Friday, August 31, 2007

Wind Energy in Pakistan

Pakistan’s First Wind Energy Project Launched in Sindh
New Park Energy Ltd (NPEL) in Thatta district of Sindh has launched the first wind energy project. It will produce 45 megawatt as a first step towards becoming the 100-megawatt pilot project to be completed by the end of 2007. The wind generated electricity would be provided to the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) to meet the needs of residential and industrial areas of the city, he said, adding that the total 400-megawatt project installation was expected to be completed by 2007.

Pakistan Makes Goal of 650 MW Wind Energy by 2007
Karachi, Pakistan [Daily Times] Air Marshal Shahid Hamid (retd), Chairman of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), said here on Saturday 13 leading investors had been given letters of commitment to install wind power turbines and as a result 650 megawatts of wind power would be injected into the national grid by the end of 2007. At a meeting with Acting President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Sheikh Muhammad Aslam and members of the FPCCI here in the Federation House, he said that the mid-term development plan of the AEDB included development of wind and solar energy to meet at least 5% of the total installed capacity, that is, 9,700 MW by 2030.
Pakistan: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Affairs Division of the government of Pakistan have agreed on a feasibility study for a large-scale wind power project. The project, with a total funding of $471,000, will select sites and measure the wind energy potential on the shoreline in the southwestern province of Balochistan and make preparations for a large-scale wind power plant. Technical, economic, and regulatory issues are to be addressed in the assessment of feasibility.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Affairs Division of the government of Pakistan have agreed on a feasibility study for a large-scale wind power project. The project, with a total funding of $471,000, will select sites and measure the wind energy potential on the shoreline in the southwestern province of Balochistan and make preparations for a large-scale wind power plant. Technical, economic, and regulatory issues are to be addressed in the assessment of feasibility.

Alternate Energy Pakistan:
US $875m Windpower Project to Provide 30% of Karachi's Needs
A new US$875 million wind power project will provide 30 percent of Karachi's power needs, a state government official has said. Speaking at the inauguration of the Gharo project, adviser to Sindh Chief Minister for Environment and Alternate Energy, Noman Saigol, said it was the first alternate energy project for Sindh.Sixteen companies from the US, Japan and China are taking part in the project, which will be built on 19,700 acres of government-provided land.The windpower project, expected to employ 30-40,000 locals, will have a 50MW capacity, rising to as much as 900MW by 2010, he said.

84 companies invest $ 8.5 bln in wind energy

ISLAMABAD, Jun 27 (APP): A sum of $ 8.5 billion has been invested by 84 companies for producing 4200 MW power through wind in the country within a period of next two years, Secretary Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) Brig Naseem Khan said. Talking to CNBC channel he said Letter of Intent (LOI) has already been issued to all the companies. The issuing of LOI to two more companies is also in process.
Country has the potential to produce 246,000 MW power through wind he said and added that 8 to 10 companies have also shown interest for producing wind energy.
A company Newpak has initiated the construction of wind turbines in collaboration with Germany in Nooriabad.
First year they will produce 66 turbines of 100MW.Second year they start production of 200MW capacity wind turbines, he added.
Evaluation is also being done to explore potential for producing power from solar energy as according to experts country has the potential to produce more than one million MW power through it.
The areas of Sindh has the potential of producing immense power through wind. In NWFP areas from Peshawar to Abbottabad have great potential.
Pakistan meteorological department has started to fix gadgets for ascertaining the velocity of wind from Peshawar to Abbotabad.
Pakistan to Launch Its First Commercial Wind ProjectGE Energy's Wind Turbine Technology
(Link GE website)

