— Li, Kakar agree to further strengthen high-level engagement, deepen multiple ties
— Both neighbours signed several MoUs and agreements in various sectors
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Wednesday signed the long-awaited multi-billion-dollar Mainline One (ML-I) railway project which would cost US$ 6.7 billion and would transform and replace the centuries-old existing railway track from Peshawar to Karachi.
The agreement, among many others, was signed at a befitting signing ceremony held in Beijing and was attended by Chinese premier Li Qiang and caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar.
On the occasion, both the countries also agreed to further strengthen high-level dialogue and engagement besides deepening the political, economic, education, science & technology, cultural, and people-to-people relations.
The bilateral ties were discussed in a bilateral meeting between Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of Third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) China’s capital.
Accompanied by the ministers and senior officials, the two leaders reaffirmed the time-tested and iron-clad friendship between Pakistan and China.
Prime Minister Kakar extended felicitations to the Chinese leadership on the successful holding of the Third Belt and Road Forum (BRF).
Noting the depth and breadth of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the prime minister termed it as a project of immense significance for the world in terms of connectivity and shared prosperity.
The two leaders discussed bilateral collaboration in the context of CPEC and prospects of further deepening economic linkages.
Prime Minister Kakar underscored the importance of CPEC for Pakistan’s economy and noted with satisfaction its expansion into new areas of development – including industrial development; livelihood projects; ICT; mining and minerals exploration and agriculture.
He expressed the confidence that Chinese investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will contribute in diversification of Pakistan’s export basket and expansion of its industrial base.
Premier Li Qiang underlined the steady growth of bilateral cooperation and noted the positive momentum of CPEC projects. He hoped that leadership consensus would give further boost to trade and economic relations between the two countries.
The two prime ministers also witnessed the signing ceremony in which several MoUs/Agreements were signed in areas of commerce, communication and transport including ML-I, connectivity food security & research, media exchanges, space cooperation, urban sustainable development, capacity building, mineral development and industrial cooperation, climate change, vaccine development.
Work to commence on ML-I project soon
On the occasion, Secretary Ministry of Railways Syed Mazhar Ali Shah told that the work on the Main Line-I (ML-I) project between Pakistan and China would commence soon.
During a signing ceremony between Pakistan and China, he said that it was a major breakthrough in the ML-I project, said a news release.
“ML-I is a strategic project which will change the entire transportation system of Pakistan,” he added.
Syed Mazhar Shah said the cost of the project has been reduced from $9 billion to $6.7 billion which is a major success.