PTCL Group Partners with PHA to Plant Trees at Murree Expressway to Foster Resilience Against Climate Change

Pakistan’s largest telecommunication company, PTCL Group (PTCL & Ufone 4G) in collaboration with the Parks & Horticulture Authority (PHA), Rawalpindi, carried out a tree plantation campaign at Khajut on Murree Expressway to help promote environmental …

Pakistan’s largest telecommunication company, PTCL Group (PTCL & Ufone 4G) in collaboration with the Parks & Horticulture Authority (PHA), Rawalpindi, carried out a tree plantation campaign at Khajut on Murree Expressway to help promote environmental protection and the country’s resilience against climate change. Senior management, employees, staff, and interns actively participated.

Murree is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country that receives massive footfall each year. The afforestation drive will ensure the sustainability of the local environment and natural resources that usually come under pressure due to greater human and vehicular influx. Apart from carbon reduction, the new forest cover will also add to the region’s natural splendor.

Speaking at the plantation drive, Nauman Fakhar, Chief Retail Sales Officer, Ufone 4G said, “Environmental protection and resilience against climate change are critically important for Pakistan, which is amongst the top ten countries adversely impacted by climate change.

As responsible corporate citizens, it is our duty to help create a world that is safely habitable for our coming generations. We are making progress on our zero emissions commitment and hope to emerge as a green organization in the near future.”

Also sharing his thoughts, Sheikh Tariq Mehmood, Director PHA Rawalpindi said, “It is heartening to witness PTCL Group stepping up to support efforts for a cleaner and greener Pakistan. PHA has been working tirelessly for the beautification of our cities and towns and maintenance of parks, besides widespread afforestation initiatives to help our people breathe clean air and lead happy healthy lives.”

During the drive, PTCL Group and PHA planted indigenous plants having greater survival rates. The drive was conducted under PTCL & Ufone 4G’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program that chalks out an elaborate roadmap for the organization to give back to society.

PTCL and Ufone 4G have successfully conducted dozens of social responsibility programs across the length and breadth of the country to enable and empower underprivileged communities and to plug yawning gaps in the provision of social welfare. The Group continues to make a difference where it matters the most.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Should Pakistan’s Agri-tech Startups Pivot to Carbon Marketplaces?

The world is falling short of the climate goals set under the 2015 Paris Agreement as we enter the era of ‘global boiling’ as United Nations has put it.It’s increasing the need for more disruptive technologies in this fight for the future and carbon c…

The world is falling short of the climate goals set under the 2015 Paris Agreement as we enter the era of ‘global boiling’ as United Nations has put it.

It’s increasing the need for more disruptive technologies in this fight for the future and carbon credits have been touted as one of these games changing solutions that can tip the balance in our favour.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s startup ecosystem, once fueled by a surge of venture funding but not indifferent to the global economic slowdown, is finding itself navigating some stormy waters while agri-tech is already built on attempting technology penetration through an economic class of late majority adopters.

It’s not just about handing over devices or setting up technology infrastructure that the country lacks, it’s about changing a mindset that needs a lot more time and capital in R&D than available in the system at the moment. Carbon markets can provide suitable breathing space to startups by unlocking more climate-based financing and a much-needed revenue stream in the near future. So, we talked with industry stakeholders about the need and potential of such a pivot into this emerging market.

Pakistan Agri-tech Landscape and The Possible Pivot

The VC-funded agri-tech startups in Pakistan can be counted on fingers, this is nowhere near the potential of the agriculture revolution we may need and that is because this space is not governed by some supply-chain-based economic theory you can crack through crunching numbers in a financial model, it is often run by collusion among actors that are out of the regulated economy.

It true that not every agri-tech startup is scalable and it all depends on what exactly you’re doing and the founders’ ability to navigate these challenges,” stated Faisal Aftab, Founder and General Partner at Zayn Capital while talking to ProPakistani.

Talking about the carbon market, he added that this is right around the corner and it is going to be massive in the next couple of years. So, I think it’s a good time to come up with ideas and prepare your tech but not the best time to rush it through as some founders often attempt especially with verticals for which our country is not yet ripe.

On the other hand, the agri-tech startups built by enthusiastic young founders, bootstrapping their way inch by inch through this mess are in dozens and that describes the resilience of change that’s looking to happen despite challenges. Carbon marketplaces provide the best tool to diversify revenue streams, tap into more sustainability and impact-oriented investors and build on existing farmer relationships.

