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CPEC is Transforming The Least Developed Parts of Pakistan

In a New York Times Op Ed titled "How Not to Engage With Pakistan",  ex US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson says "Its (CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken".  Olson goes on to warn the Trump Administration that "Without Pakistani cooperation, our (US) army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale".

Among the parts of Pakistan being transformed by China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are some of the least developed regions in Balochistan and Sindh, specifically Gwadar and Thar Desert. Here is more on these regions:

Gwadar Port City:

Gwadar is booming. It's being called the next Shenzhen by some and the next Hong Kong by others as an emerging new port city in the region to rival Dubai. Land prices in Gwadar are skyrocketing, according to media reports. Gwadar Airport air traffic growth of 73% was the fastest of all airports in Pakistan where overall air traffic grew by 23% last year, according to Anna Aero publication.  A new international airport is now being built in Gwadar to handle soaring passenger and cargo traffic.

In addition to building a major seaport that will eventually handle 300-400 million tons of cargo in a year, China has built a school, sent doctors and pledged about $500 million in grants for an airport, hospital, college and badly-needed water supply infrastructure for Gwadar, according to Reuters.

The Chinese grants include $230 million for a new international airport in Gwadar, one of the largest such disbursements China has made abroad, according to researchers and Pakistani officials.

New development work in Gwadar is expected to create as many as 20,000 jobs for the local population.

Thar Desert:

Thar, one of the least developed regions of Pakistan, is seeing unprecedented development activity in energy and infrastructure projects.  New roads, airports and buildings are being built along with coal mines and power plants as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There are construction workers and machinery visible everywhere in the desert. Among the key beneficiaries of this boom are Thari Hindu women who are being employed by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) as part of the plan to employ locals. Highlighted in recent news reports are two Hindu women in particular: Kiran Sadhwani, an engineer and Gulaban, a truck driver.

Kiran Sadhwani, a Thari Hindu Woman Engineer. Source: Express Tribune

Thar Population:

The region has a population of 1.6 million. Most of the residents are cattle herders. Majority of them are Hindus.  The area is home to 7 million cows, goats, sheep and camel. It provides more than half of the milk, meat and leather requirement of the province. Many residents live in poverty. They are vulnerable to recurring droughts.  About a quarter of them live where the coal mines are being developed, according to a report in The Wire.

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters

Some of them are now being employed in development projects.  A recent report talked of an underground coal gasification pilot project near the town of Islamkot where "workers sourced from local communities rested their heads after long-hour shifts".

Hindu Woman Truck Driver in Thar, Pakistan. Source: Reuters 

In the first phase, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is relocating 5 villages that are located in block II.  SECMC is paying villagers for their homes and agricultural land.

SECMC’s chief executive officer, Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, says his company "will construct model towns with all basic facilities including schools, healthcare, drinking water and filter plants and also allocate land for livestock grazing,” according to thethirdpole.net He says that the company is paying villagers above market prices for their land – Rs. 185,000 ($ 1,900) per acre.

Summary:

Ex US Ambassador Richard Olson is absolutely right in his assessment that "(CPEC's) magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken".  Olson goes on to warn the Trump Administration that "Without Pakistani cooperation, our (US) army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale". The "magnitude" of CPEC and its "transformation" that Olson refers to is clearly visible in some of the least developed regions of Pakistan in Balochistan and Sindh provinces.  Gwadar port city and Thar desert are humming with unprecedented development activity fueled by billions of dollars of funds allocated by China and Pakistan.  

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Comment by Riaz Haq on February 10, 2018 at 8:43pm

#Pakistan's #Gilgit-#Baltistan region gets #3G, #4G internet service. #Mobile #Broadband https://tribune.com.pk/story/1631513/1-gilgit-baltistan-gets-3g-4g-...


Residents in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) can now enjoy 3G and 4G internet service provided by Special Communication Organization (SCO), Radio Pakistan reported on Saturday.

An SCO spokesperson confirmed the news, saying the internet service will continue on a trial basis and can be accessed free of cost until further notice.
Internet facility in Gilgit

He said the SCO mobile phone SIMs for this purpose are available at the organisation’s franchises in the area.

Radio Pakistan reported that subscribers have been asked not to pay more than Rs200 after acquiring a receipt for purchasing the Sim.

