Pakistan FWO Completes Building Over Half of CPEC Western Route

“The Frontier Works Organization (FWO) has built roads with 502 kilometers length on the western alignment of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to link Gwadar with other parts of the country. The FWO took up the challenge to extend the benefits of Gwadar port to rest of the country by building roads in rugged mountainous terrain and highly inaccessible areas. The gigantic task was undertaken on the directives of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif."

Frontier Works Organization

Of the three land routes being constructed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project to connect Pakistan's deep sea Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea with western China, the western route is the most challenging.  In addition to the difficult mountainous terrain in KP and Baluchistan provinces, the western route runs through Panjgur and Turbat where there is an active Baloch insurgency believed to be aided by India via Afghanistan. It's being built by Pakistan Army's Frontier Works Organization.

Deep Sea Port at Gwadar

Frontier Works Organization:

Frontier Works Organization (FWO) is an administrative branch of the Pakistan Army that includes active duty officers and civilian scientists and engineers which has been involved with the construction of bridges, roads, tunnels, airfields and dams in Pakistan, on the orders of the civilian government of Pakistan, according a Reuters report.

Three CPEC Routes: Western, Central and Eastern

Major Milestone:

The completion of construction of 502 km of the 870 km length of the western alignment represents a significant milestone for Pakistan Army and the Frontier Works Organization.  It is expected to become operational by the end of 2016.

CPEC Projects Map

Indian Opposition:

India has made no secret of its strong opposition to the the CPEC project, and it is believed to be making covert efforts to sabotage it. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “very strongly” raised the issue regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his visit to Beijing, and called the project “unacceptable”.  Swaraj said Modi was “concerned” about the $46 billion project, adding that the Indian government had summoned a Chinese envoy to raise the issue over the corridor that is to run through Pakistani Kashmir. Needless to say that the Chinese dismissed India’s objections to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Balochistan Insurgency:

In spite of Indian RAW's most determined effort to support the Baloch militants' campaign of murder and terror, the Baloch insurgency has been significantly weakened by the Pakistan Army campaign in the province. In 2013 earthquake that struck Awaran,  a stronghold of Baloch insurgents, Pakistan Army moved in with relief supplies to earthquake victims, and managed to gain access to parts of the very volatile district that were considered inaccessible. More recently, the insurgency has been decimated by in-fighting among various Baloch insurgent factions. The 2014 death of veteran Baloch leader Khair Bux Marri has opened up a rift between his sons Mehran and Hyrbyair — who heads the BLA from self-exile in London — and led to the creation of the UBA with other groups also aligning themselves with one side or the other.

Pak Army Chief's Warning:

Pakistan Army Chief Raheel Sharif has shown a strong personal commitment to making it happen by visiting insurgency-hit areas to support the workers and the troops on difficult construction sites. He was emphatic during a ceremony to celebrate the Chinese Army’s 88th anniversary held at the country’s Islamabad embassy where he said, “I reiterate our resolve that any attempt to obstruct or impede this (CPEC) project will be thwarted at all costs".


Construction work on CPEC is already stimulating economic activity in Pakistan as indicated by rising domestic cement demand in the country.  It was up 8% year over year in 2014-15.  Cement sales are considered a barometer of development activity.  A recent assessment by Ruchir Sharma, head of Morgan Stanley's emerging markets, has said Pakistan's economy is growing more than twice as fast as emerging markets other than India and China.  In a piece titled "Bucking stagnation elsewhere, the quiet rise of South Asia",  Sharma particularly mentions the Chinese CPEC investment of $46 billion as a positive for Pakistan. "Pakistan’s manufacturing sector is now growing, due to both increasing electric output and the fact that – like Bangladesh – its young population and labour force is expected to continue expanding for at least the next five years", says Sharma.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on August 22, 2015 at 7:57pm

Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday held a ceremony to mark the start of construction of two Chinese-designed Hualong One units near the coastal city of Karachi.
Pakistan has three operating reactors - Karachi 1 (KANUPP) which started up in 1972, and two units at Chashma which have been operating since 2000 and 2011, respectively. Two further units are under construction at Chashma under a long-term cooperation agreement with China.
In 2013 ground was broken for the first of the two Chinese-designed ACP1000 units at Karachi, sometimes known as K2 and K3, but this project stalled. The ceremony yesterday relaunched the construction, which is now based on China's successor to the ACP1000, the Hualong One.
"It is our top priority to end load shedding," Sharif said.
Owing to the fact that Pakistan is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it is largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which hinders its development of civil nuclear energy. However, China is positive about nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.
Pakistan in 2012 produced 96 terawatt hours of electricity, 35 TWh of this from oil, 27 from natural gas and 30 from hydro. Nuclear power makes a small contribution to total energy production and requirements, supplying only 4.6 TWh - 4.7% of total electricity generated in 2012. Consumption in 2012 was about 77 billion kWh after 16% transmission losses. There was virtually no import or export.
Total installed capacity is about 20 GWe, but often only about 12 GWe is operable. In 2005 an Energy Security Plan was adopted by the government, calling for a huge increase in generating capacity to more than 160 GWe by 2030. Significant power shortages are reported, and load shedding - scheduled power-cuts to curb electricity usage - is common.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 29, 2015 at 4:53pm

