ML-1 gets green light


UPGRADATION of Mainline-1 from Karachi to Peshawar has remained on hold and under extensive debate because of its huge financial impact but finally the country’s top economic body, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the mega railways transformational project on Wednesday at a cost of $ 6.807 on a cost-sharing basis between the governments of Pakistan and China.
China has once again proved its open heartedness for Pakistan as about ninety per cent of the financing will be provided by its banks in the shape of long-term loans. The project will be executed in three phases and in order to avoid commitment charges, the loan amount for each package will be separately contracted. This project certainly is of high significance for Pakistan Railways to replace its dilapidated infrastructure with the new one as per the modern day requirements. Under the project, Pakistan’s existing 2,655km railway tracks will be upgraded to allow trains to move up to 165km per hour – twice as fast as they currently do – while the line capacity will increase from 34 to over 150 trains each way per day.
As the project has been approved by the ECNEC, there should be no further delay in the execution of this strategic project which will definitely be another step forward to make Pakistan hub of trade in the region. The project will also provide immense job opportunities to our people at a time when economic activity has subsided due to the breakout of Covid-19. Given its importance, we expect that Chinese President Xi Jingping will also visit Pakistan to perform the ground breaking of this landmark and historic project that will prove to be another shining example of Pakistan-China friendship. A well-thought-out mechanism should also be carved out to ensure timely completion of the project in the most efficient manner. Then other projects under the CPEC must also be expedited especially the Special Economic Zones and cooperation in agriculture sector as these are vital to address most of the economic woes of Pakistan.

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