Saturday, 21 May 2016

China-Pakistan Digital Connect

Keeping in view the importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in terms of regional connectivity, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on May 19, 2016 performed the groundbreaking of the Pakistan-China Optical Fibre Cable project.
Firstly, the agreement in this regards was signed between both countries in 2007 but under the serious efforts of current government the fiber optic project become part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
In this regard’s the agreement to lay optic fibre between the two sides was signed during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif official visit to China in early July 2013 and Huawei has been assigned the task in this regard.
The Optical Fibre Cable project, costing $44 million will be completed in two years and Special Communication Organisation (SCO) will lay 820-kilometre-long cable from Rawalpindi to Khunjrab.

Government believes in “Digital Pakistan”; Chinese cooperation and collaboration will help us to materialize this vision of accelerated digitization.
Pakistan will greatly benefit in terms of security and revenue from the Pak-China optic fibre project, which is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Upon completion, the project, which will provide an alternate telecommunication route between Pakistan and China, will also bring 3G and 4G connectivity to the region.
Pakistan is currently connected with the world through four undersea fibre optic cables. These include India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE),  Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3 (SEA-ME-WE-3) and Southeast Asia-Middle-East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE-4), operated by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and TWA-1, which is owned by Trans-World Associates.

A fifth undersea cable called South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE)-5 is being laid to connect Pakistan with the rest of the world
From Pak-China optic fiber project, Pakistan will get enormous benefits. At present, Pakistan’s international connectivity with the world is through undersea cables SEA-ME-WE 3&4 and IMEWE, and Pakistan is connected through spurs only.
This dependency is not only a risk but also entails security concerns. The voice/data and internet traffic can be monitored and disturbed easily. To offset such a threat, through this project, a link will be created between Pakistan and Trans-Asia Europe (TAE) cable in China, which would enable both Pakistan and China to have alternative routes for their international telecom traffic.
Successful implementation of the project would provide Pakistan with a direct telecom access to China and the Central Asian States.

On completion, the project will also facilitate trade, tourism and IT awareness in the region and generate economic opportunities particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


PM Nawaz attends CASA -1000 Power Project groundbreaking ceremony
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the Central Asia and South Asia (CASA-1000 MW) power project groundbreaking ceremony on May 12, 2016 near Dushanbe in Tajikistan.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Chief Executive Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah and Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov jointly launched the project at an impressive ceremony.
Inauguration of CASA Project is a great pleasure for region that after many years of conception of this project, Pakistan current Government is entering into the implementation phase. The project will enhance economic integration and bring prosperity in the region.
Since previous governments did not paid attention to CASA project. Meanwhile the present government taking a bold step to take up this project.
Current Government to overcome the energy crisis and to resolve the issue taking concrete steps towards making it a reality. The groundbreaking ceremony for the CASA -1000 is a great achievement of the present Government.
The acute energy crisis started in 2006-07 with a gradual widening in the demand and supply gap of electricity. Since then this gap has grown and has assumed proportions which are considered to be the worst of all such power crises that Pakistan has faced since its inception.
The electric power deficit had crossed the level of 5000 MW at many points during the year 2011.
At one stage in the month of May, 2011 this shortfall had surpassed 7000 MWAs of 2013 massive long-standing electricity shortages continued with long-standing failure to provide reliable service and rampant corruption being met by public protests, unauthorized connections, and refusal by consumers to pay for intermittent service.
In the last ten years there is no substantial increase in the generation capacity in comparison to a steep rise in electricity demand. To a great extent, failure on the part of previous government to timely react to the situation led the country into a severe electricity crisis.

Central Asia South Asia electricity import project, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and road projects with Afghanistan, which were a manifestation of current Government policy to enhance regional connectivity and overcome the energy demand.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also attended the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline groundbreaking ceremony on December 13, 2015 in southeastern Turkmenistan.
The pipeline is expected to be operational by 2019. Thus delivering on the promise of “High priority to import gas through pipelines” made in 2013’s election manifesto of PML-N.

Central Asia and South Asia (CASA-1000) is a project designed to transmit 1300 MW of surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic through Afghanistan (300 MW) to Pakistan (1000-MW). MOU among four Governments was signed on November 16, 2007 at Kabul. The estimated cost of the CASA-1000 project is 1,170 million dollars.
The initial plan is to transmit power in the range of 1,000 to 1,300MW from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The major share of the exported energy will be consumed by Pakistan while approximately 300MW will be used by Afghanistan.
v  500 kV AC line from Datka (in the Kyrgyz Republic) to Khudjand (477 kilometers away, in Tajikistan)
v  1300 megawatt AC-DC Convertor Station at Sangtuda (Tajikistan)
v  750 kilometer High Voltage DC line from Sangtuda to Kabul (Afghanistan) to Peshawar (Pakistan)
v  300 megawatt Convertor Station at Kabul (with import and export capability)
v  1300 megawatt DC-AC Convertor Station at Peshawar

An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was signed in August 2008 to govern and resolve issues critical to the implementation of the project. The project was to be funded by the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
In the beginning, the Asian Development Bank was heavily involved, but withdrew in 2009 citing the challenging security situation in Afghanistan as a reason. Initially due to the difficult terrain and the security situation, the planned transmission line in Afghanistan and Pakistan is the most problematic part of CASA-1,000.
On October 11, 2014, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed on a transit fee, and at IGC meetings in November/December 2014 and February 2015 a master agreement as well as a power purchase agreement were prepared.
It has been agreed that Pakistan will obtain electricity at US$9.35 per kilowatt through CASA-1,000 during the initial 15 years, whereas this price includes a transit fee of US$ 1.25 per kilowatt owed by Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan first demanded a transit fee of US¢ 2.5 per kilowatt but made concessions as it does not view CASA-1,000 from a purely economic angle, but also as an opportunity to improve regional relations and to build confidence among the participating countries and private corporations, hoping that this will have a positive impact on other projects.
CASA-1,000 is technically feasible and economically worthwhile. Even in dry years a sufficient surplus of Kyrgyz and Tajik electricity is almost certainly guaranteed during summer. And the comparatively low production costs of electricity in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan coupled with the already high and increasing Pakistani demand are a powerful economic incentive
The CASA-1000 Project is the first of its kind that will link Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the electricity grid.
The project which will be completed by 2018 will go a long way in regional integration. The CASA-1000 Project is an important step in building a functioning, efficient electricity system across Central Asia and South Asia.
By facilitating clean power export revenues for the Central Asian countries and by alleviating electricity shortages in the South Asian countries, this project will enhance growth prospects across both regions.
The regional energy projects would facilitate regional connectivity and contribute to peace, stability and security by creating interdependence in the region.

The project will bring warmth and cordiality, and generate economic activity, create job opportunities and improve the living standards.