AFTER Prime Minister Imran Khan visit to Beijing where he held talks with top Chinese leadership, it is heartening to note that focus is now on important pending CPEC projects. Minister for Communications Murad Saeed and Chinese Transport Minister during talks on Saturday decided to expedite work on western route of the CPEC that is critically important since it runs through underdeveloped areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
This route will connect Islamabad-Peshawar motorway with Gwadar, through D I Khan, Zhob and Quetta. Two important projects of western route including Hakla-D I Khan motorway and Zhob-Mughal Kot section were earlier reported to be completed by December 2018 yet later their completion dates were revised to end of this year. In this context meeting between Murad Saeed and his Chinese counterpart was important one to push up work on these pending projects so that they could be completed without any further delay. Completion of the western route projects will indeed boost economic activities in less developed areas and help government provide better social services to people there in order to improve their living standards. In addition, both sides also agreed to construct around 1270 kilometres highways including Gilgit-Chitral, D I Khan-Zhob and Swat Expressway Phase II during second phase of the CPEC. These are also highly important projects as it will provide better connectivity to tourists to picturesque areas of Pakistan and help promote tourism in the country. Especially Gilgit-Chitral road will provide an alternative route to the CPEC and will also provide another all weather route to Chitral other than the Lowari Tunnel.
We must understand that it is only through removing connectivity bottlenecks that we can exploit true tourism potential of Pakistan. The way Murad Saeed has brought reforms in his departments, we are confident that he will also work with same zeal for developing state of the art road infrastructure in the country as China is always forthcoming to help Pakistan in this regard.