7 Pakistan challenges for new army chief

7-challenges-for-pakistans-new-army-chief-general-qamar-javed-bajwa

What are the seven challenges Pakistan is facing that the new army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, could help deal with?

Here’s my list, in seven tweets.

1 Domestic terrorism

2 Terrorism hindering FDI

3 Entanglement with neighbours

4 Pakistani passport 2nd worst for international travel in Visa Index

5 Politically fragile climate

6 Extremism/group violence in all shades

7 Photoshop becoming national art, Whatsapp national medium

This is not an exhaustive list.

At places, you may need to involve energies from civilian governments. On other occasions, a mere executive decision may do.


By Wali Zahid

Wali Zahid is a futurist, disruptor, blogger, social media strategist, reformer, LinkedIn writer and author of iBook, Great Training in 10 Steps.

He runs a #Pakistan2050 hashtag on Twitter and appears on national TV on issues of significance to Pakistan.

On walizahid.com, he’s writing a series called How We Messed Up Pakistan.

Twitter @walizahid


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

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Chinese Embassy clarifies about Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project

Exclusive: In an exclusive communiqué to walizahid.com blog, Lijian Zhao, DCM Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, clarifies the false reporting about bidding and Upfront tariff regarding the Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project.

This blog – which prides itself as the most authentic place on everything Pakistan – has been one of the earliest blogs in the world to publish reports on CPEC and OBOR.

As a matter of social responsibility, it has been fighting misreporting and disinformation on CPEC and other significan issues of national importance by the vested interests.

Leveraging social media for CPEC & OBOR: A keynote by Wali at a CPEC seminar

In his clarification, Lijian Zhao states:

chinese-embassy-clarifies-about-port-qasim-coal-fired-power-project

Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

3 news reports about CPEC termed false in one day by China far too many?

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

China’s world-reshaping One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

How China overtakes the US economy


It is misleading to say that Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project is awarded on a very high upfront tariff without bidding.

Before drawing any conclusion, one must be familiar with the country’s relevant laws, regulations and policies, otherwise the statement might be one-sided speculation.

Let’s take an overall picture:

1. Upfront tariff for coal-fired projects is issued by the independent regulator, NEPRA, after rounds of hearing and cost verification by relevant stakeholders and experts in the industry, which lasts more than a year, aiming to make sure that the tariff is derived prudently on the fair, reasonable and competitive basis.

2. Compared to the “cost plus” tariff approval procedure, which takes normally 9-24 months and passes through the actual cost of a power project plus the same rate of investment returns, choosing upfront tariff is not only a time-saving solution in response to addressing the dire energy need of Pakistan in the short timeframe but also shifts the cost-control risks to the developer, meaning that even if the cost overruns, the tariff will remain the same.

Therefore, under the Upfront Tariff scheme, there is no need to conduct the bidding and the same is true of other coal-fired power plants. Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project is not the only one choosing this mechanism.

3. The Port Qasim project has gone through every necessary procedure required by federal and local governments and has fulfilled all targets of development as per schedule or in advance so far.

The developer is under huge pressure to satisfy the legal requirements of the power policy in time otherwise their LOI guarantee, LOS guarantee and Company credit letter that are worth more than $45 million might be cashed by GOP.

The Chinese companies are taking a huge risk to develop a coal-fired project under such a tight timeline. Therefore, the projects need more understanding rather than groundless accusations.


When Chinese Leadership style meets Pakistani: Wali’s Talk PPt for China Mobile/ Zong strategy team

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Wali Zahid


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance

World Bank projects 5.4% growth for Pakistan in 2018

world-bank-projects-5-4-growth-for-pakistan-in-2018

Pakistan’s economy is set to grow by a robust 5.4 percent by 2018 as Chinese investment from a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project flows into the country, the World Bank predicted in a new report on Thursday.

The cash-strapped country, for years plagued by a bloody homegrown Taliban insurgency, has been battling to get its shaky economy back on track and solve a chronic energy crisis that cripples its industry, says an AFP report in Newsweek.


Pakistan GDP growth forecasts by world’s leading institutions

World Bank | 2018 | 5.4%

IMF | 2020 | 5.3%

Harvard CID | 2024 | 5.07%

Oxford Economics | 2020 | 5.2%

The Economist | 2016 | 5.7%


But now confidence in South Asia’s second-biggest economy is growing, with security improving and the International Monetary Fund claiming in October that it has emerged from economic crisis after completing a bailout program, though it still faces major challenges.


Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

Mass-transit transport in urban Pakistan starting to get a facelift

Take a Metro bus from Pindi to Islamabad and pay 20¢

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years


Pakistan recorded a 4.7 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal year that ended June 2016, the highest rate in eight years, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has set an ambitious target of 5.7 percent for the current year.

He is banking on structural reforms, the improved energy sector, taxation—and China’s ambitious $46 billion infrastructure project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), linking its western province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.


Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

China’s world-reshaping One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

How China overtakes the US economy


The World Bank report appeared optimistic about his plans, predicting even further growth in 2018.

“The pace of Pakistan’s economic growth will accelerate to 5.4 percent in fiscal 2018,” the Bank report said, observing that a moderate increase in investment mainly related to CPEC projects is expected to contribute to an acceleration of growth.


The bight side of Pakistan economy

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan outperforms 26 frontier and emerging markets in 2016: Bloomberg

Pakistan to become full member as SCO shifts focus from security to economy

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Pakistan is now world’s 40th largest economy

Worried about Pakistan’s $73B debt? You must see this

It’s the economy, stupid


The Bank also noted Pakistan’s efforts to address grinding poverty, including with revised ways to measure it.

“Based on the revised poverty line… the percentage of people living below the poverty line decreased from 64.3 percent in 2002 to 29.5 percent in 2014,” the report said.

Illango Patchamutu, World Bank country director for Pakistan, said the country needs to push forward with deeper structural reforms, and that the World Bank stood ready to support such an agenda. – AFP/Newsweek


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance

Ferry service from Karachi to Gwadar and Chabahar from next year

ferry-service-from-karachi-to-gwadar

The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) is planning to launch a ferry service from Karachi to Gwadar and Chabahar (Iran) ports from January next year.

The two-way fare between Karachi and Gwadar is likely to be under Rs 10,000. Passengers will be allowed to carry 100kg luggage.


Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

Mass-transit transport in urban Pakistan starting to get a facelift

Take a Metro bus from Pindi to Islamabad and pay 20¢

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years


The one-way journey to Gwadar may take over 12 hours. The ferry can carry about 400 passengers.

PNSC is aiming to develop passenger packages for overnight stay at PC Gwadar as well.


Have you seen CPEC stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free


For ferry service to Chabahar, which is next on the cards, Iranian visa will be part of the package by PNSC. The fare to Chabahar is still being determined.

In Karachi, the PNSC is launching a ferry service from Marina Club, DHA Phase 8, to Port Qasim soon for daily commuters looking to avoid Shahra-e-Faisal traffic.

Several earlier attempts to launch ferry service were delayed in spite of official announcements in early 2016.

In 2006, a ferry service linking Karachi with Dubai was launched but had to be suspended because of passenger disappeared after arrival in Dubai.


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance

3 news reports about CPEC termed false in one day by China far too many?

Is it everyday that you see respected and trusted English-language daily newspapers publishing false news reports? Not really. May be an occasional slip, yes. But not one after the other. That too about a project as big as $46 billion CPEC where two governments are involved. And the other government is all we have in times of increasing international isolation.

In an unusual and immediate rebuttal of three news reports about Chinese investments in Pakistan published in succession in Pakistani daily newspapers, Express Tribune andThe Nation, a Chinese Embassy official calls these false.

Leveraging social media for CPEC & OBOR: A keynote by Wali at a CPEC seminar

On his Twitter timeline, Lijian Zhao, Deputy Chief of Mission at Chinese Embassy Islamabad, promptly takes on the falsehood being spread about CPEC and related projects.

false-news-about-cpec-ip-gas

The first report appeared in Express Tribune on 3 November headlined: ‘China willing to finance Pakistan’s portion of IP pipeline’ by a reporter named Zafar Bhutta. Lijian Zhao got back with this:

Zhao: I checked with the concerned Chinese company, and was told this is a false story. Pls check before reporting.

Related: Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance

false-news-about-cpec-gwadar


The second report had appeared in Express Tribune on 21 October headlined: ‘In revised offer, China wants to work as construction contractor in Gwadar’ by the same reporter Zafar Bhutta. Lijian Zhao got back with this:

Zhao: I checked with Chinese company. False report. This is same reporter which misled us on China joining IP pipeline.

false-news-about-cpec-airline

The third report appeared in The Nation on 5 November headlined: ‘Chinese consortium to launch new airline in Pakistan’ by the staff reporter. Lijian Zhao got back with this:

Zhao: Again this is not true. The Chinese company explored possibility of flight between Hong Kong & Pakistan. That’s it.

Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

Chinese Embassy clarifies about Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free


And it’s not just factually false news that Lijian Zhao takes a dig at, he also promptly rebuts the political propaganda.

false-news-about-cpec-p-for-punjab

Responding to a tweet by apparently a fake Twitter account of some Rehan, with display photo of ISI DG Lt-General Rizwan, saying: ‘but to be honest it’s not China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; it’s China-Punjab Economic Corridor, Lijian Zhao tweets:

And this one:

It’s not the first time that Chinese Embassy or its officials have dispelled false information about CPEC project.

On 31 December and 5 October, it issued official press releases about CPEC’s western route negating the KPK Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong also met PTI chairman Imran Khan on 18 October to seek his assurance on CPEC.

23 Nov: On the news report that Chinese embassy refuses visas to KP ministers, bureaucrats, Zhao hits back.

25 Nov: Zhao hits back at a journalist


More about China:

China’s world-reshaping $225B One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

The World Bank, meet your challenger: China-led AIIB

BRICS New Development Bank to increase lending to $2.5B next year

How China overtakes the US economy

How China is viewed by Pakistan & the world

With a parade, China announces itself as the next superpower: TIME

Xi Jinping: most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong

Africa: Nigeria largest economy, China largest single trading partner


On a lighter note:

Sometimes, the Chinese Embassy may not feel the need to issue a press release. Like this:

Through his series of tweets on several occasions, Lijian Zhao had fought the impression that CPEC only favoured Punjab.

Last month, he listed the number of projects in each province. This blog broke the story which was later carried by APP, Geo, ARY, Samaa and everyone else.

Lijian Zhao also routinely shares progress of CEPC projects on his Twitter timeline.


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance


As a China watcher for nearly 30 years, Wali’s comment:

Make no mistake: China is no USA.

The hyper-speed with which China is reshaping the world through its $225-billion OBOR Initiative and soon-to-be 90-member $100-billion AIIB and extending its trade and influence to all parts of Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa is unprecedented. This vision requires that no roadblocks come in China’s way. It’s as simple.

And China knows how to play hardball. With each stakeholder in each country.

How is Pakistan developing its youth? This report may shock you

pakistan-youth-development-index

Pakistan ranks 154 in the 183-country 2016 Youth Development Index (YDI), compiled by the Commonwealth Secretariat, London.

Although the all-round development of young people in most parts of the world is improving – as 142 countries among 183 listed showed – Pakistan went in the other direction – from medium to low YDI category between 2010 and 2015.

The 18 percent slide in Pakistan’s YDI score – 0.47 out of 1 – over the past five years was the most for any country globally (snapshot above).

youth-development-index-5-domains

The YDI has five domains (see above) measuring levels of education, health and wellbeing, employment and opportunity, political participation and civic participation for young people of ages 15-29.

The Pakistan slide (see below) was brought about by a dramatic fall in the domains of civic participation (58 percent) and political participation (69 percent).

pakistan-youth-development-index-risers-and-fallers

Some other indices on Pakistan

Pakistani nationality ranks second least valuable in the world

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel

Pakistan 11th strongest military in the world

Pakistan ranks 11th worst in Global Hunger Index

Nuclear warheads down worldwide, up in South Asia

Pakistan’s global competitiveness – in 11 photos

Pakistan at rock bottom in Human Capital Index

Pakistan world’s 14th most fragile country

As S Asia ups economic game, Pakistan risks falling behind: WSJ. The question is why?

Karachi 6th least liveable city in the world

Peshawar is the world’s second most polluted city

Pakistan among top 10 global improvers in World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business rankings


The indicators that contributed the most to this decline in Pakistan were: (i.e. absence of) voiced an opinion to an official, existence of a youth policy, volunteered time, and helped a stranger (see below).

youth-development-index-factors-domains

Pakistan also scored significantly low in the areas of education and financial inclusion.

Education: Only 42 percent of youth in Pakistan are enrolled in secondary schools; South Asian and global scores for the same indicator are 68 percent and 81 percent respectively.

Financial inclusion: Only 6 percent youth in Pakistan have a bank account; South Asian and global scores for the same indicator are 31 percent and 42 percent respectively.

