Consultation on Astola Management Planning Kicks off in Karachi

PR:  A consultative session was organized by IUCN Pakistan under its Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change. The purpose of the session was to discuss the development of Management Plan for the newly designated Marine Protected Area (MPA), Astola Island, besides mapping stakeholders’ interest, potential threats and presenting the ecological findings of a baseline study of Astola undertaken by IUCN.

The two-day consultative session was preceded by a meeting of the MFF National Coordinating Body. Mr. Khizar Hayat Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change was the chief guest at this event.

The most prominent stakeholders participating in the workshop included: Mr. Mohammad Rashid, Secretary, Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department; Mr. Arshad Hussain Bugti, Secretary, Balochistan Fisheries Department; Mr. Abdul Jabbar, Chief Conservator, Balochistan Forest and Wildlife Department; Mr. Muhammad Ali Batur, Director, Balochistan Environmental Protection Agency; Lt. Cdr. Ajaz Mohsin, Pakistan Navy and representatives of WWF-Pakistan.

Mr. Khizar Hayat Khan appreciated the role of IUCN Pakistan and especially the MFF Programme in supporting and facilitating the declaration of Astola Island as a Marine Protected Area and its continuous support towards development of a Management Plan for the island. He also lauded the achievements and efforts of the National Coordinating Body (NCB) in this regard. The NCB has also supported various coastal studies, including an economic valuation of the coastal ecosystem.

“This was long overdue following the declaration of Astola as Pakistan’s first Marine Protected Area,” said Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan. He added: “Following the designation of Astola Island as a MPA, there is now a dire need to take steps towards its conservation and collaborative management.”

The management plan preparation process entails a participatory process which involves defining vision, key management objectives for the MPA, filling gaps in knowledge on the biological and social resources of the area, identifying threats to the site, prescribing actions for conservation of key biodiversity resources, and prescribing a co-management regime with differential responsibilities for various stakeholders.

Inspector General Forest, Syed Mahmood Nasir said that since Pakistan is party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, it is committed to declaring at least 10% of its coastal and marine areas as Marine Protected Areas. He appreciated IUCN’s role in the declaration of Astola and its other areas that are being considered potential marine protected areas. He sought support of IUCN for developing a national proposal to support MPA work in Pakistan.

The sessions were facilitated by Dr. Scott Perkins of IUCN Natural Resource Group and Ms. Maeve Nightingale, a marine expert from IUCN Asia.

Mr. Cheema highlighted that “IUCN Pakistan has taken initiative for establishment a comprehensive ecological and resource use baseline of Astola Island MPA. The baseline survey has been conducted with support from experts from various relevant government and academic organisations and is intended to serve as the foundation for the development of a management plan for Astola Island MPA.”

The workshop covered important aspects of MPA management highlighting why MPAs are important, what are the benefits MPAs provide, and an update on progress against targets globally, in the Asia region and in Pakistan.

During the workshop sustainable financing options for the management and conservation of Astola Island MPA, as well as, the other coastal and marine resources of the country were assessed.


PTA approves investment in Telecom Tower-Sharing Services Company

PR:  Today, edotco Pakistan Private Limited (edotco PK), obtained the approval of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on the change of shareholding in edotco PK by way of subscription by Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited (DH Corp) of 45% of the share capital of edotco PK, an end-to-end telecom infrastructure services company. This positive decision of the Government and the Regulator is a welcome promotion of the digital agenda making Pakistan an attractive destination for foreign investment.

The above marks one of the approvals related to the transaction steps on the acquisition by edotco PK of Jazz’s portfolio of 13,000 tower assets currently under Deodar Private Limited (Deodar).  Further regulatory approvals are in process of being granted by PTA on the change of shareholding structure in Deodar, and by State Bank of Pakistan on the funding of the acquisition.


Telenor Pakistan collaborates with LMKT to provide IBM’s Accurate Weather Forecast to local farmers

PR:  Telenor Pakistan, continuing its efforts to transform the Pakistani agriculture sector which is the primary source of livelihood for millions of Pakistani households, has partnered with LMKT, an IBM partner, to provide farmers across the country with localized and accurate weather forecasting data. The move aims to advance agricultural practices in Pakistan and educate farmers to help them improve their yields by making informed decisions based on latest weather conditions.

Under the agreement, LMKT will be supporting Telenor Pakistan’s goals by implementing an accurate weather forecasting solution that will provide daily and hourly weather forecast at a resolution of 1 sq km from globally recognized platforms. It’s important to note that LMKT uses IBM’s state-of-the-art technology for its weather forecast services. The partnership will enable Telenor Pakistan to drive various agronomic advisory services to stakeholders in the agriculture sector through multiple channels including mobile devices. This will empower more than 5 million Khushaal Zamindaar users across Pakistan and farmers being supported by the CAPP (Connected Agriculture Platform Punjab) program in collaboration with Government of Punjab.

“Being Pakistan’s primary digital lifestyle partners with a strong rural presence, and movers of many industry-first initiatives aimed at transformation of Pakistani agricultural sector, we at Telenor Pakistan know what the sector’s challenges are and how to resolve them effectively,” said Durdana Achakzai, Chief Digital Officer at Telenor Pakistan. “We are pleased to have partnered with LMKT, a leading technology company specializing in geographic information systems, to deliver hyper localized weather advisory to millions of farmers across Pakistan. These advisories are critical for the success of farmers and support our ongoing efforts to empower the Pakistani kissan and modernize our agricultural practices.”

