Tag Archives: Bahawalpur

Pakistan: Bahawalpur to have $1.5bn world’s largest solar power plant

BY KHALEEQ KIANI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has awarded $1.5 billion contract for its largest solar power project of 900MW in Bahawalpur to a Chinese company which has the biggest solar power plant of only 170MW back home.

After concluding a final round of meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif on Wednesday, Zonergy Company Ltd President Yu Yong told journalists that his company had a total portfolio of 1,200MW of solar plants in China and the largest one was 170MW plant in Xinjiang.

He said the company had an association of over 17 years with Pakistan. Previously, it had been engaged in telecommunication sector through another company ZTE since 1998.

Read: Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

He explained that Zonergy was not a subsidiary of the ZTE, but one of the largest shareholders in the ZTE was also the largest shareholder in Zonergy.

Continue reading Pakistan: Bahawalpur to have $1.5bn world’s largest solar power plant

Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

BADAIWANI WALA: For years Pakistanis have sweated and cursed through summer power cuts, but now the government plans to harness the sun’s ferocious heat to help tackle the country’s chronic energy crisis.

In a corner of the Cholistan desert in Punjab province, power transmission lines, water pipes and a pristine new road cross 10,000 acres of parched, sandy land.

The provincial government has spent $5 million to put in place the infrastructure as it seeks to transform the desolate area into one of the world’s largest solar power parks, capable one day of generating up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

The desert park in Bahawalpur district is the latest scheme to tackle the rolling blackouts which have inflicted misery on people and strangled economic growth.

Temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the country’s centre in June and July, sending demand for electricity soaring and leaving a shortfall of around 4,000 MW.

“In phase one, a pilot project producing 100 MW of electricity will hopefully be completed by the end of this year,” Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration, told AFP.

“After completion of the first 100 MW project, the government will invite investors to invest here for the 1,000 megawatts.”

A ‘river’ of solar panels

Engineers and labourers are working in the desert under the scorching sun to complete the boundary wall, with authorities keen to begin generating solar electricity by November.

“If you come here after one and a half years, you will see a river of (solar) panels, residential buildings and offices — it will be a new world,”said site engineer Muhammad Sajid, gesturing to the desert.

Besides solar, Pakistan is also trying to tap its unexploited coal reserves — which lie in another area of the same desert, in Sindh province.

In January Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated construction on a $1.6 billion coal plant in the town of Thar, in Sindh.

Work has also begun on a pilot 660 megawatt coal-fired plant in Gadani, a small town on the Arabian Sea.

Another 600 megawatt coal plant has also been given the go-ahead in the southern city of Jamshoro.

But while coal may offer a short-term fix to the energy crisis, authorities are keen to move to cleaner electricity in the long run.

“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come,” said Baloch.

“Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical,” he said.

Clean energy

Baloch believes that the new solar park will make Pakistan a leader in that energy in the region. The initial pilot project is a government scheme but private investors are also taking an interest.

Raja Waqar of Islamabad-based Safe Solar Power is among them. His company plans to invest $10 million to build a 10 MW project in the new park.

“The government has allotted us land over here. Infrastructure, the transmission line and road are available here, that is why we are investing,”Waqar told AFP.

A million dollars per MW is a sizeable investment but Waqar said the company expected to reap returns on it over at least the next decade, and others were keen to get on board.

“There are up to 20 companies who are investing in this park and their projects are in the pipeline,” he said. “Some of them are working on 50 MW, some on 10 and others on 20.”But not everyone is so upbeat about the project.

Arshad Abbasi, an energy expert at Islamabad’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said the cost of generating solar power from this project may be uneconomical for the government.

He also warned that buying in solar equipment from abroad made little economic sense.

“Had the government decided to establish more hydro or thermal plants in the country it would have generated more employment, business and construction opportunities,” he said.

And farmers in the area who scrape a living herding cattle on the unforgiving land are worried about their future.

