Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pakistan's Climate Change Efforts

Pakistan has made only a small contribution to climate change through carbon emissions.  And yet, it counts among the dozen or so nations considered among the most vulnerable to its damaging effects. These include rising temperatures, recurring cycles of floods and droughts and resulting disruption in food production. What can Pakistan do to minimize these impacts?



Pakistan is working with both sources and sinks of carbon. Among the sources, the nation is focusing on increasing production of clean, renewable energy that does not produce carbon emissions. At the same time, there is a reforestation effort underway in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to plant a billion trees to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Reforestation:

Reforestation project in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province is part of the Green Growth Initiative launched in February 2014 in Peshawar by Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan whose party governs the province.

The initiative aims to boost local economic development in a way that uses natural resources sustainably, with a focus on increasing clean energy uptake and forest cover, according to a report in Christian Science Monitor.

The KP government has turned forest restoration into a business model by outsourcing nurseries to the private sector, including widows, poor women, and young people, according to the paper. It reports  that the government buys saplings to plant while providing green jobs for the community. "At the same time, illegal logging has been almost eliminated in the province following strict disciplinary action against some officials who were involved. Other measures include hiring local people to guard forests and banning wood transportation", the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Renewable Energy:

Pakistan has installed about 300 megawatts of wind-energy capacity through six projects working in the Sindh province, according to a Bloomberg report. That may grow to 800 MW by year-end as eight projects in the same region get commissioned, says Alternative Energy Board chief Syed Aqeel Husain Jafri. The Quaid e Azam solar park in Punjab province will add another 300 megawatts of capacity to the existing 100 megawatts by March or April, he said. Chinese firm Zonergy Co Ltd. will set up 900 megawatts in this 1-gigawatt solar park.



In addition, there are multiple hydroelectric projects and nuclear energy power plants under-construction to add tens of thousand megawatts of clean energy to the national grid over the next several years. The biggest of these projects are Neelum-Jhelum, Diamer-Bhasha, Dasu, K2 and K3.

Liquified Natural Gas:

Some of the oil-fired power plants are planned to be switched to imported liquified natural gas (LNG) to produce 3600 MW of electricity.  LNG burns cleaner and produces lower carbon emissions than oil or coal. LNG imports will also support CNG for running vehicles. In addition, the government needs to plan to make gas cylinders available for cooking in rural areas to help reduce wood burning which contributes to deforestation and carbon emission and particulate pollution.

Summary:

Pakistan faces a significant threat from global warming in terms of rising temperatures, recurring cycles of floods and droughts and potential disruption in crop production. The nation is just beginning to take appropriate actions such as renewable energy and reforestation projects to deal with this threat. Greater thought and more focus is needed to execute the plans to reduce carbon emissions as a priority.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Climate Change Worsens Poverty in India

India's Rising Population and Depleting Resources

Recurring Droughts and Flooding in Pakistan

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes 

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Culture of Tax Evasion and Aid Dependence

Climate Change in South Asia

US Senate Report on Avoiding Water Wars in Central and South Asia

Sunday, January 24, 2016

West Unhappy With China-Pakistan Defense Tech Collaboration

Growing defense collaboration between China and Pakistan irks the West, according to a report in the UK's Financial Times newspaper.  The paper specifically cites joint JF-17 Thunder fighter jet, armed drone Burraq and custom AIP-equipped submarines as examples of close cooperation between the two nations.

Pakistan's bitter experience with the unreliability of its cold war allies as weapons suppliers has proved to be a blessing in disguise. It has forced Pakistan to move toward self-reliance in production of the weapons it needs to defend itself from foreign and domestic enemies.

It all started back in 1965 when the US and its western allies placed an arms embargo on Pakistan during war with India. The bitterness grew stronger when the US forced France to cancel its contract to supply a breeder reactor to Pakistan in 1974 soon after India conducted its first nuclear test.

Khushab Nuclear Reactor:

Fortunately for Pakistan, the French had already given Pakistanis scientists drawings and specifications before canceling the breeder reactor contract. Work on Khushab reprocessing plant stated in 1974 when Pakistan signed a contract with the French company Saint-Gobain Techniques Nouvelles (SGN). In 1978, under U.S. pressure, France canceled the contract. Pakistan then proceeded to indigenously produce its own nuclear breeder reactors at Khushab. Four such reactors are now operating to produce plutonium for Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Having done its first nuclear test in 1998, Pakistan now has a large and growing nuclear arsenal it needs to deter any enemy adventurism against it.

