LAHORE (APP) - Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday directed the Chairman of National Highway Authority (NHA) to immediately resume work on Lowari Tunnel. He directed the Ministry of Finance and Planning Division to release funds worth Rs. two billion to NHA for this purpose, with Rs 1billion over and above the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). The tunnel is extremely important for the corridor to Asian Republics through Pakistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan route besides providing great relief to people of the region, he added. The Prime Minister expressed these views while chairing a high-level meeting of Strategic Roads Project here, which was attended by Minister for Communications Dr. Arbab Alamgir, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Nadeem ul Haq, Chairman NHA, Secretary Communications, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and other high officials of the relevant ministries. In the aftermath of Attaabad Lake, the PM gave directions to NHA to start work on its by-pass without further delay as it would resume trade with China which is our major trading partner. The completion of by-pass would also provide a great deal of convenience to people of the region who have to undergo a lot of discomfort in terms of money and time in absence of the by-pass, maintained the Prime Minister. In anticipation of the submergence of some parts of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) during Bhasha Dam construction, the Prime Minister directed realignment of SAZIM to RAIKOT by-pass. WAPDA was asked to release funds to NHA for commencement of work of 35km Shatial by-pass to facilitate movement of people during time of construction of Bhasha Dam. Hassanabdal-Mansehra Expressway was long time demand of millions of people of the area. In view of this the Prime Minister directed NHA to make all arrangements as he would personally go for the ground breaking ceremony of the project in January next. The Prime Minister was apprised that people have to suffer a lot due to poor state of conditions of bridges between Jaglot and Skardu. He directed Chairman NHA to complete five bridges on this road on priority basis so that people could travel with ease and comfort. The road between Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad and Chilas is extremely important as its completion would reduce the distance to Gilgit upto 110km besides providing alternate route to Islamabad. The Prime Minister said that suspended work on the projects between Jalkhad and Babusar should be immediately resumed. The area has immense tourism potential because of breathtaking natural scenery, added the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also directed that work between Khadkucha to Sariyab and Janglepir Alizai on the Kallat-Quetta-Chaman road should be expedited and completed during the shortest possible time. The Prime Minister directed NHA to pool its resources for completion of Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab road on priority basis. He also directed that Khuzdar Rattodero road be completed on war footing because its completion would connect Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces through Indus Highway and would reduce travel distance. The Prime Minister said in the meeting that Jalalabad Torkham Additional Carriageway was Pakistans commitment to brotherly country of Afghanistan and it must be honoured at all costs. It may be recalled that the work on project was suspended due to financial constraints. The Prime Minister directed that the rest of the work must be taken up immediately and resources be found outside PSDP by the Ministry of Finance and Planning Division. The Prime Minister directed that Torkham-Peshawar road be upgraded by NHA. For this purpose, resources be sought out from within their budgets, said the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appreciated the NHA for doing good job of undertaking futuristic road projects under the supervision of the new Chairman who has also been shedding its financial liabilities piled up in the past.