“We don’t know if this energy park is good, the power will come or not, we only want the government to spare our area and allow us to continue living here with our cattle,” said Malik Jalal, a local villager.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1101141

Five prisoners plotted attacks on Pakistan Army, “Prisoners arrested”

Five prisoners held over plotting attacks on Pakistan Army

RAWALPINDI: At least five prisoners were arrested from Bahawalpur and Adyala jails for their alleged involvement in a plot to carry out terrorist attacks on Army, Geo News reported on Wednesday.

According to sources, the arrestees were accused of conspiring to the attack troops and army top brass.

The accused, who had been detained in Bahawalpur and Adyala jails for the last 3 years, have been shifted to unknown location for further investigation.

The alleged plotters are reported to have links with proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders in Miranshah and Kohat.

Continue reading Five prisoners plotted attacks on Pakistan Army, “Prisoners arrested”

A decaying state kills its minorities

By Khaled Ahmed

The people who target religious minorities in Pakistan had been nurtured as the state’s proxy warriors; the state then surrendered to them its monopoly of violence

A 150-strong mob of pious Muslims in Islamabad committed vandalism, baying for the blood of a mentally challenged Christian child Ramsha because they thought she had burned the Quran. The police had her under arrest pretending it was for her own security. Earlier, a mad ‘blaspheming’ man in Bahawalpur was taken out of jail and burned to death. After the imposition of the Blasphemy Law the first major case was also against a 14 year old Christian boy in Gujranwala who had to be smuggled abroad to prevent him from being killed.

According to World Minority Rights Report 2011, Pakistan ranks as the 6th worst country after some African states in respect of safety and rights of minorities. This includes non-Muslims, those the state has dubbed non-Muslim, and women. Ironically, this behaviour also includes persecution of non-Muslims through forced conversion to Islam, through forcible marriages of non-Muslim girls to Muslims, and apparently willing conversion of non-Muslims to Islam to secure themselves against persecution.

Hindus of Sindh have tried to migrate to India. (Nearly 568 FIRs for forced marriages were lodged last year across 40 districts of Pakistan, with the majority of such cases having been filed in Sindh.) Instead of sympathising with such fugitives, the liberal PPP government suspected them of being disloyal to Pakistan and stopped them – for some time – from visiting India. Hindus are the largest minority community in Sindh.

The minister who did that himself fears being killed by the elements who hunt Pakistan’s Hindu community. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Balochistan chapter has identified an ongoing exodus of Hindu families from Quetta too due to fear of kidnappings for ransom, yet the Balochistan government does not seem to be doing much to address this problem.

Continue reading A decaying state kills its minorities

Hindus, don’t leave your soil, please – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Why should Hindus be forced to leave the soil they inhabited since time immemorial? What is their fault?

Los Angeles, August 17, 1988. On the fateful day Genera Ziaul Haq’s plane exploded in the air above Bahawalpur, I was in Los Angeles. Adam Leghari, my friend who unfortunately died young, was my host for the day. At around 9:30 pm, while discussing politics as usual, he asked me if I wanted to meet Jaggat Bhatia, an eminent lawyer and a childhood friend of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Excited, we drove half an hour to where he lived. When we pressed the buzzer it was already past 10 pm and from the darkness surrounding the house I could deduce that the residents were asleep. After a little wait the door opened a bit and an enraged man looking at us from behind the chain yelled, “Who are you and what do you want at this hour?” We told him we were Sindhi students and wanted to meet him to talk about his early days in Sindh and his friendship with Mr Bhutto. The elderly gentleman still trembling with anger let us in saying he could not spare more than 15 minutes.

As we sat down in his lavishly furnished living room, the first thing Mr Bhatia said, “If you are here to talk against Pakistan, then leave this moment. I cannot hear a single word against my country. I love it and have been fighting for it all my life. I will not let Pakistan be harmed.” It was only after our assurances that we were not there to talk against Pakistan that he loosened up. We ended up spending more than two hours with him upon his insistence. All through the meeting, he kept talking about Pakistan — sometimes tears flowing down his cheeks — and his days in Karachi where he lived in the Clifton area. I would not have believed his emotions thinking he was behaving thus due to the fear of the agencies had I not known that we were in the USA and not Pakistan.

