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Opinion

Pakistan says railways on track to success

Upgrade of 1,900 km of railway has 'tremendous momentum'

Railway tracks in Karachi   © Corbis/Getty Images

From Ashfaq Ahmad Khalil

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Railways has taken exception to the contents of the news item "Pakistan seeks Iran, Saudi help for Belt and Road Project" published on November 23.

The part of the story emphasizing the change of the Minister for Railways in connection with the ML1 upgrade project is based on mere conjecture and lack of proper information.

During 14 months of the incumbent minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, the ML1 mega-project of upgrading the 1,872-kilometer railway track has witnessed tremendous momentum.

The framework agreement was signed in 2015; later, the Federal Minister for Railways eagerly pursued the project and succeeded in getting a final declaration for the preliminary design of ML1 signed on Apr. 28 this year between the government of Pakistan and China during Prime Minister Imran Khan's official visit to China.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has provided all the strength to doubling the track and the upgrade project by removing hurdles and compressing the three-phase action plan into a single phase.

Currently the project lies with the Ministry of Planning for final approval after an overview of the National Economic Council and the Central Development Working Party in the Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform.

Both the governments are collaborating to make this project a success which would have a major share in Pakistan's economy.

Ashfaq Ahmad Khalil is press counsellor at Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Tokyo.

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