Commercial wind power is coming to Pakistan.New Park Energy Phase I, a 45-megawatt installation that will be the first step of a 400-megawatt wind project, has been approved by the government of Pakistan, through its Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB). NPE has committed to work with GE Energy to reach a goal of 1,000 megawatts. GE Energy, one of the world's leading wind turbine suppliers, has been selected to provide 30 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines for phase I.New Park Energy Phase I will be the first commercial wind energy project in Pakistan, where the government has set a goal to have 10% of the country's energy produced from renewable sources by the year 2015. As a significant part of that effort, AEDB has forecast the installation of 1800-2700 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2015, with an annual installation rate of 170-270 megawatts.The New Park Energy project will be located near Port Qasim and will provide wind-generated electricity to the Karachi Electric Supply Company, to help support residential and industrial expansion in the Karachi area. Plans call for the project to be developed in 45-megawatt increments. Groundbreaking for Phase I is scheduled for the third quarter of 2005, with the wind turbine installation to be completed by the end of that year. The total 400-megawatt installation is expected by 2007."We applaud Pakistan's aggressive program to increase its supply of wind power and are very pleased that our technology has been selected for the first commercial project in the country," said Steve Zwolinski, CEO of GE Energy's wind operations. "This strong activity in Pakistan is further evidence of how countries worldwide are embracing the benefits of wind energy."The project owner will be New Park Energy Ltd, a group that includes Dorsch Consult of Germany and Albario Engineering Limited of Lahore Pakistan.The New Park Energy wind project will help to meet Pakistan's energy shortage. It also is expected to open the doors to further wind energy development and encourage other foreign investors. "Special thanks goes to the government of Pakistan who encouraged this development", said Saeed Akhtar, Chief Executive Officer of New Park Energy.The GE 1.5-megawatt wind turbines selected for this project are among the world's most widely tested and sold wind turbines. Earlier this year, GE announced that its 1.5-megawatt machine was the first megawatt-class wind turbine to reach 2,500 installations worldwide.About

GE EnergyGE Energy ( is one of the world's leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technology, with 2003 revenues of nearly $18.5 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy provides equipment, service and management solutions across the power generation, oil and gas, transmission and distribution, distributed power and energy rental industries.With wind turbine design, manufacturing and/or assembly facilities in Germany, Spain and the United States, GE Energy's current wind energy portfolio includes wind turbines with rated outputs ranging from 1,500 to 3,600 kilowatts, and support services ranging from project development assistance to operation and maintenance. The company has developed and/or installed more than 6,900 wind turbines with a total capacity exceeding 5,000 megawatts

Pakistans Push for Energy

Dam expansion project awarded

ISLAMABAD, Aug 30: The government on Thursday allowed a consortium of Kohinoor Group and the UAE-based Al-Nahyan Group to undertake $500 million Tarbela dam expansion project to enhance its generation capacity by 960MW.

The project, which is expected to be completed in 2015, would raise Tarbela dam’s generation capacity to about 4,550MW.

A meeting of the board of directors of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) presided over by minister for water and power Liaquat Ali Jatoi decided to issue a formal letter of intent (LoI) to the consortium, Tarbela Hydro Limited and Associates comprising Kohinoor Group and Al Nahyan Group of the UAE.The consortium will be required to complete feasibility study within 18 months and complete the project by 2015. The PPIB had sought proposals from local and international firms a few months ago and 13 companies expressed interest in the project. However, only three firms submitted their statements of qualification, and the offer of Kohinoor and Al-Nahyan Group was declared successful.This will be the fourth extension of Tarbela hydropower project.The board also approved the setting up of 139MW Chakothi Hattian Hydropower Project in Azad Kashmir

It is is estimated to start commercial operation by 2015, according to a press release.The statement said the meeting was informed that the PPIB had recently signed implementation agreements (IAs) with five companies for a total of 992MW and four IAs for 715MW are ready for signing.The projects for which IAs have been signed include

165MW Attockgen by Attock Group of Companies,

225MW Atlas Power of Shirazi Group,

202MW Foundation Power, a company of Fauji Foundation,

200MW Nishat Chunian and

200MW Nishat Power by Nishat Group.

Qatar Investment Authority's (QIA) proposal for setting up 500 MW thermal power project at Chichoki Mallian. GoP and QIA signed an MoU during the visit of Qatari Minister for Finance to Islamabad on May 31, at the Prime Minister House, with the EPC contractors ie Alstom Marubeni.The company which is being assisted by Saif-ur-Rehman, former Chairman Ehtsab Bureau, had quoted $350 million project. This deal is being finalized.

Friday, August 24, 2007

US to pour 750 million into Pakistan's tribal areas

US to pour 750 million into Pakistan's tribal areas: report

WASHINGTON (updated on: July 16, 2007, 09:53 PST): The administration of President George W. Bush plans to pour 750 million dollars worth of aid into Pakistan's tribal areas in a bid to wrest it away from al Qaeda and Taliban militants, The New York Times reported on its website late Sunday.But citing unnamed officials involved in the planning, the newspaper said some people were warning of the dangers of disturbing so much money in an area where oversight is impossible who will be given the aid has quickly become one of the most contentious questions between local officials and American planners concerned that millions might fall into the wrong hands, the report said.A draft of the US Agency for International Development plan given to The Times by an official who worked on it warns that the "severe governance deficiencies" in the tribal areas will make it virtually impossible for the aid to be sustainable or to overcome the "area's chronic underdevelopment and consequent volatility," the paper pointed out.The plan was highlighted during a visit to Pakistan in June by Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, as a measure of Washington's support for President Pervez Musharraf, The Times said.

Europe, ME companies eye stake in Karachi Stock Exchange

Europe, ME companies eye stake in KSE
KARACHI: Nordic and Baltic bourse owner OMX has shown interest in buying a stake in the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE), due to be listed by the year-end, the country’s chief regulator said on Tuesday.OMX was among interested parties vying for a sizable minority stake, said Razi-ur-Rahman Khan, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. “Yes, it includes OMX,” Khan told Reuters.The main stakeholders of the exchange are its 200 members, whose stake will be converted into shares. They will then sell some of those shares through an initial public offering.Khan said companies from the Middle East and Europe have inquired about taking a stake in the Karachi bourse. “We are definitely looking at it and will develop a policy in a couple of months,” he said.“It’s not yet been decided how much stake would be sold, it could be more than 5 to 10 per cent, it could be less.”Khan said the most important criterion in choosing a partner would be that if it would bring value to the exchange.Shaukat Tarin, Chairman of the Karachi Stock Exchange, said in June that Deutsche Bank has been appointed to value the exchange and advise on its listing.OMX, which owns and runs exchanges in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and the Baltic states, is itself a takeover target of US exchange Nasdaq.London’s Daily Telegraph reported on Sunday that the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which owns the Dubai International Financial Exchange, also had funding in place to bid as much as 250 Swedish crowns ($37.66) per OMX share.The bid by Nasdaq Stock Market Inc, the largest US electronic stock exchange, was worth roughly $3.6 billion or about 199 crowns per share.The KSE 100-share index has gained about 40 per cent since the beginning of the year, boosting the total market capitalisation to about Rs4 trillion ($66.22bn).

Dubai building boom in Pictures

Dubai's Architectural Wonders
As oil reserves dwindle, Dubai's attention-grabbing construction projects, including an underwater hotel, are aimed at drawing tourist dollars.

There's more than one Dubai drama playing out on the world stage these days. Besides the fracas over whether U.S. ports should be overseen by Dubai Ports World the emirate is gaining widespread attention and generating buzz in architecture, design, and real-estate circles. Dubai, one of the seven United Arab Emirates, is engaged in a building boom of epic proportions.

