Sunday, May 10, 2020

CAREC: More Landlocked States Look to Pakistan's Gwadar Port

Uzbekistan is the third landlocked state in recent years to request the use of Pakistani ports for trade, according to media reports.  The Central Asian nation has asked to join Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) to make use of Karachi and Gwadar ports for its trade operations. Current members of QTTA are China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Afghanistan is not a member of QTTA but it currently uses Gwadar and Karachi ports under Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). Pakistan is making a serious effort to stabilize Afghanistan, a member of CAREC. The recent US-Taliban peace deal is the result of Pakistan's efforts to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. Afghan instability has prevented Pakistan from connecting with other STANs for commerce and trade. Now the development of CPEC will enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan, if necessary, to connect with Central Asia region through Western China.

Pakistan to Bypass Afghan Wakhan Corridor to Trade With Central Asia Via China

Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA):

The Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan for facilitating transit traffic and trade.

In addition to being members of QTTA, China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are also part of CAREC, the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation. Other CAREC member nations include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Tajikistan , Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure projects have strengthened Pakistan's connectivity with landlocked Central Asia region in recent years.

CAREC Ministerial Meeting Islamabad, Pakistan


Pakistan sits between two economically very dynamic regions: Central Asia (and Western China) and South Asia. Which region is better suited for its economic connectivity and integration? Should Islamabad focus on CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) rather than SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation)?

Ideally, Pakistan should be a major player in both vibrant regions. However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has adopted a belligerent tone that has been characterized by his boasts of "chhappan inch ki chhati" (56 inch chest) and  talk of  "munh tor jawab" (jaw-breaking response) and "boli nahin goli" (bullets, not talks) to intimidate Pakistan in the last few years.   All of Modi's actions, including his order to bomb Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019, have signaled his outright aggression against Pakistan. His government's actions in Kashmir have extinguished any hope of normal relations between South Asia's two largest economies in the foreseeable future.  These have essentially forced Pakistan to choose between SAARC and CAREC.

CAREC Corridors: 

CAREC region is building six economic corridors to link Central Asian nations. Six multi-national institutions support the CAREC infrastructure development, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank,  Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, according to Khaleej Times.

Out of the total $27.7 billion CAREC infrastructure investment so for, $9.9 billion or 36 per cent was financed by ADB, a senior officer of the Manila-based multinational bank told Khaleeej Times.

He said other donors had invested $10.9 billion while $6.9 billion was contributed by CAREC governments. Of these investments, transport got the major share with $8 billion or 78 per cent. Asian Development Bank Vice President Wencai Zhang said: "There are huge financing requirements in Carec for transport and trade facilitation, for which 108 projects have been identified at an investment cost of $38.8 billion for the period 2012-2020. Investment for the priority energy sector projects will be $45 billion in this period."

CPEC North-South Corridor:

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major part of the north-south corridor that will allow trade to flow among CAREC member countries, many of which are resource-rich but landlocked nations. The corridor will enable the group to access to the Pakistani seaports in Gwadar and Karachi as part of the new maritime silk route (MSR) as envisioned by China and Pakistan.

CPEC consists of transport and communication infrastructure—roads, railways, cable, and oil and gas pipelines—that will stretch 2,700 kilometers from Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to the Khunjerab Pass at the China-Pakistan border in the Karakorams.

China and Pakistan are developing plans for an 1,800 kilometer international rail link from the city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Western China to Pakistan's deep-sea Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, according to Zhang Chunlin, director of Xinjiang's regional development and reform commission.

Rail Network Bypasses Afghanistan

 "The 1,800-kilometer China-Pakistan railway is planned to also pass through Pakistan's capital of Islamabad and Karachi," Zhang Chunlin said at the two-day International Seminar on the Silk Road Economic Belt in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, according to China Daily.

"Although the cost of constructing the railway is expected to be high due to the hostile environment and complicated geographic conditions, the study of the project has already started," Zhang said. "China and Pakistan will co-fund the railway construction. Building oil and gas pipelines between Gwadar Port and China is also on the agenda," Zhang added.

Afghan Instability:

Pakistan is making a serious effort to stabilize Afghanistan, a member of CAREC. The recent US-Taliban peace deal is the result of Pakistan's efforts to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. Afghan instability has prevented Pakistan from connecting with other STANs for commerce and trade. Now the development of CPEC will enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan, if necessary, to connect with Central Asia region through Western China.


A growing list of landlocked Central Asian countries is lining up to use Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi for trade. Uzbekistan is the latest nation to do so. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure projects have strengthened Pakistan's connectivity with landlocked Central Asia region in recent years.  The Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan for facilitating transit traffic and trade.

In addition to being members of QTTA, China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are also part of CAREC, the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation. Other CAREC member nations include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  Pakistan is making a serious effort to stabilize Afghanistan, a member of CAREC. The recent US-Taliban peace deal is the result of Pakistan's efforts to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. Afghan instability has prevented Pakistan from connecting with other STANs for commerce and trade. Now the development of CPEC will enable Pakistan to bypass Afghanistan, if necessary, to connect with Central Asia region through Western China.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC)

Modi's India: A Paper Elephant?

1800 Km Pak-China Rail Link

China Pakistan Economic Corridor

CPEC to Create Over 2 Million Jobs

Modi's Covert War in Pakistan

ADB Raises Pakistan GDP Growth Forecast

Gwadar as Hong Kong West

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor

Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav's Confession

Ex Indian Spy Documents RAW Successes Against Pakistan

Pakistan FDI Soaring with Chinese Money for CPEC


TT said...

We should try to purchase the Wakan corridor from afghanistan

Riaz Haq said...

TT: "We should try to purchase the Wakan corridor from afghanistan"

Yes! It would create Pakistan's direct border with Tajikistan to serve as gateway to Central Asia!!

Mayraj F. said...

Connection to China made Eastern Roman Empire richer!

"Why was the Eastern Roman Empire wealthier than the West?" With the description adding "If the Silk Road was so important, why weren't the Sassanids richer?"

The Sassanids WERE richer, to a degree.

The importance of the Silk Road can't be overstated. It wasn't just silk that flowed along it; spices, dyes, and other exotic goods came with the Silk, and all the major Silk Road routes ended in the Eastern Empire. At the same time, the East was more urban, as it had been under the rule of major civilizations longer than the west, which had been mostly tribal before the rise of Rome (Italy and Carthage being the exceptions.) This urbanization lead to a higher population, greater production, and more commerce, all making the East richer. Finally, Egypt was in the East. Highly urbanized, with rich farmland, strong trade routes, and natural gold deposits, Egypt was rich beyond measure.

All this, coupled with a somewhat more stable border than the West ever had, made the Eastern Empire rich and safe.
Why was the eastern roman empire wealthier than the west?

Mantou said...

The government of Uzbekistan has expressed its willingness to utilize Karachi and Gwadar ports for its trade operations and requested Pakistan's support for accession to the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA). The QTTA, under CPEC, provides an alternative route bypassing Afghanistan and relying on the Karakoram Highway via China to reach the Central Asian states. Pakistan plays a significant role in QTTA and ensured support to Uzbekistan in this regard.

Riaz Haq said...

#China-#Pakistan friendship (1950-2020). Bonds of friendship go back to centuries-old #trade relations, when Chinese traders travel through Pakistan on their business trips to the #MiddleEast, #Europe, and the rest of the world. #CPEC #BRI - Global Times

Pakistan and China established diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951. The first high-level official delegation visited China just after three months of liberation, on January 4, 1950. But the bonds of friendship have gone back to centuries-old trade relations, when Chinese traders travel through Pakistan on their business trips to the Middle-East, Europe, and the rest of the world through ancient Silk Route. Over 2,000 yers ago famous figures such as the monks Fa Xian and Xuan Zang traveled through areas which are today known as Pakistan.

This relationship was built on the strength of successive achievements and becomes formidable with each passing day and year. The leadership of both countries is committed to taking this relationship forward.

To understand the depth of this unique relationship, here is a glimpse of the milestones reached over the years:

• 1950 - Pakistan becomes the third non-communist country, and the first Muslim one, to recognize the People's Republic of China and dispatched a high level delegation to China on January 4, 1950.

• 1951 The two countries established formal diplomatic relations on May 21, 1951.

• 1955 Visit of Vice President Madam Song Ching Ling to Pakistan marked the first high level visit from Chinese side.

• 1956 Visit of Prime Minister H.S. Suhrawardy to China, was the first high level visit from Pakistan.

• 1963 Historic Visit of Foreign Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to China

• 1963 Pakistan and China conclude boundary agreement through peaceful negotiations. Pakistan is the only and most friendly country in the neighborhood who has never had any difference of opinion or border dispute with China.

• 1964 Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) started its flights to Beijing, becoming the first non-communist country airline to fly from Beijing, entering into a new era of linkages between the two countries. Pakistan was the window for China to interact with the rest of world.

• 1965 Agreement on Cultural Cooperation signed, promoting understanding and harmony.

• 1970 Pakistan facilitates first visit by US President Nixon to China, paving way for the first-ever US-China official contact, leading toward the normalization of Sino-American relations.

• 1976 Agreement on Scientific and Cultural Cooperation signed, opening huge opportunities for Pakistani scientists and students.

• 1978 The Karakoram Highway, a construction miracle, linking mountainous Northern Pakistan with Western China officially opened, linking China to the Arabian Ocean.

• 1983 Pakistan and China sign MoU on Educational Exchanges, which led 32,000 Pakistani student studying in China today.

• 1989 The two countries sign an agreement on Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investments. China is the largest investor in Pakistan.

• 1995 Agreement for Traffic in Transit is signed between the Governments of Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, opening avenues of transit trade with other central Asian states and whole of Eurasia.

• 1995 Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto visits China as a special guest to attend the 4th Women's Conference in Beijing, bring the women of the two friendly nations close to each other.

