Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the Main Line-1 railway network would ensure massive economic activity in the country besides creating job opportunities.
“For the first time, Pakistan is undergoing huge development in railway sector in shape of Main Line-1 project being implemented in collaboration with China,” the Prime Minister said.
He was addressing at the upgradation ceremony of Hassan Abdal railway station, first built during the British rule 127 year ago.
The Prime Minister said railway was an important part of his vision of Naya Pakistan because of its affordable mode of travel for common man.
Unfortunately, he said, the British infrastructure of rail network of 1861 the country inherited at the time of partition was cut down instead of expansion.
He said the government got significant reduction in cost of project from $9 billion to $6 billion after negotiation with China.
Imran Khan said with construction of under-passes , bridges and gates, the ML-1 project would reduce the distance between Karachi to Lahore to mere seven hours.
He said ML-1 would significantly contribute to economic activity with transformation the existing structure into modern railways, creation of job opportunities and ease –of-doing business.
“I want Pakistan to become self-reliant with increased economic activity,” he said.
He said under the vision of Naya Pakistan, all citizens regardless of their religions, had equal rights to practice their faith.
He said the upgradation of Hassan Abdal railway station, which was at a close distance from Gurdwara Punjab Sahib, would facilitate the Sikh pilgrims.
He mentioned that the railways station at Narowal would also help easy and affordable movement of Sikh community.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan had potential of becoming a great tourist attraction for Hindus and Buddhist from all over the world.
He gave reference of a renowned international magazine Conde Nast Traveller that ranked Pakistan as best tourist destination in future.
He said the government was also focusing on easing up the visa system for tourism development.
Imran Khan lauded Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid for his efforts towards upgradation of rail system in the country.
Earlier, the Prime Minister took a tour of the upgraded railway station.
— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) November 6, 2020
Railway Minister Sheikh Rahseed Ahmed said the ML-1 project would utilize 90 percent of local human resource and 10 percent from China.
He thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for focusing on the uplift of railways to facilitate the common man.
He said Pakistan Railways was trying its best effort to resolve the problems of its employees, particularly relating to their pension.
The Railway Minister said increasing the allowances of train drivers was also under consideration.