ground water level for reducing the water problems that stretch throughout the province.
Pakistan Army set to gain sweeping Belt and Road authority
Bill grants military-linked body carte blanche over $50bn CPEC projects
CPEC projects were stalled for months after Khan took power in 2018, mainly due to graft allegations regarding the previous government's handling of the projects. There were also allegations that the deals unfairly benefited Beijing. Khan's government struggled to cope with twin deficits and unsustainable external debt. Before his election, the former cricketer had been a vocal critic of the corridor, citing a lack of transparency.
But with Bajwa at the helm and Khan now making CPEC a cornerstone of his development plans for Pakistan, CPEC power generation and transportation projects have taken off.
Since its inception, the CPEC Authority has drawn flak from opposition parties, mainly the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party, which advocate for the strengthening of existing civilian institutions involved in the CPEC.
The parties aligned against the bill have also mounted brazen opposition to the army's role in politics. They have organized rallies across the country under an alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement, alleging that the ruling PTI has framed them under fake corruption cases with the backing of the army.
Pakistan is set to pass legislation that would place a supranational body that oversees the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's flagship Belt and Road Initiative, under control of a Pakistan Army that would also gain sweeping powers.
A parliamentary committee earlier this month passed the CPEC Authority Bill 2020 despite strong opposition from some lawmakers. According to Junaid Akbar, chairman of the parliamentary committee, the bill will be presented to parliament for a final vote in the second week of December.
Pakistan's government under Prime Minister Imran Khan and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, considered to be aligned with the interests of the army, had been working for months to get the draft bill through the committee. The proposed law seeks to reinstate the controversial CPEC Authority -- which has been defunct since the expiry of a presidential order in May.
If enacted, the legislation will shift control of CPEC projects from the planning and development ministry run by a civilian bureaucracy to the CPEC Authority headed by retired army Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa. In addition, Bajwa would report directly to the prime minister instead of the ministry and replace the planning minister as co-chair of a Pakistan-China joint committee.
Despite the lapse of the presidential order, Bajwa has continued to preside over the CPEC Authority as chairman, a situation that has led opposition legislators to question the legality of his position. In a briefing to the committee, the planning ministry denied having a CPEC Authority chairman; it also denied that it gives Bajwa any salary or perks.
Outside observers say the machinations reveal a military that is asserting itself as the elected government endeavors to find its footing.
"The civilian leadership [under Khan and PTI], which had never held national power until winning the 2018 election, has struggled with public policy on multiple levels," Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank, told Nikkei Asia. "This move can be seen in part as a military power play to assert more influence over a key project that it believes it is better qualified to oversee.
China-Iran pact boosts #Pakistan’s trade hub dream. Pakistan is happy over #India’s exit from #Iran and #China’s entry into Iran and hopes this emerging Iran-China strategic cooperation can become a ‘CPEC Plus’ for the region. #CPEC - Asia Times https://asiatimes.com/2021/04/china-iran-pact-boosts-pakistans-trade-hub-dream/
A Balochistan government senior official who requested anonymity told Asia Times that the China-Iran deal could improve security conditions in Balochistan’s restive regions, including those that border on Iran. There are currently as many as two million ethnic Baloch in Iran; the insurgents have historically received support from various outside actors.
“We hope and trust that the incursion of miscreants from the Pak-Iran border at Sistan-Baluchistan province would end as a result of infrastructure and connectivity developments in Iran,” he said.
He said that the Gwadar port and other CPEC projects in Balochistan would “pick up pace” if the security problems were resolved. “The CPEC’s security input could come down massively if the situation normalized to some extent,” he said.
Mushahid Hussain Syed, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senator, told Asia Times that China-backed economic activities in Iran would contribute to stability in Balochistan and by association the CPEC’s progress.
“With a proactive Chinese role in Iran – both being good friends of Pakistan – Pakistan’s Western flank will be secured, hopefully helping stability in Balochistan and strengthening the role of Gwadar port in promoting regional connectivity with China, Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asian Republics,” Mushahid said.
“The Iran-China strategic agreement is good for the region and positive for Pakistan’s interests as it strengthens regional economic connectivity of which Pakistan is the emerging hub due to the CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” Mushahid said.
He suggested that Gwadar port, the multi-billion-dollar centerpiece of the Beijing-financed CPEC, will be pivotal for transit and trade with the wider region including Afghanistan and Central Asian nations such as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
That’s clearly what Islamabad hopes. Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa recently touted the government’s new economics-oriented vision during the inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, which was held nearly coincident with the formal announcement of the Iran-China pact.
