ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday, terming the Pakistan China economic corridor as future of the country, said it will provide connectivity with the Central Asian republics and make it a regional hub for transit trade.
Chairing a meeting to discuss the trade corridor from Kashgar to Khunjerab and Gwadar, the prime minister in principal approved the proposed alignment of the corridor with directions to further evaluate the proposal in terms of time and cost efficiency.
Minister for Finance 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 among other concerned officials attended the meeting.
The meeting also discussed an alternative and shorter route along the Karakoram Highway, connecting Chilas with Mansehra through the Babusar Top.
The premier directed that this route should be developed on priority and said a tunnel can be made across the Babusar top to make it accessible throughout the year.
He directed that the route be connected with Muzaffarabad through a road from Balakot and Garhi Habibullah. The distance must be reduced by building connecting bridges and tunnels by using latest technologies and equipment, he directed.
Prime Minister Sharif also directed to prepare feasibility for constructing a road between Hawalian and Islamabad to provide a shorter route to Islamabad to commuters from Gilgit, Mansehra and Abbottabad.
He also stressed the need for mitigating environmental impacts during the construction of these roads.
The meeting approved construction of Muzaffarabad – Mirpur road that will reduce the distance between the two cities by 150 kilometers and give Mirpur a 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 and connect with Karachi passing through Khanewal, Multan, Sukkur, Khairpur and Dadu.
Addressing the meeting, Nawaz Sharif also directed provision of inter-connectivity and linkages between Pakistan Economic Corridor, Indus Highway, Motorways and Grand Trunk Road to provide impetus to the economic activity in the country and easier travel facilities to the commuters.