Friday, September 24, 2010

Lotte Pakistan Plans to Spend $500 Million to Increase Chemical Production

Lotte is aconglomerate and one of the largest food and shopping groups in Japan and South Korea. This $500 million investment come in right after China's announced that its exporting Pakistan a 1000 MW Nuclear Plant !

Lotte Pakistan PTA Ltd., the nation’s only producer of pure terephthalic acid, plans to spend $500 million to increase output as demand rises for the chemical used in making polyester.

“The investment may be in another plant producing the same product in Pakistan,” Asif Saad, chief executive officer of the company, said in an interview in Karachi yesterday, without giving details. Lotte Pakistan is yet to decide a timeframe for the investment, Zain Talpur, a company spokesman, said today.

Demand for pure terephthalic acid may increase as textile makers use more polyester after the nation’s worst-ever floods destroyed cotton standing in fields, according to Syed Abid Ali, a research analyst at Arif Habib Securities Ltd. in Karachi. A jump in cotton prices to a 15-year high this month may also boost polyester demand.

Pakistan, the world’s third-largest cotton user, may import as much as 50 percent more of the fiber this year after floods damaged crops, Muhammad Arshad, a vice president at the Pakistan Central Cotton committee, said this month. The South Asian nation is the world’s fourth-largest cotton producer and textiles account for two-thirds of its overseas shipments.

Flooding since July 22 caused $7 billion of damage across the nation and 20 million people were displaced, according to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Lotte Pakistan’s shares, which have climbed 7.9 percent this year, rose 0.6 percent to 8.45 rupees at 9:21 a.m. on the Karachi Stock Exchange. The company doubled its profit in the quarter ended June 30 to 1.26 billion rupees ($14.6 million).

The company is 75 percent owned by South Korea’s Lotte Group which bought a majority stake in Pakistan PTA Ltd. in September 2009, according to the company’s website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

China to build 1000 MW Nuclear Plant in Chashma, Pakistan !

Long trusted Pakistan's friend China going to help Pakistan in the power shortage crisis. China to build 1000 MW Nuclear plant in Chashma which is part of the deal signed in 2003 to build 10 nuclear plants in Pakistan.
Chashma I is a 300 MW Plant which has already completed.
Chashma II the 650 MW plants is near completion.
Chashma III and IV will be 1000 MW plants.
KANUPP-II, Karachi is under negotiations.

China gave its firmest government confirmation yet of plans to build two new nuclear reactors for Pakistan, but a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she did not know about talks over a bigger reactor deal.

The spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China plans to help Pakistan expand its Chashma nuclear energy complex in Punjab by building two reactors in addition to one already operating and another nearing completion.

Her comments also suggested Beijing may see no need to seek approval for the two new Chashma reactors from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an international council of governments, some of whose members have voiced qualms about the deal.

“This project is based on an agreement signed between the two countries in 2003 about cooperation in the nuclear power field,” Jiang told a regular news conference, citing plans to build the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of about 300 megawatts each at Chashma.

“China has already notified the International Atomic Energy Agency about the relevant details, and invited the IAEA to exercise safeguards and oversight of this project,” said Jiang.

Up to now, Chinese government officials have been tight-lipped in public about the planned new units at Chashma, although the Chinese companies picked to build them have announced contract signings.

Jiang's statement that the new reactors come under a 2003 agreement may ruffle other countries that have pressed China to seek a waiver for them from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 46-member consensus-based body that seeks to ensure nuclear exports are not diverted to non-peaceful purposes.

The expansion of China's nuclear power ties with Pakistan has magnified unease in Washington, Delhi and other capitals worried about Pakistan's history of spreading nuclear weapons technology, its domestic instability, and about the potential exceptions created in international non-proliferation rules.

Jiang was also asked about the China National Nuclear Corp's statement on Monday that it is in talks to build a 1-gigawatt nuclear reactor for Pakistan, in addition to the four smaller Chashma units built, being finished or planned.

But she had less to say on this.

“We don't understand this matter. You can make further inquiries with the company,” Jiang said.

Pakistan is a long-standing partner of China, and has been suffering chronic power shortages.

To receive nuclear exports, nations that are not one of the five officially recognised atomic weapons states must usually place all their nuclear activities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, say NSG rules.

When the United States sealed its nuclear agreement with India in 2008, it won a waiver from that rule from the NSG after contentious negotiations in which China raised misgivings.

Washington and other governments have said China should at least seek a similar waiver for the planned new reactors in Pakistan.

But China now appears positioned to argue that the two new units at Chashma were part of an agreement made before it joined the NSG in 2004, and so do not need another waiver.

Beijing stayed quiet about Chashma at an NSG meeting in June and has not publicly sought an exemption.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Poverty Reduced by 50% during Musharraf Rule - World Bank Report

ISLAMABAD: A World Bank survey has revealed that poverty in Pakistan was reduced by 50 percent on consumption-led growth of the economy under the rule of the former president, Pervez Musharraf.

“The percentage of the people living below the poverty line in Pakistan fell from 34.5 percent in 2001/02 to 17.2 percent in 2007/08,” World Bank said in its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) paper, based on a survey conducted in fiscal year 2007/08. The bank is going to provide $6 billion to Pakistan on the basis of CPS findings.

According to Planning Commission officials, the PPP-led government asked the commission to conceal the results of the survey because the poverty started rising after the Musharraf’s regime.

According to the WB survey, poverty in urban areas fell from 22.7 percent in 2001/02 to 10.1 percent in 2007/08. In rural areas, it declined from 39.3 percent in 2001 to 20.6 percent in 2007/08, it said.

“This progress was a result of growth in real per adult consumption expenditure and declining inequality from 2005/06 to 2007/08,” the report said.

Key human development indicators of educational attainment, health outcomes and unemployment rates also corroborated these figures, the officials said.

The report showed that the pace of poverty reduction varied across provinces. Poverty in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa steadily declined from 1998/99 onwards. “In Sindh and Balochistan, it recorded sharp rises in 2001/02 and 2005/06, possibly owing to weak agriculture performance in those years,” the report said.

The reduction in poverty in KP is particularly noteworthy as officials believe that it was facilitated by higher remittances through both foreign and domestic channels. “The large volatility in poverty suggests that a substantial portion of Pakistan’s population is vulnerable, living close to the poverty line, and could fall into poverty as a result of shocks,” the report said.

The overlap between vulnerable and poor households is low as about 60 percent of the highly vulnerable population does not belong to the poorest 20 percent. This means that a significant share of the non-poor population is as vulnerable as poor households, it said.

The WB report conceded that the gains in poverty reduction may have been partly reversed in the wake of the recent economic crisis.