Companies with the technical infrastructure of tracking carbon content can provide verification services and become carbon credit aggregators, others with enough capital can build projects in partnerships with international investors and some others can build block-chain based marketplaces where these credits can be traded.

Agri-tech startups like us already have a climate aspect built-in by promoting the efficient use of resources and increasing food sustainability without increasing carbon footprint.”, stated Muzaffar Manghi, co-founder of Farmdar while talking to ProPakistani.

He said that companies like Farmdar have clear technical expertise to track the carbon offset and that is a space they will be active in at some time in the future.

So what are exactly carbon credits and how do they work? Let’s dive in!

What Are Carbon Credits and Where Pakistan Stands?

The US government introduced a cap-and-trade program in 1990 to address the sulfur dioxide emissions from the coal-based power plants that were causing acid rains damaging all living and non-living alike. It set a cap on emissions and introduced a separate market where firms could sell their allowances/credits if they don’t intend to use them or buy more if they exceed their limits.

It is one of the most prominent success stories told in the history of the climate movement as the Environmental Protection Agency reported a 30 percent drop (6.5 million tons) in SO2 emissions from utilities between 1980 and 2010, with over $50 billion in health benefits. It employed both carrot and stick, as credit costs rose over time due to supply and demand dynamics, nudging the shift toward cleaner energy sources.

Today, the global carbon market stands at $978 billion and is destined to cross $2.68 trillion by 2028 at a whopping CAGR of 18 percent. Some 12.5 billion metric tons of CO2 was traded in 2022 in the global carbon market and experts predict that if done right, this trading mechanism can almost double the reduction in global emissions and channel the funds to poorer countries for climate adoption and protection.

How Carbon Market Works?

Pakistan has only one carbon credit project under the current regime of the 2015 Paris Agreement and that is the Delta Blue Carbon (DBC) Mangroves Project aimed at protecting and restoring 350,000 hectares of coastal wetlands, removing 142 million tons of CO2 emissions in 60 years and promoting the well-being of 42,000 people living in the protected zone through diverse income opportunities.

In June 2023, the first auction of 50,000 tonnes of credits through CIX, a joint venture of DBC, Standard Chartered, Singapore Exchange (SGX), and Singapore’s state investor Temasek was oversubscribed more than 50 percent, highlighting how much the demand exceeds the supply of carbon credits at the moment. Sindh stands to earn $220 million by 2043 with 21,000 green jobs and that is just one project.

Sizing the carbon market in Pakistan is not easy as there is only one success story, although I am sure there are a number of others in the pipeline.”, said Vardah Malik, Climate Finance Expert and CEO Profectus Advisory Services while talking to ProPakistani.

She added that Pakistan is a very small player, unlike Thailand, Vietnam, India, Mexico, and Chile. Even Gulf countries are bringing a number of carbon credit projects but the mangrove project has attracted significant interest in a number of circles.

She also said that Pakistan lacks any legal and institutional framework and necessary monitoring, reporting, and verification registry (MRVs) which all countries are bound to have for successfully operating a voluntary carbon market. The concessional climate financing in Pakistan is only coming in the backdrop of floods while impact-oriented investors are hesitant at the moment as our capacity, project designs, and ability to deliver is unproven.

Pakistan ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 but by 2012, our share in Clean Development Projects (CDM) was less than one percent while China and India had 60 percent and 30 percent share in global CDM projects. We missed that opportunity and we stand to miss our current chance as well as Ministry of Climate Change has yet to establish a registry.

National Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation Plan 2023 published last month talks at length about the challenges and opportunities spurring out the worsening climate crisis but fails to clearly define the actions and required steps needed for localized plans or the obstacles that exist or will come in the way of adaptation plans.

Unlocking Climate Financing and Future Ahead

Although farming businesses have not been at the forefront of obtaining accreditation for carbon credit generation, there are examples of forestry projects that have been acquiring large tracts of land and setting up carbon-offsetting forests.”, stated Usman Javed, Manager Transaction Execution at InfraZamin which provides financing to projects aimed at sustainability, poverty reduction and financial inclusion.

Interestingly, he said that given that InfraZamin’s core focus is on generating a development impact, therefore, businesses generating carbon credits or offsetting pollution will fall under the ambit of IZP financing.

This trend has just started picking up as nobody even knew of the voluntary carbon market in Pakistan like two years ago. At the moment, international donors like Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) are studying Pakistan for possible frameworks under the SPAR6C program while USAID is also working on streamlining the requirements like the respective roles of the government and private sectors, how the registries would function, how different entities would communicate with each other.

