Pakistan, Russia set to sign $10b offshore pipeline deal next week

ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough, Pakistan and Russia are poised to sign a $10-billion offshore pipeline deal, a project planned by the latter to capture the energy market of Pakistan.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the cabinet had approved the signing of the gas pipeline laying deal and Pakistan ambassador to Russia had been authorized to ink a memorandum of understanding with Moscow.

The envoy is likely to ink the understanding in Moscow on Monday. Final cost of the project will be assessed following a feasibility study to be conducted by Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Russia has nominated Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom for implementation of the project. Pakistan’s cabinet has also permitted the company to conduct the feasibility study at its own cost and risk.

One-week deadline: Sindh warns cutting off gas supply to country

Inter State Gas Systems (ISGS) – a state-owned company of Pakistan established to handle gas import projects and is already working on gas pipeline schemes like Tapi, has been nominated by Pakistan to execute the offshore pipeline project along with Gazprom.

ISGS is also working on the $10-billion Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (Tapi) gas pipeline to connect South and Central Asia and construction work on the scheme in Pakistan will start in March next year.

These projects are called a game changer for Pakistan as they will not only lead to regional connectivity, but will also meet growing energy needs of the country.

Amid a long-running tussle with Europe and the United States over the annexation of Ukrainian region of Crimea, Russia is looking for alternative markets and wants to capitalise on the growing energy demand in South Asia.

Russia, which controls and manages huge gas reserves in energy-rich Iran, plans to export gas by laying an offshore pipeline through Gwadar Port to Pakistan and India, which are seen as alternative markets because Moscow fears it may lose energy consumers in Europe over the Crimea stand-off.

Russia has been a big gas exporter to European Union (EU) countries and Turkey since long and despite US anger the European bloc has continued to make imports to meet its energy needs.

Moscow receives gas from Turkmenistan and then exports it to EU states. Later, it has got gas deposits in Iran as well and is looking to gain a foothold in markets of Pakistan and India.

OGDC finds new deposits of oil, gas in Sindh

Pakistan has been experiencing gas shortages, particularly in winter, for the past many years as domestic production has stood static with new additions being offset by depleting old deposits.

In a bid to tackle the crisis, the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) kicked off liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Qatar under a 15-year agreement two and a half years ago and is bringing supplies through other sources as well.

According to a government official, after signing the MoU for the offshore pipeline, work on the feasibility study will begin in an attempt to assess viability of the project. Russia is even ready to finance the study. Russian gas exports touched an all-time high in 2017. According to Gazprom, gas flows to Europe and Turkey, excluding ex-Soviet states, hit a new daily record at 621.8 million cubic metres.

Annual exports touched 179.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2016, a significant jump from the previous high of 161.5 bcm in 2013 and well above the 2015 total of 158.6 bcm.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2018.


Pakistan, Iran, Central Asia and CPEC

FOR their future generations Pakistan, Iran, China and Central Asia stand poised to transform trade and investment in the region through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan has always enjoyed favourable strategic position in its region. This explains China’s long standing interest in the country and its willingness to support the CPEC, which is a US $62 billion economic project. The economic corridor, seen as a pivotal stepping stone in the all weather China Pakistan relationship, will connect China’s autonomous Xinjiang region to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port. Opening new doors of economic opportunities in the region, around 3000 km mega project will have significant implications that can definitely change the dynamics of global economy and politics. This will help strengthen Pakistan’s economy and cement its position in the region. For China, CPEC will open new routes to the oil rich Middle East via the Arabian Sea. It will reinforce inter regional ties and enable the region to stand on its own, with minimal reliance on the West. Worrisome for a few, many countries are eyeing the US$62 billion corridor with interest. Pakistan has welcomed the wish of Central Asian Stated to join China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Much more than the other Central Asia States Tajikistan has responded significantly. Even Russia, which has had, at times, a tumultuous relationship with Pakistan, is now eager to honour the heart of the economic corridor.

