ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A delegation led by the Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister for Investment and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov held a meeting with the Federal Minister for Railways Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, the Minister for Planning Asad Umar, the Minister for Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam and the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood in Islamabad on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the progress on Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar Rail project (Trans Afghan Railways) was discussed.
All stakeholders on behalf of the government of Pakistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan present during the meeting agreed on the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for further expediting the project.
The Uzbek delegation included the Uzbek Minister of Transport, the Minister of Agriculture, the First Deputy Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan.
The Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar rail link is one of the designated rail corridor defined and planned under the CAREC Railways Strategy. This new Railway line will provide Central Asia access to the Pakistani seaports of Karachi, Bin Qasim and Gwadar by connecting the Central Asian and Eurasian railway systems.
The major infrastructure development project will provide a life line support for the reconstruction of Afghanistan and will help towards reducing the humanitarian crises building up in Afghanistan.
The project was initially discussed during the visit of the Uzbekistan Deputy Prime Minister Sardor Umur Zakov to Pakistan on September 10, 2020.
The Head of the States of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed joint appeal letter to the World Bank for financing the project on December 27, 2020.
Uzbekistan hosted the first Trilateral Joint Working Group on February 1-3, 2021 at Tashkent where Roadmap was agreed and signed by three countries Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
Pakistan Railways is already conducting feasibility study of new Rail link from Peshawar to Jalalabad which will be completed shortly.
It has been agreed by the three Countries that Pakistan side will share the findings of the feasibility study with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
After the new government in Afghanistan, this project was discussed by Uzbekistan and Pakistan with the new government.
All three Countries decided to go ahead with the project activities. In the meeting conducted at Tashkent on December 7, 2021, Uzbekistan and Pakistan agreed to study carefully and conduct visual expeditions of the routes inside Afghanistan.
The Uzbek side shared a draft version of a detailed Action Plan for the implementation of the first stage on the construction of the Trans Afghan Railway line.
The Federal Minister for Railways Muhammad Azam Khan Swati met with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Transport Makhkamov Ilkhom Rustamovich on sidelines of OIC on December 19, 2021 to discuss the implementation of trilateral understanding on the construction of Trans Afghan Railway between Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul, Jalalabad, Torkham and Peshawar.
A delegation from Pakistan visited Uzbekistan and met with representatives of Ministry of Transport of Uzbekistan on February 15, 2022 to further discuss steps for the practical implementation of the project.
During the discussion, the Pakistani side expressed its readiness to start for field expeditions by March 15, 2022.