“Our object in the construction of State is the greatest happiness of the whole and not that of any one class."
Road construction venture in mountainous areas is a challenging task. Such ventures need high degree of professionalism, utmost dedication and unmatched courage. Road construction work on the highest mountains of the World cannot be imagined without acknowledging role of Frontier Works Organization (FWO). In the late fifties Pakistan Army's Corps of Engineers was entrusted with the task of connecting Gilgit with Rawalpindi by road through Indus Valley. This marked the commencement of work on a highly important national project called Indus Valley Road (IVR). In mid sixties, idea of constructing a strategic road link between Pakistan and China was conceived and both the governments decided to extend the under construction IVR to China through Khunjrab Pass.
Construction of an international standard highway was both challenging as well as enormous. Pakistan Army's Corps of Engineers, therefore, raised a special organisation named Frontier Works Organization (FWO) to undertake this virtually impossible task on 31st October 1966 to construct the Karakoram Highway (KKH). Resultantly, the founding of FWO owes its birth to one of the most significant and challenging project undertaken by Pakistan. The breathtaking task of chiseling across the mighty mountain ranges of Karakoram was accepted as a challenge with zeal and determination by the engineers of FWO. The project was unprecedented in the history of Pakistan and required tremendous technical skill in various fields like geology survey, concrete/masonry works and their designing, use of explosives, development of drilling and blasting techniques, besides administrative and logistic problems of a large work force of 15000 personnel spread over an inhospitable and harsh terrain for over 800km. The KKH being the highest road on earth has been acknowledged as 8th wonder of the World. Government of Pakistan, realizing the potential of FWO prior to the completion of KKH project, decided to retain FWO as a permanent organisation and expanded its sphere of activities throughout Pakistan.
FWO succeeded in its challenge and completed the exceptional task of KKH construction in 1978 after tremendous sacrifices. More than 1000 workers including 200 from our sincere friend China laid down their lives with over 1000 sustaining disabling injuries in their quest to achieve this national objective.
During the last half century, FWO has earned the reputation of Country's most prestigious, multidimensional and professional construction organisation which is committed to meeting the strategic needs of the Pakistan in versatile construction fields. FWO plays a pivotal role in socio-economic development and nation building through its unmatched contribution to infrastructure development. Over the years, FWO has been able to ensure performance par excellence despite time, budget and space constraints. The organisation is state of the art construction leader in civil as well as military spheres. Judicious utilisation of resources and adherence to modern construction practices is the hall mark of FWO. Taking a leap from its core competency of roads construction, FWO has excelled into large number of multifaceted infrastructure development projects.
This new paradigm shift has enabled FWO to serve the nation with utmost versatility and commitment. Today the domain of FWO projects range from blazing plateaus of Balochistan to lush green dales of Swat and Chitral; from the deserts of Sindh to snowcapped summits of Siachin.
FWO has a knack for accepting challenges and converting ideas into reality no matter how meagre are the resources. FWO has on its credit several initiatives which have contributed significantly in strengthening national communication infrastructure. FWO is also the pioneers and leader in Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) regime in Pakistan. Lahore-Faisalabad road (LAFCO) is one such example. FWO has also been given the responsibility of constructing motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad (M-9) on similar BOT methodology.
Keeping up with its traditions of developing the far frontiers, FWO is active in building massive road network in Balochistan (around 900kms) which will bring prosperity in the region. Linkage of Gwadar further up North will provide Pakistan with tremendous potential for commercial activities through development of CPEC. The Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) in Fata, Swat and other militancy hit areas by FWO have contributed significantly in changing landscape of militancy hit area. People of Fata have never been provided with such a sustained development which will facilitate durable peace and socio-economic development in the area. Fast development of energy and power generation projects such as Gomal Zam Dam and Dhana irrigation system, development of Central Trade Corridor (CTC) and nearly 700km roads network in Fata, are testimony of FWO’s contribution in eradicating militancy and terrorism from Fata. QIPs undertaken by FWO have changed the landscape of the area besides restoration of normalcy to the lives of affected population. With road infrastructure development, access of agriculture products and mining yields to bigger markets has unleashed a new era of prosperity in Fata.
Recently, National Highway Authority (NHA) has tasked FWO with conversion of existing 4 Lane Super Highway into a 6 Lane Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M9) on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. A consortium of banks headed by UBL provided the finances for the project.
FWO will maintain and operate the Motorway in line with international practices over the next twenty five years. This mega project was inaugurated by prime minister on 11th March 2015. All initiatives planned for M-2 shall also be extended to M-9.
On 25th Feb 2016, Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-Ul-Ebad Khan while presiding a meeting to review the progress of ongoing mega development projects including the M-9 motorway overwhelmingly appreciated efforts of FWO in nation building. According to FWO, the work has already begun on the proposed M-9 project and negotiations are in progress to shift service stations to alternate locations. M-9 will be a state of the art project with modern CCTV cameras installed after every two kilometers, computerised signboards and automated toll tax collection system. Moreover, a total of 14 overhead bridges and underpasses will be constructed on the proposed route of M-9 for facilitating movement of population living on either side of the road.
Today, FWO with an envious track record, looks forward to greater challenges and stands better equipped to meet them. Our nation will remain highly indebted to the sacrifices of over 1000 lives of FWO workers while working in harsh climates and difficult terrain since its inception.
With growing list of national contributions each year, FWO will continue serving Pakistan with utmost humility. FWO is conscious of the responsibility given to it by the Pakistani nation and will maintain high standards of professionalism, sincerity and national commitment in times to come.