• 1999 The contract to jointly develop and produce the JF-17 was signed, a landmark event for Pakistan's defense Industry.

• 2001 Premier Zhu Rongji visits Pakistan on the occasion of 50 years of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations.

Riaz Haq said...

Retired #Indian General: "#Ladakh is the only area where physical military collusion can take place between #Pakistan and #China...just to the East of Siachen glacier and is our (#India's) vulnerability" #LadakhStandoff #Kashmir #CPEC via @ThePrintIndia

China is extremely suspicious of India. It believes that in the long term, India’s strategic aim is to restore the status quo ante 1950 by recovering Aksai Chin and other areas captured/secured by China. India’s alignment with the US, the presence of Tibetan government-in-exile in India, and the aggressive claims on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan — through which the prestigious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes — only strengthen China’s suspicion.


In the absence of any government or military briefings, there are speculations galore about the details of the incidents on the LAC and the political/military aims of China. More so, after the two informal summits between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi — at Wuhan in 2018 and Mamallapuram in 2019 — wherein both leaders had committed to maintain peace and tranquility on the LAC and give strategic directions to their militaries on border management.

The starting point of any conflict between two nations is the political aim. Military actions are merely the means to achieve that aim. I will reverse the process and analyse the military situation and strategic importance of the areas of the India-China ‘face-offs’ to derive the political aims.

At the outset, let me be very categoric — just like in 1962, 1965, and 1999, we have once again been surprised both at the strategic and tactical levels. The manner in which we had to rush reinforcements from other sectors gives a clear indication that we were surprised. At the strategic level, it was the failure of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to detect the build-up of the PLA formations from the rear bases to replace the border defence units. Our tactical surveillance with UAVs and patrols has been inadequate to detect this large-scale movement close to the LAC. The ITBP mans the border and ironically is not under the command of the army.

As per unconfirmed reports, the PLA has crossed the LAC and physically secured 3-4 km of our territory along Galwan River and the entire area between Finger 5 and Finger 8 along the north bank of Pangong Tso, a distance of nearly 8-10 km (the areas are marked in this Indian Express sketch in its 2017 report). There also seem to be minor incursions in the area of Hot Springs, in Ladakh’s Chang Chenmo River valley and at Demchok.

My assessment is that the PLA has deployed maximum one brigade each in Galwan River valley and along the north bank of Pangong Tso. Precautionary deployment would have been done at likely launch pads for offensive and other vulnerable areas along the LAC. Reserves would be on short notice to cater for Indian reaction/escalation. The airfield at Ngari has been upgraded and fighter aircraft have been positioned there. It is likely that additional troops have been deployed at Depsang plains, Hot Springs, Spanggur Gap, and Chumar.

It is pertinent to mention that the intrusion by regular troops is not linear like normal border patrols going to respective claim lines. If a brigade size force has secured 3-4 km in Galwan River, it implies that the heights to the north and south have been secured, thus securing a total area of 15 to 20 square km. Similarly, along Pangong Tso, the PLA brigade having secured 8-10 km on the north bank would have also secured the dominating heights to the north to physically control 35-40 square km. And if China subsequently realigns its claim line based on the areas secured, the net area secured would increase exponentially.

Anonymous said...

The outlook for SAARC is gloomy with the Sangh Parivar Regime always diverting the attention of the masses from real and pressing problems onto those imagined ones which are colored by the religions of the minority communities. The latest enterprise is to resurrect the supposed horrors of the Goa (Christian) Inquisition (20m Christians vs 1bn Hindus) almost totally based on a book written by a 17th century French traveler, and with saffronized wiki doctoring.This issue takes precedence even over COVID-19.
What hope is there when the educated classes are enthusiastic sangh parivarists all the while creating and believing the most ridiculous stories concerning the minority communities. How can SAARC work when there are Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Riaz Haq said...

A study highlights that if China uses the CPEC route for trade with six countries in the Middle East and Europe, it will be able to save almost $70 billion annually. The estimate is based on data for the year 2016-17.

Pakistan will also earn good revenue of around $6-10 billion through different types of services and fees. Mutual gains from the industrial, agricultural and scientific cooperation will be even more rewarding for both the countries. Thus, the focus must be on implementation and completion of projects on time.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #Navy chief talks regional security and tech wish list. Over 90% of its #trade is seaborne; it's a trade conduit to #China and #CentralAsia via #CPEC. Key threats to Pakistan’s security is from India’s #Hindu Nationalist mindset of #Modi. #CAREC

The Pakistan Navy, being a firm believer in the freedom of seas, has been contributing significantly in preserving maritime security in the Indian Ocean region. In this regard, the Pakistan Navy was the first regional navy to join Combined Task Force 150 in 2004. Similarly, to counter the increasing acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa, we joined Combined Task Force 151 in 2009. So far, the Pakistan Navy has been the largest contributor to CMF operations, second only to the United States Navy. Pakistan Navy officers have also had the privilege of commanding both these task forces on numerous occasions.

While we continue to be part of CMF, the Pakistan Navy is also a proponent of a region-centric maritime security construct. Alive to the changing geostrategic realities in the region, the Pakistan Navy in 2018 instituted the RMSP to protect our national maritime security interests and fulfill international obligations in the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan Navy ships, with embarked helicopters, are undertaking these patrols along three axes: the Horn of Africa, the North Arabian Sea and the central Indian Ocean. The objectives of the RMSP include contribution toward maintaining good order at sea in our own area of interest and engagement with the regional navies to enhance mutual collaboration and interoperability.


Progressive “capability development” is an important pillar of my vision for the Pakistan Navy. As warships are the mainstay of any navy, induction of surface platforms is essential to boost the Pakistan Navy’s operational deployability. In this regard, we have contracted for the construction of Type 054AP frigates from China and Milgem-class corvettes from Turkey along with transfer of technology. We are also inducting Dutch-designed offshore patrol vessels constructed in a Romanian shipyard.

In addition, we have contracted for the acquisition of Hangor-class submarines from China, and in the second phase their construction is planned in-country, for which necessary upgrades of Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works Limited is in progress.

We are also focusing on the induction of modern aviation assets, including jet-powered, long-range maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. In addition, we are modernizing our existing fleet of warships and aircraft with upgrades to their weapons and electronic suites.

These inductions have led to expansion in our human resource capital. However, keeping a high “teeth-to-tail” ratio remains a priority. As our Navy expands in line with the recent restructuring, the induction rates have almost doubled. With regard to the budgetary allocations, our Navy, like many other navies, operates in a resource-constrained environment. However, with a clear and long-term plan for its modernization and capacity building, emerging challenges are being addressed through indigenization and cost-effective solutions.

The Pakistan Navy always looks forward to adopting new technologies, especially those which serve as force multipliers. Unmanned surface vehicles have a variety of utilities, such as for harbor defense, mine detection and countermeasure roles. We are presently evaluating this technology and will acquire it as per their suitability and feasibility to our requirements.

Riaz Haq said...

"Belt & Road Economics": 2019 Report by the World Bank

Pakistan’s GDP to increase by up to 6.43pc till 2030, if one is to take only the investment on transport infrastructure under CPEC into account. However if one includes the impact of some policy measures like reducing border delays and reduction in tariffs that the World Bank proposes, Pakistan can add as high as 14.06pc to its GDP.

“The impact of a more ambitious set of reforms could magnify the gains from the new infrastructure network. For instance, if in addition to an improved infrastructure network also border delays were reduced by half, BRI economies could double the GDP gains coming from infrastructure investment alone. As all countries, BRI and non-BRI, are subject to border delays we find that non-BRI economies benefit as well from trade facilitation reforms. Low-income countries, which trade intensively with countries or tend to have long border delays, would disproportionately benefit from better border management. Better border management would allow firms located in low-income countries to access cheaper inputs increasing their competitiveness in foreign markets. As a consequence, demand for labor would increase pushing nominal wages up. Finally, a more efficient use of intermediate inputs and lower transport costs would lead to a decrease in prices of final goods.”

“As a second exercise, we simulate a 50pc reduction in applied tariffs among BRI
economies. Average tariffs in BRI countries are relatively high compared to tariffs in advanced economies. Applied tariffs in BRI countries vary between around 14pc in Sub-Saharan Africa and 2pc in East Asia and Pacific compared to applied tariffs of below 1pc in G7 countries. This trade rade policy could have a substantial effect on countries in South Asia that could increase the impact of infrastructure improvement alone by a factor of 5.
Interestingly, countries located in the Middle East and North Africa and in Europe and Central Asia would benefit more by combining infrastructure investment with trade facilitation policies rather than combining it with trade policies. This result is explained by relatively high border delays in these regions and by the fact that they rely disproportionately more on non-BRI countries in terms of inputs for their production. The effect of combining both a reduction in preferential tariffs and border delays would increase the benefits for both BRI and non-BRI members more than individual complementary policies alone.”

“Our results show that BRI transport infrastructure projects increase GDP for BRI
economies by up to 3.35pc. The model also shows that BRI-related transport projects could increase GDP for non-BRI countries by up to 2.61pc and for the world as a whole by up to 2.87pc. These numbers are larger than typical findings for regional trade agreements such as NAFTA using a similar methodology. Contrary to regional trade agreements, which decrease tariffs within a narrowly defined set of countries, the BRI is expected to decrease trade costs between a very large number of countries, including many economies that are not part of the initiative but whose trade flows will benefit from the improved transport infrastructure network when accessing (or transiting through) BRI countries.” the report stated.

Riaz Haq said...