“Food and fuel prices rose by 23.7 and 18.4 percent, respectively in the review period, resulting in a 21 percent reduction in the purchasing power,” it said.

The 2007/08 household survey results also suggest that poverty started rising towards the end of the fiscal year.

Officials said that the impact of the recent economic downturn on poverty levels in the country will only be known when the next household survey is conducted.

The Task Force on Food Security estimated that poverty headcount increased to 33.8 percent in 2007/08 and 36.1 percent in 2008/09. This means that about 62 million people were below the poverty line in 2008/09.

Data suggests that between 2005 and 2009, over 12 to 14 million people may have been added to the ranks of the poor in Pakistan. This would translate into an increase in poverty from 22.3 percent of the population in 2005/06 to between 30-35 percent in 2008/09,” the report added.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pakistan Motorcycle Production Passes One Million Units

What should have happened in the 70's is happening now but better late than never. Motorcycles are finally 'Made In Pakistan'. Local manufacturing of motorcycles has made motorcycle rates immune from the variations in Dollar and Yen currency rates ! Pakistani manufacturers of Chinese and Japanese motorcycles crossed a one million mark. Japanese makes loose their share of the Pakistani market to 51% to the Chinese. Now only if the Chinese can help local brands of Cars break the near monopoly of the Japanese.

The Chinese very cunningly transferred technology to the Pakistani manufacturers to to eat up the Japanese share of the market. At the start of this century, 99 percent of the market share was with the Japanese brands which shrunk to 51.5 percent, while the local Chinese brands have a share of 48.5 percent.

The production of motorcycles in the country crossed one million units during the first eleven months of recently passed fiscal year 2010-11.Pakistan automobile brand members dominated by Japanese brands accounted for over 670,000 units while the non-members, mostly Chinese models produced over 400,000 unites from July-May (2009-10), according to Engineering Development Board (EDB).

Chinese motorcycles are making fast inroads in the local market against the Japanese brands, the EDB sources said.

Honda with sales of over 438,028 units till May this year was on top, followed by Yamaha that produced 113,288 units, the sources said while quoting Pakistan Automobiles Manufacturing Association (PAMA) statistics. The sources said that even in PAMA members, the next three largest producers are local brands using Chinese technology, adding that each of them produced more units than the Japanese brand of Suzuki. On the top is Hero that has produced 31,210 units till May and enjoys 4.5 percent share in the PAMA production, the data revealed.

The production of the company grew by 69 percent against 18,388 units produced in 2008-09, they said adding that only eight local, Chinese brands and three Japanese brands were PAMA members. The Chinese motorcycle producers have cumulatively produced over 114,000 motorcycles this year the total motorcycle production is estimated by the industry circles at around 1.1m units this year.

The sources said that more than 56,750 Japanese motorcycles rolled in during the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2009-10 adding that the local brands with Chinese technology produced 514,000 units, including around 35,000 three wheelers.

The high deletion in motorcycles has facilitated the local entrepreneurs to launch their own brands and not worry about imports.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Paradigm shift in Pak-Afghan relations !

Pakistan scores a major victory in Pak-Afghan relations with the green signal to train Afghan troops.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed to send a group of military officers to Pakistan for training, a significant policy shift that signals deepening relations between the long-wary neighbours, a major US newspaper reported.

“The move is a victory for Pakistan, which seeks a major role in Afghanistan,” the Washington Post said in a Kabul datelined report.

According to the report, 300 Afghan soldiers are currently being trained under bilateral agreements in other countries, including Turkey and India.

The report claimed officials in both countries have become increasingly convinced that the US war effort there is faltering.

Afghan officials said Karzai has begun to see Pakistan as a necessary ally in ending the war through negotiation with the Taliban or on the battlefield, the paper reported.

“This is meant to demonstrate confidence in Pakistan, in the hope of encouraging them to begin a serious consultation and conversation with us on the issue of the Taliban,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai's national security adviser, said of the training agreement.

The previously unpublicised training would involve only a small group of officers, variously described as between a handful and a few dozen, but it has “enormous symbolic importance” as the first tangible outcome of talks between Karzai and Pakistan's military and intelligence chiefs that began in May.

Some key US officials involved in Afghanistan said they knew nothing of the arrangement.

“We are neither aware of nor have we been asked to facilitate training of the Afghan officer corps with the Pakistani military,” Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, head of the Nato training command in Afghanistan, said.

Washington has spent $27 billion to train and equip Afghan security forces since 2002, and President Obama's war strategy calls for doubling the strength of both the army and police force there by October 2011 to facilitate the gradual departure of US troops.

This week, Gen. David H. Petraeus, confirmed Wednesday as the new US and Nato war commander, said the United States wants to “forge a partnership or further the partnership that has been developing between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

In addition to taking military action against alleged Taliban sanctuaries inside its borders, Petraeus said, it is “essential” that Pakistan be involved “in some sort of reconciliation agreement” with the insurgents.

US officials are generally pleased with the rapprochement between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the rapid progress of the talks has given some an uneasy feeling that events are moving outside US control.

While building Afghanistan's weak army is a key component of US strategy, more than 300 Afghan soldiers are currently being trained under bilateral agreements in other countries, including Turkey and India.

Pakistan has been pushing for months for a training deal, and Spanta said that a “limited” number of officers would be part of the new agreement. Details were still under discussion, but a senior Pakistani government official said the program was expected to begin “soon.”

Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington and an advocate of a Pakistani training program, said the plan could expedite joint operations between the two militaries and reduce suspicions about Pakistan within the Afghan army.

“This is a major move,” Nawaz said. “It will have a powerful signalling effect in both countries.”

Analysts and officials see a broader thaw in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations over the past year. Pakistani scholarships have been accepted by a number of Afghan university students, and Pakistan is training Afghan civilian officials, Spanta said.

“We have seen a paradigm shift in the relationship,” said Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan. “And of course, both sides are benefiting from it.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Déjà vu : Afghanistan-ISI join hands to bring peace !

India tried to bloster non-Pushtoon Abdullah Abdullah during the previous Afghanistan elections. Now Hamid Karzai wants to undermine the Tajiks and give more control to the Pushtoons. ISI is backing Hamid Karzai starting a new chapter in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.

Pakistani proposals for peace talks between President Hamid Karzai and an insurgent commander have triggered political tensions inside Afghanistan that analysts warn could dangerously destabilise the country.

Western officials say Pakistan's ISI spy agency has offered to negotiate with Sirajuddin Haqqani – an al-Qaida linked commander – as part of a broader initiative to find a find a settlement to the conflict.

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, and the head of the ISI, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, are due to arrive in Kabul tomorrow for their third meeting with Karzai in recent months.

Frosty relations between the two sides have thawed in recent months; about 10 days ago reports emerged from Pakistan that the ISI was offering to "deliver" the Haqqani network, which is based in North Waziristan in the tribal belt.

