CPEC not to be made controversial: Saad Rafique

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APP23-29 LAHORE: May 29 – Federal Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique delivering his key note address on future of railways in the light of CPEC during a seminar at UMT. APP photo by Tabasam Naveed

LAHORE, May 29 (APP): Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Monday that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a long term strategic investment and partnership, which should not be made controversial at all.
He said this while addressing a seminar on Future of Pakistan Railways and Logistics in the light of CPEC here at University of Management and Technology (UMT).
He said that CPEC was a game changer for the country and a number of projects were being carried out under it which he added would help strengthening the country.
The minister said that there should be no politics on CPEC, adding that upgradation of Main Line 1 (ML-1) would be carried out under CPEC.
He said recently Pakistan four chief ministers attended One Belt One Road (OBOR) fourm which was aimed at regional development, adding that presence of the chief ministers at OBOR definitely highlighted the positive image of the country at international level.
Saad Rafique said that continuity of democratic process in the country was of high importance.
“We cannot depend on one opportunity and all best offers in the interest of the railways must be considered and railways might get concessional loan of $2.5 billion from Asian Development Bank (ADB) which will be utilized for strengthening of different areas of railways”, he added.
Saad Rafique said that a number of steps had been taken for bringing betterment in the department, adding that there was no political interference in railways working and the recruitment process had been made transparent.
He said that uniform of porters had been changed and different facilities were being provided to them, similarly steps were taken to provide better facilities to railway gangman.
The Federal Minister said pensioners had been facilitated by introducing the automated pension system, now railway had a 20-day fuel stock, train punctuality had increased to 80 percent, directorate of IT and legal affairs had been set up and almost 96 percent railway land had been computerized.
At present, he said that rehabilitation work of Pakistan Railways had been started, which would later head towards upgradation, modernization and expansion, and all these steps needed time.
Muhammad Ishfaq Khattak gave a detailed presentenation in light of the topic of the seminar.