#US to include #Pakistan in $3b fund for Central Asian Republics. US IDFC fund is to support immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of the #COVID19. Pakistan looking for stronger connectivity in #CAREC. #infrastructure

The United States intends to launch a regional fund for development in Central Asian Republics (CARs), which will include Pakistan as well.
In this regard, US International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) CEO Adam Boehler informed Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood that they intended to start a regional fund for development in CARs, which had shown keen interest in including Pakistan in the fund.

He added that the IDFC had a $3-billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also discussed a number of opportunities with the Pakistani side and decided to pursue different options, as discussed in the meeting.

Giving an overview of Pakistan’s economic relationships with regional countries, Dawood said Pakistan was already working closely with Afghanistan, particularly on the development of transit trade as well as building a long-term economic relationship. The PM aide added that Pakistan was looking for stronger connectivity with CARs, which would include building of roads as well as power infrastructure.

The adviser underlined that Pakistan was a high-cost energy country and with stronger connectivity with CARs, the country could lower the cost for the benefit of investors and businesses. He further said the IDFC could play an instrumental role as a link among these regional countries for the achievement of mutual objectives.

While discussing different opportunities in Pakistan, Dawood apprised the IDFC official of the public-private partnership model introduced by the government in order to ease some burden on the annual development expenditure.

He explained that there was a need for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan because it brought technology, caused improvement in productivity and created employment opportunities for the locals.

He stressed that Pakistan was looking for diversification in FDI as investors.

The adviser also shared the problems being faced by businessmen in Pakistan, amid the global pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancelation of export orders.

Elaborating on the specific areas where the IDFC could support Pakistan, the Board of Investment (BOI) chairman, who was also present in the meeting, talked about the importance of equity investment rather than direct loans, which was a more sustainable approach towards development.

Riaz Haq said...

#CPEC Re-Emerges In #Pakistan With Flurry Of Major #China Deals: 2 #hydropower projects costing $3.9 billion, and another to revamp Pakistan's colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion -- the most expensive #Chinese project yet in Pakistan. via @ndtv

China's Belt and Road program has found new life in Pakistan with $11 billion worth of projects signed in the last month, driven by a former lieutenant general who has reinvigorated the infrastructure plan that's been languishing since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office two years ago.
The nations signed deals on June 25 and July 6 for two hydro-power generation projects costing $3.9 billion in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region, and another to revamp the South Asian nation's colonial-era railways for $7.2 billion -- the most expensive Chinese project yet in Pakistan.

Khan's government appointed Asim Saleem Bajwa last year to run the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority, which oversees more than $70 billion in projects from power plants to highways.

He also joined Khan's cabinet in late April, becoming one of more than a dozen former and current military officials in prominent government roles as the army expands its influence in the country.

The Chinese financing has helped rid Pakistan of an electricity deficit that left exporters unable to meet orders and major cities without electricity for much of the day. Still, the implementation of some investments appeared to stall since Khan came to power, with no new projects announced in 2018 and very few in 2019.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the initiative in 2013, the World Bank estimates about $575 billion worth of energy plants, railways, roads, ports and other projects have been built or are in the works across the globe. Its progress has slowed recently, dogged by accusations that China is luring poor countries into debt traps for its own political and strategic gain.

"The reality is that much of CPEC, like the Belt and Road more broadly, has been paralyzed," said Jonathan Hillman, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan "is a flagship for China's Belt and Road, so the need to show progress is even more important."

In a tweet last month, Bajwa said some detractors had given the "false impression" that CPEC had been slowed. Not only has the pace of work on projects picked up recently, but a great deal of ground work has been done to launch phase two of the project that also includes special economic zones to lure Chinese manufacturers, agriculture, science, technology and tourism, he wrote.

"The prime minister pushed very hard on this," said Abdul Razak Dawood, Khan's adviser on commerce and investments said by phone. "We feel that we have to get more and more hydro in our energy mix."

A spokesman in Bajwa's office said he was not immediately available to comment.

Little Progress

Pakistan's army is already responsible for securing every single Beijing-funded project scattered across the country, from the mountains near the Chinese border to the desert in Gwadar where the Chinese operate a port. Its role has become even more important following terrorist attacks on three Chinese-related projects in the past year.

"There is no doubt that PM Khan's arrival slowed the pace of CPEC projects," said Mosharraf Zaidi, a senior fellow at Islamabad-based think tank, Tabadlab, and a former principal advisor to the foreign ministry. "The renewed energy and approval we are now seeing is almost entirely likely due to the chairperson having settled in, and being added to Prime Minister Khan's cabinet."

Riaz Haq said...

$8.6 billion 1,872 kilometer ML-1 #railway project to turn #Pakistan, particularly #Peshawar, into a global #business hub. It will create 150,000 jobs in Pakistan. Pakistan & landlocked Central Asian nations will also benefit from it. #trade #CPEC #China

ML-1 Railway-line project will turn Pakistan, particularly Peshawar into a global business hub & help open up Central Asia, says a report published by China Economic Net (CEN) on Thursday.

According to the report, experts call ML-1 project a “game changer of CPEC” and predict that in future Peshawar city will the center of business activities. Not only Pakistan, but the countries of Central Asia, wherein many are land-locked, will also benefit from it.

For the rehabilitation and upgradation of the 1,872-kilometer railway line, the Government of Pakistan’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved ML-1 project worth $ 6.8 billion on August 5, 2020.

As per the plan, the Chinese Government under CPEC would provide 90% of the financing of the project.

The project is also expected to generate 150,000 jobs in the country. Basharat Waheed, the CPEC project head in Ministry of Railways told CEN, “The entire track from Karachi to Peshawar would be upgraded.

The worn-out earthworks under the existing 150-year-old railway line will be completely uprooted and fresh sleepers and rails would be installed with new earthworks with an estimated lifespan of at least 50 years”.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan launches ferry service linking Iran, Iraq, UAE and beyond

The federal cabinet of Pakistan on Tuesday, September 8, gave formal approval to the launch of a ferry service out of ports Gwadar and Karachi to the neighbouring states Iran, Iraq, UAE-United Arab Emirates and beyond.

Currently, there was no national or international commercial ferry service operating in the country for the purpose of transportation of goods and passengers. In the regional countries like Bangladesh, Iran, Oman, Sri Lanka, and there were established ferry operators successfully running on a variety of routes. The potential for initiating Pakistan's ferry service has been felt for quite some time, especially in providing an alternate route for Zaireen intending to call at holy sites in Iran and Iraq.

Transportation between Gwadar and Karachi and provision of an alternate water route between Port Qasim and Karachi also has potential for the country.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs moved a summary for Prime Minister back on December 15, 2017, through the interior, foreign affairs, revenue and defence divisions, proposing the launch of a ferry service through PNSC (Pakistan National Shipping Corporation). The proposal was endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior but the Defence Division raised observations and conditions on the proposed service. The Prime Minister’s Office returned the summary with directions to address the observations and re-submit the same.

The maritime affairs ministry re-submitted the proposal and suggested the involvement of private operators and a slightly changed route. The Defence Division supported it but stressed that ferry service should be launched in 3 phases, recommending ferry services to Muscat and then to UAE and Abu Dhabi in 1st and 2nd phases, respectively, and later to Iran and Iraq in the 3rd phase. The re-submitted proposal was returned by the Prime Minister’s Office, with the direction to convene a meeting of the stakeholders to address all the observations and thereafter submit recommendations.

Riaz Haq said...

#Iran, #India to revive #Chabahar. India aims to compete with #China & #Pakistan (#Gwadar/#CPEC) by including #Uzbekistan in North-South Transport Corridor for #trade with #Afghanistan , #Armenia, #Azerbaijan, #Russia, #CentralAsia, #Europe .

In a proactive move, India has made fresh overtures toward Iran, apparently sensing the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal is imminent.

Last week, JP Singh, the joint secretary for Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, paid a visit to Tehran.

Laying the groundwork for closer ties, he held political consultations with top officials and obtained updates on the progress at Chabahar, where New Delhi is funding a project to develop the port on the Gulf of Oman. The main purpose of this visit was to regain India’s lost foothold in the Iranian port project.

Then Singh also touched base with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, one of the main people involved these days in negotiations regarding the revival of the nuclear deal that is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). New Delhi is seemingly awaiting the removal of sanctions on Iran before it engages in any large-scale projects or business activity in the country.

Indeed, there have been some positive indications in this direction from Washington. Encouragingly enough, Robert Malley, one of the main negotiators of the 2015 deal, has been appointed as envoy to Iran by the Biden administration. Likewise, the appointment of Wendy Sherman as deputy secretary of state also points toward a possible US-Iran rapprochement, as she had led the team that eventually clinch the deal.

First, if the nuclear deal is salvaged, there is more of the likelihood that Iran will stop “looking East” and maybe even decrease its tilt toward China. Instead, it would try to re-establish business with Western countries, as this is exactly what it had done in 2015 when the JCPOA was first implemented.

Second, as Iran and India already have a defense pact between them, an upgraded strategic role could have a negative impact on Sino-Pakistani projects in the region. Ever since China and Pakistan announced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, India cannot help but feel encircled. Moving in next door in Chabahar would be the ideal setup for New Delhi to keep an eye on developments in the Gwadar port and on Pakistan’s coastline.

Third, trying to break Chinese influence in the region, India would want to redirect Afghanistan and Central Asia toward its own routes. Having a pivotal role in advancing New Delhi’s ambitions, the port of Chabahar is center stage.

In case Iran does go ahead with the widely discussed 25-year strategic partnership with China, it could complicate matters, as Beijing’s prospective $400 billion deal includes access to all of Iran’s ports. In a recent television interview, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the China-Iran 25-year deal will be finalized soon and that the two countries are not far from reaching an agreement.

Apparently, Iran continues to keep all its options open where regional alliances are concerned.

Finally, for a few years, spats between India and China have become a regular feature at their mutual border in the Himalayan region. As India gets closer to Iran, tensions between Beijing and New Delhi will start one more front.