Today a suspected CIA drone attacked a compound in North Waziristan, killing at least three people, in the second strike in as many days. At the same time al-Jazeera television reported that the talks were so advanced that Karzai had met Haqqani in the presence of Kayani and Pasha – a report that officials denied emphatically.

But the very notion of Pakistani-sponsored talks has sparked consternation among Afghanistan's ethnically fractured opposition, who fear the rapprochement with Islamabad will see them excluded from any future political settlement.

"None of the players believe in the current strategy," opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah told the Guardian. "Karzai is going down the drain and taking the international community with him.

"If he thinks he can give [the Taliban] a few ministries and a few provinces, they will simply take those provinces and then force him out."

Abdullah said he was appalled that the Afghan president had recently referred to the Taliban with the affectionate "jan" suffix. "Talib-jan is how you would refer to your dearest young son – it would be considered too soft to use on a teenager."

Three weeks ago Karzai's intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh, and his interior minister, Hanif Atmar, quit in protest at the new Pakistan policy. Both men are Tajiks; Saleh was previously a leading member of the Northern Alliance that helped topple the Taliban in 2001.

Michael Semple, a regional expert, said he was alarmed at the speed with which the political class was fissuring.

"Sane people, who've been part of this process all along, are now saying the country won't survive till the end of the year," he said.

The proposed Haqqani talks have also annoyed US officials, who complain that Karzai is increasingly excluding them in favour of direct dealings with Pakistan. "Karzai hasn't done the groundwork for a deal. What happened with Saleh shows that there's a lot of consternation out there," said one western official.

The ISI, which has long been accused of harbouring the Taliban inside Pakistan's long western border, insists it is not manoeuvring to return the group to power in Afghanistan. An official said policy was to seek a political settlement involving all Afghan factions. "We can live with a hostile Afghanistan, as long as it is peaceful and stable," he said.

Relations between Karzai and Pakistan are thawing rapidly. Pakistani officials have begun to speak warmly of a figure they previously disparaged. The ISI offered him "unconditional support on any and all decisions he makes about the future of Afghanistan," the official said.

Despite the intense speculation, a senior Nato official in Kabul said progress towards a deal was "pretty tentative", adding there was "no real substance in terms of talks and what a deal with the ISI might look like". But he said that with a huge fight against "their own Taliban" the Pakistanis were reluctant to divert soldiers to tackling sanctuaries enjoyed by the Afghan Taliban. And although Karzai has tempered his anti-Pakistan rhetoric in public, he still distrusts the Pakistanis. "If anything, rapprochement between the two sides is frustratingly slow," he added.

It is not clear whether the ISI, for all its reputed influence, is able to "deliver" the Taliban or Haqqani group that easily. One western official said that while the agency has a strong relationship with the military groups, it was not clear whether it extended to "command and control".

"It's like Iran and Hezbollah," said the official. "It's much easier to judge when they are both moving in the same direction. But that is not always the case."

Semple, the analyst, warned that as players to the conflict jockey for position, some were engaging in "disinformation warfare" to influence public opinion. So far, he said, "the story with Haqqani talks is that it's just a story."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pakistan is beginning to turn a corner in civil-military relations

Pakistan is beginning to turn a corner in civil-military relations, American scholar and author Dr Daniel N. Nelson said on Wednesday while speaking about ‘understanding civil-military relations.’ The event was organised by the US Consulate.

Dr Nelson added that more needed to be done to ensure civilian democratic control over the military. The military and intelligence agencies must reveal their budget, and be available for parliamentary inquiry and testimony. Prolonged militancy could endanger civil-military relations by engaging the army in combating terrorism and diverting scarce resources towards it instead of addressing societal and economic needs, he said. Eliminating militancy and terrorism was therefore imperative so that civilians could turn their attention towards the basic needs of the people and promote democratic control over military and intelligence agencies.

Dr Nelson was of the opinion that five factors ñ laws, change of culture, structure and process, transparency and budgetary control ñ were vital for establishing control of civilian elected government over ‘all national security structures.’ While dictators have termed laws and the Constitution as pieces of paper and burnt them, it was essential for the president or the prime minister to be the commander of the armed forces. He added that it was also vital that generals not be nominated from one particular ethnic group.

Norms or values can be changed only by determining whether the army should be in-charge or subservient; whether it should control the defence ministry or listen to a civilian minister. There have been times even in the USA where army generals considered themselves important and were even elected as presidents.

The US passed the ‘National Security Act’ in 1947, the year when Pakistan became independent, to put the CIA under the control of civilians, Dr Nelson said, adding that there were times, especially during the Korean war, when relations between the president and the army chief became strained, prompting President Truman to fire the army chief. This, Dr Nelson said, was a fight to ensure democratic control over the army.

When the intelligence agencies gave misleading information about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, President George Bush appointed a commission to ‘restructure’ the intelligence agency, resulting in the creation of the post of ‘director of national intelligence’ to ensure ‘external surveillance’ over intelligence agencies. Transparency and openness, Dr Nelson said, were vital ingredients for establishing civilian control over the military. This could be achieved through the promulgation of the Freedom of Information Act, and hearing and testimony by the legislature where high level officials of the intelligence agencies should appear to testify. He said that budgetary control of intelligence agencies was also essential, even though it has been observed that the intelligence apparatus terms its budget as secret. Dr Nelson, who now heads a think tank’ Global Concept and Communications’ in Virginia, said that all this required civilians to also undergo the same scrutiny.

A number of developing countries, including Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Turkey, have gone to the ‘next level’ where now there were strong chances of a stable democracy. African countries, such as Ghana, which suffered seven successive coups have also graduated to the next level.

Referring his recent talks with two Pakistani army generals, Dr Nelson said that the generals also did not want to be in-charge of civilians as it required ‘too much time and too much money.’ He admitted that the USA supported military regimes during the Cold War out of fear of communism.

About the army’s corporate interests, Dr Nelson recalled that even US President Eisenhower once warned against the implications of the ‘power of the military industrial complex.’

Friday, April 30, 2010

China's Pakistan Corridor

Even though Pakistan is fighting its war on terror China is investing in Pakistan's economy like there is no tomorrow. China's main interest in the treacherous territory of Balochistan are the copper mines and the Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

In the Pakistani province of Balochistan, South Asia and central Asia bleed into the Middle East. Bordered by Afghanistan, Iran and the Persian Gulf, and well endowed with oil, gas, copper, gold and coal reserves, Balochistan is a rich prize that should have foreign investors battering at the gates. But for a half-century it has been the exclusive playground of the Pakistani government and its state-owned Chinese partners. China would prefer it to stay that way.