Babar Cruise Missile:

Since MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) prevented Pakistan from acquiring delivery vehicles from other countries, the country had to develop its own ballistic and cruise missiles to carry nuclear weapons.

The story of Babar Cruise Missile development is particularly interesting. It is believed that Pakistani engineers learned the technology by dismantling and studying a US Tomahawk cruise missile that fell in Pakistani territory when President Bill Clinton fired these missiles to target Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

JF-17 Thunder Fighter:

The development of JF-17, a modern highly capable and relatively inexpensive fighter jet, is the crowning achievement to-date of the Pakistan-China defense production cooperation. It's being deployed by Pakistan Air Force with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) on recently rolling out the 16th Block 2 JF-17 aircraft for PAF's 4th squadron. The latest version is capable of launching a variety of nuclear and conventional weapons ranging from smart bombs and air-launched cruise missile Raad to anti-ship missiles.

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) got its start decades ago by setting up maintenance facilities for advanced fighters like French Mirage and US F-16s and by manufacturing Mushshak and Super Mushshak trainer aircraft. It is now also building JF-17s as well as a variety of drones, including combat UAV Burraq being used in Pakistan's war against militants in Waziristan.

Nuclear-Capable AIP Submarines:

Pakistan is expanding and modernizing its underwater fleet with 8 additional AIP-equipped submarines. Four of these subs will be manufactured in Pakistan.  These will reportedly be custom versions of Yuan class diesel-electric subs with additional wider tubes from which cruise missiles can be launched. A key requirement for  these submarines is to be stealthy—and the AIP-equipped Yuan class is indeed very quiet. The trick is in the submarine’s air-independent propulsion fuel cells, which provide power under the surface as the diesel engines—used for running on the surface—rest and recharge. Though relatively limited in range, this system is quieter than the nuclear-powered engines on American and Russian submarines, which must constantly circulate engine coolant.


Arms as Pakistan's Cottage Industry

Pakistan has a long history of arms manufacturing as a cottage industry. The dusty little town of Darra Adam Khel, only a half-hour drive from Peshawar, reminds visitors of America's Wild West. The craftsmen of this town are manufacturers and suppliers of small arms to the tribal residents of the nation's Federally Administered Tribal Areas who carry weapons as part of their ancient culture. The skilled craftsmen of FATA make revolvers, automatic pistols, shotguns and AK-47 rifles. Until five years ago, the list also had items such as anti-personnel mines, sub-machine guns, small cannons and even rocket launchers. Pakistani government has forced the tribesmen to stop making heavy assault weapons to try and prevent the Taliban and Al Qaeda from getting access to such weapons.

Pakistan's arms industry has come a long way from making small arms as a cottage industry in the last few decades. The US and Western arms embargoes imposed on Pakistan at critical moments in its history have proved to be a blessing in disguise. In particular, the problems Pakistan faced in the aftermath of Pressler Amendment in 1992 became an opportunity for the country to rely on indigenous development and production of defense equipment.

Pakistan's Military Industrial Complex

The country now boasts a powerful industrial, technological and research base developing and manufacturing for its armed forces a wide variety of small and large weapons ranging from modern fighter jets, battle tanks, armored vehicles, frigates and submarines to armed and unarmed aerial vehicles and high tech firearms and personal grenade launchers for urban combat. Some of these items were on display at IDEAS 2014, the 5-day biennial arms show held November 2014 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Summary: 

A country can not be truly independent unless it can manufacture the arms it needs to defend itself. Pakistan is just starting to build the weapons it needs but it has a very long way to go. This goal can only be achieved if Pakistan develops significant human capital and builds a vibrant economy.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

IDEAS 2014 Arms Show

Pakistan Defense Industry

Silicon Valley Book Launch of "Eating Grass"

Pakistan's Human Capital

Pakistan Economy Nears Trillion Dollars

Pakistan's Sea-Based Second Strike Capability

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Gallup Survey: Pakistan Rank High On Optimism

The results of the 2015 WIN/Gallup International survey of 68 countries across the globe show Pakistan ranking 5th on economic optimism and 10th on overall optimism.

