Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday performed ground-breaking of Havelian-Thakot motorway in Mansehra, a project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The CPEC, announced in April last year, is an over 2,400km long network of roads and rail links, which will connect the landlocked Chinese Xinjiang region with the Arabian Sea through Pakistan’s deep seaport in Gwadar.
“I have started my journey for the country’s progress and not for protests and rallies. We have an agenda of making Pakistan and its people prosper as we are determined to make it a progressed nation,” the prime minister said while addressing a huge gathering in Mansehra, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
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“Five-hour journey will take only 90 minutes after completion of this project."
The prime minister reminded the people of several development projects being carried out by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
“Let me ask the people, if all these roads and motorways are being built by the federal government, then where is ‘Naya Pakistan’ [K-P government],” he said.
The 120km section of the motorway, which starts from Havelian, passes through Abbottabad, Mansehra, Shinkiari, and ends at Thakot; will be completed in 42 months at a cost of Rs134 billion, according to Radio Pakistan.
China’s Exim Bank will provide 90 per cent of the funding for its construction, whereas rest of the funds will be arranged by the government.
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Meanwhile, the prime minister also announced Rs1 billion for Hazara University.
Earlier, the PM laid the foundation stones of two gas supply projects.
Prime minister’s Mansehra’s visit comes at a time when opposition parties, mainly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Peoples Party, are putting pressure on him to resign following revelations of Sharif family’s alleged offshore wealth in Panama Paper leaks.