China is Pakistan's oldest military and political ally, but in the last two decades it is the economic component of the alliance that has taken center stage. Pakistan, and in particular Balochistan, is China's physical link to its sizable investments in Iranian gas, Afghan hydropower and Gulf oil. Explains Andrew Small, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, the Sino-Pak relationship "matters more now, because of India's economic growth. Pakistan being a trade and energy corridor means that possible pipelines and projects [in Pakistan] have a strategic significance beyond the specific investments." Chinese control of Pakistan's commodities corridor can "bind India down in South Asia, restricting its capacity to operate elsewhere."

Chinese companies have poured at least $15 billion into Baloch projects: an oil refinery, copper and zinc mines and a deepwater port at Gwadar, in the Gulf of Oman. "They wanted Gwadar to be another Dubai," says Khurram Abbas, the port's managing director, "to capture the transit trade with countries that are landlocked, like Afghanistan, and to encourage transshipment trade from the Persian Gulf to East Africa."

China's Tianjin Zhongbei Harbor Engineering has invested $200 million to build the first three berths and plans to invest a total of $1.6 billion to expand the port in the future. But business at Gwadar has been slow. Though the three berths have the capacity to handle $2 billion worth of cargo a year, the port saw only $700 million in 2009. "The challenge," says Abbas, "is that Gwadar is not yet linked to the rest of the country. The government was supposed to provide road connectivity. Without roads there can be no commercial activity [in Balochistan]. And we need commercial activity, investors to set up factories around Gwadar, to get cargo for the port."

China is taking matters into its own hands, starting to build a highway from Gwadar to the capital of Balochistan, Quetta, on the Afghan border, where it will connect to Pakistan's national highway network, and from there to the Karakoram Highway that leads into China. China's Harbor Engineering Corps is also working on a new airport at Gwadar, due to open in 2013.

Infrastructure is not the only challenge that Chinese investors in Balochistan face. The province is a key battleground in the wars currently threatening Pakistan. Quetta is rumored to be hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Small towns in the Baloch heartland, meanwhile, are a launchpad for a decades-old separatist movement that capitalizes on populist resentment of federal agencies and foreign investment Chinese firms can usually weather these threats. Explains the German Marshall Fund's Small, "They are less concerned about security than the U.S. because they have faith in the Pakistani military's ability to look out for their interests, a level of faith that Chinese workers will get privileged levels of protection even amidst destabilizing [political] circumstances." Unsaid: China is willing to play in the bribery culture traditional to the area.

Moreover, China recruits local figures as managers. Muhammad Sanjrani, the managing director of China's Saindak copper mine in Chagai, Balochistan, is also the head of the local tribe, with historic control of the Chagai region, and has worked to sell the project to the populace.

Beijing is willing to play hardball to protect its position in Balochistan. That's a lesson learned the hard way for Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Canada's Barrick Gold ( ABX - news - people ) and Chile's Antofagasta. In 2006 Tethyan signed a deal to survey, and then develop, the Reko Diq reserve in Balochistan, estimated to hold $70 billion in copper and gold.

Though the provincial government holds a 25% stake in the venture, the deal was signed between the federal government and Tethyan's foreign execs, and no prominent tribal authorities are involved. As a result, the mine has been unusually unpopular, exacerbating threats to other foreign investments in the province, including China's highway project.

In January the Baloch government, struggling politically and looking to appease separatist hardliners, announced it would cancel Tethyan's license and force investors to absorb a $3 billion loss. Almost immediately the U.S. intervened, putting pressure on the Pakistani central government to dissuade Quetta from doing this. U.S. diplomats believe the sanctity of the Tethyan deal is essential to its efforts to encourage Western investment in Pakistan as a counter terror tool.

For China, however, American intervention was an alarm bell, confirming longstanding suspicions in Beijing that Pakistan's alliance with the U.S. in Afghanistan would come at the expense of China's relationship with the Pakistani military establishment and its exclusive access to Pakistan's wealth and strategic location.

But the confrontation between Pakistan's central government, responding to U.S. pressure, and a more intransigent provincial leadership also presented China with an opportunity. The giant Metallurgical Corp. of China, which controls the Chinese stake in the Saindak site, bid to take over the Reko Diq site from Tethyan, too.

Though the provincial and federal governments have yet to agree, MCC made a compelling case. In private meetings with Baloch leaders the Chinese representatives agreed to build a railroad and a power plant in Balochistan as well as to waive any requirements for sovereign guarantees. Says a frustrated William N. Center, the U.S. State Department's foreign commercial attaché in Pakistan, "These are terms that no private company could compete with."

Push to the Sea
A highway from Gwadar to Quetta will serve as a pipeline for China. Metallurgical Corp. of China, a stakeholder in the Saindak copper mine, is aiming to take over Barrick's Reko Diq site.

Reko Diq :

Reko Diq is a small town in Chagai District, Balochistan, Pakistan, in a desert area 70 kilometres north west of Naukundi, near to the Iran-Afghan border.

Reko Diq, also the name of an ancient volcano, literally means sandy peak, but this is something of a misnomer. It could be called Tangav Diq, or gold peak, because according to development expert Syed Fazl-e-Haider, below the sands lie some 12.3 million tons of copper and 20.9 million ounces of gold. The copper-gold deposits at Reko Diq are believed to be even bigger than those of Sarcheshmeh in Iran and Escondida in Chile.

Reko Diq is a large copper-gold porphyry mineral deposit on the Tethyan belt, located in southwest Pakistan in the province of Balochistan in which Barrick holds a 37.5% interest. A pre-feasibility study was completed in third quarter 2009; a full feasibility study is being finalized and is under review and progress continues with the expansion studies and the baseline environmental and social impact assessment which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2010.

Barrick’s share of measured and indicated and inferred gold resources are 9.5 million ounces1 and 6.4 million ounces1, respectively and its share of measured and indicated and inferred copper resources are 11.7 billion pounds1 and 8.4 billion pounds.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

China to build two 650-MW Nuclear Reactors in Pakistan - Chashma-3 and -4.

After the completion of 300 MW Chashma-I and Chashma-II Nuclear reactors China today signalled building of two more Nuclear Reactors. Pakistan Deal Signals China's Growing Nuclear Assertiveness

A mum US watches the pending Sino–Pakistan reactor deal turn into reality and reflects the growing confidence and assertiveness of China’s nuclear energy program. Contrary to guidelines adopted in 1992 by nuclear equipment supplier states in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), China is poised to export two 650 MW Nuclear power reactors to Pakistan. This transaction is about to happen at a time when China’s increasingly ambitious nuclear energy program is becoming more autonomous.

Guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), representing 46 NPT states, call on parties to the NPT not to supply nuclear equipment to non–nuclear-weapon states without comprehensive IAEA safeguards, including Pakistan. China joined the NSG in 2004.