Due to the constant maritime competition between regional powers, the Indian Ocean region has become a “key geostrategic space” as it connects the oil-rich Middle East with economic markets in Asia. Enhancing ties with Tehran can be quite useful for New Delhi, as Iran is one of the largest states in this region with an extended presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

However, to some extent the success of India’s regional strategy will depend on the resumption of the JCPOA for now, as Iran’s reintegration into the world economy is dependent on the lifting of US sanctions.

Riaz Haq said...

#Uzbekistan Prefers #Pakistani Over #Iranian Ports.The road is said to cut transportation time from 30 to 15 days from Uzbekistan and other landlocked Central Asian countries to #Pakistan and reduce expenses by 30-35%. #CPEC #Karachi #Gwadar

Uzbekistan Prioritizes Pakistani Over Iranian Ports
Accessing seaports at lower costs and shorter distances is a decades-old issues Tashkent is trying to solve, Pakistani ports might be the answer.

Uzbekistan is currently highly reliant on the Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas, accessed through Turkmenistan. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s earlier efforts were focused on continuing to use Iran’s port, but exploring options to access it more directly, such as via a new railroad from Afghanistan’s Herat. Uzbekistan’s other earlier efforts, such as the Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman railroad corridors, also clearly involved Iran.

Tashkent appears to be reevaluating its plans in favor of de-emphasizing access to Iranian ports, and the economic rhetoric is dominant. According to Eldar Aripov, director of the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, the Mazar-i-Shareef-Peshawar project offers an entirely new transportation option while the Herat option merely expands existing routes. The cost of transporting a container from Tashkent to Karachi would be approximately $1,400-$1,600, while on the Tashkent-Bandar-Abbas route it is $2,600-$3,000. Furthermore, the construction of the Herat connection will be complicated, but the Pakistan route would tap into a number of existing projects.

Two years ago, Aripov spoke of two other reasons why the Pakistani ports should receive priority over other railroad options. The first reason is that the Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar road is the shortest route linking Uzbekistan to a seaport. Second, the road together with the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China corridor unites the four largest corridors in China, the CIS, Europe, and South Asia.

The trilateral talks, attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Sardor Umurzakov, Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razzaq Dawood, and Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar, ended by adopting the Mazar-i Shareef-Kabul-Peshawar Road Map.

According to the roadmap plan, the construction of the 600-km railroad should take five years and will allow access to the Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Karachi. Central Asia’s other projects with Afghanistan — the Surkhon-Puli Humri high voltage electricity line to allow Uzbekistan to supply electricity to Afghanistan and the CASA-1000 regional electricity project supplying surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan — will pass by the same communication lanes and will distribute construction expenses among the three projects.

Tashkent has further arguments in favor of prioritizing access to Pakistani ports. The project presents new opportunities to all participants. For Pakistan and other countries, such as India, the road would open opportunities for connecting with markets of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) by rail. Currently, these trade relations are supported by sea routes only.

Riaz Haq said...

Of #Pakistan's total $66 billion of annual #trade in 2020, #China accounted for $11.2 billion & North #America $6.76 billion. It plans to grow trade with 5 landlocked Stans in #CentralAsia to $1.5 billion a year from less than a billion in past decade.

The South Asian nation is looking to finalize a new trade accord with Kabul by June, Abdul Razak Dawood, the commerce adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said in an interview in Islamabad. It plans to grow trade with five landlocked Central Asian nations -- Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan -- to about $1.5 billion a year from less than a billion in the past decade, he said.

“We’re too restricted to a few countries -- North America, European Union and China,” said Dawood. “But there is a much bigger world.”

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan promises a return of stability and provides an opportunity to Pakistan to strengthen commerce with its neighbor, which sits at the cross-roads of South and Central Asia. Also, Islamabad stands to benefit from greater trade with Central Asian markets that are rich in energy resources needed to feed its ambition to grow its industrial base.

Read: Biden Pulls the Plug on Afghan War at Risk of Turmoil Ahead

Pakistan is due to sign transit and preferential trade agreement with Uzbekistan in July, Dawood said.

The South Asian economy’s move to scout for newer markets stems from the need to diversify its trade basket that’s heavily reliant on the U.S., EU and China. Of its total $66 billion of annual trade in the year ended June 2020, China accounted for $11.2 billion and North America $6.76 billion, according to data from State Bank of Pakistan.

Analysts see the new push in the context of Pakistan’s geo-strategic framework, which draws from the economic cooperation espoused by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.

While China has channeled investments toward electricity generation in Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, it’s financing has also been focused on gas- and oil-based projects for exploration and distribution in Central Asia.

“Economy is one part of the strategic outlook,” Vaqar Ahmed, joint executive director at Sustainable Development Policy Institute said. “Ultimately you would need economy, trade and investment cooperation to keep excitement in your strategic interests.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Trade-growth bid sees #Pakistan look nearer to home in #CentralAsia.“We’re too restricted to a few countries,” Abdul Razak Dawood, the commerce adviser to PM Imran Khan, said in an interview. “But there is a much bigger world.” #exports via @business

Trucks carrying processed leather from Uzbekistan have arrived in Pakistan, a sign that the southern Asian economy’s efforts to expand land trade in its neighborhood are paying off.

The arrival of the cargo in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar via Afghanistan marks the first step in Islamabad’s goal to grow commerce with central Asian nations to about $1.5 billion per year from less than $1 billion in the past decade.

Pakistan’s focus on central Asia is a departure from its reliance hitherto on three key markets — North America, European Union and China. Expanding trade with resources-rich Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan also fits Islamabad’s ambition of growing its industrial base.

“We’re too restricted to a few countries,” Abdul Razak Dawood, the commerce adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said in an interview. “But there is a much bigger world.”

Pakistan is due to sign a transit and preferential trade agreement with Uzbekistan in July, he said, adding that an accord with Afghanistan would also be wrapped up by June.

Analysts see the new push in the context of Pakistan’s geo-strategic framework, which draws from the economic cooperation championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of his Belt and Road Initiative.

While China has channeled investments toward electricity generation in Pakistan as part of its BRI deals, it’s financing has also been focused on gas- and oil-based projects for exploration and distribution in central Asia.

“Economy is one part of the strategic outlook,” said Vaqar Ahmed, a joint executive director at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute. “Ultimately you would need economy, trade and investment cooperation to keep excitement in your strategic interests.”

Riaz Haq said...

#US, #Afghanistan, #Pakistan, #Uzbekistan to form quad group to enhance regional connectivity for #rade, #transit links. The new quad group is important amid #China's desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan. #BRI #CPEC #SilkRoad

The US, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity, the Biden administration has said.

“The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing,” the State Department said on Friday.

Recognising the historic opportunity to open flourishing interregional trade routes, the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links, and strengthen business-to-business ties, it said.

“The parties agreed to meet in the coming months to determine the modalities of this cooperation with mutual consensus,” said the State Department.

Afghanistan’s strategic location has for a long time been touted as a competitive advantage for the country. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China to the northeast.

Located at the heart of the historic Silk Road, Afghanistan was long the crossroads of commerce between Asian countries connecting them to Europe, and enhancing religious, cultural, and commercial contacts.

The formation of the new quad group is important amid China's desire to extend its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) to Afghanistan.

The BRI, a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.

By virtue of its location, Afghanistan can provide China with a strategic base to spread its influence across the world.

Since the announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces by August 31, violence has been rising and efforts to broker a peace settlement between the Afghan government and insurgent Taliban have slowed.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese business leaders confident in #Pakistan after meeting with PM #ImranKhan. Khan has promised to chair a monthly meeting to address their concerns. #CPEC #China #infrastructure #Business #trade #Industry - Global Times

Several Chinese business leaders on Tuesday expressed increased confidence in their operations in Pakistan after attending a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan on Monday that was aimed at addressing Chinese firms' concerns regarding policy support and security after recent terrorist attacks.

During the meeting with a delegation of Chinese business leaders, Khan vowed to chair a monthly self-review meeting to address their concerns, according to local media, sending a strong signal that the Pakistani government attaches great importance to Chinese companies.

Zhang Shilu, general manager of Zhengbang Agriculture Pakistan (Pvt) Limited, who attended the meeting, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the meeting was held in response to concerns that have gripped Chinese investors.

"Chinese enterprises encountered some difficulties in doing business in Pakistan and we expressed our expectations to the Pakistani Prime Minister, who showed that Pakistan attaches great importance to the development of Chinese enterprises in Pakistan. It greatly increases the confidence of Chinese enterprises," Zhang said.

He added that at the investment meeting, representatives of Chinese enterprises voiced their hopes that Pakistan could introduce an industrial park management committee - a common practice in China - to simplify approval processes.

Zhengbang Agriculture currently produces pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides and fertilizers in Pakistan, which are used on all types of crops in the country, including cotton, rice, wheat, citrus and mangoes.

According to Pakistani Prime Minister's Office Twitter account, Chinese enterprises that attended the meeting included OPPO, Shanghai Challenge Textile Co, and Easy Prefabricated Homes Pvt, a subsidiary of Henan D.R. Construction Group Co.

George Long, CEO of OPPO Pakistan, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the company was hoping for some form of preferential tax treatment and land policies from the Pakistani government to support its R&D and high-tech production. This would boost local employment and local tech supply chains would also be steadied, Long said.

The Chinese phone vendor's foray into the Pakistan market began in 2014 and it has built 17 aftersales services centers and more than 5,000 retail outlets across the country. "We're confident about expanding investment in Pakistan and bringing quality smart gadgets to the people of Pakistan," Long said.

A manager surnamed Jin with Henan D.R. Construction Group who participated in Monday's meeting told the Global Times that the agenda of the meeting included difficulties for Chinese-funded firms in the local industrial park that include land purchases and natural gas and power supplies.