Chicago, 1988. I was visiting Chicago and I had borrowed the car from Lal Chand Jagwani, my best friend to this day, to drive to Chicago. The people we stayed with advised us to remove all the valuables from the car before parking it in the street overnight because Chicago was not a safe city. As I was emptying the glove compartment, I noticed a small book wrapped in a cloth cover; unwrapping it, I saw it was the Surah Yaseen. Upon return to Detroit, while returning the car I asked Lal whether he knew somebody had forgotten the Surah in his car. Lal laughed and said, “Why do you think so? Do you think that only you Muslims own the Quran? We, Sindhi Hindus, respect and believe in the Quran and its blessings as much as you Muslims do.” Lal’s late father, Mehru Mal Jagwani was a great Pakistani who contested and won elections in Pakistan.

Continue reading Hindus, don’t leave your soil, please – Mohammad Ali Mahar

Blasphemy: Mob burns man alive

Blasphemy: Mob burns man alive for burning Holy Quran

By Kashif Zafar

BAHAWALPUR: An angry mob lynched a man accused of burning the Holy Quran in the Chanighot area of Bahawalpur, burning him to death after pouring petrol on him on Wednesday.

The police reached the spot to control the matter but the mob refused to hand over the accused and continued to torture him.

Continue reading Blasphemy: Mob burns man alive

Extremist recruitment on the rise in Punjab madrassahs – daily Dawn

2008: Extremist recruitment on the rise in south Punjab madrassahs

Excerpts;

….. jihadi recruitment network had been developed in the Multan, Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. The network reportedly exploited worsening poverty in these areas of the province to recruit children into the divisions’ growing Deobandi and Ahl-eHadith madrassa network from which they were indoctrinated into jihadi philosophy, deployed to regional training/indoctrination centers, and ultimately sent to terrorist training camps in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Locals believed that charitable activities being carried out by Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith organizations, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Al-Khidmat Foundation, and Jaish-e-Mohammad were further strengthening reliance on extremist groups and minimizing the importance of traditionally moderate Sufi religious leaders in these communities. Government and non-governmental sources claimed that financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in the region from “”missionary”” and “”Islamic charitable”” organizations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments. Locals repeatedly requested USG support for socio-economic development and the promotion of moderate religious leaders in the region as a direct counter to the growing extremist threat …..

Read more : DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2011/05/22/2008-extremist-recruitment-on-the-rise-in-south-punjab-madrassahs/

Soldier of misfortune

By Khaled Ahmed

In the process of supporting a revisionist Army trying to survive, Pakistan as a state was damaged beyond repair

The Asghar Khan case was and is against ex-Army Chief General (Retd) Aslam Beg, not against late President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, even though the affidavits from Beg and General (Retd) Asad Durrani might imply that President Ghulam Ishaq, as the supreme commander, was at the root of the matter. As Younus Habib, the banker who carried out the ‘operation’ has made clear, it was Aslam Beg who was the mastermind; and the president was brought in later when a meeting was arranged at Balochistan House.

Continue reading Soldier of misfortune

ALAS! we don’t know when Nawaz Sharif will learn from history and will understand history and politics!?

Zulfiqar Halepoto of Sindh Democratic Forum, strongly condemn Mian Nawaz Sahrif’s recent statement in favour of more provinces on the basis of administrative lines during his visit to Bahawalpur district. Main Saheb’s latest move is to divide Siraiki Wasaib to Siraiki soba supporters and Bahawalpur state supporters.

The biggest tragedy of Nawaz Sharif is that he is unaware of historical realities and context of geographies and nations living in Pakistan.

The other tragedy is that he (Nawaz Sharif) is surrounded by fundamentalists who came from religious parties and especially Jamait e Islamai to control PMLn and who are ignorant of historical national rights and sovereign federating units.

Bahawalpur was a Princely state and princely states were the worst bribes of colonial powers to suppress peoples movements in Sub Continent. Those who sold their conscious (zameer), ideology, land (WATAN) and people (QOUM) were given lands and states as compensation of their treachery and GHADAREE.

Bahawalpur was, is and will remain part of Siraiki soba.

ALAS we don’t know when he (Nawaz Sharif) will learn from history and will understand history and politics.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 8, 2012.