The United States and other NSG states may object to the pending transaction but they cannot prevent China from exporting the reactors. Senior officials in NSG states friendly to the United States said this month they expect that President Barack Obama will not openly criticize the Chinese export because Washington, in the context of a bilateral security dialogue with Islamabad, may be sensitive to Pakistan’s desire for civilian nuclear cooperation in the wake of the sweeping U.S.–India nuclear deal which entered into force in 2008 after considerable arm-twisting of NSG states by the United States, France, and Russia. The United States may also tolerate China’s new nuclear deal with Pakistan because Obama wants China’s support for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran this spring.

China’s Civilian Nuclear Industry On The March:

The pending Sino–Pakistan reactor deal reflects the growing confidence and assertiveness of China’s nuclear energy program as it establishes a track record of reliability in reactor construction and operation. Chinese nuclear entities are wary of interference from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in their programs and are keen to establish their freedom of action vis-à-vis cooperating foreign governments and firms. China within a few years also wants to become a global nuclear equipment exporter.

If China succeeds, ten years from now it will likely become the world’s second-biggest nuclear power generator after the United States. After years of bilateral disputes over nonproliferation issues, in 1998 the U.S. Congress allowed a 1985 Sino–U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement to enter into force. After that, U.S. nuclear cooperation with China dramatically increased, culminating in China’s 2006 selection of a consortium of companies led by Westinghouse to build four AP1000 power reactors in China. Westinghouse bested bidders from France and Russia in a competition set up by China to determine which of the three would provide the technology blueprint for the future standardized development of China’s nuclear power industry.

China chose Westinghouse after it agreed to transfer to China ownership of the technology for the new and untried 1,000-MW reactor. China then awarded contracts to Westinghouse and its partners to build four AP1000s in China. The first two are scheduled to be finished in 2013. Westinghouse scored another coup when in 2008 China selected AP1000 for China’s first raft of inland power reactors.

Westinghouse’s apparent emergence as primus inter pares among foreign reactor vendors in China in 2006 was linked to the fortunes of the State Nuclear Power Technology Co. (Snptc). It was set up by China’s State Council of Ministers to take charge of technology selection and transfer for China’s future nuclear power program, after two decades during which China organized a handful of “boutique” reactor projects in cooperation with Canada, France, Japan, and Russia.

China also does not share NRC’s view that a terrorist attack on reactors, using a hijacked passenger aircraft as a weapon, is a realistic enough scenario to warrant modifying the design. Right now, China operates only eleven reactors representing about 9 gigawatts (GW) of installed generating capacity, but these have established a record of reliability, and have convinced China’s leaders that nuclear power is safe, efficient, and profitable. Fed by galloping energy demand and concerns for global warming among Chinese leaders, China’s appetite for nuclear power is now increasing. In 2005 China expected to have 40 GW on line by 2020. Chinese officials and executives now routinely assert that by 2020 China will have a total installed capacity over 70 GW. If China succeeds, ten years from now it will likely become the world’s second-biggest nuclear power generator after the United States.

Shortly after China selected Westinghouse to shape its nuclear future, rival Areva made a separate deal with China to build two of its new EPR reactors in Guangdong Province in China’s southeast, where French nuclear firms have been engaged since the late 1980s. Unlike Westinghouse, Areva also offered China a suite of fuel cycle technology options, and French officials hoped that a mammoth fuel cycle deal would coax China to continue building the EPR.

In line with plans by China to build more reactors, China promulgated that it would follow the path of France, Russia, and Japan and embark on commercial-scale plutonium separation from China’s spent fuel, and recycle of the plutonium as reactor fuel. Areva offered China to help set up a reprocessing industry in China, modeled on its own experience in France. More recently, Russia has made a counteroffer to do the same, vowing to integrate Chinese labs into advanced fuel cycle R&D work now ongoing in Russian centers.

China’s nuclear power program has become more aggressive, politically organized, and independent of its foreign partners in the wake of recent changes in China’s decision-making structure. China will certainly build more reactors than it anticipated when beginning in 2003 it organized the competition leading to selection of Westinghouse. But many or most of these set up this decade will likely not be AP1000s or EPRs but instead be based on the original French design built in Guangdong and now dubbed China Pressurized Water Reactor or CPR-1000. To meet China’s higher targets for more nuclear capacity, China is now replicating these CPRs.

Rumors in Beijing circulated last month that China will therefore go back on its plan to permit Westinghouse to build all of the first group of inland power reactors in the country. Chinese officials won’t confirm that, but utility executives―including at China Power Investment Corp. (CPI), a major AP1000 investor—said that China through 2020 will shift resources away from more AP1000s and instead toward cookie-cutter construction of the CPR at many Chinese locations, including at inland sites.

In the meantime, the ambitious construction schedule for the U.S.-designed reactors in China has come under heavy pressure.

In part out of Chinese concern to keep construction on track, China’s nuclear regulator, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), will not agree to a proposal, favored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Westinghouse, to modify the design of the containment structure of the AP1000 to provide improved protection against an air crash. In the United States, NRC, after a design review prompted by post-9/11 concerns about terrorist threats, asked Westinghouse to change the design of a shield building which is part of the containment and to use stronger materials. Westinghouse then urged China to also follow that advice.

China will not do that, Beijing officials said last month after consultations with Westinghouse and U.S. regulators. “China will build Revision 15,” the AP1000 design version originally approved for construction in both the United States and in China, one official said. “It will not approve Revision 17,” which incorporates the changes sought by NRC and Westinghouse, he said.

Changing the AP1000 design now would require construction in China to be halted and delayed. China also does not share NRC’s view that a terrorist attack on reactors, using a hijacked passenger aircraft as a weapon, is a realistic enough scenario to warrant modifying the design.

The Westinghouse project has encountered other challenges which, so far, have not caused schedule delays. Last year, a key firm which is part of the technology transfer program, China First Heavy Industries (CFHI), failed to produce forgings to the required quality standard for the AP1000. Project executives said CFHI had difficulty handling the demanding steel material called for in critical components. The schedule was not set back because a Westinghouse partner in Korea, Doosan, had a stock of prototype forgings it had made earlier. The AP1000 has also encountered problems in main coolant pumps, which are of a unique design. Chinese officials said last year that further deployment of the AP1000 would depend on successful demonstration of these pumps, which were a critical feature of the passive cooling system billed as one of the key advantages of this reactor model. According to diplomats there have also been some Chinese bureaucratic delays for certain AP1000 project approvals.