An Indian view of CPEC---China-Pakistan Economic Corridor:

From China to Pakistan: A well-thought-out 3,000km lifeline

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri and Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times, Beijing/Delhi/Karachi| Updated: Aug 30, 2015 01:58 IST

Through September, working groups of Chinese and Pakistanis will finalise 40-plus projects to launch the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Both governments see this as more than just a construction project. The corridor is designed to transform Pakistan’s economy—and potentially China’s global status.

Already in the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar, the southern terminus of the corridor, the Chinese have begun upgrading the harbour. So has the expansion of the highway out of the port, a road that will run 3000 kilometres to the Chinese border town of Kashgar.

Much of the corridor’s initial expenditure is on power plants. Nearly $34 billion of the corridor’s funds will go to energy projects, with over half of this going to electricity production. When completed, Pakistan’s national grid will receive 10,400 MW additional power.

Beijing’s logic is simple. As an ex-Chinese ambassador to Pakistan explained, “Solving Pakistan’s power deficit is the first step to stabilising its economy.” Pakistan struggles with rolling blackouts thanks to an annual power deficit of about 5,000 MW. The contracts also help Chinese makers of generators, solar cells and the like, all of which suffer from huge overcapacity and need overseas buyers. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly says before his term ends in 2018, power cuts will be a thing of the past.

The CPEC agreement goes far beyond a port, highway and power plants. Gwadar will be all but rebuilt with a hospital, new drinking water supply and an international airport. The agreement spans Chinese biotech for cotton farmers to a multi-million dollar fibre optic network to slots on Pakistani Television for Chinese shows.

While the Karachi-to-Kashgar axis—Gwadar included—receives the most attention, it is only the easternmost of three corridors. Plans exist for central and western alignments—the latter running from Gwadar to Quetta and beyond.

Beijing has made the eastern alignment priority, postponing the central alignment that many Pakistanis prefer. China cites the July 2013 memorandum which says construction would “take the easiest [route] first”.

This has not gone down well with many provinces. Balochistan economic advisor, Kaiser Bengali, complained the present plan would not help economic activity in backward areas. Senator Taj Haider of the Pakistan People’s Party, noting wealthy Punjab would benefit the most, has promised his party would “protest” against “the choice of route” and “the placement of some of the projects”. Under pressure from the military, however, the provinces have grudgingly endorsed the corridor. Balochistan chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch, a strident critic, is among those who have backtracked recently.

China has security concerns about the two other alignments, fed by Pakistani fears that India would somehow sabotage the corridor’s construction.

Pakistani army chief, General Raheel Sharif, last month twice warned “enemies of the state” would try to stop the corridor.

Islamabad plans to train 12,000 security personnel to protect the coming hordes of Chinese workers. This will be in addition to the 8,000 security personnel already deployed to guard existing Chinese workers. Chinese media has already fretted about its workers being abducted. Reports say Chinese and Pakistani intelligence are sharing information on the anti-corridor activities of “foreign hostile agencies”—a reference to India’s Research and Analysis Wing.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 14, 2015 at 4:57pm

CPEC western route to be completed by Dec 2016: Ahsan

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has vowed to make China Pakistan Economic Coriodor Project a reality.

Talking to the media persons in Islamabad on Tuesday, he said the western route of the CPEC will be completed before December next year which will generate economic activity in the region.

He said the enemies of Balochistan’s development do not want completion of the western route of CPEC.

He said the province will be put on the path of development by constructing Gwadar-Quetta link road.

Ahsan Iqbal invited Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaaf to join the process of national development by rejecting negative politics.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 15, 2015 at 9:38pm

For Pakistan, the benefits of CPEC have already started showing. Similar to China, Pakistan’s relationship with United States is deteriorating. The country needs to prosper economically, making it less reliant on the United States. The economic corridor will provide Pakistan with the perfect opportunity to stabilize itself economically while cultivating ties with its neighbors.

The world’s largest explosives manufacturer, Beijing Auxin Chemical Technology Limited, is all set to establish a plant in the country. The company will manufacture emulsion explosives which will “meet the future demand of explosives and blasting accessories in the light of CPEC, large-scale mining and hydroelectric projects.”

