Monday, June 27, 2022

Pakistan, China sign multi-billion mainline-1 railway project

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BEIJING: Pakistan and China on Sunday reached an agreement on the multibillion mainline-1 project of the Pakistan Railways.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing signed the Declaration for Preliminary Design of ML-1, phase I.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang witnessed the signing ceremony.

Under the agreement, Pakistan’s Railways and China’s National Railway Administration will start construction work on this project.

Karachi ML-1 project will be completed in the next five years under which an 1,872 kilometer long track from Peshawar to Karachi will be upgraded, along with fencing of rail trail and construction of bridges and crossings.

It will enhance trains’ average speed up to 120 to 160 kilometers per hour, which at present is only 60 kilometers per hour. It will reduce the travel time from Rawalpindi to Karachi to from 22 hours to ten hours.

The recent agreement is about first phase and preliminary cost of the complete project is about 8.2 bill dollars, to be completed in three phases. The ML-1 project will alone create 20,000 direct and 1,50,000 indirect jobs.

Lauding the agreement, Minister for Pakistan Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said, “this is a historic day in the Pakistan Railways’ history”.

He said the project envisages laying of double rail track between Peshawar and Karachi, which will significantly reduce travel duration as trains will travel at a speed of 160 kilometer per hour.

He said he had signed the feasibility of the project 13 years back.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Read Also: PM Imran meets Chinese President Xi in Beijing

The meeting was held at the Great Hall of the People. Both the leaders discussed a host of issues, including ties between Beijing and Islamabad, matters of mutual interest and the overall regional situation.

A Pakistani delegation comprising government ministers and officials accompanied the prime minister during the meeting.

Later, the prime minister along with his delegation held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang and discussed bilateral issues and regional matters.

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