PM inaugurates Azakhel dry port today

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PESHAWAR: Railways minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Thursday said Prime Minister Imran Khan would inaugurate the Azakhel dry port in Nowshera district today (Friday).

“The Rs510 million Azakhel dry port project will promote business and trade in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he told a news conference at the Pakistan Railways Khyber Pakhtunkhwa headquarters here.

The minister said he was hopeful that the Pakistan Railways would become a profitable organisation within four years. He said the federal government had planned mega projects to strengthen and increase railway connectivity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mr Ahmad said the Peshawar-Jalalabad railway project would connect Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics and turn the province into a hub of trade, business and investment.

He said the proposed railway track would pass through Loi Shalman area of Khyber tribal district, mountainous terrains and beautiful landscapes of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and thus, promoting tourism.

The minister said feasibility studies and PC-I of the project was being prepared, while Afghanistan had shown keen interest in it.

He said the project had so far got Rs60 million.

Mr Ahmad said efforts were under way to start one or two new trains from Peshawar to Karachi to help facilitate the people of KP.

He said the government had decided to open the Nowshera-Dargai railways section, which would help promote tourism in Malakand division, including Swat, Dir, Chitral and Buner districts. The minister said the opposition parties had showed great political wisdom on the army chief extension issue.

“The unity demonstrated by political forces is a beginning of the new political process in the country. Atmosphere in parliament has improved, which is a good omen for democracy in the country,” he said.

The minister said the security situation in the region and Gulf and large-scale demonstrations in India against the Modi government’s fascist policies against Muslims had necessitated an extension in the tenure of the Pakistani army chief.

He said the Pakistan Army fully supported democratic process in the country and that both the government and Pakistan Army were on the same page on all issues of national importance.

About the recent changes to NAB law, the minister said the process of accountability would continue, while the process would get a new life after March.

He said the country’s economic situation was improving and that high inflation would end in the next three years.

Mr Ahmad said the railways had provided the maximum relief in train fare to senior citizens.

He said anyone of 65 years of age would pay half train fare, while those above 75 years of age would be entitled to free travel four times. The minister said the government would complete five years tenure successfully.

He said Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif knew very well how to play on both sides of the wicket.

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