The World Bank reporting the tailwinds pushing Pakistan's economic growth seems to support the optimism in Pakistan.  Most observers believe that the year 2015 has turned out to be a good year for Pakistan with the return of general optimism among businessmen, investors and consumers. Economic recovery has continued as Pakistan Army's efforts, including its Operation Zarb e Arb and Karachi Operation by Rangers, have started to bear fruit with significant decline in terrorism. There are new signs of a thaw in India-Pakistan ties with Indian Prime Minister Modi's surprise year-end visit to Lahore. Efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan took a new positive turn with the hopeful entry of the Taliban into a quadrilateral process involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States.


Source: WIN/Gallup Survey 2015

Overall, 64% of Pakistanis say they happy, slightly below the 66% average for the 68 countries surveyed. Among south Asian nations, 66% of Bangladeshis, 58% of Indians and 42% of Afghans say they are happy, according to WIN/Gallup International Survey for 2015.

Bangladesh (74%), Nigeria (61%) and Columbia (85%) top Hope, Economic Optimism and Happiness Indices respectively. Pakistan scores 42% (rank 10) on hope and 50% (rank 5) on economic optimism indices. India scores 47% (rank 9) on Hope and 44% (rank 6) on Economic Optimism indices.

Jean-Marc Leger, President of WIN/Gallup International Association, said that "2015 has been a tumultuous year for many across the globe, despite that the world remains largely a happy place. 45% of the world is optimistic regarding the economic outlook for 2016, up by 3 per cent compared to last year."

Let's hope the new crises unfolding at the start of the year 2016 such as the China market crash, the Pathankot terrorist attack in India, the new escalation of Iran-Saudi  conflict and the claimed hydrogen bomb test claimed by North Korea do not sour the 2015 year-end  optimism reported by the WIN/Gallup survey.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor (CPEC)

How Can Pakistan Benefit From Low LNG Prices?

Who's Better For Human Development? Politicians or Musharraf?

Pakistan's Economic Recovery in 2015

SBP: Pakistan's GDP is Underestimated

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

UAE Seeks to Import Pakistan's Water

A top UAE businessman has proposed building a 500 kilometer long pipeline to bring Pakistan's Dasht River water from the Makran coast to Fujaira for United Arab Emirates' water security.

Water-scarce Pakistan itself needs to store and use the Dasht River water for development of Balochistan, particularly Gwadar and other related projects as part of the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Abdullah Al Shehi, the CEO of GeoWash, has argued that the Dasht River floods annually, which has prompted the Pakistani government to empty the excess water through channels leading to the sea. That excess water, said Mr Al Shehi, could be put to use in the UAE, according to a report in the UAE's newspaper "The National".

Dasht River


Dasht River:

Dasht River is located in Makran region and Gwadar District, in the southwestern section of Balochistan Province, in southwestern Pakistan. The Kech River, a seasonal intermittent river, is a tributary of the Dasht River which flows southeast through the Central Makran Range in the Gwadar District of Balochistan into the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

Mirani Dam

Mirani Dam:

Mirani Dam was completed on Dasht River in 2006 to store over 300,000 acre-feet of fresh water to meet the needs of southern Balochistan. Mirani Dam is the largest dam in the world in terms of volume for flood protection with a floodstock of 588,690 cubic hectometer, according to International Commission On Large Dams (ICOLD). This water reservoir is essential for the development of a deep sea port and a major new metropolis in Gawadar as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In addition to supplying fresh water to Turbat, Jiwani and Gwadar cities, it has sufficient capacity to irrigate over 33,000 acres of farm land.

UAE Water Security:

The United Arab Emirates uses 80% of its fresh water for agriculture in its arid desert and the rest of the 20% for urban needs, according to The National. Here's the key question: Does it make more sense for the UAE to import food rather than grow its own food by importing fresh water? The second question is: Can the UAE focus on desalination for the water it needs for urban use?

Summary:

Gwadar port was first conceived in late 1950s when Pakistan purchased the region from  the Sultanate of Oman. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been talked about since early 1990s. But nothing was done to develop until President Pervez Musharraf allocated time, money and focus to build first several berths at Gwadar deep sea port, Coastal Highway to connect it with Karachi and Mirani Dam in Balochistan to supply water on his watch.

Now water-stressed Pakistan needs to focus on building greater water storage capacity if it's really serious about developing Gwadar, Southwestern Balochistan and the Makran coast. It must not agree to export the Dasht River water to anyone, including the UAE. Instead, it should offer to export food as necessary to meet UAE's needs.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Water-Stressed Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

President Musharraf's Legacy

Mineral Wealth of Balochistan

Pakistan Farm Land Controversy

Recurring Floods and Droughts in Pakistan

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pakistan's Year-End 2015 Review

A Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year to all my readers.