Fed by galloping energy demand and concerns for global warming among Chinese leaders, China’s appetite for nuclear power is now increasing.
Nearly immediately after partnering with Westinghouse, Snptc demanded the U.S. firm aggressively localize AP1000 production at a pace Westinghouse would not agree to, including for safety reasons. Snptc and Westinghouse then compromised, but utility investors say that the AP1000 program cannot go fast enough to localize and at the same time supply China’s growing nuclear power needs, and that China has continued to pressure Westinghouse to accelerate the localization program. Because production of CPRs in China is already highly localized after about 15 years of Chinese experience, domestic politics in China favors building more of these reactors.

Snptc also wants Westinghouse to increase the power of the reactor to 1,400 MW and then to 1,700 MW, matching the EPR. According to Snptc last month the 1,400-MW design will be ready for construction by 2013. Many foreign executives are skeptical that schedule will hold up.

China’s nuclear power program has become more aggressive, politically organized, and independent of its foreign partners in the wake of recent changes in China’s decision-making structure. Those at the top of this pinnacle are now watching how Snptc delivers in tandem with Westinghouse.

Ten years ago Chinese central planners began looking at uranium as their chosen future fuel to meet breakneck demand for base load electricity. But Premier Zhu Rongji, who was skeptical, kept the lid on.

Under Zhu, who was replaced by Wen Jiabao in 2003, the biggest player in nuclear energy decision making was the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), which answered to the Committee for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (Costind), an organization which supervised all defense-related industry. Under Zhu, Costind and CAEA began losing power, especially after China in 1998 established the General Armaments Department (GAD), now one of four departments of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). As GAD’s authority increased, Costind’s and CAEA’s diminished.

Two years ago, China set up a brand new organization to take command of China’s energy policy, including nuclear policy, the National Energy Administration (NEA). It is headed by Zhang Guobao, who strongly favors nuclear power development and who is also Vice-Chairman of China’s leading planning agency, the National Development and Reform Council (NDRC). NEA has largely supplanted CAEA, and it reports to Li Keqiang, China’s First Vice-Premier, a likely successor to Wen Jiabao.

NEA—which is staffed by about 170 experts, including fewer than 20 responsible for nuclear matters—cooperates with NDRC on setting planning targets, but NEA decides which reactors will be built, at what sites, and which state-owned enterprises will get contracts. It, Chinese officials said last month, will favor construction of more CPRs, and will also support China’s biggest nuclear SOE, the China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) with a total payroll of over 100,000, in exporting more reactors to Pakistan.

Possible Considerations in a China-Pakistan Deal :
China has long assisted Pakistan’s nuclear energy program. In 1991 CNNC contracted with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to build Chashma-1, a 325 MW power reactor. It was finished and began operating in 2000.

In 2004, China joined the NSG. China then explained to the NSG that a longstanding framework agreement with Pakistan committed China to provide a second reactor, Chashma-2, more research reactors, plus supply of all the fuel in perpetuity for these units. Chashma-2 construction began in 2005.

Chashma-2 is scheduled to be finished in 2011. To keep CNNC at work in Pakistan thereafter, CNNC and PAEC negotiated terms for two 650-MW reactors, Chashma-3 and -4.

In 2006 Pakistan urged China to approve the new project but China was not keen to do so. Pakistan diplomats said then China was holding back because it was not clear that the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal would be approved by both governments and by the NSG.

Chinese officials said last month that export of the reactors to Pakistan would be justified in consideration of political developments in South Asia, including the entry into force of the U.S.–India deal and the NSG exemption for India.
After the U.S.–India deal was approved and India’s NSG exemption entered into force without any Chinese objections in 2008, China’s policy evolved to support demands by Pakistan for compensation, but China did not expressly advocate awarding Pakistan a broad exemption from NSG trade sanctions matching India’s.

NSG country representatives last week said they expect that the Obama administration will accept a limited amount of additional Chinese nuclear commerce with Pakistan as a price for getting Chinese support on UN Security Council sanctions against Iran in weeks ahead. Some suggested that the United States would also enlist China in this regard to persuade Pakistan to drop its opposition to negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, which Pakistan has said it could not accept because the U.S.–India deal had tilted the nuclear balance in South Asia in India’s favor.

As long as Pakistan resists outside initiatives which would limit the autonomy of its strategic nuclear program, and because China is believed to be hiding behind Pakistan in avoiding making a firm FMCT commitment in light of China’s strategic dilemmas with the United States, it is doubtful whether China would have effective influence on Pakistani decisions to halt fissile material production.

Mindful that the NPT’s 189 parties will convene a Review Conference on the status of the treaty in May, European diplomats told Chinese counterparts last month that the NSG will currently not agree to exempt Pakistan from NSG sanctions, regardless of Pakistan’s demands for such a step during bilateral security talks with the United States.

Senior NSG diplomats said this month that they expect that soon after China has completed political and contractual arrangements for the reactor sale to Pakistan, China will inform the NSG of its planned transaction. The matter could then be taken up by the NSG as an agenda item or point of business at a future NSG meeting. So far no NSG meetings are scheduled in 2010 prior to an annual plenary meeting in New Zealand in late June.

The U.S. State Department, in line with its response to a 1998 reactor export from Russia to India, continues to hold that a new reactor export by China to Pakistan would be contrary to both NSG and U.S. policy, but whether the United States would record an objection at the NSG or encourage other NSG states to do so would be up to President Obama following interagency discussions and consultation with foreign governments including Pakistan and China.

If the United States were not to register opposition to China’s new exports, that would signal the United States under Obama was prepared to brush off an important nuclear nonproliferation norm on grounds of political expediency.
Chinese officials said last month that export of the reactors to Pakistan would be justified in consideration of political developments in South Asia, including the entry into force of the U.S.–India deal and the NSG exemption for India. Western diplomats said China would not strongly favor an NSG exemption for Pakistan matching India’s because that would not additionally benefit Chinese industry and because Pakistan, compared to India, is a limited nuclear power market with far less infrastructure and far fewer financial resources.

China in 2004 did not claim that more power reactors after Chashma-2 would be “grandfathered” by the prior Sino–Pakistan nuclear accord, and China has argued instead that there are compelling political reasons concerning the stability of South Asia to justify the exports. China will therefore not justify the transactions on the basis of any confidential commercial agreements between China and Pakistan, NSG state representatives said.

Should any NSG party object to these Chinese exports, the NSG would have no recourse to prevent the transaction, because its guidelines are not legally binding, leaving a decision to abide by the guidelines up to each sovereign member state.

Notification by China of intent to export reactors to Pakistan will prompt an internal debate among NSG members over whether to “jointly reconsider their common safeguards requirements” under paragraph 5 of the NSG guidelines, because the Sino–Pakistan transaction came to fruition just two years after the United States, France, and Russia firmly pressured many supplier states to grant India a broad exception to NSG trade rules.