With the possible inclusion of these new states, the possibility of CPEC becomes more tangible and resilient undoubtedly. For Pakistan, Iran’s inclusion will increase and multiply the corridor’s advantages and significance. For this reason, Pakistan extended an invitation to Tehran, which Iran reciprocated warmly and very timely. Iran’s economic growth has been stunted by global sanctions due to its nuclear program over the years. Iranian nuclear game, when implemented, will open up with new possibilities ahead. With ten percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, Iran’s entrance into the business world has gotten Pakistani trade and economic representatives to scramble Iran with the intention of win Iranian business interest. With billions of dollars worth of Iranian funds entering the global economy, nations are tweaking their financial plans to accommodate this surge of income. The oil rich nation’s admittance into the global market will drastically change the global oil market as well. Energy hungry/starved China is looking for alternative routes to import oil. With Iran in the loop China can double down on its access to Iranian oil. The dream of the Iran Pakistan gas pipeline can be completely realized. For Iran, China Pakistan Economic Corridor will provide the country with much needed accessibility to the east. For China, the corridor will provide an alternative route to the Gulf region through the Arabian Sea. The cost effective route will make it possible for China to expand its interactions with the markets of Central Asia, Middle East and Africa. With Iran’s opening up, Chinese exports could become increasingly competitive in Iran and onward. Iran is eyeing as much as US$100 billion worth of energy deals in near future and Iranian abundant oil and gas reserves could find thriving demand in China as well.

The benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for Pakistan have already started showing. This economic corridor will provide Pakistan with the perfect opportunity to stabilize itself economically while cultivating ties with Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in particular and rest of the Central Asian States in general. Proudly elaborating that the world’s largest explosives manufacturer, Beijing Auxin Chemical Technology Limited, is all set to establish a plant in Pakistan. This 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. Energy production being the current core concern of development Pakistan is expected to take a major leap forward. The Thar coal projects have been lined up as priority projects and part of CPEC which in combination with two other harvest projects will be able to generate up to 2400 megawatts of power current year of 2018. An agreement for the Lahore Orange Line Metro Project is also completed earlier this April. 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.

With all this development going on, China, Pakistan, Iran and Central Asia are looking up and huge affinities in inter regional trade could be just around the corner. Iran’s decision to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would not only usher in an era of improved standard living across the Iranian and Pakistani Baluchistan region by facilitating trade among China, Iran and Pakistan but provide a cost-effective gateway to the Gulf region for other Asian country like Russia also.


Pakistan’s strengthening financial market attracts Chinese fintech companies

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistani market is attracting the attention of the Chinese entrepreneurs, from one of the popular Chinese fintech companies, Webull, is all set to jump in to capitalise on the huge financial bonanza – making a new edition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Having witnessed an unprecedented boom in the recent years, China’s internet finance industry currently leads the world when it comes to the total number of users and the market size, with the country making some of the world’s largest investments in the sector by adopting financial technology (fintech) faster than anywhere else.

Besides Alibaba’s Ant Financial stepping into Pakistan recently, Webull is one of the biggest Chinese fintech companies jumping into Pakistan’s market. The company, however, has already been providing advanced global financial information service to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) since September 2017, and that too free-of-cost.

With four of top five companies in the world ranked in terms of market cap, China’s fintech industry is number one internationally and represents the global advanced productivity. A number of fintech companies such as Alibaba’s Ant Financial Service, Lufax, Zhong An Insurance and JD Internet Finance are covering most aspects of domestic consumption through mobile and internet spending. As capital markets are aggressively pursuing the internet finance industry, Alibaba’s Ant Finance has closed the world’s largest private funding round for an internet company at $4.5 billion.

Webull official claims that the company is also registered at US Securities and Exchange Commission and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

“The aim of Webull is to be the best financial data and trading service provider for individual investors around the world. By integrating advanced information technology, data technology and financial technology, the users can enjoy a stable, reliable and an efficient financial data and trading service,” according to the official.

“People can not only manage the stock portfolios in Webull but can also complete stock transaction through this app. Free and comprehensive real-time quotes, with millisecond updates, cover the data from more than 90 countries and 106 stocks exchanges in stocks, bonds, funds, foreign currency, commodities, cryptos, derivatives and other trading products.”

Until now, as many as 153 thousand Pakistanis have registered themselves with this app to get real-time information about their trading data. Graphical financial data, business analysis, industry contrast and rich tool makes the app user-friendly in real meanings.

According to the statistics gathered from the Google Analytics, the 153 thousand Pakistani users of Webull app fall in the age bracket of 25 to 44 years and hail from several cities from across countries including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Multan. The highest number of users come from Karachi, followed by Lahore and Islamabad.

According to the available statistics, people spent average seven minutes on the Webull app, and 96.1 per cent of the total visitors were returning customers. Of the total number of visitors, 92.4 per cent were male while 7.6 per cent female.

