Ahsan Iqbal on Pakistan and China Economic Cooperation

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms said, “Pakistan and China cooperation has entered into a new era of strategic economic cooperation. While both Pakistan and China enjoy closest political relations but we failed to translate this goodwill into strong economic cooperation. The volume of trade between two countries is meager $ 12 billion. The present leadership of both countries is committed to fixing this imbalance. We must learn lessons from Chinese experiences. The link between Reforms, Development, and Stability is most critical in developing any economy. In order to transform Pakistan into a Knowledge Economy we must ensure stability and become a symbol of hard and quality work in the world.” He was speaking to media on occasion of Mr Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice Chairman/Minister, National Development & Reforms Commission, China’s visit to Gawadar port.

He said, “Gawadar Port has great economic potential in the development of this region. its development will bring job opportunities and economic development to Balochistan. We hope that under Chinese company the work of Gawadar Port development will speed up. Projects to connect Gawadar Port with road network are being fast tracked. Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province with rich natural resources. In the past lip service was paid to development of Balochistan but present government believes in actions. Development of Balochistan is one of key objectives of Pakistan 2025 Plan. The future belongs to education and knowledge. Unfortunately, Balochistan is lagging behind other provinces in education indicators. Those targeting teachers in Balochistan are doing biggest disservice to Balochis by denying Balochi youth opportunities of quality education which is the key to a prosperous future.”

He said, “We wholeheartedly welcome Mr Akhtar Mengal’s taking oath as Member of Balochistan Assembly. Resolution of all political disputes can be found with strengthening of democratic institutions. PM Nawaz Sharif is committed to bringing an end to bloodshed in Balochistan. Those who are helping to promote terrorism and violence in Balochistan are not friends of Balochis, they are enemies of Pakistan and using some elements inside Balochistan for their ulterior motives.”

He said, “During previous regime of PMLN Makran coast development masterplan was developed under Pakistan 2010 Programme, which was scrapped by Musharaf government. Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms has been directed to revive the plan. Makran coast offers great opportunities for development. The 750 kilometers stretch of coastline can bring enormous opportunities for local population. We invite all political forces in Balochistan to join us in transforming Balochistan into a developed province through education, infrastructure building, and good governance.”

PMLN on restoration of peace in Karachi

پاکستان مسلم لیگ نون کے مرکزی سکریٹری اطلاعات مشاہداللہ خان نے کہا ہے کہ کراچی میں امن و امان کی بحالی پاکستان مسلم لیگ نون کی حکومت کی اولیں ترجیج ہے۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ وفاقی کابینہ کا کراچی میں اجلاس اور اس میں صوبائی حکومت، رینجرز اور قانون نافذ کرنے والے اداروں کے اعلی عہدے داروں کی شرکت امن کی بہالی کی جانب سنگ میل ثابت ہو گا۔
مشاہد اللہ خان نے کہا کہ ایم کیو ایم کو وفاقی کابینہ میں شرکت کی دعوت کے فیصلے سے ثابت ہو گیا کے ہم سیاسی پوائنٹ سکورنگ کی بجائے مسائل کے حل پریقین رکھتے ہیں اور ہمیںخوشحال اور روشن پاکستان کے لیئے کراچی کی روشنیوں کو بحال کرنا ہو گا۔
مشاہد اللہ خان نے کہا کہ سیاست انتخابات جیتنے کے لیئے کی جاتی ہے۔ عام انتخابات جیتنے کے بعد سیاست کی نہیں ملک کو صحیح سمت میں آگے بڑھانے کی ضرورت ہے۔
انہوں نے یہ بھی کہا کہ قومی معاملات پر اتفاق رائے کے ساتھ آگے بڑھنا چاہتے ہیں۔

Ahsan Iqbal’s inauguration meeting of joint cooperation committee of China-Pakistan

Inaugural meeting of joint cooperation committee (JCC) of China-Pakistan economic corridor was held between Chinese delegation led by Mr. Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice chairman National Development and Reforms Commission (NRDC) and representatives of different ministries led by Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms. Chinese delegation comprised high government officials and prominent entrepreneurs.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal in his opening remarks said Pakistan and China are trusted friends and partners in development “it is high time to transform our strongest political relations into strong economic relations. These relations are of great significance for the people of Pakistan. The corridor is not merely a transportation link but also provide energy and telecommunication links also. China’s development experience of past three decades is role model for the people of Pakistan. Pakistan supports one china policy on every forum. After withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, there will be a vacuum and this can only be filled by creating economic opportunities in the region to create jobs and economic alternatives. In this regard economic corridor is of high potential for the people of this region. Pak-China economic corridor has bilateral links with India, Afghanistan and Iran and would bolster the development in South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East”.