In October 2019, the company purchased 6.1 acres of land in an industrial park as a factory production base, and started to build the factory after the land purchase procedures were approved in December 2019.

The company had been applying for power supplies and the use of natural gas, but no progress has yet been made, even though construction for the factory was completed in March. Pakistani authorities pledged to look into the matters, Jin said.

Participants in the meeting also discussed security issues that have been under the spotlight in the wake of recent terrorist attacks targeting Chinese personnel.

"After previous terrorist attacks on Chinese project personnel, Pakistan has equipped our factories with a special protection unit," said Jin, adding that the company remains upbeat about investment and business expansion in Pakistan, citing favorable investment policies.

Riaz Haq said...

NHA gears up to link CPEC M-14 with Pakistan-Afghanistan border

ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to connect Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan with Motorway 14 (M-14), a project of the western alignment route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) via a 184km-long Motorway.

According to Gwadar Pro on Tuesday, the National Highway Authority (NHA) on Monday issued a request for proposal (RFP) of consultancy services for the Feasibility Study and Detailed Design for the Construction of the Motorway from Ghulam Khan to Esa Khel Interchange (184km approx).

The project will be financed by the Federal Government through PSDP 2022-23 through separate head/allocation.

In this regard, a pre-proposal conference on the project will be held on July 19, 2022, at NHA headquarters in Islamabad while procurement will be carried out by adopting the “Single Stage Two Envelops” procedure.

The proposals complete in all respects in accordance with the instructions provided in the RFP document in sealed envelopes, which should reach on or before August 10, 2022.

Esa Khel Interchange is located over M-14 in Mianwali district of Punjab, which is in proximity to the Lakki Marwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Between Mianwali and Ghulam Khan falls Bannu district of KP. After Torkham and Chaman, Ghulam Khan is the third most important crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has already started benefiting from Gwadar Port and the country received the first consignment of bulk cargo from the United Arab Emirates in July 2020. Ghulam Khan crossing, at the Pak-Afghan border point, is the shortest route connecting CPEC’s western route with Afghanistan, Central Asian States and beyond.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, China aim to jump-start Belt and Road plans in key talks

“Pakistan has agreed to increase the cost of ML-1 from $6.8 billion to $9.85 billion, on the demand of Chinese negotiators, who termed the former cost figure as unrealistic,” an official privy to CPEC planning told Nikkei Asia on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to talk to the media. The official further added that the ML-1 project will likely be approved by the JCC, which would be a major boost for the CPEC.


Pakistan and China aim to revive Belt and Road projects in the South Asian country at an annual huddle, scheduled to take place virtually on Thursday. In the run-up to the talks, cash-strapped Islamabad appears to have accepted a Chinese demand to increase the cost of a railway, as it seeks to secure more financing.

This will be the 11th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee, the key forum for making decisions on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $50 billion Pakistan component of the Belt and Road. Zhao Shiren, the Chinese consul general in Lahore, told local media earlier this month that work on the CPEC is expected to speed up after the JCC meeting.

The center of attention now is Main Line 1, or ML-1, a project that will upgrade 1,733 kilometers of railway track between Karachi and Peshawar. This is the largest CPEC project in terms of cost, and it has been awaiting a final decision for the past five years.

"Pakistan has agreed to increase the cost of ML-1 from $6.8 billion to $9.85 billion, on the demand of Chinese negotiators, who termed the former cost figure as unrealistic," an official privy to CPEC planning told Nikkei Asia on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to talk to the media. The official further added that the ML-1 project will likely be approved by the JCC, which would be a major boost for the CPEC.

In multiple background interviews, sources said other projects expected to get the nod include the Karachi Circular Railway at a cost of $1.33 billion and the Karakoram Highway realignment, valued at $1.8 billion.

Apart from these plans, another major issue up for discussion will be power projects. Beijing has built 12 power plants under the CPEC and Pakistan owes more than 250 billion rupees ($1.14 billion) in unpaid bills to the facilities. The JCC huddle is expected to deliberate on forming a revolving account for Chinese power producers so that they can get paid without getting entangled in Pakistan's web of debt.

Moreover, the JCC meeting might decide the fate of a 300-megawatt power plant in Gwadar -- a port intended to be a key Belt and Road hub. The Pakistani government would prefer to scrap the project as it scrambles to save money, whereas China seeks approval to start building it.

Aslam Bhootani, a member of the national assembly representing Gwadar, is not happy about the outlook. "No investment will come in Gwadar" unless the area's power problems are resolved, he said. "Scrapping the 300 MW power plant will not help in this situation."

Experts are on the fence about the prospects for rejuvenating the CPEC.

Michael Kugelman, director of the South Asia Institute at the Wilson Center, said the CPEC is in a holding pattern, with no new projects and existing projects moving very slowly out of caution over Pakistan's economic crisis, with its foreign reserves falling dangerously low.

"Given Pakistan's severe economic stress, as well as China's own recent slowdown," he said, "there will be little space for any type of new economic activity."

But the Pakistani government does have an incentive to stay in China's good books. Next week, soon after the JCC, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to visit China. This will be his first visit to Beijing as leader.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, China aim to jump-start Belt and Road plans in key talks

According to media reports, Sharif will likely seek $10 billion in financial assistance from China, through balance of payment support and rolling over Chinese loans, which make up 30% of Pakistan's total external debt. Experts believe the Sharif government wants the JCC to be successful so that it can secure the required financial support from China during the prime minister's visit.

Despite his skepticism and the CPEC's sputtering progress, Kugelman also suggested Sharif might be the man to restore some momentum. "It was Prime Minister Sharif's brother [Nawaz Sharif] who launched the CPEC, and there's reason to believe Beijing is more comfortable working with the ruling PML-N party than with Imran Khan's PTI, which asked questions about transparency [of CPEC projects] that China didn't like," Kugelman told Nikkei.

While Sharif is planning to revive the CPEC, his political nemesis Khan is in full-throttle mode to topple his government. Even after suffering a setback last week with his disqualification from office over alleged mishandling of foreign gifts, Khan has announced a long march from Lahore to Islamabad starting Friday, demanding Sharif's resignation and fresh elections. Initially, it appeared Khan might be barred from politics for years but for now he has only been stripped of his seat in parliament.

Government officials fear the political uncertainty could jeopardize any gains made at the JCC meeting.

The instability is a problem, said James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. But he said Beijing has already factored it in when making decisions about CPEC projects.

"Beijing knows that the ML-1 project is also in the interest of Pakistan and even if Khan again formed the government, he cannot reverse it," Dorsey said.

He added that the Belt and Road, in general, has been slowing down, and that efforts made to revive the CPEC are partly Beijing's attempt to fire up its broader global infrastructure drive.

Riaz Haq said...

China, Pakistan Agree to Launch $10 Billion Railroad Project
Two countries plan to upgrade line from Karachi to Peshawar
Pakistan officials have said they expect funding from China
By Faseeh Mangi

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif agreed in a meeting in Beijing to launch a high-speed rail project that could cost $9.85 billion, a move that comes as the world’s No. 2 economy moves to slow some of its lending due to growth concerns.

The two nations agreed to get started on the Main Line-1, according to a statement from Sharif’s office, which described it as “a project of strategic importance.”

That project involves upgrading a 1,163-mile, colonial-era track from Karachi to Peshawar to carry high-speed trains. Earlier this week, Pakistan formally approved the project, which has been in discussion for years, without saying where the funding would come from or providing technical details.

Officials in Pakistan have previously said they expected to get loans from China for the upgrade.

The US has in the past criticized China for using what it calls “debt diplomacy” to make developing nations more dependent on Beijing. Still, earlier this year China delayed a bailout for Pakistan as its debt soared, and it has been scaling back lending in Africa as its economy slows.

About 30% of Pakistan’s foreign debt is owed to China, including state-owned commercial banks, the International Monetary Fund said in a report in September.

In June, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its outlook on Pakistan to negative from stable, citing financial concerns.

See: Xi Kicks Off Third Term With Flurry of Diplomatic Activity

In their talks, Xi and Sharif agreed to finalize details on an inner-city rail line in Karachi. The Chinese leader also said his nation would provide 500 million yuan ($68.7 million) to Pakistan to help it rebuild after flooding over the summer that displaced more than half a million people.

Also Wednesday, the two countries’ central banks signed a memorandum of cooperation on a yuan clearing in Pakistan, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement. It didn’t give more details.

Sharif is wrapping up a two-day visit to Beijing. China is hosting a flurry of foreign leaders this week, as Xi kicks off a norm-busting third term during which he’s vowed to increase his nation’s global influence.

Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong became the first foreign leader to meet Xi since the Chinese president removed rivals and installed loyalists at a leadership reshuffle last month.

Xi and his top officials are then expected to hold talks in the capital with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Later this month, he will likely travel to Indonesia and Thailand for major summits attended by global leaders including President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Riaz Haq said...


Country with a high share of biomass: Pakistan
Pakistan has a high share of biomass in its energy consumption, which is expected to gradually reduce
as the share of natural gas increases. While Pakistan has a well-diversified energy supply overall,
with availability of oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydropower, it is expected to promote the use of
renewables considering future cost efficiencies and high technical potential.


Only two CAREC member countries currently operate nuclear power plants—Pakistan (1 GW of installed
capacity) and the PRC (48 GW). Both countries view nuclear power as a key part of their national energy
systems that provides a stable baseload of electricity. Two other members, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,
have initiated large-scale nuclear power plant projects, with commissioning planned prior to 2030. Both
countries are major producers of uranium, a key fuel for nuclear power plants, with Kazakhstan being the
largest producer of uranium globally. While nuclear power can offer significant advantages in terms of
scale and reliable power generation, a comprehensive system of security safeguards should be in place
to prevent malfunction and guarantee safe management of nuclear waste while respecting international
non-proliferation agreements.