Conduct Unbecoming – Brig (Rtd) F.B Ali

Brigadier F.B. Ali (Retd.), who fought in the ’71 war, gives his account of the events that resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and left behind a legacy of shame. The Supplementary Report of the 1971 War Inquiry Commission (headed by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman) has recently been published in the magazine India Today. There is little doubt that this is a genuine document. It is unfortunate that, even though 30 years have passed, the Commission’s report has not been made public in Pakistan, and we are forced to depend on foreign sources to learn of its contents in dribs and drabs.

Continue reading Conduct Unbecoming – Brig (Rtd) F.B Ali

A case for Seraiki province

by: MANZOOR CHANDIO, Karachi, SINDH

Courtesy: daily dawn, Saturday, 27 Jun, 2009

THIS refers to Maria Malik’s letter, “Restoration of Bahawalpur’s status” (June 20) written in response to Ayesha Siddiqa’s article, “South Punjab ‘movement’” (June 12).

Defending former minister Mohammed Ali Durrani’s demand for restoration of the state, she sabotages a case for Seraiki province. She also wrongly claims that there is a popular demand for the restoration of Bahawalpur state. People with myopic view of history like Mr Durrani and Ms Malik have always raised the issue of Bahawalpur whenever movement for a Seraiki province gains momentum. We should keep in mind that Seraiki, one of the representative languages of the Indus Valley civilization, besides Sindhi and Punjabi, is the country’s largest spoken language. Seraikis are concentrated in South Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan division of the NWFP — their historical abode from time immemorial. The area has been a separate administrative region for centuries and has a separate cultural and linguistic identity from other areas. Unfortunately, the Seraiki belt has been severally neglected in the past 62 years and no significant development work has been done for the uplift of people and to preserve their language and culture.

Continue reading A case for Seraiki province

Pak Capital be shifted

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

There is a very interesting discussion occurring on other Sindhi e-lists about the increasing terrorist attacks in Islamabad and other cities. A proposal initiated by Ayaz Palejo calls for the shifting of the Pakistani capital from Islamabad to Deira Ghazi Khan/ Bahawalpur/ Raheemyar Khan or Sukkur. The main advantage being cited is the closeness of the proposed area to all four provinces and the shifting of the Pakistani capital will promote better relations between the people of four provinces.

The main counter argument being presented is that it does not matter where the Capital is and that these attacks are being instigated by the shakers and movers in Punjab as they do not accept the presidency of a Sindhi having Baluch roots.

I personally think that moving of the Capital, although a costly step would definitely bring a lot of convenience for almost all people in Pakistan. Currently a person living in Quetta or Sindh has to travel even on small matters to far away city of Islamabad. This is done at a considerable expense. For example, I recently read that it costs for a Sindhi in hundreds of dollars to go to Islamabad just to try to get a visa for travel to the USA. As far as, vicious propaganda against Mr. Zardari is concerned, it is being instigated and supported by traditional anti-Sindhi, anti-Baluch, anti-PPP, and anti-Pakistani people groups and individuals who believe that their interests would be better served if a General or Nawaz Sharif was to head the Pakistani government.

Sep 24, 2008

Capital be shifted from Islamabad to Dera Ghazi Khan/ Bahawalpur or Raheemyar Khan

By Ayaz Latif Palijo Advocate, Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan
Friends Pakistan is in a precarious position at the moment. At this crossroad of our history, keeping an eye on the various religious groups, conflicting interests of local and international agencies, various
militant groups, divided tribal loyalties, a struggling economy, an apparently reasonably aware but weaker civic culture, a nominal democracy contrasted with militant tribes, as inside observers all we can say is it looks like an incredible mess. In this catastrophic condition I have following four
suggestion for all of you and for all the rulers (PPP, PML-N, ANP, JUI & MQM) and for the civil society of
Pakistan. I think after the Marriot blast and continuing insurgency in NWFP & tribal areas it is high time when we should address the fundamental questions.

Continue reading Capital be shifted from Islamabad to Dera Ghazi Khan/ Bahawalpur or Raheemyar Khan