“Gawadar offers strategic opportunities not only to Pakistan and China but also to the rest of the world. We are keen to have Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure. We are already working with Chinese companies in Gaddani coastal energy park and in solar energy projects. He said that main challenge is to make translate the vision of the present leadership of Pakistan and China into reality as early as possible relations are” He added. He assured his Chinese counterpart with fullest cooperation from the government of Pakistan to materialize economic relations.

Mr. Zhang Xioqiang said that Pakistan and China have great potential for economic cooperation in future which will further strengthen brotherly relations with both countries. “This will not only promote trade but also bring stability in the region by creating jobs”, He added. “This project is important for the whole region”.

Prof. Iqbal briefed the delegation about functions and working of the Planning Commission. Minister said “we are in a phase of medium and long term planning to set targets for putting Pakistan on fast development and high growth in GDP and living standars by 2025. we want to transform our economy based on knowledge and innovation. Energy is our first priority in long term policies besides modernizing infrastructure. We want to transform our exports from commodity into value added sector by the help of technology. In our long term planning private sector will be the leader of growth and government will facilitate private sector.

Briefing on the economic corridor Mr. Iqbal said that special economic zones will be set up alongwith corridor. Mr. Zhang said that china will invest in energy, transportation, and infrastructure and export based industries. He also hoped that this landmark project would serve as backbone for Pakistan’s economy. He told that china will encourage Chinese investers to play a positive role in development of Pakistan.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal thanked the Chinese premier on waving off the condition of soverign guarantee for Pakistan. He also urged Mr Zhang to raise the ceiling of investment by exim bank and China development bank from $3 billion to $10 billion for development projects of Pakistan. Mr Zhang said that he will raise this issue to Chinese financial institutions.

Detailed discussion on projects of Khanjrab-Gawadar road and rail links, moderanization of Pakistan railway network, Lahore-Karachi motorway, Thar coal project and Gaddani energy park were held.

Strategy formed to resolve all crises: Ahsan Iqbal

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday said that a comprehensive strategy and sound planning were inevitable for the economic stability and prosperity of the country. He said that the government had successfully formed the strategy to resolve all of the crises including energy and terrorism.

Ahsan said that the government’s vision 2025 comprised of seven components including integrated energy, modernisation of infrastructure, indigenous resources mobilisation, institutional reforms and introduce the model of good governance.

He added that the government had also made a comprehensive plan to increase the export level, private sector-led growth and invest on social capital.

Talking to Pakistan television channel, he said that his government wanted to go for the policy of self-reliance to utilise local resources for the economic growth and stability in the country.

Replying to a question, he said that lack of planning by previous regimes, the country had been facing the many crises including energy crisis.

He added that socio-political stability would lead to stronger economy and Pakistan would become a magnet for attracting foreign investment.

Replying to a question, he said that the government’s vision 2025 would be based on optimistic approach with realistic targets and collective wisdom, consultation and broader ownership.

The minister said that the government would involve all stakeholders to evolve the national consensus over all internal and external challenges.

