Pakistan and China have agreed to accelerate efforts for the early completion of Karachi-Peshawar Main Line-1 (ML-1) railway project.
The agreement was reached between Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong in a meeting in the federal capital on Monday.
The main line project involving 1,872km railway track will be completed at a total cost of $6.8 billion.
The project involves laying of new track to allow 160km/per hour speeds for railways, rehabilitation and construction of bridges, provision of modern signaling and telecom systems, replacing level crossings with underpasses/flyovers, fencing of track, establishment of dry port near Havelian and upgrade of Walton Training Academy (Lahore).
The main line will cover Karachi to Peshawar via Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Rohri, Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.
The ML-I project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in its meeting in August this year.
Under a proposal the federal government planned to contribute 10% of the total cost of the project as its equity while 90% cost would be met by China under the CPEC.
“The ML-1 project will bring revolution in the railway sector of Pakistan through creating new employment and business opportunities for the people,” Rashid said during the meeting on Monday.
The federal minister thanked the ambassador for Chinese partnership for the ML-1 project saying, “This would further strengthen the Pak-China relations”.
He said Pakistan and China had been enjoying everlasting friendship which was based on mutual trust and confidence.
The meeting discussed matters of mutual interest, Pakistan-China relations and rail projects in detail.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chinese ambassador expressed his desire to further strengthen the relations between Pakistan and China.
He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project was a manifestation of long-standing relationship between the two countries.
Earlier, Rashid had said that Pakistan would get massive economic benefits in the form of 150,000 jobs and a significant surge in the freight business after completion of the ML-1 project.
He added that 90% of those jobs would be given to Pakistanis while the remaining 10% would be taken up by Chinese nationals.
(WITH INPUT FROM APP)