Several countries are also working on liberalizing their energy markets by shifting from vertically integrated
state-owned companies to unbundled energy markets. Such market structures reduce uncertainties for
private investors. For example, Tajikistan has unbundled Barqi Tojik, a vertically integrated electric utility,
into three independent companies, with each in charge of a different function: electricity generation,
transmission, and distribution. Georgia introduced power generation rules that were approved in 2020
in line with the principles of market liberalization, establishing a competitive electricity market. Pakistan
approved a comprehensive framework and implementation plan in 2020 aimed at building a competitive
wholesale power market by 2022.


The CAREC region’s cross-border ties and possibilities for trade provide another opportunity for investors.
For instance, the Central Asian Power System (CAPS) interconnects Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan, with Tajikistan expected to be reconnected in 2022) at different voltage
levels. Some other large interconnection projects include the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline,
supplying natural gas from Azerbaijan via Georgia to Türkiye and Europe; the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–
Pakistan Power Interconnection; and the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India gas pipeline. While
predictions as to whether and when the last two projects can be commissioned are difficult because of
the political situation in Afghanistan, these projects highlight the solid potential of regional trade in the
CAREC region


Almost 200 nations agreed to phase down coal usage at the 26th United Nations Climate Change
Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021 to tackle climate change. Forty-six nations stepped
up their pledges to phase out coal-fired power plants and only build new plants under the condition they
are equipped with carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology (Rives 2021). The Glasgow
Climate Pact calls on countries to revisit their emission reduction targets by the end of 2022 to try to
keep the 1.5°C Paris Agreement target achievable. More than 100 countries signed the Global Methane
Pledge announced by the US, EU, and other partners at the COP26, agreeing to reduce their overall
emissions by 30% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels (Maizland 2021). Seven CAREC countries (Georgia,
Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, the PRC, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) have submitted stronger NDCs

Riaz Haq said...


Total installed power generation capacity in Pakistan is 34.5 gigawatts (GW), and consists
mostly of thermal generation, reaching around 66% of the total. The significance of thermal
generation is expected to decrease in the future, since the government has set a course to shift
toward increasing renewable energy (including hydropower) generation. Pakistan’s massive
renewable energy potential—about 3.0 terawatts (TW)—is one of the key drivers of this shift
(Figure 66).
• Pakistan’s domestic energy production consists of oil, natural gas, and coal. However,
insufficient investment in exploration and development activities has made the country
rely heavily on imports—nearly 40% of its total primary energy supply is imported. Having
insufficient cross-border infrastructure and no operating cross-border pipelines for the transit
of natural gas and oil, Pakistan imports energy sources mostly via coastal terminals.
• Final energy demand in Pakistan was about 96 million tons of oil equivalent (toe) in 2018, and
is projected to reach 108–126 million toe in 2030, depending on the scenario. Natural gas is
expected to increase its share in the total energy supply, while reliance on biomass will decrease,
leading toward a cleaner future for residential consumers.
• The country has vast renewable energy resources, with total technical potential reaching
2,900 GW for solar, 340 GW for wind, and 60 GW for hydropower (Faizi 2020; UNIDO 2016).
Increasing the share of hydropower could help in terms of grid balancing, solving the issue of
solar and wind intermittency.
• In addition to the development of renewable energy and alternative sources, such as nuclear
power, priority investments in Pakistan include the introduction of smart metering and smart
grids, as well as energy efficiency measures.
• Further development of the transmission and distribution (T&D) network is crucial for
the country, as 25% of the population is not grid-connected and thus has no access to the
electricity network.
• Total investment needs for the energy sector vary significantly across all three scenarios—
from $62 billion to $155 billion—illustrating the significant requirements for transitioning
to more sustainable sources of energy generation and implementing extensive energy
efficiency measures.
• Pakistan’s energy sector presents significant investment opportunities because of its efforts
to transition to a more competitive energy market structure, its continued support for private
projects, and the government’s commitment to significantly develop renewable energy sources
in the future.
• Several challenges need to be addressed to introduce a more favorable investment climate,
including circular debt issues, and the overall condition and coverage of the T&D grid.

Riaz Haq said...


Energy Sector Profile
Country Profile
Pakistan is the world’s fifth most populous country, with a population of more than 225 million people
and a $264 billion nominal gross domestic product (GDP), as of 2020. Pakistan’s population and economy
have grown at a steady pace, with the GDP growing annually by 4%–6%, and the population by 2%, since
2015. While the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has slowed down economic growth to
0.5% in 2020, Pakistan is expected to recover, with a projected economic annual growth rate of nearly 6%
until 2025.
Pakistan’s energy sector is highly dependent on fossil fuel imports. Due to insufficient exploration and
development activities, the country is a major importer of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal. Moreover, issues
with ever-increasing demand and an inability to meet needs with existing power generation capacities
have forced consumers to use biomass as means of cooking and heating, especially in the agriculture
sector, which makes up most of the GDP. On the other hand, being one of the largest countries in the
region, Pakistan has vast renewable resources, such as hydropower, solar photovoltaic (PV), and wind, as
well as experience in power generation from nuclear power. However, the share of electricity production
from renewables has been decreasing since 2015, with fossil-fuel based generation on an upward trend in
development (Figure 67). This has led to increases in carbon intensity, putting Pakistan in 95th position
out of 172 countries in 2018. Energy efficiency measures in Pakistan require further development and
implementation. The country was ranked the 87th most energy-intensive economy in the world in 2018.


Energy Sector and Technologies Assessment
Conventional Fuel Production
Pakistan’s domestic energy production consists of oil, natural gas, and coal. The country also has significant
undeveloped oil and gas potential. However, insufficient investment in exploration and development
activities due to pricing policies has limited Pakistan’s ability to achieve security of supply through domestic
energy production.
Domestic oil production in the country amounted to around 4 million tons in 2019, while total import
volume was more than 10 million tons. The main production sites are located in Punjab and Sindh
provinces. The country is also planning to expand its refinery capacities to meet growing demand,
with a target capacity of 48 million tons per year by 2030. In 2019, total natural gas production stood at
33 billion cubic meters (bcm), slightly lower than domestic demand. The Sui Gas field is the largest natural

gas field in Pakistan, accounting for 10% of total domestic production (Pakistan Petroleum Limited).
However, major oil and natural gas fields in the country are in the later stages of their lifecycle, with
gradually declining production volumes.
Coal in Pakistan is mainly produced in Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh provinces. While production was
only 3.3 million tons in 2015, the country expanded its production to nearly 6.8 million tons in 2019.
However, the country still imported approximately 15 million tons of coal to satisfy demand. Overall, coal
resources in Pakistan are estimated at more than 3 billion tons.

Riaz Haq said...


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.
Country Outlooks 2030—Pakistan 1

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.

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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.

Cross-Border Infrastructure
In terms of cross-border power interconnections, Pakistan has one operational line as of 2021:
Mand–Jakigur, connecting Pakistan and Iran, with a capacity of 104 MW. In addition, Pakistan,
Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, have launched the Central Asia–South Asia (CASA-1000)
project, a mega power interconnection project of 1,300 MW. Pakistan’s part of CASA-1000 is currently
under construction, and is expected to transport electricity from Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. The
uncertain political situation in Afghanistan, through which CASA-1000 will transit to reach Pakistan, has
rendered difficult any predictions as to when and if the project can be successfully commissioned.
Natural gas is imported via sea terminals, mainly through two terminals located in the Qasim and Karachi
ports, with a cumulative capacity of 12 bcm annually. As of 2021, there are no operating cross-border
natural gas pipelines in Pakistan. However, in response to growing demand, the government has been
planning the construction of natural gas pipelines to increase import capacity, with the Iran–Pakistan
pipeline expected to be commissioned by 2025. The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI)
pipeline has been discussed since more than a decade, but its realization remains uncertain given the
situation in Afghanistan and other political tensions between the participating countries. Further efforts to
bridge the supply and demand gap are planned with the construction of two additional terminals, bringing
total import capacity to nearly 18 bcm per annum.

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Oil is also currently imported via sea terminals. Oil terminals (the Karachi port, the Qasim port, and the
Balochistan refinery single-point mooring terminal) are located near Karachi and have a total import
capacity of 51 million tons per year (Table 6).
Energy Consumption
Pakistan’s industry is dominated mostly by small and medium-sized enterprises in sectors such as
leather, textiles, and food processing. Most entities use fossil fuels as feedstock and run on outdated and
inefficient equipment. Cement and brick industries in Pakistan have historically been the two main energy
consumer groups. The combined potential of energy efficiency measures for these industries represents
about 40% of the total industry energy savings potential. Key levers include switching to multistage dry
kilns for cement or the introduction of modern designs, such as zig-zagging for brick kilns. The National
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA) has been a main driver of progress, having
recently implemented a mandatory energy efficiency policy for electric motors, showing the government’s
commitment to increasing energy savings. The NEECA also plays a prominent role in promoting energy

audits in various industrial sectors. As a result of these efforts, Pakistan’s energy intensity declined
from 5.1 megajoules (MJ) per dollar of GDP in 2007 to 4.4 MJ per dollar of GDP in 2015. Despite these
developments, the institutional framework for energy efficiency requires significant further development
to achieve higher levels of efficiency across the board.
Energy efficiency measures in Pakistan often require region-specific optimization, especially in building
structures (for example, buildings in southern parts require more cooling than heating). One of the key
challenges is the inadequate energy performance standards of the Building Energy Code of Pakistan. The
Code focuses mainly on efficiency in commercial buildings, which was last updated in 2011, and failed to
introduce modern efficiency standards. For instance, the measures that might have the largest impact
in terms of energy savings include building envelope insulation and efficient lighting. Some efforts to
improve consumption efficiency can, however, already be observed—for example, the distribution of free
compact fluorescent lamps to replace inefficient incandescent bulbs and promote more energy-efficient
solutions for artificial lighting.
While the transport sector plays a leading role in the country’s economic activity, it is also the biggest
contributor to air pollution, with the transport sector making up more than 40% of total emissions.
Importantly, Pakistan has been experiencing a rapid growth in the number of vehicles in use, as the
share of households owning a car increased from 6% to 9% in 2021. Recognizing challenges related to
imports of oil products, the government actively promotes the use of electric vehicles (EVs). For instance,
the recently approved National Electric Vehicle Policy introduced tax incentives for imports and
production, and also set ambitious EV targets for 2030 (30% of newly sold cars and trucks, and 50%
of buses and two- and three-wheelers, to be EVs). In terms of railway transport, Pakistan relies solely
on diesel locomotives as of 2021—the country used to have 16 electric locomotives in the early 2000s,
but the government closed the lines and stopped using them after frequent copper theft incidents at
different points along the tracks. Still, Pakistan has continued efforts to improve efficiency by replacing old
locomotives, leading to substantial energy savings of 3.5 million liters of diesel in 2019.

