Islamabad: Pakistan has shown strong resolve and commitment to establish and maintain National Authority of Railway in Afghanistan. This was announced here in Paris during a seminar held under the aegis of French Presidency of G-8. Pakistan was represented by Federal Minister for Railways Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. 20 countries of Central Asia and South Asia, G-8 and six Railway Institutions apart from several railways companies participated, says a press release received from Paris here today.
While speaking on the occasion the Federal Minister for Railways said that the proposed rail system in Afghanistan would not only bring in prosperity for the border region of Afghanistan but will also provide an opportunity to Pakistan to upgrade its rail system. Consequently, the Minister said trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries of the region will increase.
Highlighting the traditional Pak-Afghan trade links, the Minister said that Afghanistan being a land locked country, has been benefiting from Pakistan’s rail net work for its trade since long and that the establishment and expansion of Afghan Railways and its linkages with Pakistan will benefit not only two neighbours but other countries of the region as well. The Minister also mentioned ECO freight train running between Islamabad, Tehran and Istanbul and hoped that Afghanistan by joining this International Club of Railways will benefit a lot.
The Minister expressed the hope that the G-8 countries would realize their responsibilities to extend appropriate support to Pakistan, which has suffered economically and socially, to its way on strengthening of its own rail infrastructure as well as development of Afghan rail set up. The Minister also impressed upon the G-8 countries to extend liberal grants and soft loans to Pakistan enabling it to augment its existing locomotives fleet which has been great contributor to an ever growing Afghan transit trade from Karachi to Chaman, Kandahar and Peshawar-Jalalabad.
The Minister told the seminar that the rail link of Gawadar Sea Port with main network of Pakistan Railways, construction of Chaman Spinbouldak rail extension and upgrading of Sibi-Kohlpur rail section would require financial resources. He remarked that these projects will help Afghanistan to get connected with international trade through the Province of Baluchistan.
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