By the beginning of the next decade, relatively tiny Dubai -- it's smaller than Canada's Prince Edward Island, and has a population of about 1.4 million citizens -- will be home to an astonishing number of superlative architectural projects. These include Earth's tallest skyscraper, the first luxury underwater hotel, and a man-made archipelago of private, residential islands (yes, the biggest development of its kind) that will resemble a map of the world when seen from above.Most of Dubai's ambitious building projects are in planning or early construction stages. The emirate's current skyline is dotted with cranes. According to the most recent study published by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dubai's construction and building sector contributes 12.2% of the emirate's non-oil GDP and has grown annually at an average rate of 27%.CONSPICUOUS CONSTRUCTION. Why the sudden construction boom? Dubai's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates and the president of the Dubai Development and Investment Authority (DDIA), has set a goal to attract 15 million tourists in the year 2010 (up from 5.24 million in 2003). Interestingly, that's the same year that, according to The Economist, Dubai's known oil reserves will be tapped.The DDIA reports that today, 90% of Dubai's diversified economy is fueled by non-oil sectors, indicating that Dubai is clearly racing to fuel new industries such as tourism. To rev up its tourism industry, Dubai's developers are engaged in an intense reshaping of the urban landscape.The ambitious scale and breakneck pace of building echoes what's happening in China, a much, much larger nation engaged in its own race to redefine its skylines (see BW Online, 12/23/05, "China's New Architectural Wonders") in preparation for the 2008 Olympic games. As if competing in an unofficial architectural Olympics, Dubai is striving to break as many records as it can in terms of "tallest," "largest," or, simply, "first."PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. Dubai's developers hope to win tourists not only from the Middle East, but from Europe and even Asia, where rapid economic development is creating a new wealthy class.If all goes as planned, there will be plenty for future tourists to capture in keepsake digital photos. Dubai will soon be home to world's tallest building, the sleek and spectacular Burj Dubai, designed by American firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). When it is completed in 2009, it will knock Taiwan's pagoda-shaped Taipei 101 from its roost as Earth's loftiest. Another Western firm, Britain's Foster & Partners, has designed One Central Park, a mixed-use, eco-friendly building 80 stories high.One Central Park will be the world's highest residential apartment building when it opens its doors in 2008. And Singapore's DP Architects have designed the 1,000-store, 5-million-square-foot Dubai Mall, which will be the biggest shopping center on the planet when it opens this year.FLY ME TO THE MOON. While impressive, these structures are rather traditional compared to some of the construction efforts in Dubai. There's Hydropolis, an underwater hotel developed and designed by Germany's Joachim Hauser, scheduled to open at the end of 2007. And there's Palm Islands, a set of man-made resort islands shaped to look like a palm tree when seen from a jet, which will open later this year. This year the same developer will also complete The World, a series of manufactured residential islands that, when seen from above, resemble smaller versions of the seven continents.And speaking of space, the American firm Space Adventures (known for launching the first civilian orbital space flights) is developing the UAE spaceport, the first commercial spacecraft flight center in nearby emirate Ras Al-Khaimah, minutes away from Dubai. Dubai's citizens, no doubt, will consider the UAE spaceport their hometown spaceport, just as New Yorkers look upon Newark Airport, in nearby New Jersey, as one of their local hubs. No completion date has been set for the spaceport.That Dubai is pushing for extreme architecture shouldn't come as a surprise if you look at the emirate's history of firsts. In 1979, the biggest man-made port opened at Jebel Ali in Dubai, and in 1999, Dubai became the site of the world's first 7-star hotel, when the iconic, sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab opened for business.WORLD WORLD. A particularly ambitious project in the works is Dubailand, partially funded by Dubai's government and developed by Dubailand LLC. It's a massive, sprawling, and totally built-from-scratch city-as-tourist attraction that suggests the theme-park atmosphere of Disneyworld (DIS) or Las Vegas, only more so. Located only 10 minutes from the Dubai International Airport, Dubailand will cover 3 billion square feet and feature six different "worlds."Dubailand's more "conventional" family-oriented offerings are Attractions and Experience World, devoted to roller coasters, waterslides, and other mechanical rides; Sports and Outdoor World, with a variety of stadiums (designed by German architectural firm von Gerkan Marg & Partner) and other athletic venues; and Downtown, which will be a downtown center with movie theaters, restaurants, and bowling alleys.Eco-Tourism World, which will present "natural" environments and biosphere structures, promises to be the most forward-thinking offering. Leisure and Vacation World -- a spa environment, and Retail & Entertainment World, which will house low-end to high-end retail, seem to be giant playgrounds for grownups. Currently, initial infrastructure (utilities, roads) is being built, and the goal is to have a portion operational by 2008.While all of Dubai shouldn't be conflated with Dubailand and its pure entertainment value, it's clear that the emirate will soon be overflowing with attractions, whether amusement-park rides or serious architecture. Like Las Vegas, Dubai's dramatic new developments won't be without their critics. Love them or hate them, these new wonders of the world are just that -- wonders.