“Best App for Global Stock with outstanding features,” posted Afzaal Hussain Channar from Karachi on his Facebook page.

“This is the best search for me for Pakistan Stock Exchange scripts,” wrote another app user on the social media website.

With the launch of multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese companies are fast moving to Pakistan to capitalize on the huge business opportunities offered by unprecedented development projects being executed in the country in a highly progressive and investment-friendly environment.

Pakistan and China are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) well underway, growth in digital sectors of both countries is set to strengthen efforts for bilateral economic cooperation and there are broad prospects of collaboration in the field of fintech between Pakistan and China.


Pakistan and China to Launch a Communication Satellite for DTH Services

Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for development and launch of communication satellite PakSat Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat-MM1).

The communication satellite already arrived at Pakistan’s geostationary orbital location of 38.2° East on 27th February. The satellite will primarily function as a communication satellite with the capability to provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) services.

According to the press release by the Planning, Development and Reforms ministry, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Pakistan will equally divide the satellite development and launch cost between them.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, talking on  the ceremony said;

“One important element of this contract (PakSat-MM1) is that both … sides are contributing 50%. It is a joint-effort of both countries that makes it (PakSat-MM1) even more valuable.”

Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and CGWIC signed the contract in the presence of several Chinese and Pakistani officials.

Ahsan Iqbal, while talking to the media, told that SUPARCO is working on two other satellites as well, apart from PakSat-MM1.

He added that Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) is Pakistan’s first ever low-earth orbit (LEO) earth observation satellite with a service life of 5 years. According to the minister, PRSS-1 will be launched this year.

Originally, SUPARCO proposed the PRSS-1 project to have two satellites onboard. One satellite was said to have Electro-Optical (EO) system while the second was visioned to be equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

SUPARCO is developing another satellite as well that will be solely produced and launched by SUPARCO engineers. Talking about this project, Ahsan Iqbal told;

“Pakistan Technology Evaluation Satellite-1A (PakTES-1A) is an indigenous project from concept till launch by SUPARCO engineers and scientists.”

Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman SUPARCO Qaiser Anees Khurram, Officials from CGWIC, and the Ambassador People’s Republic of China Mr. Yao Jing witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony.


Under CPEC: First container vessel anchors at Gwadar


The first ever container vessel MS TIGER under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project arrived at the Gwadar port on Wednesday, this vessel was escorted to the port by the navy ships, PNS DEHSHAT and KARAR where an impressive ceremony was held to welcome the ship onboard.

The new ship container service called the Karachi-Gwadar Gulf Express will connect the Gwadar port to the Middle Eastern hub of Jebel Ali as well as the neighboring Emirati ports.

PM to visit Gwadar amid concerns over anti-CPEC propaganda

CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan and its success is just a prelude to the economic prosperity of the country and hence has taken central stage in the economic, political and security calculus of not only Pakistan but the entire region”, said Commander Coast of Pakistan Navy, Rear Admiral Moazzam Ilyas while speaking at the reception ceremony.

He also said that considering the importance of the Gwadar Port as focal point of CPEC, its security is paramount. For this purpose, the Pakistan navy has raised Task Force 88 to provide maximum defence to the port and its surrounding areas.


China in talks with Baloch separatists: report

China has reportedly been engaging in low-key dialogue with Baloch tribal separatists for over five years. Talks have been held to appease the separatists in order to securitise the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has projected investments worth of $60 billion.

According to the Financial Times, three people have shared details of Beijing being in direct contact with militants in Balochistan.

Pakistan looks to China, Saudi Arabia for succour

Beijing has so far maintained a policy of non-intervention in the domestic politics of other countries. However, the sheer magnitude and scale of its multifaceted investments in all windows of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project have sharpened security sensibilities. The vision to create a “new Silk Road” of trade routes in Europe, Asia and Africa has led China to venture into conflict management.

It seems like Beijing is replenishing the void left by Washington, which went from being Pakistan’s war time ally to becoming one of its harshest critics on extremism.

The venturesome and risk intensive move by China has perturbed India, which fears China’s growing influence in the Global South.

The Asian Dream: Rabbani lauds launch of Mandarin classes

“The Chinese have quietly made a lot of progress,” said one Pakistani official. “Even though separatists occasionally try to carry out the odd attack, they are not making a forceful push.”

China treads into some of the world’s most complex conflict zones as it plans to connect a new silk road. South Sudan, Mali and Iraq are some of the places where China has heavy stakes in place.