He said that the government had committed to establish the trade corridor to create trade link between China and Pakistan for the prosperity and development of the whole region.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

Nisar directs for setting up well-trained Fast Response Force

ISLAMABAD, Aug 25 (APP): Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday directed setting up of a well-trained Fast Response Force comprised of highly trained marksmen and possessing the right technical skills and training with the ability to immediately respond to security situations. Chairing a high level meeting here, the minister focused on the lessons learnt from the recent incident and specifically emphasised on ground improvements by the Islamabad Police. He also stressed on the importance of out of box solutions to deal with security issues, said a press release issued here.
The meeting held at the Interior Ministry was attended by top ministry and police officials and Islamabad administration representatives, discussed the recent incident in Islamabad and overall securitysituation.
The minister advised the officials to implement an integrated communication system and clearly define SOPS (Standard Operating Procedures) within a week’s time.
He exhorted all the officials to commit themselves to equal application of law at all levels, to uphold its highest standards in their decision-making.
The minister desired improvement in the pickets / checkpoints, reduction in the working hours from 12 to 6 hours, better discipline and alertness andenhanced level of security. He also issued directives for SP level coordination at sensitive checkpoints.
He assured the officials of full monetary support and facilitation from thequarters concerned on essentials technical requirements of ICT Police and gave them one week to spell those out.
The minister desired reactivation of the National Crises Management Cellon priority basis that should become a real crisis managing cell, with theappropriate level of threat identification and assessment response system.
Earlier, the minister approved the ‘ICT Local Government Act 2013’ briefedby the Chief Commissioner Islamabad and instructed to forward it to the Federal Cabinet for formal approval.
The new local government act provides for bridging the rural -urban divide, single tier system (based on wards,no union councils), a local government commission, effective enforcement of municipal functions, etc.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

National Security Policy to announce soon: Ch. Nisar

ISLAMABAD, Aug 25 (APP): Federal Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said the government would soon announce the National Security Policy as it has discussed with all the stakeholders. Talking to a private television channel, Chaudhary Nisar said the government wanted to evolve joint strategy with consensus of all stakeholders to overcome the menace of terrorism.

Interior Minister said, “We are very clear on our stance as there will be no confusion in our policy as all the institutions are on one page to maintain peace and stability in the country.”
He said Pakistan nation has given sacrifices of their life and properties in the war against terrorism, adding that now this is our war to save the future of our people and country.
Replying to a question, he said the government has completed its homework to set up a joint intelligence directorate for giving quick response during any act of terrorism.
He said the government would announce All Parties Conference (APC) soon to frame strategy to maintain peace and stability in the country.
Chaudhry Nisar said the government was preferring negotiation with Taliban with support of all political parties and security institutions to maintain peace and stability in the country.
Replying to another question, he said democratic government wanted negotiation on Balochistan issue and has given the mandate to the Chief Minister Balochistan in this regard.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

PM calls CM; asks to use dialogue to address protests

ISLAMABAD, Aug 25 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Sunday said peaceful protest was an inalienable right of all Pakistanis and political parties and directed the Punjab government to ensure no violation in this regard. Talking to Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on telephone, the Prime Minister said democracy and peaceful protests were interlinked. He said the government of Punjab must ensure that no authority creates any impediment in the way of this constitutional right of all citizens including the political parties. He said all issues should be resolved through dialogue.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

PM greets President of Uruguay on National Day

ISLAMABAD, Aug 25 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has felicitated President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay Jose Alberto Mujica Cordano on the National Day of Uruguay falling on August 25. In his message, the Prime Minister said: “It gives me great pleasure to extend to Your Excellency, on my behalf as well as on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan, our warmest greetings on the occasion of the National Day of Uruguay.” The Prime Minister expressed confidence that cooperative ties existing between the two countries would be further strengthen in the days ahead.

(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)

PRESS RELEASE ON CDWP MEETING

CDWP meeting held today under the chairmanship of Minister for Planning & Development / Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal. The meeting was attended by the sponsoring agencies and the representatives from Provincial Governments and Special Areas. The meeting was especially held to consider energy related development projects. The Minister stated that Govt.’s priority is to make country self-sufficient in cheep and affordable energy. He further stated that water and energy are backbone of Govt.’s policy. He stated that if proactive approach is not adopted for building water reservoirs, the country may face bigger problem in ten years than what is being faced for energy today. He advised the participants that PC-I should be prepared with due diligence in consultation with all stakeholders to avoid frequent changes in PC-I at implementation stage.

 

CDWP approved / recommended 13 projects costing around Rs 103 billion including Foreign Aid of Rs 8.2 billion relating to Energy Sector.