Man made -The World Islands in Dubai

The World Island - Dubai

The World are artifically made islands that image the world map.

A master plan as richly imagined as The World requires a mix of aesthetic beauty and seamless functionality. From the width of the canals, the convenience of strategically placed transportation hubs and marinas to world-class commercial centers and the stunning halo-effect of the islands, the development is designed to provide visitors and residents an experience they’ll wish to return to again and again.

(volume up)

Dubai World aquires 10% stake in MGM Mirage Las Vegas

MGM MIRAGE and Dubai World to Form Long-Term Strategic Relationship

- Dubai World to invest $2.7 billion for a 50 percent interest in CityCenter in Las Vegas and will make a significant equity investment in MGM MIRAGE -
August 22, 2007: 08:30 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- MGM MIRAGE and Dubai World today announced that they have signed definitive agreements to form a long-term strategic relationship whereby Dubai World will invest approximately $5 billion in MGM MIRAGE consisting of a $2.7 billion investment in CityCenter and up to $2.4 billion in purchases of MGM MIRAGE common stock. The companies will enter into a 50/50 joint venture in the landmark CityCenter development in Las Vegas and Dubai World will acquire a significant minority equity position in MGM MIRAGE.
(Photo: )
The joint venture, CityCenter Holdings LLC, will be owned equally by MGM MIRAGE and Infinity World Development Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai World. Upon closing, CityCenter Holdings LLC will own 100 percent of CityCenter, a mixed-use luxury residential, resort and retail complex currently being developed by MGM MIRAGE on the Las Vegas Strip.
In addition to investing in the joint venture, Dubai World through Infinity World Investments, will purchase up to 28.4 million shares of MGM MIRAGE representing approximately a 9.5 percent equity stake. Dubai World will seek to accomplish this through a combination of a public tender offer for 14.2 million shares of the outstanding stock at a price of $84 per share, which represents an approximate 13% premium over yesterday's closing price, and an agreement to subsequently purchase an additional 14.2 million shares directly from the Company at the same price, for a combined investment of approximately $2.4 billion.
The companies anticipate that the joint venture investment will close by the end of the year, and that the tender offer will commence during the week of August 27, 2007. The parties anticipate that the purchase of shares from MGM MIRAGE will close concurrently with or soon after the closing of the tender offer subject to requisite approvals.
In connection with the joint venture, Dubai World will initially contribute approximately $2.7 billion for 50 percent of the equity in CityCenter. MGM MIRAGE will contribute the CityCenter assets which the parties have mutually valued at $5.4 billion, and receive 50 percent of the equity in CityCenter. Following the close of the joint venture transaction, MGM MIRAGE will receive a cash distribution of $2.7 billion. By completing CityCenter on budget and on schedule, MGM MIRAGE will receive additional consideration of $100 million. The joint venture will obtain project specific financing to fund remaining project costs.
MGM MIRAGE will continue to serve as developer of CityCenter and upon completion, the joint venture will pay MGM MIRAGE a management fee to operate CityCenter's resort casino as well as the development's retail activities and the Vdara condo-hotel tower.
"This is a transforming event for MGM MIRAGE and Las Vegas," said Terry Lanni, Chairman and CEO of MGM MIRAGE. "This partnership with Dubai World brings us a relationship with an internationally-respected developer of large- scale luxury properties that attract an international clientele. Dubai World's proficiency in real estate, combined with our company's operational expertise, strong brands and world-renowned resorts, creates competitive advantages that we believe will benefit all of our stakeholders. We are extremely pleased to be working with Dubai World. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Sultan Bin Sulayem and all that his company has accomplished.
"This transaction is immediately accretive to long term earnings and will have a profound impact on our balance sheet. Dubai World is making a significant investment in our company that will greatly increase our growth and earnings. We welcome Dubai World's long term commitment to our company through the joint venture and these share purchases," Mr. Lanni continued.
Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World said, "The announcement today brings together two companies known for creating landmark developments that have the ability to change the face of luxury living and destination tourism. In seeking international expansion, we chose a partner who would complement our strengths in large-scale development as well as share our view of investing for the long-term. We were attracted by MGM MIRAGE's superior assets, locations, and brands. Terry Lanni and his management team have a proven ability to create extraordinary customer experiences that generate demand and earn customer loyalty.
"Our vision is to create a global portfolio of signature properties that will create value for generations to come. The unprecedented CityCenter will redefine the luxury lifestyle and incorporate world-class elements of fine art and design, fulfilling our goal of creating landmark developments while further expanding into the important U.S. real estate market. We look forward to making this project an international success and sharing in other opportunities for expansion with MGM MIRAGE," continued Sultan Bin Sulayem.
Targeted for completion in late 2009, CityCenter is a luxury urban metropolis defined by its dazzling vertical architecture rising from the Las Vegas Strip. CityCenter's design team includes many of the world's foremost architects such as Daniel Liebeskind, Lord Norman Foster, and Rafael Vinoly. The self-contained city-within-a-city will include:
* A dramatic Cesar Pelli-designed 4,000-room resort casino;
* Approximately 470,000 square-feet of retail and entertainment space;
* 2,650 luxury condominiums and condo-hotel units in multiple towers;
* Two 400-room non-gaming boutique hotels, one of which will be managed
by luxury hotelier Mandarin Oriental.
Credit Suisse Securities acted as financial advisors to Dubai World. UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisors to MGM MIRAGE. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP acted as legal counsel to Dubai World and Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, LLP acted as legal counsel to MGM MIRAGE.
MGM MIRAGE , one of the world's leading and most respected hotel and gaming companies, owns and operates 17 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan, and has investments in three other properties in Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. In addition, the Company has major new developments under construction in Nevada, Michigan and Macau S.A.R. CityCenter is a multi-billion dollar mixed-use urban development in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip; a new MGM Grand hotel and casino complex is being built in downtown Detroit; and the Company has a 50% interest in MGM Grand Macau, a hotel-casino resort currently under construction in Macau S.A.R. MGM MIRAGE supports responsible gaming and has implemented the American Gaming Association's Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming at its properties. MGM MIRAGE also has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for its industry-leading Diversity Initiative and its community philanthropy programs. For more information about MGM MIRAGE, please visit the company's website at
About Dubai World
Dubai World is a major investment holding company with a portfolio of businesses that includes DP World, Jafza, Nakheel, Dubai Drydocks, Maritime City, Istithmar, Kerzner, One & Only, Atlantis, Barney's, Island Global Yachting, Limitless, Inchcape Shipping Services, Tejari, Technopark and Tamweel. The Dubai World Group has more than 50,000 employees in over 100 cities around the globe.
Dubai World's iconic real estate projects include the Nakheel's Palm developments and The World. The group also has extensive real estate investments in the US, the UK and South Africa, unique hospitality destinations in every corner of the world, and is a leading global port operator. In the last five years, Dubai World has developed 80,000 luxury residential villas and apartments and approximately three million square feet of retail space.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Inzamam Joins Indian Cricket League