The YDI is a composite index of 18 indicators that collectively measure progress on youth development in 183 countries, including 49 of the 53 Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth defines youth as people between the ages of 15 and 29, while some countries and international institutions define youth differently (see below).

youth-ages-youth-development-index

Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

Mass-transit transport in urban Pakistan starting to get a facelift

Take a Metro bus from Pindi to Islamabad and pay 20¢

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years


YDI in Pakistan vs South Asian countries

Pakistan’s poor score is far below the neighbouring and South Asia/ Saarc countries.

Of the five domains of the YDI, Pakistan trailed behind the South Asian average in all except Health and Wellbeing.

Our neighbours’ global ranking in YDI 2016:

Sri Lanka 31

Bhutan 69

Nepal 77

Iran 94

Myanmar 123

India 133

Bangladesh 146

Only Afghanistan, at 167 rank, is behind Pakistan.

youth-development-index-ranking

Youth development in the world & Commonwealth

According to YDI 2016 report, the ten highest-ranked Commonwealth countries in the YDI are mostly from Europe and Asia-Pacific (see above). Except Pakistan, all the ten lowest-ranked countries in the Commonwealth are from Africa.

Youth development in the Commonwealth registered larger gains than the global average (see below). Collectively, there was a 5 percent increase in the average YDI score of Commonwealth countries between 2010 and 2015.

youth-development-index-global-vs-commonwealth

Aside from Pakistan, every country in the Commonwealth either maintained or improved its YDI score.

There was a fall in YDI scores in 40 countries, with the deterioration being greatest in Pakistan, Angola, Haiti, Algeria and Chad.


The bight side of Pakistan economy

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan outperforms 26 frontier and emerging markets in 2016: Bloomberg

Pakistan to become full member as SCO shifts focus from security to economy

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Pakistan ranks as 92nd happiest country

ladder-of-participation-youth-development-index8

Lack of political participation in Pakistan

According to YDI 2016 report, in Pakistan, for instance, student unions used to play a very influential role in national politics.

With the abolishment of all student unions in the country three decades ago, the enthusiasm of young people in the country to participate in politics through institutionalised mechanisms has correspondingly waned.


Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

China’s world-reshaping One Belt, One Road (OBOR)

pakistan-youth-development-index-change-maker

Youth persecution by non-state actors

According to YDI 2016 report, the three countries showing the greatest decline in their YDI scores were Pakistan, Angola and Haiti. Young people in all three have been severely affected by civil unrest, armed conflict and/or natural disasters.

In many cases, the persecuted happen to be young. In many fragile and conflict-affected states, such as Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Syria, non-state actors have also increasingly targeted and punished activists, public intellectuals and journalists.

youth-population-youth-development-index

There are 1.8 billion young people in the world. 90 percent of them live in less developed countries. One-third of global youth come from the Commonwealth countries while one-fourth (26 percent) come from South Asia alone.

Mass-transit transport in urban Pakistan starting to get a facelift

mass-transit-transport-in-urban-pakistan-starting-to-get-a-facelift

Why mass-transit transport – BRT buses and MRT trains – are necessary for large cities.


Pakistan’s urban mass-transit transport is starting to get a facelift.

In a matter of three years (2013-16), citizens in three of its large cities – Lahore (12 million), Rawalpindi-Islamabad (6 million twin cities combined) and Multan (5 million) – were able to travel in clean, safe and air-conditioned Metro buses on dedicated road tracks on a 20¢ fare which is a fraction of what commuters pay in the developed world.

But we don’t need to get too self-congratulatory.

With the current infrastructure, in a population of over 200 million, fewer than a million a day will be able to ride these BRT buses.

Three small-length Metro bus routes in three cities only means that a large – very very large – population still uses public transport which is unreliable, decayed, unsafe and hurts your self esteem long before you reach your school, university, office or get back home.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Wali Zahid

In spite of this, Metro bus is a good beginning. And Pakistanis look forward to the whole country being wired in a network of mass-transit buses, Metro trains and intercity rail.


25 November 2016: PM Sharif arrives in Ashgabat on a two-day official visit to Turkmenistan. Sharif is leading a Pakistani delegation to the first-ever Global Conference on Sustainable Transport – 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – being held at Ashgabat under the auspices of the United Nations.


More about Pakistan

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan outperforms 26 frontier and emerging markets in 2016: Bloomberg

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel


The next in line of mass-transit projects is Lahore’s 27km Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT, a Mass Rapid Transit, or MRT, project).

Built at the cost of Rs 154 billion, the train service is set to launch in December next year. Over 200,000 people will travel by Orange Line train every day through 26 train stations.

OLMT is currently facing delays because of a court order stopping civil works near 11 heritage sites that need to be protected. A review is under way.

One additional feature will be provision of free public WiFi service through 192 hotspots in three Punjab cities running Metro buses including Metro stations. PTCL is managing this WiFi service.

Then comes Karachi’s 21.7km Green Line Metro bus service (BRT) at a cost of Rs 24.6 billion through a federal grant. The fast-paced construction work is in progress, with half of civil works now complete.

Green Line is set to start service by end of next year. Nearly 350,000 passengers will use the service daily through 25 bus stations.

Green Line in Karachi (population: 20 million) is likely to be followed by 26km Yellow Line Metro bus service (BRT), a Sindh government project, at a cost of Rs 14.4 billion.

The Yellow Line will be financed by a Chinese loan (70 percent) and built by a Chinese firm, CUEC. It will start service by end of 2018. About 150,000 passengers will use the service daily through 24 bus stations.


Our cities

Karachi to be 7th largest megacity by 2030: UN

Karachi 6th least liveable city in the world

Peshawar is the world’s second most polluted city

Quetta and Peshawar among 20 most terrorist prone cities in the world


In October, the federal government’s Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved to conduct an engineering design of the Peshawar BRT project at a cost of Rs 1.25 billion.

The provincial KPK government had to seek CDWP’s approval due to the Rs 32 billion project’s foreign funding.


More on Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

Take a Metro bus from Pindi to Islamabad and pay 20¢

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years

Fascinating: Multan to have its own Metro bus soon


In Lahore, the Metro bus service – the first in the country – was inaugurated on 10 February 2013.

The 27km Lahore Metro cost Rs 30 billion. Through 27 stations, nearly 200,000 passengers travel on Lahore Metro BRT buses every day.

In Islamabad, the 23km Metro bus service started on 4 June 2015. The inauguration went five months behind schedule because of political protests.

The Islamabad Metro cost Rs 44.7 billion. Through 24 stations, nearly 135,000 passengers travel on Islamabad Metro BRT buses every day.


Travel related

Japan’s floating train with 600kmh speed

Work on India’s first $15B bullet train starts in 2 years

The Turkish leap: High-speed train between Ankara and Istanbul

$10B Denmark-Germany undersea tunnel okayed, to open in 2024

How you will travel in 2024


While this BRT road and MRT train infrastructure is being built, the Pakistan Railways have tried to fix some of the intercity rail services.

E-ticketing has started on all railcar trains between Lahore and Rawalpindi and on Green Line Train from Islamabad to Karachi.

The Green Line train which covers 1,521km in just over 23 hours is creating an on-time reliable service. A reliable on-time train was unthinkable only a couple of years ago.

To upgrade the main railway line (ML-1) from Karachi to Peshawar including dualisation, the Chinese government and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to to lend Pakistan $8 billion. This is massive.


Key challenges:

  • The size of loans and financing
  • Government subsidies on mass-transit services
  • Repayment of loans
  • Maintenance of infrastructure, buses and trains
  • Upgrading, extension of infrastructure, buses and trains
  • Security of infrastructure during political protests and terror attacks
  • Improper use of free public WiFi

Have you seen CPEC & OBOR stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

China’s world-reshaping One Belt, One Road (OBOR)


Which cities next?

So, which cities need to be next in waiting for mass-transit transport?

If population is any criterion, Hyderabad and Sukkur in Sindh; Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sargodha and Sialkot in Punjab; Peshawar in KPK; and Quetta in Balochistan make the cut.

An authentic estimate about population in these cities is difficult to obtain as census hasn’t been conducted in Pakistan since 1998 for unknown reasons.

The UN estimates Pakistan as the sixth most populous country now (190 million) and in 2050 (310 million).

With a GDP of $270 billion, Pakistan is world’s 40th largest economy by GDP and 26th by GDP PPP. It is forecasted to grow to become 18th largest economy by GDP in 2050.

As part of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the north-south $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting Chinese city of Kashgar bordering Pakistan’s north to Gwadar port in the south perhaps could set this city and intercity transport network in motion as a byproduct.