A long term remedy could be making significant changes in the rules governing the world’s nuclear nonproliferation and trade regime.
In support of the U.S.–India deal, former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in bilateral meetings with NSG states in 2007 and 2008 urged the NSG to eventually lift NPT sanctions against both Pakistan and Israel.

U.S. diplomats beginning in 2005 held out to Pakistan a distant promise that it would be exempted from the NSG safeguards requirements, but they weren’t counting on having to make the hard choices faced by the United States concerning Pakistan and China on many fronts in 2010. Still, if the United States were not to register opposition to China’s new exports, that would signal the United States under Obama was prepared to brush off an important nuclear nonproliferation norm on grounds of political expediency. Since NSG states are awaiting leadership from the United States on how to eventually respond to China’s challenge of the rules, tacit U.S. acquiescence would seriously damage the NSG’s credibility as a rule maker for nuclear trade.

A long term remedy could be provided—as Switzerland in 2008 suggested in explaining its approval of the NSG exemption for India—by making significant changes in the rules governing the world’s nuclear nonproliferation and trade regime. But the breach created by the U.S.-India deal, which would be opened wider by Chinese export of reactors to Pakistan, will not be easily closed because, as stated by paragraph 16 of the guidelines, “unanimous consent is required for any changes in the guidelines.” In the meantime, as global nuclear trade surges, NPT suppliers will be encouraged to ignore the rules.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

$1.9 billion Nuclear Deal with China. Nuclear Deal with the US a matter of time : Indian Abroad

WASHINGTON, March 30: A US nuclear deal with Pakistan is simply a matter of time, says a report distributed on Tuesday by the India Abroad news service.

The New York-based news agency, widely used by publications in India, disputed speculations that Pakistan made little gains in last week’s strategic dialogue with the US.

The report claimed that when the Pakistani delegation to the strategic dialogue asked for nuclear power plants, the US response was that “this could be discussed”.

“The US has nothing to lose by signing a nuclear deal with Pakistan. In fact, it will gain by nuclear trade with Pakistan, which will have no qualms about meeting the American conditions,” the report said.

“US diplomats say that the good thing with Pakistanis is that they do what they are asked to do, while the Indians would give twenty reasons why it cannot be done.”

The report also claimed that the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the International Atomic Energy Agency board would also succumb to the US pressure as they did after Washington signed a nuclear deal with New Delhi.

The report noted that more than a year ago a US think-tank study suggested that a nuclear deal for Pakistan was desirable on the same ground that worked in the Indian case -- a partly regulated Pakistani nuclear system would serve the cause of non-proliferation more than a totally unregulated one.

The report pointed out that during the Afghan war, US presidents had repeatedly certified that Pakistan had no nuclear weapons, when they knew well that China was filling Pakistan cupboards with fissile material.

“If Chinese collaboration did not hurt the US then, there is no reason why it should hurt the US now?” the report asked.

The Indian media also claimed that Pakistan had finalised its own civilian nuclear deal with China.

The media noted that an agreement was reached last week before Islamabad’s high-level strategic talks with Washington. The deal calls for China to provide loans and technical aid to Pakistan to build two atomic power facilities, the Daily Times reported. Informed sources said Beijing would loan Pakistan more than 80 per cent of the project’s $1.9 billion cost.

The news agency also reported that while the US would not do mediation in Kashmir, it would bring pressure on both India and Pakistan to shelve the issue, if not to resolve it. “The US position remains that the solution of Kashmir is ‘LoC Plus’, with the ‘Plus’ left undefined.”

During the Kargil conflict, the report noted, the then US President Bill Clinton was as adamant that India should not cross the LoC as he was about Pakistan withdrawing to the LOC on their side. “Available reports indicate that this is exactly what India and Pakistan are seeking through the back channels.”

On the Kashmir issue, the report noted, the US could gain more by appearing not to intervene as it did not need to take the blame for delay or failure. Yet, “the US DNA will be visible all over the place if a solution breaks out”.

The biggest gain for Pakistan from the Washington parleys, according to the report, was the roadmap, drawn for America’s exit from the Pak-Afghan region by 2011.

“This will involve greater Pakistani war efforts, for which Pakistan will be compensated by a speedy disbursement of the Coalition Support Fund,” the report added.

“But more importantly, Pakistan has received assurances that no dispensation in Afghanistan will be inimical to Pakistani interests and that Pakistan will have a say in the determination of the future of the region.”

The report warned: “India would definitely not be part of the new order if the US could help it. Pakistan’s gains in this area are considerable. This is where the relationship between the US and Pakistan has turned into a partnership and Foreign Minister Qureshi has become ‘a happy man, a satisfied man’.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pakistan to get Shadow Drones and 18 F-16's from the US !

Pakistan is scheduled to get 18 of the Block 52 F-16s, Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigate by fall and is expected to receive Shadow Drones within a year, a Pentagon official has said. Islamabad is set to receive all this military help under the enhanced US-Pakistan strategic cooperation.

"I would like to think that we would get them (Pakistan) within the year," the official said on Monday. "Shadow (Drone) is one of the things that they had asked for, and as we expanded and talked about other UAV platforms to be able to use is when they said: Well, let's take a look at them and then let's make sure we're picking the right one," the official said, adding that Shadow drones may in fact be the right platform at the end of the day.

In the last three years, the US has provided 14 F-16s, five fast patrol boats, 115 self-propelled howitzer field artillery cannons, more than 450 vehicles, hundreds of night- vision goggles, day and night scopes, radios, protective vests and first aid items to Pakistan's security forces. "Other significant military assistance to be provided later through this year through our Foreign Military Sales and Foreign Military Financing programs includes the delivery of the first batch of 18 of the Block 52 F-16s scheduled for the Pakistan Air Force, to arrive sometime this summer; and an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, the first for Pakistan Navy, this fall," the official said.

In fiscal year 2008, the US provided in excess of USD 1 billion as grants to Pakistan in security assistance and training. It, then, doubled in the last fiscal to just over USD 2 billion, and the figure is now projected to surpass this year.

"This significant commitment highlights the importance we place on our strategic long-term relationship and support for Pakistan," the official said, while observing that this was being done to assist Islamabad in the fight against terrorism.

The Obama Administration values Pakistan's strategic insight when it comes to Afghanistan and the region, and continues to consult their leaders closely, as exemplified by numerous visits by senior US officials to Islamabad, the official said. "Pakistan, is a key ally, and we face a common enemy and a common goal: a stable and secure Pakistan and the region," he added.

The Pentagon official said Pakistani officials were recently shown models of some drones in Afghanistan so that they would articulate their requirements. However, the US would not provide Pakistanis with drones having strike capabilities. "On the strike capability of drones, it's not US policy to be able to give any lethal capabilities with any of the drone technology that we do for any of the countries," the official said in response to a question.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pakistan Growth Time Line !