The year 2015 turned out to be a good year for Pakistan with the return of general optimism among businessmen, investors and consumers. Economic recovery continued as Pakistan Army's efforts, including its Operation Zarb e Arb and Karachi Operation by Rangers, started to bear fruit with significant decline in terrorism. There were new signs of a thaw in India-Pakistan ties with Indian Prime Minister Modi's surprise year-end visit to Lahore. Efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan took a new positive turn with the hopeful entry of the Taliban into a quadrilateral process involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States. Threat of ISIS (Daish) presence rose in South Asia with reports of stepped up ISIS recruitment in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Highlights:

1. Pakistan economy neared the historic one trillion dollar mark in PPP terms in 2015.  The nation's PPP GDP increased from $884 billion to $930 billion, an increase of $46 billion. Pakistan per capita PPP GDP is $4,902 for 2015, up from $4,749 in 2014, according to the IMF. Nominal GDP based on current exchange rates is reported at $270 billion in 2015, up from $246 billion in 2014, an increase of $24 Billion.  Pakistan's per capita nominal GDP for 2015 is $1,427.085, up from $1,325.790 in 2014.

2. Pakistan's actual GDP is higher than what the official figures show, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. The SBP annual report for 2014 released in 2015 said: "In terms of LSM growth, a number of sectors that are showing strong performance; (for example, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector; plastic products; buses and trucks; and even textiles), are either under reported, or not even covered. The omission of such important sectors from official data coverage, probably explains the apparent disconnect between overall economic activity in the country and the hard numbers in LSM."

3. Terrorism declined to the lowest level since 2006 as civilian deaths in terrorist incident nearly halved from 1781 in 2014 to 911 in 2015, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal.

Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal


4. China announced plans of massive $46 billion investment in the country as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).  Once completed, the this corridor with a sound industrial base and competitive infrastructure combined with low labor costs is expected to draw growing FDI from manufacturers in many other countries looking for a low-cost location to build products for exports to rich OECD nations.

CPEC Projects Map


5. Hopes for resolving Pakistan's energy crisis rose as liquified natural gas (LNG) prices hit historic new lows and hydrocarbon prices continued to plummet. An LNG terminal started operations at Port Qasim in Karachi and started receiving LNG cargoes.

6. Over 20  million users signed up for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services after initial rollout in late 2014. Double digit growth was recorded in cement consumption and automobile sales, all pointing to accelerating economic growth.

7. Enrollment in grades 13 through 16 exceeded 3 million mark in Pakistan's 1,086 degree colleges and 161 universities. The 3 million enrollment is 15% of the 20 million Pakistanis in the eligible age group of 18-24 years.  In addition, there are over 255,000 Pakistanis enrolled in vocational training schools, according to Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA).

8. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched a national health insurance plan in the closing days of 2015, further expanding a basic social safety net that started with Benazir Income Support program for the poor during the PPP years in power.

Lowlights:

1. Out-of-school children declined by just 1% as Pakistan continued to lag behind neighbors, particularly Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, on human development indices.

Source: UNDP

2. The latest human development report for 2015 from UNDP shows human development progress over several decades and confirms it's been the slowest in this decade. Pakistan's HDI grew 13% in 1980s, 11.2% in 1990s, 17.6% in 2000s, and just 3% since 2010. It grew the fastest when President Musharraf was in office from 2000 to 2008.

3. Several reports and arrests of ISIS sympathizes and fundraisers indicated rising threat in South Asia from the Iraq-Syria based terror group.

4. Many politicians, particularly in Sindh province, continued to hinder the Pakistan Army Rangers' efforts to bring peace to Karachi.

5. The implementation of National Action Plan to fight terror has received little more than lip service from the civilian leadership in the country, raising fears of the return of terrorism in the future.

Summary:

Decline of terrorism has enabled Pakistan's economy to begin to recover in 2015. It needs to be sustained for the long term. A basic requirement for sustainable development is investment in and focus on human resources of the country. Education and health care must receive top priority to build a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Trillion Dollar Economy

China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor (CPEC)

How Can Pakistan Benefit From Low LNG Prices?

Who's Better For Human Development? Politicians or Musharraf?

Pakistan's Economic Recovery in 2015

SBP: Pakistan's GDP is Underestimated