QUETTA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the western route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) here in Balochistan’s Zhob on Wednesday.
The premier laid the foundation stone of two key projects ─ upgradation of the Zhob-Mughal Kot section of the Dera Ismail Khan-Qila Saifullah Highway (N-50) and the Qilla Saifullah-Waigam Rud Road section of the Multan-Dera Ghazi Khan-Qilla Saifullah Highway (N-70), reported Radio Pakistan.
The Zhob-Mughal Kot Section is part of the western route of the CPEC which starts from Burhan on the Peshawar-Islamabad motorway (M-1), and after moving through DI Khan, Zhob, Quetta, Surab and Hoshab, ends at Gwadar.
The Zhob-Mughal Kot section is 81 kilometres (km) long and its upgradation will cost Rs9 billion, and is expected to be completed by 2018. The Qilla Saifullah-Waigam Rud section is 128km long and will cost around Rs 8bn.
The Prime Minister was also briefed on the projects. Chairman National Highway Authority Shahid Ashraf Tarar while addressing the inauguration ceremony said motorways and expressways in Pakistan in the next three years will span lengths thrice as long as they currently are.
From Khunjerab to Gwadar, all areas will be connected by means of motorways, he said, adding that the routes would make it easier for traders to access markets.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that CPEC will bring an end to unemployment and poverty in the country.
He thanked the political leadership for supporting the government in carrying out the project.
Addressing the function, Balochistan Chief Minister Sana Ullah Zehri said the project is an important step towards development of the province.
JUI (F) Chief Maulana Fazal-ur Rehman said his party supports development policies of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He said China has proved its friendship for making huge investment in Pakistan.
Mahmood Khan Achakzai said his party is standing by PML-N government in its efforts to make the country peaceful and prosper.
Senator Mushashid Hussain Syed said Nawaz Sharif’s vision will start a new era of development in the country.