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Regulatory Framework
Upon obtaining independence in 1947, Pakistan introduced several authorities to regulate the energy
market (Government of Pakistan 1958). The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), which
served as a key player in the power sector, was unbundled in the 1990s to ensure the establishment
of a liberalized energy market and fair competition. As a consequence, both private operators and
state-owned enterprises became eligible to participate in the generation sector via a single-buyer
scheme. The Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power Act has introduced a newly
established independent authority: the National Electricity and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA),
which regulates power sector companies and sets tariffs and operational standards. One of the key laws
on energy efficiency, the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, established a National Energy
Efficiency and Conservation Authority, with a mandate to set the strategic direction and national standards
for energy efficiency measures (The Gazette of Pakistan 2016).
Two authorities, the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and the Alternative Energy
Development Board (AEDB), were established as the main institutions, providing support to private
energy project developers as well as investors (Government of Pakistan, AEDB 2006; The Gazette o

Pakistan 2012). Each board has been established for specific projects: the PPIB was created and tasked to
approve conventional generation projects, while the AEDB was responsible for the approval of renewable
energy projects.
Fossil fuel production in Pakistan is regulated by a set of rules for oil, natural gas, and coal, which govern
the process of obtaining permission for the exploration and production of fossil fuels. The Oil and Gas
Regulatory Authority (OGRA) is a primary regulator of the market and licensing authority. The Authority
issues licenses for coal, oil, and natural gas through a competitive bidding process. Coal and petroleum
development and production licenses are given for 25 years, with the possibility of renewal for 5 years.
With increasing market transparency and private sector participation in energy projects leading to
growing investments, the country has introduced a general concept for a competitive electricity market.
These new rules, already published by NEPRA and coming into force in 2022, are regulating the transfer
from a single-buyer model to a competitive model in the wholesale segment (Khan 2020).
The natural gas market, in contrast, is still operating under the single-buyer scheme, and a competitive
market for natural gas supply is yet to be introduced, as state-owned utilities act as single monopolies.

Riaz Haq said...


Policy Framework
Several governmental decrees have set the policy framework for the energy sector. The main government
priorities in power generation were outlined in the Power Generation Policy and Transmission Line Policy
in 2015 (Government of Pakistan, PPIB 2015). The priorities for renewable energy were set in 2019 in
the Alternative and Renewable Energy Policy (Government of Pakistan 2019). The government has also
published a National Energy Conservation Policy to promote the use of domestically available resources.
The following priorities were outlined in the abovementioned policy documents:
(i) Development of renewable energy. With the established target for renewable energy
generation in the electricity mix (up to 30% of nonhydropower renewables and 30% of
hydropower by 2030), Pakistan aims to attract more investment into its renewables sector
(Qasim 2020). The government has already started facilitating investments in sustainable
energy sources, mainly by encouraging lower tariffs via introducing competitive bidding and
offering tax benefits as well as incentives for local production of renewable energy equipment,
such as solar panels and wind turbines.
(ii) Improvement in energy efficiency. Pakistan aims to increase the energy sector’s profitability
and sustainability by reducing energy losses as well as increasing energy efficiency. Specifically,
to realize the country’s considerable energy-saving potential of, on average, 25% in key sectors
(industry, residential, transport, and agriculture), the NEECA will be implementing a number of
policies: developing necessary regulations, introducing the national scheme for certified energy
auditors, establishing national Energy Efficiency awards, etc.
(iii) Introduction of a competitive energy market. As stated in the country’s Power Generation
Policy, Pakistan aims to provide sufficient power generation capacity and high-quality energy
services at the least cost. The country plans to achieve that by enhancing fair competition and
market liberalization. In 2020, NEPRA approved a detailed framework and implementation plan

for a competitive trading bilateral contract market, the main goal of which is to establish the
competitive wholesale electricity market with multiple sellers and buyers by 2022.
(iv) Promotion of domestic exploration and production of oil and natural gas resources. Through
optimized pricing and licensing mechanisms, Pakistan wants to further develop its domestic
production of fossil fuels to become more self-reliant and reduce its dependence on imports
(the share of imports constituted around 40% of the total primary supply in 2018).

Forecast Methodology
One of the objectives of this country study is to present a detailed overview and analysis of future energy
market trends in Pakistan. For this purpose, three scenarios were developed, considering the country’s
regulatory framework, technological development, and consumer preferences, among other factors
(Box 17). Supply and demand, technology, carbon emissions, and investment outlooks were derived
based on these scenarios.

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Supply and Demand Outlook
Rapid economic development and population growth in Pakistan are the main drivers for growth in
primary demand, which is projected to increase from 111 million toe in 2018 to 125–154 million toe in
2030, depending on the scenario. Demand has fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly
a 4% decrease from 2019 to 2020, although rapid recovery and growth in demand is expected. In the
Business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, primary energy demand grows significantly at an annual rate of
3.1%, as this scenario assumes low to moderate efficiency gains and limited reductions of T&D losses.
As for the Government Commitments scenario, annual growth is lower, at 1.4%, due to higher efficiency
gains and lower grid losses. The Green Growth scenario shows the lowest compound annual growth rate
among the three scenarios, with only 1.2% growth until 2030, assuming the greatest reduction of energy
intensity (Figure 68).
In terms of energy sources, natural gas remains the most important energy resource in all three scenarios,
driven by the country’s large fleet of gas vehicles, and by direct consumption in the residential and
industrial sectors.
Box 17: Scenarios for Pakistan’s Energy Sector
Business-as-usual scenario: Projected energy supply and demand, with current energy system and policies;
Government Commitments scenario: Projected energy supply and demand, considering individual priorities of
the Government of Pakistan; and
Green Growth scenario: Projected energy supply and demand, considering enhanced energy transition and
environmental policies.

Electricity generation in Pakistan is mainly dominated by fossil fuel sources, specifically natural gas and oil.
Alternative energy sources in Pakistan consist mainly of hydropower and nuclear, while the share of wind
and solar PV is much lower. The Government Commitments scenario assumes a large share of renewables
in the mix, followed by a decrease in fossil fuel-generated power. The BAU scenario assumes a slower
expansion of renewable resource generation, leading to prolonged reliance on fossil fuels in 2030. In both
Government Commitments and Green Growth scenarios, many natural gas- and oil-fired power plants
are decommissioned, and their capacities are replaced by renewable energy.
Nonetheless, a shift toward renewables is evident in all scenarios via the expansion of hydropower
capacities and the further expansion of wind- and solar-powered plants. The Green Growth scenario
assumes the most ambitious development of nonhydropower renewables, leading to a 20% share of
wind and a 10% share of solar PV in 2030. Under the Government Commitments scenario, the share of
wind reaches 16% and solar PV is 9%, compared to much slower developments under the BAU scenario,
where wind energy reaches 7% and solar PV only 2%. Furthermore, reflecting a broad push toward the
development of hydropower, the expansion of hydropower capacity is assumed in all scenarios, with the
highest being in the Green Growth scenario (43% of the total generation mix) (Figure 69).

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, Uzbekistan sign MoUs to increase bilateral trade to $1bn

Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Monday finalised agreements to expand investment and increase bilateral trade to $1 billion.

To this end, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar and Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Khodjave Jamshid Abdukhakimovich signed nine Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).

Talking to the media on the occasion, Qamar said the two countries had decided to implement the Preferential Trade Agreement from February 1, 2023.

In a press release issued afterwards, the commerce ministry said the two countries also discussed the implementation of the Agreement between Uzbekistan and Pakistan on Transit Trade (AUPTT) and Uzbekistan would notify rules in this regard in February.

They also decided to undertake a joint visit to the Afghan capital in the last week of January to discuss problems faced by Pakistani and Uzbek transporters.

“Both sides agreed to formulate a joint strategy for transit trade through Afghanistan. Regional understanding on Transit and Trade Framework to be prepared including joint fund/mechanism for the upkeep of road infrastructure in Afghanistan.”

Uzbekistan requested an off-dock terminal at Karachi and Gwadar ports and was assured full facilitation, the statement added.

Besides this, the countries also decided to hold trade exhibitions and prepare a strategy to cooperate in e-commerce.

The Uzbek delegation is scheduled to meet a number of officials during its visit, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had visited Pakistan earlier this year. During his visit, a number of agreements and MoUs were signed by the two sides. An MoU was signed between Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Tourism and Sport and Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to promote religious tourism. Another MoU was inked between the two states in the field of environment and climate change.