Bajwa’s narrative is in line with Beijing’s regional trade-promoting aim, which was further underlined in its new strategic trilateral coordination between Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey. Still, whether Beijing foresees Pakistan as the hub of its Iran pact is debatable.
For a long time we have known that improved transport accessibility leads to more opportunities and better lives.
ANDREW DABALENSHOMIK MEHNDIRATTA|JANUARY 24, 2022
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.
Construction of Hoshab-Awaran road launched
Chairman of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority retired Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa has said development of roads in Balochistan is key priority of the government to improve Gwadar port’s connectivity with other parts of the country.
Sharing photos and a map of the under-construction roads on Twitter on Tuesday, the CPEC Authority chairman said about 60 per cent progress had been achieved in the Basima-Khuzdar road project while work on the construction of Hoshab-Awaran road had also been started.
“#CPEC:South Balochistan roads in focus. Basima-Khuzdar Road Progress60%. Hoshab-Awaran Road const started. Will improve Gwadar’s connectivity with North. PM’s vision of uplifting remote areas specially South Bln being realised. #CPECMakingProgress #Pakistanmovingforward."
The 146-kilometre Hoshab-Awaran project is an integral part of CPEC central alignment, which connects Gwadar Port with the Sindh province.
60pc work on Basima-Khuzdar road project complete, says CPEC Authority chairman
The project is expected to be completed in three years at an estimated cost of Rs20 billion.
Similarly, the 106-km-long Basima-Khuzdar road (N-30) is expected to be completed by end of current year at an estimated cost of Rs11.749bn.
Talking about the roads that have been built so far under the corridor project, an official in the CPEC Authority said the 449-km Hoshab-Surab road (N-85) had been completed and made operational, while work on the 235-km-long Surab-Quetta (N-25) road had also been completed and it was also operational.
Besides, the 193-km Gwadar-Hoshab (M-8) road and 250-km Ratodero-Khuzdar (M-8) road were
Balochistan water storage increases
The water storage capacity of Balochistan has reached 68,939 acre feet which will enhance the irrigation network and address water scarcity issues of the drought-hit province.
Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), as many as 27 dams have been completed having storage capacity of 68,939 acre feet in various districts of Balochistan.
There are also ongoing small, medium, large and delayed action dams at various stages of implementation that will further add another 9.016 million acre feet (MAF) to the existing storage capacity.
After the construction of large reservoirs in the country, the storage capacity of water will increase several million-acre feet that will help store rain and floods water during monsoon.
An official of the Ministry of Water and Power told APP that the work was underway on various projects in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh to address the growing issue of water scarcity.
“The federal government is also providing funds for construction of various small, medium, large, and delay action and recharge dam projects in the country through Federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP)”, he said.
These projects aimed at providing water for irrigation, agriculture, and drinking purposes which were being implemented by WAPDA and Irrigation Departments of four provinces besides the Public Health Engineering Department, Balochistan.
At present combined storage capacity of Mangla, Tarbela, and Chashma reservoirs is about 14.349 MAF. After the completion of ongoing projects i.e. Mohmand, Diamer Basha, and Nai Gaj Dams, the gross storage capacity will be increased to 23.988 MAF.
Pakistan allocates Rs800 billion for FY23 PSDP
June 11, 2022
The country presented the federal budget 2022/2023, which envisages PSDP worth 800 billion rupees for the next fiscal year.
It has been centered on improvement in sectors such as water resources, transport and communication, energy, higher education, health, science and technology, and balanced regional development.
The emphasis of PSDP is also on revival of CPEC and related projects for inter-provincial and regional connectivity with equal importance to Special Economic Zones to promote trade, industrialization and create job opportunities.
The major thrust in the Information and Communication Technology sector including establishment and operations of Special Technology Zones.
Under the PSDP, the government has allocated 44.179 billion rupees including foreign aid of 1.3 billion rupees to the Higher Education Commission for implementation of 151 development projects.
The allocation indicates an increase of one hundred percent over the last year.
An allocation of over 197 billion rupees has been made for 117 power related projects.
These include hydro power generation projects such as Diamer-Bhasha, Mohmand, Nai Gaj and the fifth extension of Tarbela. Initiatives like developing water storages, automatic telemetry system, rainwater harvesting, decreasing water losses, ground water regulation and management would be undertaken in consultation with the stakeholders.
Over nine billion rupees have been earmarked for Ten Billion Trees Tsunami Programme Phase-I to achieve the target of planting 500 million trees.
Similarly, over 563 million rupees and over 1.2 billion rupees have been allocated for installation of weather surveillance radars at Multan and Sukkur respectively.
The Federal PSDP has also proposed an amount of 1.5 billion rupees to complete the emergent nature of small flood schemes all over Pakistan.
