ISLAMABAD - Terming Pak-China Economic Corridor as future of the country, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that it will make Pakistan a hub of transit trade in the region and will go a long way in serving the economic cause of the country.

“It would also connect Pakistan with China and Central Asian countries,” the Prime Minister said while chairing a meeting here to discuss the Pak-China Trade Corridor from Kashgar to Khunjrab and Gwadar.

The Prime Minister principally approved the proposed alignment of Pak-China Trade Corridor, with the directions to further evaluate the proposal in terms of time and cost efficiency. The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage Pervez Rashid, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq, and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatmi, and other officials.

Earlier, the Prime Minister was given a detailed briefing on the alignment of the Economic Corridor starting from Khujrab Pass and ending at Gwadar and Lahore- Karachi Motorway.

The meeting also discussed alternate and shorter route along KKH, connecting Chilas with Mansehra through Babusar Top. The Prime Minister directed that this route should be developed on priority basis and a tunnel should be made across Babusar top making it accessible throughout the year.

He directed that this route should be connected with Muzaffarabad through a road from Balakot and Garhi Habibullah. The distances must be reduced by building connecting bridges and tunnels by using latest technologies and equipment, he added.

Prime Minister Sharif also directed to prepare feasibility for constructing a road between Hawalian and Islamabad to provide a shorter route to commuters from Gilgit, Mansehra and Abottabad. The Premier stressed the need for mitigating environmental impacts during the construction of these roads.

The meeting also approved construction of Muzafarabad-Mirpur Road, which will reduce the distance between the two cities to 150 km and give Mirpur direct access to GT Road at Dina.

During the briefing the Prime Minister was told that the alignment for Lahore-Karachi Motorway would start from Babo Sabo Interchange on M-2 passing through Khanewal, Multan, Sukkur, Khairpur and Dadu.

While addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Sharif also directed to provide interconnectivity and linkages between Pakistan Economic Corridor, Indus Highway, Motorways and Grand Trunk Road to provide impetus to the economic activities in the country and easier travel facilities to commuters.