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June 22, 2013

Nawaz for ‘out-of-the-box’ ways to build fast rail link with China

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday stressed for establishing fast moving railway tracks and expressway to connect China with Pakistan through Khanjerab, Gwadar and Karachi. “It will usher in a new era of economic prosperity for both the countries and the entire region,” he added.
“Projects benefiting maximum number of population of the region will be pursued that will enhance the economic activities, provide jobs and change the destiny of millions,” he observed, while speaking in a briefing. He said that he had held in-depth discussions on the proposed projects with the Chinese premier, during his recent visit to Pakistan and was happy to note that the Chinese government was equally interested in the project.
“We want concrete projects and tangible results to benefit the people of Pakistan and China,” he added. He said that the project was in the greater interest of China as it would reduce the distance inside Chinese territory thus resulting in reduction of cost of transportation and giving access to Chinese trade with India, Central Asia and the whole region.
He highlighted that the future belongs to this region due to its huge potential, thick population and massive business opportunities. Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal briefed the meeting on the ongoing projects and areas for future projects with the Chinese government, including railway network, energy sector and road networks. The PM directed the Ministry of Railways to submit solid proposals for building new railway track to facilitate fast moving trains for passenger and cargo services, before a delegation leaves for China in a couple of days. He asked for “out of the box” thinking and doable projects to be identified that could benefit maximum number of population. He proposed to work on an alignment i.e Havelian-Ratodero-Gwadar-Karachi-Quetta and Havelian-Islamabad-Lahore Railway track and expressways that would substantially enhance trade

activities and open up this region to China and the world. He also directed the Planning and Development Division for identification of economic zones alongside the proposed railway and expressway.
He underlined the importance of special economic zones and converting Gwadar into an international city and economic hub to bring about prosperity for the people of Balochistan and the country. He said that the missing links in the existing roads and Railway tracks must be built but the need of the day is establishing new linkages to connect China with Pakistan and give access for Chinese trade to India, Central Asia etc.
Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq, secretaries railways, communication, chairman CDA and other senior officials were also present in the briefing.