“This agreement with Pakistan’s top telecom and digital services provider, Telenor Pakistan, underpins LMKT’s continuous efforts towards establishing a highly accurate and standardized weather forecasting system in Pakistan,” said Muhammad Haroon Sharif, Vice President GIS, Research & Development LMKT. “We are working closely with different stakeholders including Pakistan Meteorological Department and independent research groups to help various industries that rely on accurate weather forecasting data such as agriculture, renewable energy production and utilities.”

Telenor Pakistan has been working closely with the local governments in Pakistan to empower the country’s farmers through a number of digital advisory services. In December 2015, Telenor launched Khushal Zamindar, a user-friendly Robocall, IVR and SMS content based mobile agriculture service for small-scale farmers. Following its success and the ratio of female farmers using it, Telenor Pakistan launched its women-specific version called Khushaal Aangan in December 2017. In March 2018, Telenor collaborated with the Punjab Agriculture Department to launch Connected Agriculture Platform Punjab (CAPP) to improve farmers’ access to information, financial resources, and market.

LMKT has recently launched real-time, location-based weather information for farmers as part of a digital farming initiative with Government of Punjab’s Department of Agriculture. The initiative aims to improve farming practices in the province by communicating relevant agronomic advisories to farmers.

In today’s fast paced world, mobile is the force behind every emerging innovation changing lifestyles. Keeping in mind the challenges that farmers face in Pakistan, mobile technology offers immense potential to bring about a significant improvement in their lives. Hence, mobile agricultural services are becoming increasingly valuable for the agriculture sector.


Telenor brings Super Kabaddi League (SKL), Pakistan’s first-ever international sports league to be played entirely on Pakistani soil

PR:  In an effort to encourage Pakistani sports, Telenor Pakistan is bringing Super Kabaddi League (SKL), Pakistan’s first-ever international sports league to be played entirely on the Pakistani soil. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Telenor Pakistan as the main partner and Strawberry Sports Management, the league owner, in this regard.

Super Kabaddi League will be played between 10 teams representing cities of Lahore, Multan, Gujrat, Karachi, Islamabad, Gwadar, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Kashmir and Sahiwal. The SKL opening ceremony will be held on May 1 in Lahore and matches will start from May 2 to May 10.  Players from 8 countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Japan, Bangladesh, and Kenya will participate in the tournament. International players have been distributed in the teams through a drafting process.

“This is a vital step for the revival of sports in Pakistan,” said Bilal Kazmi, Chief Marketing Officer at Telenor Pakistan. “At Telenor Pakistan, we believe in supporting activities for healthy and constructive youth engagement in the country. We are delighted to partner with Strawberry Sports Management to bring this international sports league to the country and believe that it will pave the way for more international sporting events in the future.  Kabaddi is one of the most popular sports in Pakistan and we hope that this league will bring a lot of entertainment to the people.”

“This is a monumental occasion for indigenous sports in Pakistan in general and Kabaddi in particular,” said Haider Ali Daud Khan, Chairman SKL and Chief Executive Officer Strawberry Sports Management. “We are excited about our partnership with Telenor for Super Kabaddi League. Together we shall build a lasting brand that endures and brings value for Pakistan and galvanizes interest in sports.”

Kabaddi is a very popular sport of Asia, especially Pakistan, India, Iran and Bangladesh. Pakistan has a rich history in the sport as it has participated in South Asian Games, Asian Games, and Kabaddi World Cup on many occasions and won several medals. Kabaddi’s global popularity has grown considerably over the years with the number of Kabaddi playing nations surpassing 40. World’s top Kabaddi talent is ready to compete at the inaugural edition of SKL which will telecast live on PTV Sports.


Chinese Universities will facilitate the Pakistani students

Zhao Lijian, deputy chief of Mission at Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, has said that the Chinese universities will facilitate the Pakistani students to acquire education in different fields in Chinese universities while addressing the certificate-awarding ceremony after inaugurating the Huawei Authorized Information and Network Academy (HAINA) at the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology.

With the establishment of HAINA by Huawei, a Chinese organization and GIK Institute have consented to cooperate to build up a working relationship and bridge the information and communication technology knowledge and skills gap.

Through the HAINA program, Huawei and GIK Institute will cooperate to help the regional information and communication technology education, share information and make more openings.

The coordinated effort will offer the students a great opportunity and chance to take in the most recent industrial trends and technological advancement toward becoming Huawei certified in support of ensuing professions in the ICT business.

Zhao said that in 2010, the number of Pakistani students in Chinese universities was 5000 and it becomes double in numbers in 2016 with 22000 students. The Chinese universities are destination of various Pakistani students and their number is expected to rise further,” he added.

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that Pakistan and China focus on the framework of energy provision and upgrading the infrastructure. He said the rest of the areas of this project would soon be taken after. He said that under the CEPC industry, production and transport would be completed after the energy and infrastructure up gradation.

Jahangir Bashar rector GIK said that GIK Institute already had substantial academic connections with Chinese universities. We have signed MoUs with Northwestern Polytechnic University, and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics,” he said. “We need to do much more together, particularly in the context of the CPEC,”

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ghulam Abbas, director HAINA said that through the HAINA programme, we would be able to equipped students with skills and cut edge technology.

“It is a pride for the GIK Institute to be first among all newly selected HAINAs in Pakistan to complete the first batch of training,”

The ceremony was attended by Shamsul Mulk, president of Society for the Promotion of Engineering Sciences and Technology in Pakistan (SOPREST), Shakil Durrani, Executive Director SOPREST, Jahangir Bashar, Rector GIK Institute, Prof Dr Jamilun Nabi, Pro-Rector (academic ), Ahsan Basir Sheikh, Pro-Rector (Admin and Finance), faculty members and students of GIK Institute.