SCO is a public sector telecommunications service provider, established by the government in 1976. It is responsible for developing, operating and maintaining telecom services in G-B as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

AJK, Gilgit-Baltistan to get 3G/4G services by Feb 2018

In October 2017, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority announced plans of introducing fast-paced information technology services – 3G/4G – in AJK and G-B, which it said would materialise by February this year.

Last year, the number of subscribers of 3G/4G in Pakistan rose to 44.4 million, which PTA expects will rise further.

The arrival of 3G and 4G service in such remote areas promises to boost commerce, bring socio-economic prosperity for the entire region and also benefit people living along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor routes in AJK and G-B.

Pakistan set to outdo India in introducing 5G internet: PTA

As people of AJK and G-B are heavily dependent on remittances, the 3G/4G service will provide them easy access to the financial services.

The technology will also boost tourism, local economy as well as create job opportunities for local people. The hospitality industry and tourism value chain will also improve as it will make online marketing more efficient and effective.
As transportation in the area is also difficult, better connectivity through modern communication technology is important for its people.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 1, 2018 at 10:14am

CPEC Western route to be completed by end of this year
By Sehrish WasifPublished: February 12, 2018

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1633076/1-cpec-western-route-completed...

The western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to be completed by the end of this year along with other 11 mega projects which were initiated in 2015-16.

The completion of those projects will reduce travelling time and boost economic activities.

“Hakla-DI Khan having the length 285km with a cost of Rs122 billion and 81km Zhob-Mughalkot costing Rs8.8billion funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be completed by December 2018,” a senior National Highway Authority (NHA) official told The Express Tribune.

“The completion of these two projects will connect the port city of Gwadar with Quetta by Khuzdar,” he said and added, “With it the western route will become completely functional.”

According to the NHA the under-construction projects – the Hakla to Dera Ismail Khan motorway — is an important part of the western route of CPEC, and will reduce the travel time from Islamabad to DI Khan from five hours to just two-and-a-half hours.

It will greatly help the movement to the country’s southern cities such as Quetta and Gwadar.

Meanwhile, another important project — Khuzdar- Ratodero (151 km) that has been completed at a cost of Rs8.8 billion is all set to be inaugurated this year in April.

This project though is not part of CPEC.

“The significance of this project is that it will provide the much-needed connectivity between Balochistan and Sindh and also facilitate CPEC traffic originating from the Gwadar Port,” said the NHA official.

Other projects include the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) where 95% work has already been completed and will see the finish line in March.

The 136km, the six-lane motorway with the two-lane service road on either side, is being built on the BOT basis at a cost of Rs44 billion.

Being the country’s busiest section with over 30,000 daily traffic count, this motorway will be immensely helpful in catering to the commercial traffic originating from the Karachi Port and the Port Qasim.

Following the recent inauguration of the Lyari Expressway, M-9 will offer an added benefit to commuters to reach their destinations without facing the city congestions.

Gojra-Shorkot (62km) and Shorkot-Khanewal (65km) sections of M-4 are scheduled to complete by August with a cost of Rs17 billion and Rs22 billion, respectively.

Financed jointly by the Asian Development Bank and Government of Pakistan, their completion will reduce travel time from the federal capital to Multan to just 5 hours.

Lahore-Abdulhakim Motorway (230 km) is another important project that is expected to complete by May. Built at a cost of Rs 148 billion, the six-lane motorway will provide a swift and easy route between Lahore and Multan.

CPEC toll income — myth and reality

One of the important links of CPEC and the country’s longest planned motorway, Multan-Sukkur (M-5) is though scheduled to complete in 2019.

Its two sections — Multan to Shujaabad and Pano Aqil to Ghotki — will be completed this year. The 392km-long motorway is being financed by China at a cost of Rs294 billion.

Lahore-Sialkot Motorway (89 km) will be completed on the BOT mode by December at a cost of Rs44 billion. It will link the industrial city of Sialkot with the rest of the country, leading to swift movement of industrial products.

Islamabad Metro Bus (26.5km), another challenging project, is under execution and will be completed by the end of April. The project will link the traffic from the twin cities with the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA).