Pak Economy in 1999 was: $ 75 billion
Pak Economy in 2007 is: $ 160 billion
Pak Economy in 2008 is: $ 170 billion

GDP Growth in 1999: 3.1 %
GDP Growth in 2005: 8.4 %
GDP Growth in 2007: 7 %
GDP Growth in 2009: 2 %

GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in 1999: $ 270 billion
GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in 2007: $ 475.5 billion
GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in 2008: $ 504.3 billion

GDP per Capita Income in 1999: $ 450
GDP per Capita Income in 2007: $ 926
GDP per Capita Income in 2008: $1085

Pak revenue collection 1999: Rs. 305 billion
Pak revenue collection 2007: Rs. 708 billion
Pak revenue collection 2008: Rs. 990 billion

Pak Foreign reserves in 1999: $ 1.96 billion
Pak Foreign reserves in 2007: $ 16.4 billion
Pak Foreign reserves in 2008: $ 8.89 billion
Pak Foreign reserves in 2009: $ 14.4 billion

Pak Exports in 1999: $ 8 billion
Pak Exports in 2007: $ 18.5 billion
Pak Exports in 2008: $ 19.22 billion

Textile Exports in 1999: $ 5.5 billion
Textile Exports in 2007: $ 11.2 billion

KHI stock exchange 1999: $ 5 billion at 700 points
KHI stock exchange 2007: $ 75 billion at 14,000 points
KHI stock exchange 2008: $ 46 billion at 9,300 points and $20 billion at 4,972 points
KHI stock exchange 2009: $ 26.5 billion at 9,000 points

Foreign Investment in 1999: $ 301 million
Foreign Investment in 2007: $ 8.4 billion
Foreign Investment in 2008: $ 5.19 billion

Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) in 1999: 1.5%
Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) in 2005: 19.9%
Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) in 2007: 8.6%
Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) in 2008: 4.8%

Debt (External Debt & Liabilities) in 1988: $ 18 billion
Debt (External Debt & Liabilities) in 1999: $ 39 billion
Debt (External Debt & Liabilities) in 2007: $ 40.17 billion
Debt (External Debt & Liabilities) in 2009: $ 50.1 billion

Debt servicing 1999: 65% of GDP
Debt servicing 2007: 28% of GDP
Debt servicing 2008: 27% of GDP

Poverty level in 1999: 34%
Poverty level in 2007: 24%

Literacy rate in 1999: 45%
Literacy rate in 2007: 53%

Pak Development programs 1999: Rs. 80 billion
Pak Development programs 2007: Rs. 520 billion
Pak Development programs 2008: Rs. 549.7 billion

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beginning of the End for Zardari Presidency !

The countdown to the post-Zardari era begins

A poster and reputation in tattersTHE Supreme Court of Pakistan has made its intention clear. It wants to turf Asif Zardari from the presidency and compel him to return the wealth that he has allegedly looted and stashed away in Switzerland. In a 287-page judgment released late on January 19th the court explained why it had ruled the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) unconstitutional. The NRO, promulgated by the ousted dictator, Pervez Musharraf, in 2007, cleared Mr Zardari and his wife, the late Benazir Bhutto, of all corruption cases against them. The court’s lengthy arguments pave the way for challenges to Mr Zardari’s right to sit in parliament.

Morality, said the court, cannot be divorced from the constitution. In order to be a member of parliament, a person must be of “good character”. So anyone commonly known to be disreputable can be chucked out even if there is no conviction against him. Mr Zardari ’s reputation, fairly or not, is that of a “Mr 10%”.

The Supreme Court cited at length the successful legal battles fought by the governments of Nigeria and the Philippines with the Swiss authorities in their bids to get back the billions looted by Sani Abacha and Ferdinand Marcos. It has ordered Mr Zardari’s government to apply to the Swiss authorities to reopen the money-laundering case against Mr Zardari and Ms Bhutto.

Political pundits foresee the end of Mr Zardari’s presidency. He has thundered about a conspiracy against his “people’s government”, alluding to a nexus between the army, the judiciary and a section of the press. The army resents him as too soft towards both America and India. His efforts to bring the generals under civilian control have earned their hostility. The judges are on the warpath. And the opposition is fanning the conflict, hoping for a mid-term election and the rout of Mr Zardari’s party.

The court battles ahead are going to be nasty. Sooner rather than later, the army is likely to step in try to break the deadlock between the judiciary and the executive. Pakistan’s enduring tragedy, however, is that its record is no better than that of the civilians.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Turkey to build $20 billion Turkey-Pakistan Rail Link !

Turkey interested in building Diamer-Bhasha Dam

Pakistan and Turkey agreed on Monday to undertake a $20 billion project to upgrade a railway link from Islamabad to Istanbul, basically to speedily transport cargo from Pakistan to Turkey and ultimately to Europe.

This was decided in a meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul. The meeting continued for over an hour as President Abdullah Gul said three companies of his country were interested in constructing the Diamer-Bhasha Dam in Pakistan.

President Zardari is on a four-day visit to Turkey to attend the Trilateral Summit as well as the Istanbul Summit on the Afghan issue, besides discussing bilateral matters with Turkish leaders.

The five-year rail project envisages to curtail travel time between Islamabad and Istanbul, via Tehran, from the current 11 days to ultimately three-four days, as a track between the two cities already existed, but the facilities available requires an upgrade.

Emphasising that Pakistan and Turkey needed to intensify cooperation in various fields, with a focus on economic ties, President Zardari said the rail link of Pakistan with Turkey, via Tehran, would play a crucial role in achieving these objectives.

“Transportation of cargo by air has become expensive, while sea trade is normally slow,” President Zardari said. “So, the cargo rail link could provide a quick option to expand economic ties between the two countries as well as with Iran.”

A comprehensive presentation was given to the Pakistani and Turkish presidents on the 6,566-kilometre rail project from Islamabad to Istanbul, via Tehran, with 1,990-kilometre track situated in Pakistan, 2,570-kilometre track in Iran and 2,006-kilometre track in Turkey.

“This rail link will strengthen Pakistan’s economic as well as people-to-people contacts with not only brotherly Muslim countries, but also with the European countries,” said President Zardari, who floated the Islamabad-Istanbul cargo train idea last year when an experimental train was run on the route on August 14.

He stressed that the areas around the rail track should also be developed, so that benefits of increased trade could be passed on to the respective people. Zardari stressed the business community of Turkey to not only enhance trade ties with Pakistan, but also to take advantage of the lucrative investment opportunities in his country.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that besides constructing the Diamar-Bhasha Dam through its private sector, Turkey also planned to open a branch of a Turkish bank in Pakistan, probably in Islamabad.