On the other hand, energy production being the current core concern of development authorities of Pakistan, is expected take a major leap forward. The Thar Coal Projects have been lined up as priority projects as part of CPEC, which in combination with two other harvest projects will be able to generate up to 2400 megawatts of power by the year 2018.

An agreement for the Lahore Orange Line Metro Project was also concluded earlier this April. According to a web release by Norinco, a pioneer and leader of Chinese military trade, this multi-million dollar deal marks the first urban rail transit project in Pakistan under the “One Belt, One Road” Chinese framework.

Apart from the obvious benefits to Pakistan’s power production, logistics, transportation, communication, and freight handling industries, CPEC will also immensely benefit the country’s real estate running along the trade corridor.

According to Zeeshan Ali Khan, CEO of, “The CPEC’s positive effects on Pakistan’s real estate sector have already started showing. Gwadar, the town at the center of the trade commotion, has started witnessing a heightened demand in anticipation of better times to come as property prices have spiked by more than 200% in just a few months.”

While the real estate sector grows exponentially, Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan also offered the countries making up the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) access to Pakistani ports to gain access to seaways from the Arabian Sea when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) becomes functional.

With all this development going on, the China-Pakistan-Iran trilateral in South Asia is looking up and huge affinities in inter-regional trade could be just around the corner.

Iran’s decision to join CPEC would not only usher in an era of improved standard living across the Sistan-Balochistan region by facilitating trade between Islamabad, Beijing, and Tehran, but also provide a cost-effective gateway to the Gulf region for other Asian countries like Russia and even India.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2015 at 8:38pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 26, 2015 at 7:52pm

#CPEC facing significant startup problems in #Pakistan. Poor governance, dysfunctional bureaucracy. #China 

Now that the initial euphoria of ‘higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea’ is over, the $45bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is beginning to hit the ground realities.

As is expected of such a major initiative, some teething problems are coming to light, requiring a lot of legal and procedural clarifications and adjustments. Most of these seem to be exposing the general lack of preparedness and casual handling of projects that has be­come the hallmark of our bureaucratic culture.

Also read: CPEC to benefit entire region, say analysts

This has resulted in repeated project delays, cost overruns and unquantifiable lost economic opportunities. Cost rationalisation, according to Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, had alone created a Rs490bn cushion in the last fiscal year.

Pakistan has been struggling to convince Chinese authorities to accept around a 10pc cost overrun for the $1.5bn Lahore Orange Line Metro Train even though the project has yet to take off
While dealing with external players, such lethargy and poor project handling can have exponential costs. Pakistan has been paying substantial commitment charges without utilising loans from development lenders every year and this has to be taken care of on an urgent basis.

Following the 6,600MW Gadani Power Park debacle arising out of a half-baked plan, the two sides seem to have learnt the lesson to take up ‘early harvest’ projects that are ready to take off immediately and could be expected to deliver results before the PML-N goes into the next polls with a success story on having reduced the power shortfall.

Focal persons are now being appointed in all the ministries and agencies concerned with the CPEC to expeditiously process any hitches and glitches.

Meanwhile, a mega coal-based project previously being pushed for Sahiwal is reported to have faced financing problems because of the infrastructure requi­red for transporting coal. It has now been replaced, at least on paper, with two sma­ller coal power projects at Thar and Hub to compensate for Sahiwal’s lost capacity.

Pakistan has recently been struggling to convince Chinese authorities to acc­ept around a 10pc cost overrun for the $1.5bn Lahore Orange Line Metro Train even though the project has yet to take off.

The Chinese Exim Bank was insisting on a loan agreement of $1.48bn to be signed with the Punjab government as originally discussed, but Pakistani authorities want this to be increased by another $147m to meet contingencies that arise during the project’s implementation.

The local authorities have to be blamed for originally negotiating the project for $1.48bn with the Chinese before getting the cost escalated to $1.63bn through the Executive Committee of the National Council. Unless an arrangement for the ‘additional requirement’ is made, the project cannot achieve financial close. The financing cost of the 27km Rs165.2bn project is also reported to be on the higher side despite it being in the ‘concessional category’.

On top of these, the Chinese have sought tax exemptions on insurance and financing on almost all CPEC projects.

At the heart of the problem is the IMF’s condition under which the government has withdrawn the powers of the taxation authorities to grant exemptions through statutory regulatory orders.