Hazara Motorway (E-35) from Burhan to Shah Maqsood Interchange (47km) is already completed and open to traffic. The 15km addition is scheduled to complete by May, thus reducing the distance between Islamabad and Abbottabad to one-and-a-half hours.

The widening and improvement of GT Road section from Thokar Niaz Baig to Hudria Drain (10km) is underway and will be completed this year.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 1, 2018 at 7:59pm

https://www.dawn.com/news/1395462/the-road-out-of-gwadar

M8 (Ratodero-Khuzdar-Gwadar Motorway) Completion by FWO


A drive on the newly-constructed highway connecting the port city to Ratodero reveals the trials and tribulations of building infrastructure in conflict-ridden areas

There is great buzz about the M-8 project in Balochistan — locals who use the road on a daily basis say that it has greatly reduced the time needed to travel from Gwadar to Turbat, and indeed, reduced the time for produce and supplies to be transported between cities.

And yet, great things in Balochistan tend to arrive in small, sometimes troubling packages.

A drive on the newly-constructed highway connecting the port city to Ratodero reveals the trials and tribulations of building infrastructure in conflict-ridden areas

Also known as the Gwadar-Ratodero Motorway, the M-8 falls under the purview of the National Highway Authority (NHA). In theory, it is an 893-kilometre-long “motorway” that is supposed to facilitate the movement of people and goods to and from the port city of Gwadar.

Explore: Footprints: Road trip Balochistan

The western end of this motorway is actually a junction known as the Karwat ‘zero point’, some 50 kilometres away from Gwadar. From Karwat, the road snakes through rugged terrain, first to Turbat, then to Hoshab and onwards to Khuzdar.

From Khuzdar, the highway takes a turn towards Sindh, to the town of Ratodero — the “eastern end” of the M-8. Ratodero has gained prominence in recent times for being the lynchpin of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The town is a junction where the CPEC’s western, central and eastern road routes all converge. And it is from here that trade between provinces will originate.

The M-8, therefore, is what ties the CPEC plan all together.

Late last year, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), who were contracted by the NHA to build the motorway, completed construction of a 200-kilometre-long strip between Gwadar and Hoshab. And although the project is yet to be formally handed over to the NHA, the road is already in use.

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A rocky beginning
Twist in the tale: the M-8 wasn’t a CPEC-specific project to begin with.

The M-8 project is also known as the Gwadar-Ratodero Motorway. The project is divided into two sections; the first from Gwadar to Khuzdar, and the second from Khuzdar to Ratodero. Work on the 200-kilometre-long Gwadar to Hoshab segment began back in 2004 under the regime of General Pervez Musharraf. This track was supposed to have been completed in 2006. It has taken 13 long years for construction to conclude.

“The M-8’s first contractor was a Chinese company named Xinjiang Beixin Road & Bridge Group Co. Ltd," explains Muhammad Musa, NHA’s project director in Kech District. “But they left the project when three Chinese engineers were killed in a car bomb blast in Gwadar during the first week of May, 2004.”

The Chinese firm had managed to complete 30 kilometres of the project, from Naleint to Talaar, during their short stint. The construction contract was then awarded to D. Baloch, but for some reason (possibly security-related), they, too, were unable to complete the work.

“The M-8 has gone through many contractors but nobody was able to work on it properly,” says Musa, “until the project was awarded to the FWO in June 2014.”

The FWO was responsible for completing all aspects of construction by October 31, 2017.

But the construction process was marred by violence ever since work started. In July 2015, for example, a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) disclosed that six military personnel and 10 civilian employees of FWO were martyred and 29 severely injured in 136 security-related incidents. Similarly, on May 19, 2017, at least three labourers were gunned down in the Hoshab Bazaar. Despite the violence, work carried on and the highway finally saw the light of day late last year.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 27, 2018 at 8:50am

Pakistan Adopting Advance Technologies Rapidly: Anusha Rehman
Daniyal Sohail

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/technology/pakistan-adopting-advance-t...

Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman Friday said, Pakistan was one of those countries that had been adopting the advance technology most rapidly to counter challenges of modern, digital era.

While addressing the concluding ceremony of five-day "Huawei mobile Pakistan Congress 2018" the minister said, the technology advancements were coming in Pakistan adding "we also hope that we can have huawei made in Pakistan as soon as possible." Anusha said, Ministry of IT had started projects for Baluchistan worth Rs 26 billion to provide 3g service to the people there.

