Peshawar to become hub for rail trade with west: Rashid

Railways minister says PM expected to open dry port in Azakhel

Our Correspondent January 10, 2020
Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad. PHOTO: EPA

PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Thursday said that Peshawar will become a hub for the rail network in the country after the port city of Gwadar while trade with Afghanistan will flow through it.

He said this while speaking with the media in Peshawar on Thursday during a visit to the city. Ahmad said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to inaugurate a new, Rs510 million dry port in the Azakhel area of Pabbi in Nowshera district on Friday (today). The dry port, he said, has been a longstanding demand of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) business community.

To end smuggling, Ahmad claimed, it was imperative to open the dry port in Azakhel and host all containers at the secure facility there.

In this regard, he said that they were working on starting a route that will link with Jalalabad in Afghanistan and further with Central Asian republics.

He said the proposed rail network will pass from Loi Shalman in Khyber district before travelling towards Jalalabad in Afghanistan. This will also ultimately promote tourism in the province.

Ahmad added that feasibility studies and a project concept-I (PC-I) of the project were being prepared while Afghanistan has also shown keen interest in the project. said Rs 60 million has been received for this gigantic project so far.

This train will run from either Mardan or Peshawar to Karachi.

Through the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project, he said that the government plans to create some 100,000 jobs for the youth. ML-1 projects are actually a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he explained.

The federal minister further said he had already predicted that the opposition parties Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will support bills granting an extension to the army chief.


Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2020.


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