All of it means that both international and domestic investors and financial institutions would be eager to deploy capital in these projects including startups as soon the government comes up with a framework as this space is often heavily regulated in light of a number of instances of greenwashing internationally in the past.

Faisal Aftab also stated that he is certain Federal Reserve will ease the policy rates next year and the funding environment will be better. He said that while he foresees a bigger market correction by the end of 2025 in economies having a high debt-to-GDP ratio, Pakistan has a large chunk of its economy still undocumented and is not operating on debt, so he is still bullish on Pakistan.

The one more thing all the experts were certain about is that there is going to be chaos over how to deal with the climate crisis in a few years as El Niño weather coupled with surging geopolitical divides stands to throw the world into the spiral of food insecurity.

Soon a lot of individuals and entities with capital will start searching for solutions and at that point, people who are already working in this space with some reputation will stand a better chance at success.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Baluchistan Wheels Stops Production Activities Until 31 August

Baluchistan Wheels Limited (PSX: BWHL) has decided to temporarily stop production activities till 31 August, 2023, the company informed the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday.“Due to the reduction in production volumes of our major customers/OEMs, th…

Baluchistan Wheels Limited (PSX: BWHL) has decided to temporarily stop production activities till 31 August, 2023, the company informed the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Thursday.

“Due to the reduction in production volumes of our major customers/OEMs, the company is facing drop in its sales orders. Therefore, the management of the Company has decided to temporar[il]y close/stop the production activities on account of non-production days from Friday, August 18, 2023 to Thursday, August 31, 2023,” the filing stated.

“The production activities of the company will resume on Friday, September 01, 2023,” it added.

This is the third time since April 2023 that the auto parts manufacturer has paused all production activities due to low demand.

BWHL is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of automotive wheel rims for trucks, buses, tractors, cars, and mini-commercial vehicles.

The company’s scrip at the bourse closed at Rs. 145.89, up 1.19 percent or Rs. 1.71 on Thursday.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Islamabad Residents Concerned About Traffic Violations on Srinagar Highway

Srinagar Highway is one of Islamabad’s busiest high-speed thoroughfares. According to recent reports, the highway is becoming increasingly dangerous due to the rising number of traffic violations.The latest social media post from the oft-reliable Cham…

Srinagar Highway is one of Islamabad’s busiest high-speed thoroughfares. According to recent reports, the highway is becoming increasingly dangerous due to the rising number of traffic violations.

The latest social media post from the oft-reliable Champ Alerts showed multiple cars and a large truck driving on the wrong side of the road. The post included photos uploaded by a social media user named Kamran.

The social media user criticized the Islamabad Capital Territory Police (ICTP) for their carelessness regarding the situation. He pointed out that the government has spent millions of rupees on surveillance infrastructure. Despite that, the traffic laws are not being followed properly on the said road.

The people have also expressed their concern regarding the negligence of the authorities. One of the commenters stated:

In the last few years, it has become a common practice in Islamabad to drive on the opposite carriageway among motorists and also to double park in market areas. Earlier, Islamabad traffic police was very effective but now police officials are hardly visible on roads and if ever you find one they will be indifferent to traffic violations. IG traffic , DIG Traffic, SSP, SP and traffic Sargent are requested to look into their duties.

The concern about increasing traffic violations is rising among the residents of the twin cities. People are requesting that the authorities look into the situation on an immediate basis.

Source: Pro Pakistani

E-Passports Expand Nationwide With New Fee Schedule

Following the successful launch of e-passports in Islamabad, the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports has rolled out e-passports at all passport offices across Pakistan.Introduced in the federal capital this June, they were initially limit…

Following the successful launch of e-passports in Islamabad, the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports has rolled out e-passports at all passport offices across Pakistan.

Introduced in the federal capital this June, they were initially limited to diplomatic and government personnel. However, following the announcement by former Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, the facility was extended to Islamabad’s general residents and subsequently to individuals across the nation.

The directorate took to Twitter last month to proudly declare the successful printing and shipment of the first-ever passport applied for through the Inland Online Application process.

Today, the directorate has released the official fee schedule for these new e-passports. As per the new schedule:

Passport Type Pages Normal Fee (Rs) Urgent Fee (Rs)

5-Year E-Passport 36 9000 15000

72-Page E-Passport 72 16500 27000

10-Year E-Passport 36 13500 22500

72-Page 10-Year E-Passport 72 24750 40500

Please note that the fee structure for normal passports remains unchanged as per the new schedule.