In the history of IT of Pakistan, this was the biggest investment for Balochistan, which aimed to target hundreds of villages to connect these remote areas with 3G service, she added. She said,a population of about 196,177, covering 269 mauzas and an area of 39,434 sq kms would get modern broadband facilities through this project.

The project would cover Awaran, Jhal Jao and Mashkai tehsils/sub-tehsils of Awaran district and Bela, Lakhra, Liari, Uthal, Dureji, Hub, Sonmiani and Kanraj of Lasbel district, she added. The Minister said, after launching 3G services in Baluchistan, other services like careem would be start in in the province which would be a great achievement of Ministry of Information Technology.

She emphasized the importance of technological advancement and virtual assistance for the generations to come to bring this nation on path of Technology evolution and prosperity. "Government is making all out efforts to introduce 5G technology in Pakistan by 2020 to bring it at par with Developed economies in term of technology advancements." She emphasized that women's economic empowerment was at the heart of the sustainable development and essential to achieve gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.

She shared initiatives steered by IT ministry in this regard, particularly ICT for Girls program. She said, achievements of Pakistan in the arena of ICT and future plans for continued growth in this sector would enable transformation into "Digital Pakistan".

Anusha described the DigiSkills program as an important part of Information Technology initiative of the government that would create online employment opportunities to enable youth to earn 200 to 300 dollars per month and with the help of this program, youth from across the country would provide services across the globe.

She appreciated the Huawei Technology role in setting such precedent to promote emerging technologies in Pakistan by involving Industry players and engaging the Government to make it reality. The Minister hoped that people of Pakistan were going to use the opportunities that were created by Huawei, the technology giant.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 27, 2018 at 9:58am

Rural Pakistanis Take to Solar After Power Cuts Deepen in Karachi

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Small-scale solar in Pakistan attracted $540 million in 2017, having received less than $100 million in each of the previous two years, according to a report published last month by the United Nations and and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar and wind energy contributed 3 percent to Pakistan’s electricity generation, or about 300 megawatts as of March, according to Arif Habib Ltd.

“Pakistan is one of the biggest frontier markets that has not been tapped,” Jeremy Higgs, co-founder at EcoEnergy, said during a trip to southern Pakistan.

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https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2018-04-26/rural-pakist...

  • Solar companies have made inroads into Pakistan’s countryside
  • Blackouts are still common despite a rise in power generation

In a small tea shop along a dusty, unpaved road in the marketplace of Sujawal, a town about 93 miles east of Karachi in Pakistan, Imam Dino has hit upon a profitable idea. He attracts customers with a 24-inch television playing Bollywood movies through the day and by providing mobile phone charging sockets in a town that otherwise suffers long outages.

Power for the TV and charging points comes from a solar-panel system that he rents for 2,500 rupees ($22) a month. It’s been a sound investment. Dino makes as much as 3,000 rupees extra a month because of the attractions. Previously, he spent more to run a gasoline generator.


Rural Pakistanis like Dino are increasingly turning to renewable energy to circumvent the country’s notoriously unreliable power supply. Deficient generation and distribution shave an estimated 2 percentage points off Pakistan’s economic growth annually and faults in the national grid are exposed every summer as demand increases. That’s despite a rise in generation by 35 percent to 31,000 megawatts since 2013.

Even Karachi, Pakistan’s financial hub, has faced increased blackouts since March as the city’s power utility, K-Electric Ltd., engaged in a public spat over payments with the region’s main gas supplier. That affected local companies. Amreli Steels Ltd. cut factory production by 40 percent last week to cope with blackouts that last as much as eight hours a day. In a bid to resolve the crisis, the government this week increased gas supply to K-Electric.

Part of the problem is an imbalanced payments system leading to so-called circular debt, which has ballooned to about 500 billion rupees ($4.3 billion), according to Tahir Abbas at Karachi-based brokerage Arif Habib Ltd. Government-mandated tariffs aren’t high enough to recover costs and subsidies are rarely paid on time, if at all, according to a Jan. 26 report from the Asian Development Bank.