 

CDWP is authorized to approve projects costing upto Rs. 1.0 billion. Projects costing over Rs 1.0 billion are to be approved by ECNEC. Eight (8) projects costing Rs 101 billion, each costing over Rs 1.0 billion, were recommended by CDWP to ECNEC for consideration/ approval.

 

Sectoral features of main projects are as below:

 

–               PC-II to conduct feasibility study for Gaddani Power Project costing
Rs 100 million was approved by the CDWP toady. The cost of the feasibility study will be provided from the PSDP. For the construction of Energy Park to produce 6600 MW electricity at Gaddani. A Company Pakistan Power Park Management Ltd. fully owned by Govt. of Pakistan has been established to arrange finances through Special Purpose Vehicle to finance projects at Gaddani.

 

–               Three Hydropower projects sponsored by Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa namely “Sharmai (150 MW) Hydropower Project costing Rs 33 billion, “Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of Shogo-Sin HPP District Chitral” costing Rs 27 billion and “Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of Shushgai HPP District Chitral” costing Rs 29 billion were recommended by CDWP for approval of ECNEC. A total of 425 MW electricity would be produced. These projects will be financed on Public Private Partnership mode – 10% of the cost will be borne by Govt. of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from its resources whereas 90% of the cost will be arranged by private sector.

 

–               Under Punjab’s Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Programme, revised PC-Is of construction of five Hydel Power Stations (Run of River Hydropower Projects) each at Chianwali, Pakpattan, Deg-out, Marala and Okara together costing Rs 12 billion having total capacity of over 24 M.W. were considered and recommended by CDWP for approval of ECNEC. The 80% cost of these projects would be met from ADB loan.

 

–               Two projects of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission namely i) Detailed Exploration of Uranium Resources in Bannu Basin and Kohat Plateau, Phase-II, (ii) Detailed Exploration of Uranium Resources in Dera Ghazi Khan – Phase-VIII costing Rs 634 million and Rs 726 million, respectively were approved by CDWP today.

 

 

–               A revised PC-I of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority titled “Establishment of National Dosimetry and Protection Level Calibration Laboratory (NDCL)” was approved by CDWP.

 

–               In addition to above, the following concept clearance of proposals were also considered by CDWP:

 

I.              Conversion of FO / Gas fired boilers to coal of 450 MW Units 1&2 Thermal Power Station, Jamshoro

 

II.            Conversion of FO / Gas fired boilers to Coal of 1350 MW Units 1-6 Thermal Power Station, Muzaffargarh

 

III.           Installation of new cool fired Power Plants having Capacity of 2×660 MW at Jamshoro

 

IV.          Implementation of Dassu Hydropower Project

 

V.            KASA 1000 Power Project

 

–               The Committee decided after extensive discussions that construction of water reservoirs is very important for the future of the country. The Committee therefore noted that Diamer Bhasha Dam takes precedence over all other projects in the water sector. Due to financial crunch, the Committee concluded that Govt. may built Diamer Bhasha Dam water reservoir first. This would not only make available water for irrigation purpose but would also make additional water available during off season for Tarbella and other projects for generation of electricity when the water availability for hydel power generation reduces.

–               To overcome financial crunch, CDWP decided that private sector should be encouraged to finance infrastructure projects.

 

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A High Level Meeting in Planning Commission held under the chairmanship of Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms to initiate a nation wide enrollment of ‘out of school children’ with the cooperation of provinces and other stakeholders. Secretaries and additional secretaries of ministry of education and training, CADD, IPC, and Information and broadcasting along with representative from AJK, KPK, FATA, GB, USAID, and ADB also participated. Representatives of Federal and provincial ministries participated in meeting to dvise the mechanism for enrolling out of school children.

 

Mr. Iqbal said “Development starts with education and ends with education”, he further added “Federal government fully respects the devolution process in social sectors but will play a role to coordinate national policies”

Provincial ministers of education from AJK and KPK appreciate the Planning Commission’s role to bring Federal Government and Provinces together for enrollment of out of school children

“Our goal is to have every children enrolled in school”, Minister said.

“Nation-wide 500,000 children will be enrolled on international literacy day on 8th September through three day enrollment campaign 9, 10, 11 September” He added.