Inzamam, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat, Mohmmad Yousuf Join Indian Cricket League !
Out of Pakistan cricket team.

MUMBAI/KARACHI, August 20: The Indian Cricket League on Monday received a shot in the arm with four Pakistani Tests players joining the multi-million dollar venture but failed to woo any current Indian Test cricketer in its initial list of 51 players. The Essel Group's ICL, which has already signed batting great Brian Lara as its first major catch, today added the names of former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and prolific middle order batsman Mohammad Yousuf besides all-rounder Abdul Razzaq and left-handed batsman Imran Farhat. The decision to join the breakaway league was almost certain to end the career of the four Pakistani cricketers with their Board saying that they will not be considered for future selection in the national team. Also joining the rebel league, were South Africans Nicky Boje, who has refused to visit India with his country's official team twice earlier because of apprehensions that he will be questioned by the Delhi police over his alleged role in the match-fixing scandal, and Lance Klusener. The names of the 51 cricketers was announced by the Essel Group at a crowded press conference in Mumbai, just a day before the Cricket Board's Special Annual General Body Meeting to take a decision on the ICL. Dinesh Mongia, Deep Dasgupta, the axed Bengal Test stumper, his team-mate Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Punjab's ODI discard Reetinder Singh Sodhi and ex-internationals Thiru Kumaran of Tamil Nadu and Jai Prakash Yadav of Railways were among the 44 Indian first-class players to align with the ICL

