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January 26, 2020

ML-I railway track to be extended to Jalalabad: Sheikh Rashid

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January 26, 2020

LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said the Main-Line-I (ML-I) railway track will be extended by 154 km, from Peshawar to Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of a freight train at the newly restored dry port on Saturday, he said that completion of the ML-I project was the main objective of his life and he would resign soon after its completion. He said the project was being completed in collaboration with China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative to improve railway connectivity between Peshawar, Lahore, and Karachi. He said the track between Peshawar and Jalalabad would also be included in CPEC. He expressed his hope that Federal Minister Asad Umar would ensure early tenders for the ML-1 project. He warned that no one would be allowed to create hurdles in the implementation of the CPEC projects.

The minister said that five dry ports at Chishtian, Kundian, Sheikhupura, Jiabagga, and Mughalpura would be made operational by March 1, which would increase economic activities in the country. He asked importers and exporters to help run dry ports and promised that railway officers would cooperate with them in their businesses. He said that railways development was important for any country’s economic progress. Sh Rashid said the project would help create 100,000 jobs for the youth, adding that the project was crucial for the progress of the railway sector. He thanked the country chief executive officer (CEO) of DP World, a terminal operator, for promising to provide 5,000 trackers for freight coaches, which would be helpful in tracking freight wagons.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the PR headquarters to inaugurate modernised Command and Control system of the railways. Pakistan Railways Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani, newly appointed PR Chief Executive Officer\Senior General Manager Dost Ali Leghari and PR Police IG Mushtaq Mehar were also present. The minister said that flour and sugar crises were real ones and he raised them in the cabinet meeting. Sh Rashid hoped that the country would pay off its loans in the next 10 years. He said the country had to sign a $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal under compulsion, due to which the entire nation is facing hardships.

APP adds: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that 2020 would be the year of prosperity and development for the country. He claimed that the corruption rate had been reduced during the current regime and termed the Transparency International report fake.

To a question, he said corruption or commission in wheat management was out of the question, adding that mismanagement and miscalculations in data could be the reason for the shortage of flour in the country. He said price control committees should be formed to monitor the prices of commodities, adding that prices of sugar would be discussed in the cabinet meeting.

The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was an honest politician and he did not tolerate corruption at any cost. He said the prime minister was the voice of the poor and wanted to give more employment, adding he (Imran) was working to improve the country’s economy as a strong economy would provide more employment. To a question about any deal with PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, Sh Rashid said no deal was underway, adding that why the government would make any deal when the opposition was already inactive and there was no threat to the government from the opposition.

About Kashmir, he said Feb 5 would be observed as not only the Kashmir solidarity day but the Pakistani nation would also express solidarity with the people of India who were protesting against the controversial citizenship law.

To a question about International Monetary Fund (IMF), the minister said the IMF was Pakistan’s need, adding there would be no need to go to the IMF if someone else had given $6 billion to Pakistan. He said that China always stood by Pakistan in every problem.

About the instability in the provincial setups, he said there was no need to listen to rumours as nothing was going to change in provinces, adding that the prime minister was happy with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. "So rumours about 2020 as election year are wrong," he said. He hoped that premier Imran Khan would overcome every challenge in the country.