There are 57 million adults who are illiterate while 25 million children of primary and secondary school going age are still out of schools whereas 8.3 million children of primary school going age.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal minister, appreciated the offers made by Sialkot, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi chambers of commerce and industries to support this campaign morally and financially. KPK Minister for education said that planning commission had taken right step in right direction and that they will support it whole heartedly to make it successful. While, AJK minister said that education was national responsibility and any task assigned to AJK Government from Planning Commission will be undertaken as moral, religious, and national duty.

 

USAID and ADB also stated that enrolment campaign will be supported and government has taken a very positive initiative. Managing Director of PTV said that PTV will take this as national assignment and will broadcast special messages during the campaign. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting offered to direct PEMRA to involve private media to support this campaign. Federal Minister also appreciated the offers made by professionals from various fields of life to volunteer their services in this national cause.

 

Enrollment on intl literacy Day

A High Level Meeting in Planning Commission held under the chairmanship of Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Federal Minister for Planning and Development to initiate nation wide enrollment of ‘out of school children’ with the cooperation of provinces. Secretaries and additional secretaries of ministry of education and training, CADD, IPC, and Information and broadcasting along with representative from AJK, KPK, FATA, GB, USAID, and ADB also participated. Federal and provincial ministries participated in meeting to advise the mechanism for enrolling out of school children.

Mr. Iqbal said “Development starts with education and ends with education”, he further added “Federal government fully respects the devolution process in social sectors but will play a role to coordinate national policies”

Provincial ministers of education of AJK and KPK appreciate the Planning Commission role to bring Federal Government and Provinces together for enrollment of out of school children

“Our goal is to have every children enrolled in school”, Minister said.

“Nation-wide 500,000 children will be enrolled on international literacy day on 8th September through three day enrollment campaign  9,10,11 September” He added.

There are 57 million adults who are illiterate. 25 million childrens of primary and secondary school going age are still out of schools whereas 8.3 million children of primary school going age are out of school.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Fedral minister, appreciated the offered made by sialkot, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi chamber of commerece and industries to support this campaign morally and financially. KPK Minister for education said that planning commission had taken right step in right direction and that they will support it whole heartly to make it successful. While AJK minister said that education was national responsibility and any task assigned to AJK Government from Planning Commission will be undertaken as moral, religious, and national duty.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal appreciated the offers

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A High Level Meeting in Planning Commission held under the chairmanship of Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms to initiate a nation wide enrollment of ‘out of school children’ with the cooperation of provinces and other stakeholders. Secretaries and additional secretaries of ministry of education and training, CADD, IPC, and Information and broadcasting along with representative from AJK, KPK, FATA, GB, USAID, and ADB also participated. Representatives of Federal and provincial ministries participated in meeting to dvise the mechanism for enrolling out of school children.

 

 

Mr. Iqbal said “Development starts with education and ends with education”, he further added “Federal government fully respects the devolution process in social sectors but will play a role to coordinate national policies”

Provincial ministers of education from AJK and KPK appreciate the Planning Commission’s role to bring Federal Government and Provinces together for enrollment of out of school children

“Our goal is to have every children enrolled in school”, Minister said.

“Nation-wide 500,000 children will be enrolled on international literacy day on 8th September through three day enrollment campaign 9, 10, 11 September” He added.

There are 57 million adults who are illiterate while 25 million children of primary and secondary school going age are still out of schools whereas 8.3 million children of primary school going age.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal minister, appreciated the offers made by Sialkot, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi chambers of commerce and industries to support this campaign morally and financially. KPK Minister for education said that planning commission had taken right step in right direction and that they will support it whole heartedly to make it successful. While, AJK minister said that education was national responsibility and any task assigned to AJK Government from Planning Commission will be undertaken as moral, religious, and national duty.

USAID and ADB also stated that enrolment campaign will be supported and government has taken a very positive initiative. Managing Director of PTV said that PTV will take this as national assignment and will broadcast special messages during the campaign. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting offered to direct PEMRA to involve private media to support this campaign. Federal Minister also appreciated the offers made by professionals from various fields of life to volunteer their services in this national cause.