Chinese delegation to visit Pakistan next month

A high level Chinese delegation will visit Pakistan next month in a bid to expedite the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects agreed by the both sides during 7th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) held here in November 2017.
“The delegation will interact with high level government officials, and local trade bodies besides while it will also visit all the provinces to ensure speeding up work on all nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to be established under the umbrella of CPEC,” Project Director CPEC, Hassan Daud Butt told APP here.
He said progress on all projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including up-gradation of Main Line-1 (ML) railway track is going smoothly and without any delay.
He said progress of all the projects that were agreed by the both China and Pakistan during 7th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on CPEC held here on November 21, 2017 was on track as both sides were committed to complete the projects as early as possible.
Responding to a question regarding possible delay in the $8.2 billion ML-1 project, the project director said earlier due to huge implications in the project, the revised PC-1 of first phase got delayed, however he said ministry of railways had assured to submit the PC-1 of phase-1 by February 20, therefore groundbreaking of the project was likely to be launched in few months as per announcement made by Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal last month.
He said the ministry of planning had also sought time from cabinet committee on CPEC to discuss details of the project in next meeting and discussion would help further boosting the progress of project.
Giving details about preliminary design review of the project, Butt said work scope of phase-1 sub projects had already been completed.Similarly, he said work of standards and specifications, BOQs, and cost estimates both local and foreign had also been finalized.
He said now approval of PC-1 and award of Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) would be given on fast track to ensure ground breaking of the project as early as possible.—APP

CPEC to bring socio-economic benefit to whole region: Ziyu

China’s infrastructure construction tycoon says Pakistan is his second home


Terming Pakistan as his second home, Vice President, China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), Sun Ziyu has believed that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring socio-economic benefits not only to China and Pakistan but also the neighbouring countries and world.
“I believe, the CPEC, a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping for the shared prosperity of humankind, will benefit China, Pakistan, neighbouring countries and the world,” he said while talking to APP in an interview.
He informed that CCCC, dedicated to the construction, investment, development and operation of infrastructure in the countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) including Pakistan, was already working on various projects including the Gwadar Port under the CPEC framework.
Sun said that his company was one of world’s largest port designers and constructors, leading designers and constructors of highways, bridges and well-known comprehensive city developer, “We are planning construction of Gwadar smart city.”
He said that last year, his company’s new contracts in overseas achieved the total value of US$41 billion, the turnover of US$20.3 billion and a total profit of US$ 1.35 billion.
Having experience of dredging, international designing and expressway and bridges building, the company would construct a dry port in Gwadar.
“We have selected a land measuring five square kilometres for the dry port,” he added. China Harbour, a subsidiary of his company, was working on construction of East Bay Expressway project, he said. The vice president shared that his company was likely to play a pivotal role in the up-gradation and rehabilitation of Pakistan Railways under the CPEC, the project was at the planning stage.
He informed that his company had built a total of more than 10,000 kilometres of highways and signed contracts or built more than 2,000 kilometres of railways around the world.
The Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge railway in Kenya completed and launched to operation last year had aroused the attention of Africa and the whole world, he said and added, “We are also accelerating the progress of such projects as the Nairobi-Maraba Railway in Kenya and the East Coast Rail Link of Malaysia with a contract value of nearly US$10 billion.
The vice president said that his company took part in construction of the bridges on the most important Karakuram Highway (KKH) in Pakistan, adding the project teams had almost become an emergency rescue squad for local government.—APP


Hazara Expressway: A Game Changer Held Back By Weak Traffic Regulations

The E35 Expressway or Hazara Motorway was launched a few weeks ago, connecting the Hazara division to the M1 Motorway.

Ask the people of Hazara and they will tell you the importance of motorways in so many words. This new motorway is a game changer for the people of Hazara.

Previously connected via the extremely congested and risky Karakoram Highway at Hasan Abdal, commuters were faced with challenging driving conditions that made the 80 KM journey from Hasan Abdal to Abbottabad, a stressful 2.5-hour ordeal.

The new road takes around 1.5 hours from the centre of Islamabad to Shah Maqsood, till where the current motorway has been constructed. Once completed, the journey all the way to Abbottabad will take under 2 hours from Islamabad.

Having commuted on the old and new routes, I would like to share my experience, while also highlighting some key areas that are essential to a safe and pleasant driving experience as our motorway network expands under CPEC.

