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China, Pakistan to upgrade two-way railways


ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan have agreed to jointly upgrade the 1,600-kilometre railway line linking southern and northern Pakistan as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an envoy said on Sunday.

“China and Pakistan have signed memorandums of understanding to increase the speed of the railway connecting Karachi and Peshawar, as well as upgrade its signal system and railway stations," Zafaruddin Mahmood, Pakistan’s special envoy on CPEC told China Daily on the sidelines of the two-day ‘Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation’ in Beijing.
The deals, signed on Saturday, include construction of the Havelian land port, which is on the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan and Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region.
The Havelian land port will serve as a transfer station where goods shipped from China can be loaded from trucks to trains after the planned China-Pakistan railway connecting Gwadar Port and Kashgar gets completed, Mahmood said.
Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan is at the Strait of Hormuz, which is pivotal to secure an energy route for China. The port is currently under the management of Chinese Overseas Port Holdings Ltd.
China will also help Pakistan build an international airport in Gwadar and a highway connecting the deep-sea port to the airport. The envoy said the two countries also plan to launch a satellite to improve Pakistan’s capabilities in land surveying. The CPEC is an important part of the ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative, he said.
“Since China laid out the plan for the corridor’s development businesses from more than 50 countries and regions have been involved in CPEC-related projects because they’ve seen opportunities," Mahmood said. “It's a perfect example of the globalisation brought by the initiative.”
Besides bringing business potential and boosting economic development, the initiative has also improved people’s lives. China will help Pakistan increase its electricity supply by 80 percent in the next five years and some power plants have already started generating power, the special envoy said.
Source: The News