LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique have rejected criticism of opposition parties on China Pakistan Economic Corridor, saying the PML-N government will not let the corridor to be controversial like Kalabagh Dam.
“CPEC is a national project and all units of Pakistan will benefit from it,” said Shahbaz Sharif while addressing inaugural ceremony of doubling of Lahore-Lodhran railway track project yesterday.
Besides the track, the PML-N leaders also inaugurated the new building of Premnagar Station.
Khawaja Saad said the CPEC was not of two and half years project but it would complete in 30 years and those who criticising it were not serving the nation.
The PPP, PTI, ANP, JUI-F and nationalist parties from KPK and Balochistan have raised objection on the CPEC. They inside and outside of the parliament are lambasting the PML-N government for allegedly keeping the smaller provinces blind about the multi-billion dollars corridor project by diverting all the benefits to Punjab.
Speaking at the Railways ceremony as chief guest, Shahbaz Sharif said that under CPEC, 36 billion dollars were being spent only on energy projects which was China’s investment and out of which 2.5 billion dollars were being spent on energy projects in Punjab while nine billion dollars on energy projects in Sindh.
“Energy projects are also being set up in Balochistan and KPK under CPEC. All units of Pakistan will get benefit from the Chinese investment,” said the CM. He added that Punjab gave Rs11 billion annually to other provinces out of its share from National Finance Commission Award.
“Punjab has so far given Rs55 billion rupees to other provinces under NFC. Being a big province, Punjab strengthened national solidarity by giving this sacrifice,” he held.
The CM also appreciated performance of the Railways under leadership of Khawaja Saad Rafique. “The Railways has made tremendous progress under leadership of Khawaja Saad Rafique,” said Shahbaz, claiming the Railways’ annual deficit decreased from Rs37 billion per year to Rs27 billion per year in so far tenure of PML-N.
Referring to Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project, the chief minister rejected criticism, saying that his government obtained loan from China on soft terms for this project at 2.4 percent interest. “The first installment of the loan has to be paid after seven years. Total period for return is 20 years,” he claimed.
The Railways minister, addressing the ceremony, said that after long period, the PR had succeeded to construct dual track from Karachi to Lahore. Had the work not carried out on this project on war footings then perhaps we would have been waited for many years, he added.
He further claimed that he brought transparency in the department and put Railways back on track. “All decisions are taken by the Railways Board for bringing improvement in the department. We are achieving targets,” Saad said.
CM shares Nawa-i-Waqt staffer’s grief: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the demise of sister of Tariq Nizami, Purchase Manager, Nawa-i-Waqt Group.
In a condolence massage yesterday, the chief minister expressed condolences and sympathies with the bereaved family.