The E35 Experience

The Hazara Motorway branches off from the M1 motorway right after the Burhan interchange. Running somewhat parallel to the old KKH (Karakoram Highway), it intersects the KKH at Hattar, then moving to the right of KKH with interchanges at Kot Najeebullah and Chechiyan, eventually terminating at Shah Maqsood.

Future extensions will take it all the way to Thakot, making it a key link in CPEC. Along its current route, it connects the key areas of Hasan Abdal, Hattar Industrial Area and Haripur, providing them quick and easy access to the major cities of Peshawar, Islamabad & Lahore. In the near future, with the launch of the New Islamabad International Airport, this road linkage will provide easy access to the airport as well.

As someone who has frequented the old KKH route, as soon as you get off M1 onto the E35, you realize that the world has changed. The new three lane motorway, in a matter of 20 minutes, gets you into Haripur. Previously this could be 45 minutes to 1 hour of tiring process of dodging trucks, minibuses and donkey carts on a congested two-way road, meandering through several small towns. A journey in which you could easily use your nine lives by the time you reach your destination.

It has now transformed into a pleasure drive that lets you cruise through in minutes. While machinery can still be seen on the road and some of the interchanges and toll booths still require completion, one sees the work going on in full swing and should be completed soon.

The relief this road brings can be felt when talking to locals. Sheharyar Khan, owner of the GGSS Haripur system says,

This road has opened up several opportunities for us. Lots of people commute daily to work in Islamabad and this road allows them to live at home in Haripur and work in the city. This was a long-standing need for our community and we are relieved to finally have a safe way to commute.

M1 Congestion

motorway e35 traffic

As the motorway network grows and becomes the preferred choice of motorists, the increasing pressure on the existing motorways is already becoming evident.

Even before the inauguration of the Hazara Expressway, the M1 was experiencing high traffic volumes between Burhan and Islamabad. Now with the traffic joining in from Hazara Expressway and the New Islamabad International Airport expected to be operational in a few months, the M1 & M2 sections near Islamabad will continue to face the pressure.

Even now, at peak hours, the three lanes from Burhan to Islamabad are moving at 100KM/hr with ill-disciplined drivers breaking the smooth flow of traffic. To make matters worse, the Toll booths on the transit points of M1 & M2 and M1 & E35 are adding to the congestion.

The M1 toll plaza, crammed under a bridge, is lacks the capacity to manage so many vehicles and you can see queues for miles. What was once a nonstop transition from M1 to M2, can now take 30 minutes.

If measures are not taken to address these issues, sections of the motorway will transform into any other local city road and the purpose of having a motorway will be defeated.

Motorway Police or Speed Checkers?

A main contributing factor to the road congestion is the total disregard of driving rules and discipline. While our motorways are way better than our city roads, the current situation is far from ideal.

The problem comes from slow moving vehicles occupying the fast lanes. Reckless overtaking with total disregard to lane discipline make matters worse. These driving habits disrupt smooth flow of traffic and impact the total capacity of the road.

There was a time when the Motorway Police played a visible role in driver education and in working towards traffic discipline. Of late, they just seem to be interested in generating revenue for the department by issuing over-speed tickets, with total disregard to any other violations.

If the role of Motorway Police is just to check speeds, do we really need highly trained police officers for this task? The Motorway Police need to take responsibility and enforce road discipline, while educating motorists on driving regulations.

There is a need to introduce a minimum speed rule and fine motorists that use the overtaking lane for the whole journey. Dilapidated cars, visibly of unworthy road condition should not be allowed to enter the motorway. Strict action should also be taken against heavy vehicles driving recklessly and impeding the flow of traffic by overtaking into the fast lanes.

Such actions are desperately needed to keep the sanity in driving on our motorways and the police has a key role to play.
Nevertheless, it is good to see the progress happening in Pakistan and these roads will play a big role in ushering prosperity into our country.


CPEC is set to transform Pakistan’s economy


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a hot topic these days. The government wants to sell it as its major achievement, while the opposition claims its contribution in negotiating during its tenure.

A quick review of the documents shows that the CPEC seeds had been sown long ago. Beijing Declaration 2003 gives the first footprint of the concept. Pakistan’s former ambassador to China late Akram Zaki once told me that the land corridor had been on the cards since the times of air corridor in the 1960s, and Silk Road was the first step toward it.

CPEC is a bigger initiative in nature and it will transform the economy of Pakistan and the same has been promised in Vision 2025. Therefore, it is necessary to dwell on linkages between Vision 2025 and CPEC. Comparative analysis shows the two have so many complementarities.

