China is likely to invest Rs 600 billion on ML-1 track of Pakistan Railways under CPEC, top engineer related to the project told The Nation.

The initial estimated cost of the main line-1 (Karachi to Peshawar) project was around Rs400 billion. The top level joint coordination committee (JCC) of Pakistani and Chinese experts on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has principally approved the project in its recent meeting at Karachi.

The engineer who asked not to be named in the story said the feasibility report of the project will complete till end of this month. He said the project was a part of mega Chinese investment for the rehabilitation of Pakistan Railways.

“It is short term project. The completion will take at least two years from physically execution of the project,” he said.

Following the endorsement of the JCC, the project will be put before the Chinese planning commission for approval and after it both the governments will recommend work on it. The engineer said the physical execution of the project is likely to start in June next year. The train speed is likely to touch 160km per hour after completion of work on ML-1, he added.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has already announced to operate trains in Pakistan at the said speed. Trains are currently can’t exceed 100 km per hour speed on existing track. The slogan will be used by PML-N during next general election.

The Engineers have divided ML-1 projects in five phases. According to details, in phase-1 the track from Multan to Lahore will be up-graded for increase in train speed while phase-11 included the overhauling the track between Hyderabad to Multan. In phase-III the engineers will up-grade Karachi to Hyderabad sector for over-speeding. The construction of Havelian Dry Port included in ML-1 project phase-IV while up-gradation and training of a limited staff for preparing them for new challenge is included in final and fifth phase of the project.

Railways starts inquiry of

Jaffar train incident

The Pakistan Railways is starting inquiry of the Jaffar Train incident from today (Thursday).

According to statement by the Railways, the inquiry committee headed by Federal Government Inspector of Railways Mian Arshad has reached Quetta and started inquiry from incident spot Aabegum Station. It will continue probe during next two days at Deputy Superintendent Office Quetta, it stated.

The Jaffar Express, carrying around 300 passengers from the Quetta to Rawalpindi, derailed at Aabegum Station on Tuesday. 19 people were killed and dozens injured in the unfortunate incident. Railways CEO Javed Anwar on Wednesday also visited the incident spot and later inquired after the injured at CMH Quetta, Civil Hospital and Railways Hospital.

Meanwhile, Railways administration has immediately approved stoppage of Pak-Business Train (Lhr-Khi-Lhr) at Bahawalpur Railways Station for two minutes.

Chinese delegation visits LCCI

Pakistan is rapidly gaining the status of hub of trade & economic activities due to liberal economic policies of the present regime and days are not far when Pakistan will be top priority of the foreign investors.

This was stated by LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad while addressing a 17-member Chinese delegation, led by Executive Vice Chairman of Shandong Province Federation of Industry and Commerce Sun Ru Sheng, here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed also spoke on the occasion while LCCI Executive Members were also present on the occasion.

The LCCI President said that China has played a fundamental role in economic uplift of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan consider China a saviour as it had extended best cooperation to Pakistan at all testing times.

He said that Chinese delegation is visiting Pakistan at a time when Pakistan is looking to maximize foreign direct investment. Being a resourceful country, Pakistan has a lot to offer the foreign investors.

The LCCI president informed the Chinese delegation that Pakistan is 4th largest producer of milk & cotton, 9th largest producer of wheat, 10th largest producer of rice, 7th largest producer of fruits and ranked 10th as far as labour force is concerned. He said that geographically, Pakistan is situated at one of the best places of the world.

He said that foreign investor can make their way to the landlocked Central Asian States and countries of the South Asia through making investment in Pakistan.

Sheikh Mohammad Arshad said that China is one of the largest trading partners of Pakistan and it is expected that bilateral trade between Pakistan and China will touch the figure of $ 15 billion within the next few years. Although Pakistan’s exports to China have been gradually increasing, the trade has always been in favor of China.

He said that due to excellent economic policies of China and the hard work of Chinese leadership, China has become a big economic force in the world.

LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed invited the Chinese businessmen to invest in Pakistan in priority sectors including oil and gas, mining, infrastructure, power (coal, hydel, gas based), IT & telecom, chemicals (fertilizer (urea), glass, PV & polymers), value added textile manufactures, engineering goods, textile machinery, electronics, automotives, agricultural & agro based industry, pesticides, cool chains, food & fruit processing and packaging, livestock & dairy farming.

Nasir Saeed said Pakistan because of its strategic location could be a more suitable destination for Chinese investments. Pakistan is offering liberal investment policies allowing 100% foreign equity and equal treatment to local & foreign investors. He said Pakistan has a network of Export Processing Zones and industrial estates ready to accommodate Chinese investors especially in Punjab.

He said that globalization had provided Chinese investors a golden opportunity to relocate their large scale industry to Pakistan to reap the benefits of its most conducive business policies as compared to other regional countries.

Head of the Chinese delegation Sun Ru Sheng said that Chinese businessmen are ready to join hands with Pakistani counterparts in the sectors including mining, infrastructure development, construction, environmental protection including water treatment projects, dairy, chemicals (glue) and cold storage establishment.

He said that the Chinese business community values Pakistan highly therefore they were always ready to put their money in new ventures in Pakistan. He said that both China and Pakistan are resourceful countries but the level of bilateral economic relations do match with the warmth of their ties therefore the private sectors in the two countries need to come forward to further strengthen these relations.