An allocation of 227 billion rupees has been made for strengthening efficiency of transport and logistics for domestic commerce and regional connectivity.
The high impact infrastructure projects to be completed under Public Private Partnership mode include Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway, Sialkot-Kharian Motorway, Kharian-Rawalpindi Motorway, and Karachi Circular Railway. Under the CPEC, D I Khan-Zhob section is under discussion with the Chinese side for financing and it is expected to be launched in the next financial year.
The concessional financing agreement for landmark ML-1 project is to be finalized in the second quarter of the next fiscal year and subsequently arrangements will be made for groundbreaking of the project.
A comprehensive National Action Plan for agriculture modernization has been prepared in terms of capacity building, agricultural product processing technology extension, fishery science and technology, aquaculture and aquatic products processing.
NHA awards contract for construction of last section of CPEC’s M-8 Motorway--China Economic Net
Islamabad, June 14 (Gwadar Pro) - The National Highway Authority (NHA) on Monday awarded an Rs 8 billion contract for the construction of 168 kilometres long-missing link in the M-8 Motorway of the central alignment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.
The 250 kilometres Ratodero-Khuzdar and 193 kilometres Gwadar-Hoshab sections of the M-8 Motorway are operational. Similarly, work on 146 kilometres long Hoshab-Awaran section is also underway at a cost of Rs9.12 billion. The contract for the last missing link between Awaran and Naal (near Khuzdar) has been awarded to a joint venture of Habib Construction Services and Matracon Pakistan for Rs 8.08 billion.
After completion of this section, Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore will be connected with the Gwadar Port through the shortest route, NHA said. It will also mark the completion of the first-ever access-controlled link between the Gwadar Port and northern parts of the country.
The M-8 Motorway starts from Ratodero in Sindh and culminates at the Gwadar Port, passing from Khuzdar, Awaran, Hoshab and Turbat areas of Balochistan.
The east-west motorway will link Sukkur, Sindh with Gwadar. Pakistan has already completed a network of access-controlled roads from Peshawar and Islamabad up to Sukkur.
China Is Investing Billions in Pakistan. Its Workers There Are Under Attack.
Beijing’s Belt and Road investment strategy meets resistance in the developing world it seeks to influence
China is the largest lender to the developing world, mainly through Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road infrastructure program. The country has worked to portray itself as a benevolent partner to the countries where it is spending money, in an attempt to draw a distinction with Western powers.
Still, as its global reach expands, China is increasingly grappling with the consequences of projecting power around the world, including corruption, local resentment, political instability and violence. For developing countries, China offers perhaps the best chance of quickly building major infrastructure.
Beijing accepts a degree of security risk in pursuing its Belt and Road program and is committed to working with partner governments, such as in Pakistan, to mitigate threats to Chinese personnel and assets, Chinese experts say.
“We couldn’t possibly wait until all terror attacks cease before starting new projects,” said Qian Feng, a senior fellow at Tsinghua University’s National Strategy Institute. “We have to keep working, studying the issues, and undertake preventative measures at the same time.”
Chinese businesses and workers in several countries where it is making investments have become favored targets. Chinese nationals are seen as wealthier than most locals and, in some cases, are perceived to be reaping too much of the economic benefits and job opportunities created by Beijing’s investments.
Gunmen in Nigeria abducted four Chinese workers in June during an attack at a mine in the country’s northwest. In October, unidentified “thugs” attacked a Chinese-funded business in Nigeria and killed a Chinese employee there, according to the Chinese consulate in Lagos. The consulate urged Chinese companies to hire private security and fortify their work areas.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Chinese investors dominate the mining industry, Chinese business groups and workers have sounded alarms about armed robberies and kidnappings in recent months. Beijing has urged local authorities to step up security for Chinese assets and personnel.
There were about 440,000 Chinese people working abroad for Chinese contractors in Asia and roughly 93,500 in Africa at the end of last year, according to the China International Contractors Association, a Beijing-based industry group.
The Oxus Society, a Washington-based think tank, counted about 160 incidents of civil unrest in Central Asia between 2018 and mid-2021 where China was the key issue.
Beijing recognizes the rising threat to its workers in developing countries but doesn’t want to send in its army as it professes noninterference abroad, said Alessandro Arduino, author of “China’s Private Army: Protecting the New Silk Road.” Instead, China is deploying technology such as facial recognition and hiring more private Chinese security contractors, he said.
China chose Pakistan—one of its closest allies, with deep military ties and a common rival in India—as a showcase of its investment in developing nations. Beijing has spent about $25 billion here on roads, power plants and a port.
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.
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