Connecting Central Asia with South Asia through safe passage: Nawaz approves Pak-China Trade Corridor

ISLAMABAD: Setting aside concept of New Silk Road promoted by United States of America, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif on Friday in principal approved the Pakistan-China Trade Corridor, hoping that it will provide connectivity with the Central Asian Republics and make it a regional hub for transit trade. Afghanistan has no place in this route connecting Pakistan to Central Asia in any future plan, reports Dispatch News Desk (DND).

Nawaz

This route is same of Old silk Road that connects Pakistan with China and then to Central Asia, leaving Afghanistan aside from any future trade development. A  high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was held in Islamabad on Friday to discuss the Trade Corridor from Kashgar to Khunjerab and Gwadar.

During the meeting‚ the Prime Minister was given a detailed briefing on the alignment of the Economic Corridor starting from Khujrab Pass and ending at Gawader and Lahore- Karachi Motorway.

After the briefing, the Prime Minister directed the officials to further evaluate the proposal in terms of time and cost efficiency.

The meeting attended by Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Information Pervez Rashid, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatmi and other officials, also discussed an alternative and shorter route along the Karakoram Highway, connecting Chilas with Mansehra through the Babusar Top.

The Prime Minister directed that this route should be developed on priority basis and a tunnel should be made across Babusar top making it accessible throughout the year.

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He directed that this route should be connected with Muzaffarabad through a road from Balakot and Garhi Habibullah. The distances must be reduced by building connecting bridges and tunnels by using latest technologies and equipments.

The Prime Minister also directed to prepare feasibility for constructing a road between Hawalian and Islamabad to provide a shorter route to commuters from Gilgit‚ Mansehra and Abottabad.

He stressed the need for mitigating environmental impacts during the construction of these roads. The meeting approved construction of Muzafarabad – Mirpur road which will reduce the distance between the two cities to 150 km and give Mirpur direct access to G.T road at Dina.

During the briefing‚ the Prime Minister was told that the alignment for Lahore-Karachi Motorway will start from Babo Sabo Interchange on M-2 passing through Khanewal‚ Multan‚ Sukkur‚ Khair Pur and Dadu.

The Prime Minister gave directions to provide interconnectivity and linkages between Pakistan Economic Corridor‚ Indus Highway‚ Motorways and Grand Trunk Road to provide impetus to the economic activities in the country and easier travel facilities to commuters.

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