If this happens, the Pakistani landscape may look very different and semi-developed when the CPEC comes to full fruition in 2030.


By Wali Zahid

Wali Zahid is a futurist, disruptor, blogger, social media strategist, reformer, LinkedIn writer and author of iBook, Great Training in 10 Steps.

He runs a #Pakistan2050 hashtag on Twitter and appears on national TV on issues of significance to Pakistan.

On walizahid.com, he’s writing a series called How We Messed Up Pakistan.

Wali recently gave a keynote at the Managing Megacity Karachi conference by George Mason University USA at University of Karachi, supported by US State Department.

Twitter @walizahid


Do not miss our Understanding Pakistan Series

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Will you choose Project Ignorance over education?

Free WiFi hotspots in Lahore, Multan & Islamabad-Rawalpindi soon

free-public-wi-fi-in-punjab-lahore

BREAKING: Citizens in three cities in Punjab province of Pakistan – Lahore, Multan and Islamabad-Rawalpindi – will get 192 free public WiFi hotspots in November.

The project will be launched in November by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the service will be available to citizens in these three cities later in the month.

Free WiFi hotspots will be available at public places such as airports, railway stations, parks, government universities and colleges, government hospitals and offices.

Metro may not allow free public WiFi hotspots because of security and other concerns.


Pakistan Internet users 2016

Pakistan 3G/4G subscribers: 34.3 million

Pakistan Broadband subscribers: 37 million

Pakistan mobile subscribers: 69.4% | 134.4 million

Source: PTA official figures. October 2016 in Only 14% Pakistanis use social media


Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

Take a Metro bus from Pindi to Islamabad and pay 20¢

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

All you wanted to know about Multan Metro before launch

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years


Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is laying the infrastructure for provision of free WiFi and Cisco is providing the hardware.

This is a Digital Punjab project initiated by Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and the service is likely to expand to other cities in the province soon.

The first announcement was made in February last year by PITB.

In order to access free public WiFi, you will be asked to register by mobile number or email address.

It will be interesting to see what people do online once connected to these free public WiFi hotspots.

In India recently, there were massive media complaints that free public WiFi is being used to visit adult sites, which are now being blocked.

At the same time, Patna recently boasted that its 20km free WiFi stretch is being used mostly for educational purposes.

8 security rules for public Wi-Fi users

When you think of free public WiFi, cities like New York City, Calgary, Toronto, Geneva, London, Moscow, Barcelona, Milan, Vienna, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne come to your mind.

Pakistani cities are only catching up with the rest of the world to provide free public WiFi to its citizens.

Last year, Karachi announced citywide free WiFi, but there are no signs of it being implemented yet.


More about Pakistan

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

Pakistan outperforms 26 frontier and emerging markets in 2016: Bloomberg

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

Pakistan to become full member as SCO shifts focus from security to economy

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel

Pakistan 11th strongest military in the world

Pakistan ranks 11th worst in Global Hunger Index


Free public WiFi in India

In India this year, Google launched the largest public WiFi project in the world, aiming to set up free WiFi hotspots at 400 train stations. Nearly four million monthly users are already using service at 52 train stations across India.

Mumbai is being turned into a ‘WiFi City’ with 1,200 hotspots, under an ambitious smart city mega-project by 1 May 2017. 500 of these hotspots will be up by November.

Gurgaon (Gurugram) announced free public WiFi hotspots in the city in partnership with Airtel where you can get 30 minutes of free WiFi access.

Delhi and Bangalore were two of the first cities in India to get free free WiFi hotspots.

Ahmedabad in Gujarat has a number of WiFi hotspots. Jalandhar railway station is set to get free WiFi by 30 November. Noida in Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata in West Bengal, Pune in Maharashtra and Chennai in Tamil Nadu too have free WiFi hotspots.

In 2014, the Bihar government launched the world’s longest corridor of free WiFi connectivity – a 20km stretch of free WiFi zone between NIT-Patna on Ashok Rajpath to Danapur.

Around 100 Indian trains including Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and the Mumbai suburban service will have free WiFi by December. The Indian railways ministry is in the process of identifying other trains for this service.


Have you seen CPEC stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free


Free public WiFi in UK

In London, UK telecom giant BT teams up with LinkUK to offer free speedy internet across London, along with charging ports, local maps and free landline and mobile phone calls. BT aims to provide 750 Links set up across central London and other major UK cities over the next few years.