At present, no tax exemption is permissible on insurance premiums paid to non-resident companies because only a low rate of 5pc is applicable, while all CPEC projects are mostly covered by the state-owned Chinese firm Sinosure. The Chinese authorities want the insurance premiums paid to Sinosure to be exempted from the income tax

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 5, 2015 at 4:24pm

Start of #CPEC witnesses economic activities in #Balochistan #Pakistan. New hotels, businesses along completed route

Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday said social and economic activities have started in Balochistan along with the roads being constructed there as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Under CPEC, two international standard roads are being constructed-- from Gwadar to Quetta, and from Gwadar to Khuzdar to Ratodero, he said.
" I was pleased to see, the local people have started setting up hotels, shops and houses along the completed portions of the CPEC routes linking Gwadar with China. This corridor shall bring social and economic change in Balochistan," he expressed his satisfaction while addressing a seminar on CPEC here.
The seminar titled " China Pakistan Economic Corridor: A Road to Peace and Prosperity of the Region" was organised by an NGO , Rabita Forum International (RFI) and presided over by its Chairman RFI, Nusrat Mirza. It was attended by a large number of students from different universities and the teachers.
RFI Chairman , Nusrat Mirza said the seminar was organised to create awareness among the students about the importance and prospects of CPEC, and what the role they could play in transforming CPEC into a big success for the country.
The universities would have to prepare groups of professionals to meet the demands of the projects/activities emerging during and after execution of this very important international plan of CPEC, Nusrat Mirza said.
The Federal Minister for Planning and Development assured that CPEC would be equally beneficial for all the provinces. Like Gwadar, he continued, Gilgit-Baltistan would be gateway to CPEC.
46 billion dollars CPEC would prove a game changer for entire region. It would interlink South Asia, Central Asia and Europe , and open billions of dollars market for Pakistan and other regional countries, he said. He elaborated that CPEC plan is divided into four parts : 1) setting up the most modern port of Gwadar which would increase our trade manifold, 2) strengthening of energy sector by adding more than 10,400 MW to the system and upgradation of the transmission system, 3) development of infrastructure based on three routes linking China with all the provinces of Pakistan, 4) industrialization mainly in Gwadar under Pak-China partnership and cooperation.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 22, 2015 at 4:31pm

#Pakistan could turn into a transit trade hub between Central #Asia, Southeast Asia and #MiddleEast-#Europe. #CPEC

Beijing also wants to reach Central Asia through the CPEC. As Afghanistan is not willing, China and Pakistan are working on an alternative route – the Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic in Transit. This route will deprive Afghanistan of an opportunity to cash in on the benefits that will emerge from the CPEC.

Before the agreement on the $46-billion CPEC, Pakistan gave control of Gwadar Port to a Chinese company for developing and running the facility. China also plans to establish an oil refinery at the port.

Tajikistan, which is seeking oil imports from Kuwait via Pakistan, has been offered access to the port. Tajikistan may also have the facility to bring goods from Middle Eastern states and other countries.

Tajikistan is the only country among Central Asian states which is keen to give road and energy access to Pakistan. This can make Pakistan a trade hub as it will provide access to other Central Asian nations as well.

In such a scenario, Balochistan will win a substantial share in economic development and will be able to stave off negative consequences of the insurgency. Economic prosperity will overcome the threat of terrorism and ensure stability in the entire country.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 2, 2016 at 9:52am

The M8 is being constructed by Pakistan's National Highway Authority. Construction of the M8 commenced on 15 October 2004.[1] According to a newspaper report of July 23, 2015 the construction arm of Pakistan army, Frontier Works Organization (FWO) has completed 502 of 870 kilometer of this road.[2] The work started simultaneously from the junction with the Mekran Coastal Highway (MCH) and from Ratodero in Sind. As of January 2015 the road is completed except for some bridges from MCH to a point near Hoshab where it joins N85 (Hoshab-Panjgur-Besima Highway) and Hoshab-Bela Road. The M8 Motorway will be following the alignment of N85 but no noticeable construction has been completed on this section. From the Ratodero end M8 to Khuzdar is almost complete except for a difficult section going over the peaks of northern Kirthar range about seventy Kilometers east of Khuzdar.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 3, 2016 at 8:13am

ZOHB (Dunya News) – Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday has said that the government would spend Rs 200 billion for construction of roads in Balochistan.

The Prime Minister addressed a gathering at the foundation stone laying cereomy of the western route of the Chine-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The premier said that Pakistan’s progress would begin from Balochistan.

PM Nawaz said that Gwadar-Karachi coastal highway would be made a state-of-the-art motorway. He thanked the political parties for support of the CPEC. The PM said that several projects would complete by end of 2017.

A 243 Kilometre (Km) long road would be completed by April 2016 while the funding would be drawn from the development package, he added.

The Prime Minister said that around Rs 150 billion to Rs 200 billion would be spent in the coming three to four years on construction of roads. Feasibility reports of projects in Mach, Kharan and other areas are being prepared to initiate construction as soon as possible, he added.

Nawaz Sharif said that Gwadar port would be made one of the best ports in the coming years.

The Prime Minister said that construction of Gwadar-Hoshab road would be completed in January 2016, he added. The Gwadar-Hoshab road is 194 Km long.

PM Nawaz vowed to build trade routes to Afghanistan and beyond.


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