As customers like Dino are discovering, off-grid solar may be the answer. With global panel prices plummeting in the past five years, units powering fans and lights are being sold or rented in the nation’s poorest regions for 1,000 rupees to 3,000 rupees a month, according to distributors EcoEnergy and Nizam Energy. About 10,000 solar systems have been installed since 2013 ranging in size from 50 watts to 200 watts, enough to power six light bulbs and two fans.

One of EcoEnergy’s customers, Mohammad Ishaque, who farms sunflower and rice fields, pays 1,000 rupees a month for a 50-watt solar system. He previously used oil lamps and battery-powered torches.

“When we went for farming in the morning, it used to be completely dark, when we came back it used to be dark,” Ishaque, 69, said while smoking a cigarette and sheltering from the midday sun in the small village of Gul Muhammad Rao. “It’s daytime at night now.”

Meanwhile, at Nizam Energy’s office in Karachi, Chief Executive Officer Usman Ahmed boasts they aren’t crippled by the city’s shortages. Their headquarters is powered partially by solar panels on the roof, which he says is 30 percent cheaper than electricity from the grid. The off-grid market may double annually over the next three years, he said.

Back in Sujawal, Dino is happy with his returns.

“We are making more money, so it’s been great,” he said, as he mixed tea over burning coals for a packed room. Across the road, a competing tea shop with no electricity was empty.


Comment by Riaz Haq on April 28, 2018 at 6:07pm

Has Pakistan Truly Tamed its Tribal Frontier?
APRIL 27, 2018 | BENNETT SEFTEL

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/pakistan-truly-tamed-tribal-frontier

Maligned as a bastion of extremism and a top terrorist safe haven, Pakistan’s Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), along the country’s northwestern border with Afghanistan, have endured a significant transformation in the last few years. Between June 2014 and May 2016, the Pakistani army launched operation Zarb-e-Azb, literally translated as “swift and conclusive strike,” which focused on clearing terrorist organizations such as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Punjabi Taliban, East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Haqqani network from the seven administrative units that comprise FATA. According to Pakistani military officials, at the start of the operation, approximately one-third of the FATA had been under “miscreant control” with the North Waziristan district earmarked as the key terrorist stronghold.

The operation commenced on June 15, 2014, one week after 10 TTP militants attacked Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, leaving more than 30 people dead. Overall, an estimated 3,500 terrorists were killed during the nearly two-year-long operation while 840 Pakistani soldiers died in combat. Additionally, approximately one million people were internally displaced, although Pakistani military officials maintain that they will return to their homes as soon as possible.

Today, Pakistani government and military officials contend that the entire FATA has been secured under army control and that the priority has shifted to rebuilding and developing the FATA region. Projects spearheaded by the army include building military schools, sports complexes, hospitals, community centers, and power plants. In addition, several energy projects relating to oil, gas and mining have been initiated, as have the construction of new roads to connect the FATA to key cities across the country. While spearheaded by the military, officials explain that each of these projects offers new employment opportunities for FATA residents.

Despite claims by Washington that Pakistan continues to harbor terrorist groups, Pakistani officials contend that Zarb-e-Azb is a clear sign of Islamabad’s willingness to fight terrorism and improve the lives of their citizens.

Kevin Hulbert, former CIA Chief of Station:

“I guess we have to be thankful for every step in the right direction with Pakistan and operations against militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas are almost always something worthy of praise. We have been coaxing the Pakistan government to get tough in the FATA for over 15 years now, so when they actually go in there with a military operation – that’s a good thing.

“The great challenge for Pakistan is to see if they can be a sustained presence in the FATA and a force for good so that the locals come to think that they have a lot more to gain by supporting the government than by supporting militants like the Taliban, or the Haqqani Network, or al- Qaida. Right now, villagers face an immediate threat from assorted militants and the reality is that the central government is usually nowhere in sight. There is very little reach by the central government into the FATA to make the lives of the locals better with federal government largesse in the way of health care, schooling for their children, services, paved roads, community centers, etc. So a useful federal government that might help them is an abstract concept for many people in the tribal areas whereas militants threatening them is far from an abstract concept. The other big challenge for the Pakistanis is to slow down and stop the pervasive sectarian violence and extremism that is destroying the country.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 30, 2018 at 9:43am

#Pakistan PM Abbasi, COAS Bajwa inaugurate new markets and bus terminals in Miranshah in #Waziristan #FATA. #Afghanistan border crossing Ghulam Khan, 3rd crossing after #Chaman, #Torkham inaugurated

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/headline/north-waziristan-pm-abbasi...