Understanding Pakistan Series by Wali

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Will you choose Project Ignorance over education?

Pakistan among top 10 global improvers in World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business rankings

doing-business-2017-pakistan-review

Pakistan was listed among top 10 global improvers in World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business rankings.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business report 2017, Pakistan made some progress towards ease of doing business for small and medium-sized enterprises. World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan tweeted:

Among top 10 improvers, yes. However, Pakistan still ranks poorly – at 144 out of 190 countries, with a Distance to Frontier (DTF) score of 51.77. Full scorecard at bottom of this post.

Last year, Pakistan ranked at 148 (according to this year’s methodology), so we are four notches up this year.

In World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business Report, Pakistan ranks 138

India moved up by just one point to 130 this year as compared to 131 ranking last year. There was a widespread disappointment among Indian policymakers and media.

One tweet said: ‘India crawls up only one place to 130 out of 190 in World Bank ease of doing business. So much for all the chest thumping.’ Another:

The disappointment in India was evident more so because only 10 days ago at BRICS Summit in Goa, Modi had claimed that ‘we have taken a number of steps for ease of doing business in country and the results are visible.’


Wali’s note:

I was part of the Karachi briefing that BoI chairman Minister Miftah Ismail and PM Delivery Unit (PMDU) organised for contributors from the government departments to DB report. I could sense that the pace of reform was painfully slow.

Fixing things is no rocket science when you are aware of the fault-lines, their cost to the economy and the country’s potential and, particularly, when you also know what to fix and how.

So, what’s stopping Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, himself from a business background, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to make it easy for the world to do business in and with Pakistan?

Apathy perhaps? Or busy with more pressing issue of dealing with a more powerful stakeholder after your government’s continuity? Rightly so?


More about Pakistan economy

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

Pakistan outperforms 26 frontier and emerging markets in 2016: Bloomberg

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

Pakistan to become full member as SCO shifts focus from security to economy

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world


ease-of-doing-business-criteria

Countries are ranked on the basis of the DTF score which is a composite measure of a country’s progress along a series of 10 indicators:

  1. Starting a business
  2. Dealing with construction permits
  3. Getting electricity
  4. Registering property
  5. Getting credit
  6. Protecting minority investors
  7. Paying taxes
  8. Trading across borders
  9. Enforcing contracts
  10. Resolving insolvency

According to a World Bank press release:

A record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses.

The developing countries carried out more than 75 percent of the 283 reforms in the past year, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over one-quarter of all reforms.

In its global country rankings of business efficiency, Doing Business 2017 awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand.

Singapore ranks second in DB 2017, followed by Denmark, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Have you seen CPEC stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free

doing-business-2017-pakistan-top-10-improvers

The world’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are:

  1. Brunei Darussalam
  2. Kazakhstan
  3. Kenya
  4. Belarus
  5. Indonesia
  6. Serbia
  7. Georgia
  8. Pakistan
  9. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  10. Bahrain

Some other indices on Pakistan

Pakistani nationality ranks second least valuable in the world

Pakistani passport ranked second worst for international travel

Pakistan 11th strongest military in the world

Pakistan ranks 11th worst in Global Hunger Index

Nuclear warheads down worldwide, up in South Asia

Pakistan’s global competitiveness – in 11 photos

Pakistan at rock bottom in Human Capital Index

Pakistan world’s 14th most fragile country

As S Asia ups economic game, Pakistan risks falling behind: WSJ. The question is why?

Karachi 6th least liveable city in the world

Peshawar is the world’s second most polluted city

how-pakistan-and-comparator-economies-rank-on-the-ease-of-doing-business

How Pakistan and comparator economies rank on the Ease of Doing Business 2017

In South Asia, five of the region’s eight economies implemented a total of 11 reforms in the past year, compared with nine the previous year.

Pakistan, which was among the world’s top 10 improvers, implemented several reforms this past year, as did India and Sri Lanka.

The bulk of the business reform activity in the region was aimed at facilitating cross-border trade.

However, Afghanistan and Pakistan, stipulate additional hurdles for women entrepreneurs.

doing-business-2017-pakistan-summary

Understanding Pakistan Series by Wali

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Will you choose Project Ignorance over education?

Fascinating: Multan to have its own Metro bus soon

multan-metro-bus-track2

Punjab Metro Bus Authority yesterday started a trial run of Metro bus service in Multan. The trial service was for training of the bus drivers.