$13 billion Construction boom in Makkah

Transforming Islam's Holiest Site

MAKKAH, Saudi Arabia — Five times a day across the globe devout Muslims face this city in prayer, focused on a site where they believe Abraham built a mosque of God. This beautiful mosque is also the place Muslims cherish to visit alteast once their lives – a place they regard as the home of God.

A huge project is under way near the Kaa’ba, in the Grand Mosque, altering the skyline at Islam's holiest site. The Abraj al Bait Mall will bring an amusement park ride, fast food and convenient clothing stores to the neighborhood.

Now as they make the pilgrimage clothed in simple white cotton wraps, they will see something other than the startling Kaa’ba, which gravitates the Muslim world to a single spot unifying their differences. They will see something other than the stark black cube known as the Kaa’ba, which is literally the center of the Muslim world. They will also see lots of clothing stores. “Makkah will have all my favourite clothing stores and I wont have to haul them all the way from Jordan”. Pilgrims will have easy access to fast foods, coffee shops, soft drink shops that will bring more convenience to the pilgrims where the temperature rises to 110 F during the summer.

The Abraj al Bait Mall — one of the largest in Saudi Arabia, outfitted with flat-panel monitors with advertisements and announcements, neon lights, an amusement park ride, fast-food restaurants— has been built conveniently close from Islam's holiest site making the pilgrimage easier to the older devotees which make up atleast 45% of the visitors. A new hospital will be able to accommodate pilgrims who fall sick or who need medicines. This will change the way pilgrims with high blood pressure and diabetic pilgrims go for Hajj or Umrah.

Pilgrims are happy at the progress buts some of would like to keep the traditional old ancient part of the Makkah alive.

"Mecca is becoming like a modern city, it will benefit Muslims and create more jobs and will have a ripple effect all over the Muslim world," said Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, a Saudi Charity research organization. "It will have a great effect on Muslims as going to Makkah will give them a great feeling of progress and modernization. This will be a added charm. It will give Makkah a clean crisp look and validate the Sunnah about Cleanliness."

The mall, which opened a week before the annual pilgrimage, called the hajj, in December, is the first phase in a $13 billion construction boom in Mecca that promises to change how this city. Muslims are the only ones allowed into Makkah because of group of Western hooligans who showed disrespect to the holy sites.

The Abraj al Bait housing and hotel complex, a 1.5-million-square-yard development that will include a towering hotel, will change parts of this ancient city but add a beautiful clean new look.

When the project is completed in 2009, it will include the seventh tallest building in the world, its developers say, with a hospital, hotels and prayer halls. A public-announcement system pipes in prayers from the Grand Mosque across the way, and worshipers can join the masses simply by opening their draperies benefiting the old, sick and the handicapped.

In nearby Jabal Omar, they are making way to accommodate the next generation of Muslims. Muslims who are modern, progressive, educated and would want to feel proud of their holiest city. To make them proud and bring them back to the holy city there are cranes which dot the skyline with up to 130 new high-rise towers planned for the area. They is for - the next generation of Pilgrims !

"This is the end of Mecca and this will represent the new city – Makkah and not twisted spelling with pun - Mecca
," said Dr. Irfan Ahmed in London. He has formed the Islamic Heritage Foundation to try to preserve the Islamic history of Makkah, Medina, the second holiest city, and other important religious sites in Saudi Arabia. "Before, even in the days of the Ottomans, none of the buildings in Makkah were built to accommodate millions of new pilgrims. Its was about time.

