LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said the Main-Line-I (ML-I) railway track will be extend by 154 kilometres, from Peshawar to Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of a freight train at newly restored dry port on Saturday, he said that completion of the ML-I project was the main objective of his life and he would resign soon after its completion. He said the project was being completed in collaboration with China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative to improve railway connectivity between Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi. He said the track between Peshawar and Jalalabad would also be included in CPEC. He warned that no one would be allowed to create hurdles in implementation of the CPEC project.
The minister said that five dry ports at Chishtian, Kundian, Sheikhupura, Jiabagga and Mughalpura would be made operational by March 1, which would increase economic activities in the country.
He asked importers and exporters to help run dry ports and promised that railway officers would cooperate with them in their businesses. He said that railways development was important for any country’s economic progress.
Sh Rashid said the project would help create 100,000 jobs for the youth, adding that the project was crucial for progress of the railway sector.
He thanked the country chief executive officer (CEO) of DP World, a terminal operator, over his promise to provide 5,000 trackers for freight coaches, which would be helpful in tracking freight wagons after their installation.
He expressed his hope that Federal Minister Asad Umar would ensure early tenders for the ML-1 project.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the PR headquarters to inaugurate modernised Command and Control system of the railways.
Pakistan Railways Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani, newly appointed PR Chief Executive OfficerSenior General Manager Dost Ali Leghari and PR Police IG Mushtaq Mehar were also present.
The minister said that flour and sugar crises were real ones and he would raise them in the cabinet meeting.
Sh Rashid hoped that the country would pay off its loans in next 10 years. He said the country had to sign a $6 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal under compulsion, due to which the entire nation is facing hardships.
APP adds: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that 2020 would be the year of prosperity and development for the country.
He claimed that corruption rate had been reduced during the current regime and termed the Transparency International report fake.
To a question, he said corruption or commission in wheat management was out of question, adding that mismanagement and miscalculations in data could be the reason for shortage of flour in the country. He said price control committees should be formed to monitor the prices of commodities, adding that prices of sugar would be discussed in the cabinet meeting.
The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was an honest politician and he did not tolerate corruption at any cost.
He said the prime minister was voice of the poor and wanted to give more employment, adding he (Imran) was working to uplift the country’s economy as a strong economy would provide more employment.
To a question about any deal with PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, Sh Rashid said no deal was under way, adding that why the government would make any deal when the opposition was already inactive and there was no threat to the government from the opposition.
About Kashmir, he said Feb 5 would be observed as not only the Kashmir solidarity day but the Pakistani nation would also express solidarity with the people of India who were protesting against the controversial citizenship law.
To a question about International Monetary Fund (IMF), the minister said the IMF was Pakistan’s need, adding there would be no need to go to the IMF if someone else had given $6 billion to Pakistan. He cleared that China was always standing with Pakistan in every problem. About the instability in the provincial setups, he said there was no need to listen to rumours as nothing was going to change in provinces, adding that the prime minister was happy with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. “So rumours about 2020 as election year are wrong,” he said. He hoped that premier Imran Khan would overcome every challenge in the country.