With this, Multan (population: 5 million) becomes third large city in Pakistan to receive mass-transit BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system after Lahore (12 million), Rawalpindi-Islamabad (6 million twin cities combined).

The Metro bus service will be inaugurated in November by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Details to be available soon. Check Multan Metro Facebook page.

multan-metro

35 buses have been imported for the service. A private company will run the bus service for the time being. Each bus can carry 190 passengers.

Nearly 96,000 commuters are likely to use Multan Metro bus service everyday.

multan-metro-bus-track1

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Wali Zahid

The Multan Metro route is 18.5km long, with 12.5km elevated section.

Multan Metro has 21 bus stations, with 14 stations at elevated and seven stations at ground level.

The bus stations have been constructed with Multan’s extreme hot and cold weather in mind.

multan-metro-bus-track5

More on Pakistan’s travel infrastructure

Mass-transit transport in urban Pakistan starting to get a facelift

Take a Metro bus from Pindi to Islamabad and pay 20¢

Lahore awaits its Orange Line Metro Train

e-ticketing on Green Line train from Islamabad to Karachi

Karachi to get Green Line bus service by end-2017

Karachi may have Yellow Line bus service in 2 years

multan-metro-bus-track7

More about Pakistan economy

Harvard predicts Pakistan GDP to grow by 5% over next 10 years

Pakistan is the world’s fastest-growing Muslim economy: The Economist

Pakistan GDP set to grow by 5.3% by 2020: IMF

$10B TAPI natural gas pipeline to be operational in 2020

Pakistan is less corrupt than last year. This is good news. What’s the bad news?

Pakistan petrol prices 18th lowest in the world


Like Lahore and Islamabad, passengers will pay Rs 20 fare for one-way journey.

More than 260 kanals of private land was secured for this project at a cost of over Rs 3 billion.

The Multan Metro bus project was completed at a cost of Rs 28.5 billion.

In Lahore, the Metro bus service – the first in the country – was inaugurated on 10 February 2013. The 27km Lahore Metro cost Rs 30 billion. Through 27 stations, nearly 200,000 passengers travel on Lahore Metro BRT buses every day.

In Islamabad, the 23km Metro bus service started on 4 June 2015. The inauguration went five months behind schedule because of the 126-day dharna (sit-in) by opposition party PTI of Imran Khan. The Islamabad Metro cost Rs 45 billion. Through 24 stations, nearly 135,000 passengers travel on Islamabad Metro BRT buses every day.


Travel related

Japan’s floating train with 600kmh speed

Work on India’s first $15B bullet train starts in 2 years

The Turkish leap: High-speed train between Ankara and Istanbul

$10B Denmark-Germany undersea tunnel okayed, to open in 2024

How you will travel in 2024

multan-metro-bus-track8

Have you seen CPEC stories on this blog?

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A timeline

16 CPEC projects in Balochistan, 8 in KPK: Chinese Embassy

Chinese Embassy shares progress on CPEC projects

40 CPEC projects in 4 photos & 60 seconds

CPEC gets 4-layer security as Gwadar to be weapon-free


multan-metro-bus-route-and-stations

Multan Metro bus route and stations

  1. BZU Bus Station
  2. Beaconhouse School
  3. Markaz Ibnul Qasim Al-Islami
  4. Northern Bypass
  5. Altaf Market/Shalimar Colony
  6. Nasheman/Sabzazar Colony
  7. Chungi No. 6/Gulgasht Colony
  8. Tehsil Chowk/Usmanabad
  9. Chungi No. 9
  10. Qasim Fort
  11. Daulat Gate/Fish Market
  12. Aam Khas Bagh
  13. Manzoorabad
  14. Mumtazabad
  15. BCG Chowk
  16. Peoples Colony
  17. Vehari Chowk
  18. General Bus Stand
  19. Jinnah Park
  20. Shah Rukne Alam
  21. Kumharanwala Chowk

multan-metro-bus-track9

Understanding Pakistan Series by Wali

Back to the future: Pakistan in 2050

Wali on Pakistan of future

A miracle: Pakistan score in Long Term Orientation goes from Zero to 50

Pakistani culture through 6-D Model

Native languages in Pakistan

How future oriented are we?

How we messed up Pakistan: A series by Wali

Pakistan’s two value crimes no one talks about

Is Whatsapp your source of info? Welcome to Project Ignorance