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa made a joint visit to Miramshah in North Waziristan on Monday, where they inaugurated new markets, bus terminals and the Ghulam Khan National Logistics Cell (NLC) terminal.

Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Corps Commander Peshawar accompanied the top civil and military leaders during the visit.

 

“Miramshah is the gateway to Central Asia,” said the prime minister while addressing a gathering of tribal elders. “People of FATA should have access to the same facilities as enjoyed by people of Lahore and other Pakistanis.”

“Government and all political parties are serious in bringing FATA into the national mainstream,” PM Abbasi reiterated. “Work for bringing FATA into the national mainstream is seeing rapid development.”

The elders of the Utmanzai tribe urged the government to fulfill all the promises made to the affectees of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. “The government should give reasonable compensation to the affected traders, shopkeepers and house owners,” the tribal leaders maintained.

The Monday’s visit of PM Abbasi and COAS Bajwa comes a week after a jirga was held in Miranshah to discuss the prevailing issue pertaining to compensation of shopkeepers whose businesses were affected by the military operation.

According to a political agent of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), it was decided that the committee of affected shopkeepers shall make an estimate of the amount that needs to be compensated.

“The same shall be processed in the administrative chain for its speedy implementation,” he said.

The Fata additional chief secretary, PA, Assistant PA, Anjuman Tajiran Pakistan President Ajmal Baloch, NWA GOC, civil and military officials, and the Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor attended the jirga.

The military spokesman said there exists no issue that cannot be resolved through talks. He added that residents of the tribal areas had joined hands with the forces to make great sacrifices for the establishment of peace, adding that operations conducted by the armed forces had eliminated terrorism.

“The resolution of problems faced by citizens is the first priority of the state,” said Major-General Gahfoor while stressing that he would not let the country’s peace be put at stake by enemies of the state.



Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor
@OfficialDGISPR

Brave tribes of FATA have achieved peace & stability after lot of hardships & sacrifices. Restoration of normal life after kinetic operation is part of ‘clear-hold-build-transfer’ strategy. State including security forces is committed to rehabilitate the affected population.


Many residents were forced to flee their homes while Pakistani forces battled militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), starting in June 2014, when the army launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

However, after years of living as temporarily displaced persons, they have now returned home to a peaceful North Waziristan, free from militants, weapons and fear.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 13, 2018 at 8:27pm

Daral Khwar Project Of 36.60megawatt To Start Power Generation In June: Official

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/daral-khwar-project-of-3660me...

The government has almost completed work on Daral Khwar hydropower project with 36.60 megawatt capacity, which would start operation in June this year to provide inexpensive and affordable electricity to agriculture, industrial and domestic consumers.

Officials in Energy Department KP told APP on Monday that physical work on this mega project has been completed and it was now in testing stage and would formally be operational in June 2018. He said National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has granted license for power generation to Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (PEDO) for the project's plant constructed at Daral Khwar near Bahrain in Swat district.

PEDO has identified around 6000 megwatt hydropower potential at various sites in province and the selected sites are at different stages of implementation, and that one of such power sites is at DaralKhwar located on a tributary of River Swat on which work has almost been completed by the relevant authorities.

The project will help utilizing its water, which is Renewable Energy (RE) source and all necessary arrangements and care was made to overcome environmental concerns including soil, water and noise pollution in the area.

He said PEDO had carried out required Initial Environment Examination Study and obtained NOC from Environmental Protection Agency KP. He said PEDO has successfully completed six small and medium sized hydel power projects including 81.00 MW Malakand-Ill, 18.00 MW Pehur, 1.80 MW Shishi, 4.20 MW Reshun, 2.40 MW Machai and 17.00 MW Ranolia Projects in the province.

He said Ronalia, Machi and Daral Khwar projects were completed with an estimated cost of around Rs15 billion in about four years time. He said PEDO is currently working on several hydropower projects, which are at different stages of implementation and completion in Chitral, Dir, Swat, Mansehra and Kohistan.

Khyber Pakthunkhwa and FATA are most suited for hydel power generation and the Federal Government has taken full advantage of this huge potential by initiating scores of energy projects worth thousands of megawatts to get rid of load shedding.

