China to provide $14M for rebuilding of damaged schools in tribal districts

In this file photo, schoolboys hold national flags outside a girls and boys school in the mountainous area of the Jhanda tribal district of Mohmand Hills on June 1, 2011. (AAMIR QURESHI/AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018

China to provide $14M for rebuilding of damaged schools in tribal districts

  • The agreement covers government schools in the Bara division of Khyber Agency
  • The Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad, Yao Jing, promised future support to Pakistan in all areas

ISLAMABAD: China signed an agreement with Pakistan in Islamabad on Thursday to help repair and rebuild damaged government schools in the Bara division of Khyber Agency.
The Chinese authorities will provide $14 million under the agreement, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), which will be used to reconstruct 68 damaged schools to improve the education infrastructure in the area and enroll more students.
Khyber Agency is part of the former Federally Administered Tribal Area. Much of the infrastructure in the region was destroyed in recent years as the country battled a rising tide of violent extremism in its volatile northwestern territories. As Pakistan’s security forces fought militant groups of various ideologies, members of radical groups frequently targeted schools and other educational facilities, particularly girls’ schools.
With the security situation gradually improving across the country, the authorities are trying to address development issues in a region that was previously infested with militants, and prepare the inhabitants for more peaceful and secure lives.
The Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad Yao Jing applauded Islamabad’s efforts to accelerate economic growth and promised further support in the future to administrations in all parts of the country.
Beijing and Islamabad are already working on the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is considered one of the most significant projects being carried out under the “one belt and one road” Initiative.

Pakistan to link Middle East with Karachi, Gwadar soon through ferry service

Updated 28 min 25 sec ago

Pakistan to link Middle East with Karachi, Gwadar soon through ferry service

  • Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Malaysia are interested in shipping lines with Pakistani carriers, Maritime Ministry official says
  • A $1.8 billion bridge would link Karachi Port with Port Bin Qasim under CPEC

KARACHI: Pakistan is in the final stages of starting ferry service linking Middle Eastern ports with Karachi and Gwadar deep-water port as the go-ahead is expected next week, says Mahmood Moulvi, Adviser to Ministry of Maritime Affairs.

“Ferry service will be launched from Karachi port to Dubai, Oman and Bandar Abbas (Iran). We want to facilitate pilgrims by providing them alternate routes,” Moulvi said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

He added that “the service will be completely in the private sector and the role of government would be of facilitator.”

Pakistan is currently in the process of amending its shipping policy of 2002 to accommodate more players with the aim to make it business friendly. “The amendment process is in final stages and will be approved, hopefully, in a month as the progress is at the advance stage,” Moulvi informed.

The confidence of foreign investors is being restored with growing interest of Saudis, Singaporean and Malaysian investors in shipping lines, he said. 

“Singaporean investors are coming in April to finalize the details for starting vessels. We are asking them to come up with Pakistani flag carriers,”, he added.

“Roughly, we estimate that around $8-10 million per ship investment would be made. We initially expect two ships to come up to test the waters,” Moulvi said adding that “Pakistan will be in position to minimize around $4.5 billion freight cost that is being paid to foreign shipping companies.”

Recently Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources for Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Aramco, during his visit to Gwadar, expressed kingdom’s interest in investing in logistics. 

“It was our proposal to have joint venture in the oil transportation. We asked them to transport oil in their own tankers because after the completion of oil refinery they would need it on permanent basis,” Moulvi, who was accompanied by the Saudi delegation, said.

Apart from crude oil, Pakistan is one of the major importers of palm oil mainly from Malaysia. During the 8 months of current fiscal year Pakistan has imported 2,052,681 metric tons of palm oil worth $1.24 billion. “We are also proposing Malaysians to come up with palm oil carriers with Pakistani flags. We would pay them in Pak Rupee instead of paying in US Dollar which would reduce the burden on foreign exchange,” Moulvi said.

Pakistan government is also planning to link its two major ports with the help of China under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “The exact cost of the bridge would be $1.8 billion with $30 million per mile. China wants to bring the project under CPEC otherwise it would be on Built Operate Transfer (BOT) basis. The bridge would consist of a railway track and oil pipeline,” the official said.

China is also interested in building a shipyard in Gwadar while another one is proposed in Karachi, apart from the one already operating. The completion of these shipyards would multiply the shipbuilding activities in the county.