Modernization of this neglected ancient city is certainly one of the motivators in the building boom. Every year, up to four million people descend on this city during the pilgrimage, while a stream continues to flow through here during the year, spending an average $2,000 to $3,000 to stay, eat and shop.

Vistors to Makkah remind investors of buying and living in a nest close to their beloved holy site.
Arab satellite television channels remind viewers that " finally you too, can have the opportunity to enjoy this blessed view” – which only a few could afford.

Muhammad al-Abboud, a real estate agent, recounts tales of Pakistani businessmen investing $15 million to buy several apartments at a time for his parents, renting and for Asaal –o- sawab.

A three-bedroom apartment here runs about $3 million, Mr. Abboud said. One directly overlooking the Grand Mosque can reach $5 million a view every Muslim would cherish.

After the development of these new communities the old, sick and the handicapped worshipers can separate themselves from the crowds, without violating the spirit of the hajj, where all stand equal before God.

"All of Makkah is a sanctuary," Mr. Abboud said. " this was needed because hundreds of pilgrims die because of the heat and it is difficult for the old to keep pace with the young and enthusiastic pilgrims. But some groups say the building boom also has religious motives. They praise the planners from the Royal family which holds great sway in Saudi Arabia, of seeking to beautify the historic spots, fearing that these sites would disappear with time if nothing is done to preserve them.

Dr. Ahmed of London has cataloged more than 300 separate antiquity sites, including cemeteries and mosques. He says with all the development and attention the house where the Prophet Muhammad lived should be converted into a museum.

"With the new clean crisp look this will be like respecting the Kaaba, respecting the house of God or the environment of the sanctuary," Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who wants to preserve Makkah's heritage, said of the development. "This city should have been model for all of Islamic world. Its about time the Saudis did something. Muslims should be proud of this city and when they try to replicate this city it will change the entire Muslim world especially Africa.

Progress will bring thousands of jobs for Muslims – a sanctuary for devout Muslims. Muslims can live here for those who would love to emulate the life the their beloved Prophet..

More pilgrims than ever can come here, thanks to billions spent on tunnels and infrastructure to accommodate them. The city’s new markets will bring them better products and which suits their budget and style.
Once again Makkan homes and buildings that filled the area near the mosque were demolished in the 1970s to enlarge the mosque. The neighborhoods and families who lived near the mosque and welcomed pilgrims have long since moved away or into larger better homes with the compensation they have received.

Makkah has long been a commercial as well as a religious center, but increasingly Pilgrims bring their Islamic and global brands with them making them the dominant force here.

Some are critical of the project. Mr. Angawi, the Saudi architect, has led a lonely campaign within the kingdom to bring attention to the destruction of some historic sites. Dr. Ahmed has worked to lobby Asian and Arab governments to press the Saudis to stop such demolitions. And Mr. Ahmed, in Washington, has built a database of the historic spots now destroyed. But Saudi officials say they have been painstakingly preserving the Islamic artifacts they find, and operate two small museums in Mecca. In all, they say, more than $19 billion has been spent on preserving the country's Muslim heritage. Soon the largest Islamic Museum will not be in London – but In Makkah.

Developers and real estate agents, meanwhile, say the construction makes room for even more Muslims to take part in the hajj, and therefore serves the greater good.

That suggests that the changes are far from over.

"Makkah has never been changed like it has now," Mr. Angawi said. "What you see now is only 10 percent of what's to come. What is coming will make Makkah a model city for all Muslims to cherish."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Karachi - Dubai's Envy

Karachi - Dubai's Envy !!
This is a presentation prepared by Emaar, KPT and Nakheel. All this is in the works. These companies have bought most of the property in Karachi. They include :
Bandoo and Bundal Islands, Minora semi-island, Sands Pit and Hawks bay etc. Varify at Wikipedia, KPT site and Emaar web site.

( Turn up the volume and click)

NPR on Pakistan Independence

NPR discusses Pakistan. About time.

Islamist Hardliners !

2. Media more open with Musharraf !

3. Military dominates everything. Tell them "what is it to you".

4. Novelists See Pakistan as Land of Contradictions
Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie !

5. Waiting for the next.

Author Review and Analysis