CPEC investments are related to infrastructure, energy, railways, optic fibre, agriculture, tourism as well as research and development. Energy and transport sectors are on the priority list along with Gwadar city and port. Vision 2025 identifies that every year Pakistan loses 4-6% of its GDP due to the energy crisis. This loss to GDP means decline in production base, exports, saving and investment, inflation and availability of employment.

Owing to the energy crisis, industries started relocating outside the country, which further contributed to non-availability of jobs and decline of exports. The declining exports are another area, which is now haunting the country. Trade deficit is increasing and negative impact on foreign reserves and balance of payment is evident. Vision 2025 outlined a plan and strategy for investment in different forms of energy like coal, hydro and renewable. Coal was cogitated as one of the most immediate source.

Despite the investments in coal sector, its share in the electricity mix would be minimum and benefits enormous. It will help overcome the chronic problem of load-shedding. Cheap and sustainable supply of electricity will enhance the competitiveness of the industry and boost exports and provision of jobs, especially for the youth. Apart from coal, a huge investment has made in renewable power sources like solar, wind and hydro, and Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park is already operational.

Vision 2025 also identifies infrastructure related to transport as one of the major impediment for rapid growth. Almost 7% of GDP is lost due to inefficient transport sector. Investment in infrastructure will enhance efficiency and regional connectivity. Regional connectivity will pave the way for trade and peace.

Railways share in transportation will also be increased from 4% to 20%. Through CPEC, investment is being made to upgrade roads, construction of new highways, motorways and creating linkages among existing roads.

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC would be a way to achieve goals of Vision 2025. First and foremost would be the enhancement and sustainability of the production base of country. It will create jobs, as Pakistan needs 1.5 million jobs every year to accommodate and benefit from the youth bulge.

Other factors

Another important area is water, food and energy security in the country and along with that are two most serious problems. SDPI in 2013 concluded that almost 58.8% population is food insecure. Analysis further exhibited that the situation in 2025 will be more complicated due to population increase and climate change. Water availability is another area of grave concern. Per capita availability has come down to 1,000 cm2. Climate change is impacting water sector in Pakistan and the country is already facing water disasters like floods and drought. According to IPCC and UNDP report on vulnerability, the situation will be further complicated in the near future.

This grave situation requires urgent and sustainable investment in water and agriculture sector. Fortunately, Vision 2025 and CPEC also prioritise these areas. Vision 2025 outlined the goals of doubling power generation and enhancing access from 67% to 90%. Water storage will be increased to up to 90 days from 30 days. Food insecure population will be down to 30%.

To improve food security, agriculture is an acceptable sector to play a leading role with its multiple roles, eg production of food, employment to 44% labour force, which contributes to 21% of GDP. Long Term Plan (LTP) of CPEC gives a comprehensive list of programmes for investment. It includes farming, livestock breeding, forestry and food growing, and aquatic and fishery. Research and technological cooperation would be augmented. Production of inputs would also encourage and given technological assistance. Agriculture is also targeted as a key area to combat poverty by transferring sector into climate change resilient and globally competitive sector.

Water was the part of CPEC in different forms like drinking, sanitation, agriculture and industry. Now both China and Pakistan have decided to amplify cooperation. Dam building has also been included in the list of CPEC. Different sources quote a figure of $50 billion for building a cascade of dams along the Indus river. Infrastructure related to water will also be made resilient to climate change. There would also be investment in irrigation sector, especially in drip irrigation.

Apart from the areas mentioned above, Vision 2025 also spells out the goals about tourism development. It is a well-established fact that Pakistan is bestowed with beautiful landscape and geography. Vision 2025 identified religious, historical and naturally attractive sites as potential for developing tourism. LTP outlined the development of eco-tourism in coastal and mountainous areas of Pakistan.

China will help improve knowledge base for Pakistan. It will build the capacity of universities and students to compete at international level. Exchange programmes have already been started and now thousands of Pakistani students are not only frequent visitors of Chinese universities, but are also studying there.

A comparative study of Vision 2025 and LTP of CPEC shows that both are complimentary to each other with a number of goals and objectives. The only thing is how Pakistan opts for the Chinese model of success by using its indigenous tools of development and research.

The writer is the Head of Centre for Future Policy and Head of Research Coordination Unit, Sustainable Development Policy Institute.