Federal Government has completed gigantic Golen Gol electricity project of 108 megawatt capacity costing Rs29 billion in Chitral that was a leap step forward towards autarky in energy sector besides addressing the long inherited problem of load shedding in the province.

The installed generation capacity of Chitral Gol project is 108 MW with three generating units having a capacity of 36MW each as its first unit has already been completed and was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

This project will provide 436 million units of electricity to the national grid every year with about Rs 3.7billion benefits per annum. Work on multi dimensional Kurram-Tangi dam in North Waziristan Agency has been started and would be completed in two stages with gross water storage capacity of about 1.2MAF besides 83.4MW of electricity capacity.

USAID would provide about Rs8.5 billion to WAPDA for construction of Stage-I of Kurram-Tangi dam, being built on Kaithu river in North Wazirstan Agency and an agreement to this effect has already been signed.

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Efforts was underway to complete stage-I of the dam by April 2019 and on its completion more than 16,000 acres of agricultural land would be irrigated and an additional 18.9 MW of electricity would be produced to benefit 100,000 people.

Gomal Zam dam in South Waziristan Agency with 17.4MW capacity has been completed by the Federal Government and has started electricity generation by facilitating people of Tank, DI Khan and South Waziristan Agency besides irrigating 1,91,0000 acres of barren land of southern districts of KP.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 16, 2018 at 1:03pm

Pakistan requires another Rs18 billion to provide IT services in un-served areas

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1696244/2-pakistan-requires-another-rs...

The government has taken a number of measures for the development of information technology sector over the past around five years, but the country still has a long way to go to tap the potential growth level, which will come largely from the neglected rural areas.

“It is estimated that around 7,700 kilometres of routes are un-served and at least Rs18 billion will be required to provide this (IT infrastructure and services) coverage,” read the Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18.

This was needed even though the government spent more than Rs27 billion worth of subsidy over the past five years to connect the unconnected in un-served and underserved areas of the country, it said.

In the current financial year, 191 mauzas (villages) have been provided with telephone and mobile internet services, including the seven projects launched under the Broadband for Sustainable Development Programme.

Pakistan’s IT sector advancing rapidly as exports jump to $5b

According to the survey, the telecom sector recorded a positive growth in the first two quarters (Jul-Dec) of FY18. Total teledensity reached 72.7% at the end of the second quarter compared to 72.5% at the end of previous fiscal year in June 2017. In February 2018, the reading reached 74.2%. Revenues of the telecom sector reached Rs235.5 billion in the first two quarters of FY18. New faster technologies 3G/4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) opened new revenue generation streams for mobile operators since people in the country were quickly adapting to these new technologies and services.

Telecom operators invested $322.9 million in the first two quarters of FY18 and the main driver behind that was the cellular mobile sector that invested $267.94 million, according to the survey. In the first two quarters, the sector contributed approximately Rs79 billion to the national exchequer in terms of taxes, regulatory fee, initial and annual licence fee, activation tax and other charges.



Cellular subscribers in the country reached 144.53 million by the end of December 2017 with net addition of 4.77 million from July to December 2017. By February 2018, the number rose to 147.5 million. Increasing coverage and reduced tariffs helped step up the pace of 3G, 4G and LTE subscriptions which stood at 51.2 million by the end of February 2018 while total broadband subscribers reached 53.5 million.

Local loop subscribers kept on declining. The subscribers of Fixed Local Loop (FLL) and Wireless Local Loop (WLL) were recorded at 2.76 million at the end of December 2017, down from 2.99 million at the end of previous fiscal year in June 2017. The number was more than double at 5.23 million in June 2014.

According to the survey, the government undertook extensive consultation with stakeholders for the auction of unsold 2×10 MHz of frequency spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band.

The base price for the spectrum was set at $295 million which industry experts described as too high because of which the government could not sell the spectrum.

“It is planned that the first rolling spectrum plan for Pakistan will be issued during FY 2018-19,” said the economic survey.

Owing to increasing e-commerce, e-banking, e-health, e-education and other business-related IT applications, the information technology sector was exhibiting accelerated progress with approximate total turnover of $4 billion including both exports and domestic revenues, it said.

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