Pakistan and Uzbekistan have been closely collaborating at regional and international fora especially at the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Coop­eration Organisation, and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

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ML-1, KCR (Karachi Circular Railway) upgrade projects to start in March

He (Ambassador Non Rong) recalled that under the CPEC, 192,000 jobs were created, 6000MW of electricity was generated, 510 km of highway was constructed and 886 km of transmission was set up, which laid a solid foundation for Pakistan’s socio-economic development. “In fact, Pakistan’s trade surplus of agricultural products is expected to exceed a record high of $1 billion in 2022,” the ambassador said.

The Chinese sources said the ML-1 is the largest infrastructure project of CPEC worth $6.86 billion. The project involves the up-gradation and dualization of ML-1 to increase the operating speed from the current 60 km/h and 105 km/h to a proposed 160 km/h. The project also involves the establishment of a dry port near Havelian. ML-1, the Karachi to Peshawar line, is one of four main railway lines in Pakistan, operated and maintained by Pakistan Railways. The line begins from Karachi City Station or Kiamari station and ends at Peshawar Cantonment Station. The total length of this railway line is 1,687 kilometers. There are 184 railway stations from Kiamari to Peshawar Cantonment on this line. The line serves as the main passenger and freight line of the country. 75 percent of the country’s cargo and passenger traffic uses the ML-1. The existing timeline for the completion of ML-1 extends to December 2024. Under the umbrella of this project, level crossing will be converted into flyovers or underpasses so that the speed can be increased by getting rid of the obstacles.

The project could not be started during the PTI government due to China’s concerns over debt repayment plan, the sources pointed out. ML-I railway line project is very important to achieve connectivity between Gwadar (Pakistan) and Kashgar (China) through a train track that will provide the easiest and safest way to transport oil between China and the Middle East, saving China travel costs. The railway line upgrade will provide faster travel facilities to the people of Pakistan and commercial benefits like bringing raw materials to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and faster delivery of finished goods to remote areas of the country as well Gwadar port. Another great benefit is that coal will be delivered for fuel to the power plants through the railway track, which will also generate good revenue for the railways. Due to unnecessary delays, the cost of this historic project has increased. The Imran’s PTI government failed to convince the IMF and the Chinese government to start the project. Another reason for the increase is the recent floods in Pakistan, which has destroyed the railway lines of most parts of the country. As soon as the new government was formed in April, 2022, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal restarted the discussion with the Chinese authorities on revival of the project.

The revived KCR operation is intended to become an inter-regional public transit system in Karachi, with an aim to connect the city centre with several industrial and commercial districts within the city and the outlying localities. In May 2017, the then government approved Rs27.9 billion ($120 million) restoration package for the KCR. However, delays and disputes with the Sindh provincial government ultimately led to cancellation of the funding. KCR would be constructed with the cost of Rs294 billion and used by 500,000 passengers/day, which would increase to 1 million in later years. KCR will have 250 modern driverless electric bullet trains, which would run 17-hours a day throughout a week. The KCR project would be run by the Sindh government through Karachi Urban Transport Corporation (KUTC) and likely to be completed by 2025.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese Gov't Commissioned Study: #China-#Pakistan #railway ‘worth it’ at estimated US$58 billion. It should proceed because of its #strategic significance. It has the potential to reshape #trade and #geopolitics across the Eurasian continent. #CPEC

Belt and Road Initiative’s most expensive transport infrastructure project ‘has potential’ to reshape trade and geopolitics
The rail link is part of a broader plan to revive ancient Silk Road connections and reduce reliance on Western-dominated routes

The China-Pakistan railway – China’s largest Belt and Road Initiative transport project – will cost an estimated 400 billion yuan (US$57.7 billion), but should proceed because of its strategic significance, a government-commissioned feasibility study has found.
The proposed railway, connecting Pakistan’s port of Gwadar to Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, was assessed by scientists from the state-owned China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group Co Ltd.
The team, led by the institute’s deputy director of capital operations Zhang Ling, said the project was the belt and road plan’s most expensive transport infrastructure.
Despite the cost, the project had the potential to reshape trade and geopolitics across the Eurasian continent and should be supported, the team said in a report published by the Chinese-language journal Railway Transport and Economy in April.
“The government and financial institutions [in China] should provide strong support, increase coordination and collaboration among relevant domestic departments, strive for the injection of support funds and provide strong policy support and guarantees for the construction of this project,” they said.
The institute is one of the largest of its kind in China and has been involved in many major railway projects at home and internationally, including Indonesia’s Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line.
The 3,000km (1,860-mile) railway will link China’s western regions with the Arabian Sea, bypassing the Strait of Malacca and reducing dependence on the South China Sea.
Connections with other transport networks – including in Iran and Turkey – would also provide a more direct route to Europe for Chinese goods, while Pakistan is forecast to get a much-needed boost from the improved infrastructure and easier trade with China.
The scheme is a key component of Beijing’s broader belt and road plan to promote economic cooperation and connectivity among the countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
Previous studies by Chinese government researchers have suggested the infrastructure initiative could have significant geopolitical implications, helping to shift the balance of power away from traditional Western-dominated trade routes.
As well as encouraging a more multipolar world order, the belt and road plan could also help to promote economic development and stability in countries along the route by creating jobs, boosting infrastructure investment and increasing trade, the studies said.
Most belt and road transport infrastructure construction projects had received a significant proportion of funding from the host countries, and the scale of investment was much smaller, Zhang and his colleagues noted.
For example, total investment in Kenya’s Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway was US$3.8 billion, with China providing 5 per cent of the funding and Kenya paying for the rest.

Riaz Haq said...

#Chinese Gov't Commissioned Study: #China-#Pakistan #railway ‘worth it’ at estimated US$58 billion. It should proceed because of its #strategic significance. It has the potential to reshape #trade and #geopolitics across the Eurasian continent. #CPEC

The project connects the port city to the Kenyan capital and is part of a larger plan to link East African countries by rail. Similarly, China contributed 30 per cent of the US$4 billion funding for the Addis Ababa-Djibouti rail line in Ethiopia.
China covered 75 per cent of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway’s costs of US$5.9 billion, with Indonesian state-owned enterprises providing the remainder.
But Pakistan is unable to make a similar contribution. Its GDP last year was US$370 billion – just six times the estimated cost of the project.
“Due to energy shortages, poor investment environment and fiscal deficits,

Pakistan’s economic growth rate has come under pressure,” the team said.
“In terms of railway investment and construction, Pakistan is unable to provide sufficient financial and material support and mainly relies on Chinese enterprises for investment and construction.”

One reason for the hefty cost is the mountainous and geologically complex terrain along the route. There could be technical challenges to overcome in the construction and operation of the railway, the researchers said.
The project also required supporting infrastructure – such as ports and logistics facilities – that might not be immediately available in Pakistan, they said.

The study said Pakistan’s labour policies could be unpredictable, which could potentially affect the railway’s construction and operating costs.
The team also noted that Pakistan had experienced security challenges in recent years, including in its western region where the railway will pass through. Balochistan province, for instance, has been plagued by separatist violence for decades.

This could potentially disrupt construction and operation of the railway and pose a risk to Chinese workers and investments, the researchers said.
The study also pointed out the railway’s potential impact on neighbouring countries, such as India. With each country having its own priorities and interests, there could be disagreements or delays in decision-making related to the project, it said.
Zhang’s team suggested that a build and transfer (BT) model would provide the best investment and financing strategy for the project.
They considered BT against build-operate-transfer, public-private partnerships, and the engineering, procurement, construction mode that are becoming more popular in belt and road projects.

In the BT model, a contractor would be responsible for designing, building and financing the railway, with payment on completion and ownership transferred to the government or other commissioning entity.
The researchers said BT would allow the risks associated with the railway’s construction and operation to be allocated more effectively between China and Pakistan, potentially reducing the financial risks for both parties.
By ensuring that ownership of the railway was transferred to Pakistan, BT could also help to build trust between China and Pakistan by showing China’s commitment to supporting Pakistan’s long-term economic development, they said.
China and Pakistan have been talking for years about the railway, a crucial part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that was launched in 2015 and aims to connect Gwadar port to Xinjiang through a network of roads, railways and pipelines.
The researchers said the China-Pakistan relationship was complex, with both countries having different priorities and interests.
Negotiating agreements related to financing, labour policies, and other issues would require careful consideration of each country’s priorities and interests, they said.
In conclusion, Zhang and his team said their recommendation could help to move negotiations forward.

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CPEC Results According to Wang Wenbin of China

Bilal I Gilani
CPEC projects are creating 192,000 jobs, generating 6,000MW of power, building 510 km (316 miles) of highways, and expanding the national transmission network by 886 km (550 miles),” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing."

Associated Press of Pakistan: On July 5, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif while addressing a ceremony to mark a decade of signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said that CPEC has been playing a key role in transforming Pakistan’s economic landscape. He also said that the mega project helped Pakistan progress in the region and beyond. What is your response?

Wang Wenbin: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a signature project of China-Pakistan cooperation in the new era, and an important project under the Belt and Road Initiative. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of CPEC. After ten years of development, a “1+4” cooperation layout has been formed, with the CPEC at the center and Gwadar Port, transport infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation being the four key areas. Projects under CPEC are flourishing all across Pakistan, attracting USD 25.4 billion of direct investment, creating 192,000 jobs, producing 6,000 megawatts of electric power, building 510 kilometers of highways and adding 886 kilometers to the core national transmission network. CPEC has made tangible contribution to the national development of Pakistan and connectivity in the region. China and Pakistan have also explored new areas for cooperation under the framework of CPEC, creating new highlights in cooperation on agriculture, science and technology, telecommunication and people’s wellbeing.

China stands ready to work with Pakistan to build on the past achievements and follow the guidance of the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries on promoting high-quality development of CPEC to boost the development of China and Pakistan and the region and bring more benefits to the people of all countries.