These new rates came into effect on August 16th, signaling a transformation of passport services in Pakistan and marking a significant stride towards digitalization in administrative procedures.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Main Road in Islamabad to be Named after Dr. Ruth Pfau

Islamabad administration is planning to rechristen a main roadway in the federal capital after Dr. Ruth Pfau, a German-Pakistani surgeon who spent over 55 years treating leprosy in Pakistan.According to a media report, the Capital Development Authorit…

Islamabad administration is planning to rechristen a main roadway in the federal capital after Dr. Ruth Pfau, a German-Pakistani surgeon who spent over 55 years treating leprosy in Pakistan.

According to a media report, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman recommended naming the road after Dr. Ruth Pfau Road. Islamabad has 120 unidentified roads, one of which will be named after Dr. Ruth Pfau.

Dr. Ruth Pfau moved from Germany in 1961 and spent 55 years fighting leprosy in Pakistan. Pfau received the Hilal-i-Pakistan, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Nishan-i-Quaid-i-Azam, and Sitara awards.

Pfau helped construct 157 Pakistani leprosy clinics that treated 56,780 patients. Karachi’s Fazaia Ruth Pfau Medical College and Hospital were also named after her. In August 2017, she was buried with state honors.

Rechristening IJP Road

In June 2023, CDA decided to rename the popular IJP Road of Islamabad to Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed Road.

The decision received mixed feedback from the netizens. Some commenters said that it is a good step to honor the memory of a brave soldier, while others argue that renaming a main thoroughfare will create difficulties for new commuters and local businesses in the area.

Despite public reservations, the department decided to rename the road upon its inauguration.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Metro Train and Bus Fares to be Increased Soon

As petroleum costs rise, the Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMA) has proposed raising metro bus and train ticket prices to Rs. 50 each.PMA executives said rising fuel prices hurt their capacity to offer affordable transportation. The authority suggest…

As petroleum costs rise, the Punjab Mass Transit Authority (PMA) has proposed raising metro bus and train ticket prices to Rs. 50 each.

PMA executives said rising fuel prices hurt their capacity to offer affordable transportation. The authority suggested Rs. 50 per stop for metro buses and Orange Line trains. The plan in this regard will be presented in the future.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi personally assessed passenger satisfaction. He traveled by bus and train, talking to individuals about their feedback.

The chief minister saw that the buses’ air-conditioning was broken during his travel, making passengers uncomfortable in the heat. Commuters complained that AC units had been broken for six months. CM Naqvi ordered AC restoration immediately.

He also offered free bus and train travel for male and female students. He ordered the transport secretary to prepare a summary for this plan.

During his visit to Anarkali train station, Naqvi learned about shuttered washrooms, water shortages, and broken token machines.

Naqvi called the transport secretary to remedy the station’s poor facilities. From Anarkali station to Ali Town, he evaluated token machines and passenger experience. Passengers complained about token machines and washrooms that didn’t work.

To address these difficulties, the CM suggested online and credit card metro card recharging, restoration of token machines, and improved facilities for women.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Outgoing Chief Minister Sindh Orders to Open Underpass in Karachi on August 21

Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah directed the Karachi administration to open the Gulistan-e-Jauhar underpass on August 21.Shah visited the freshly built overpass and the under-construction underpass in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on Tuesday evening, a d…

Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah directed the Karachi administration to open the Gulistan-e-Jauhar underpass on August 21.

Shah visited the freshly built overpass and the under-construction underpass in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on Tuesday evening, a day after he and Sindh Assembly opposition leader Rana Ansar nominated Justice (retd.) Maqbool Baqar as interim provincial chief minister.

The outgoing CM visited the projects with former ministers Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Sharjeel Inam Memon, and Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab. Sindh Local Government Additional Chief Secretary Syed Najam Shah greeted Shah.

The CM was informed that underpass construction began in March 2023. The Rs. 1 billion project was originally anticipated to take 18 months.

The underpass measures 110 meters in length and 18.5 meters in breadth. The ramp from Pehlwan Goth’s side measures 848 meters in length. The administrators have also placed LED lights on and under the underpass to beautify it.

The CM was pleased with the pace of work and stated that the departing Sindh administration had done a record number of Karachi development projects.

Source: Pro Pakistani