PM to sign railway pact connecting with Kabul, Tashkent: Swati


Our Correspondent


Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati said on Thursday Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon sign an agreement for a trilateral railway project connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
Talking to news channel, Swati revealed that the project, which was conceived in 2018, included both passenger and cargo trains going between the three countries. He said the project was made possible through a $4.5 billion initiative under the auspices of the World Bank.
“Prime minister will sign the project in a day or two during the visit of a delegation from Uzbekistan, which will include either the deputy prime minister or the transport minister,” said Swati. He added that the accord had already been signed by the presidents of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Swati termed the agreement on project the “best news of 2020” for three countries because of the opportunities it would provide for transport, trade and cargo.“A whole corridor to Central Asian republics will be opened up,” said Swati, highlighting that potential connections with parts of Russia also constituted an important aspect of the rail linkages. Speaking on routes which Pakistan would operate, the minister said, “Pakistan will do its job from Peshawar to Torkham. Afghanistan and Uzbekistan will operate the project beyond Torkham.” Swati said both passenger and cargo trains would operate, and emphasised that the project would deploy “high speed trains” only. Swati was appointed minister for railways recently as part of a cabinet reshuffle, replacing Sheikh Rashid.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan is all set to sign a letter, which is already signed by the presidents of Afghanistan and Uzbeki stan, seeking $4.8b loan from the WB for a railway line project connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan.