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National

July 14, 2018

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PM inaugurates: Pak-China optic fiber cable

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk who inaugurated on Friday Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) project has said that it is significant for development of ICT in the region that, besides providing cross-border connectivity to Pakistan, would also give China with alternate and shorter access for transit telecom traffic to Europe, Middle East and Africa. He maintained that Pakistan greatly valued its time-tested friendship with China and CPEC was one of the most important components of the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative.

The caretaker Prime Minister said that the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) was imperative for the socio-economic uplift of any country.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the prime minister said the project executed under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would provide the first hand land-based connectivity to Pakistan lowering country’s dependence on the submarine cable.

The ceremony was also attended by Minister in-charge for Information Technology and Telecommunications Yousuf Sheikh and Director General Special Communication Organisation (SCO) Major General Amir Azim Bajwa and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing. Interestingly construction of the projected was started by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and it has been completed within record period of two years, the project features the development of communication infrastructure of around 820 kilometers underground OFC from Rawalpindi to Khunjrab, 172 km aerial OFC from Karimabad to Khunjrab to supplement in landslide prone areas.

It also provides 26 high capacity microwave links as backup to OFC network and 9 node centers in different locations along Rawalpindi-Khunjrab axis. The prime minister, who earlier unveiled the plaque of the project by pushing the button, complimented the efforts of the workers of SCO and soldiers who executed the project successfully in one of the most difficult terrains of the world. He viewed that the project would go a long way to develop telecom sector in the northern areas and lauded the role of the SCO for serving the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. He said the OFC project was significant for development of ICT in the area that, besides providing cross- border connectivity to Pakistan, would also give China with alternate and shorter access for transit telecom traffic to Europe, Middle East and Africa. He said in this era, the significance of IT had increased manifold and hoped that the OFC would prove to be a glorious chapter in the ICT development in the country.

In his address, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said OFC was one of the nine projects completed so far under CPEC those have been contributing to Pakistan’s economy. He said both the countries were striving to transform CPEC into the digital corridor and the completion of the OFC project within two years was an achievement. He said after Belt and Road Initiative and signing of CPEC, both the countries were working for connectivity and regional development.

Director General SCO Major General Amir Azim Bajwa while apprising the audience about the project, said after its approval in 2010, work on the project was formally launched in 2016. He said the communication link has been established with Chinese side at the border and the link successfully tested for end-to-end connectivity. He said due to its inherent potentials, the project has also a key role in support of other projects being undertaken under the CPEC.

Earlier, two documents of collaboration were also signed between SCO and China Telecom Global and Pakistan Telecommunication Company.

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