Sheikh Rasheed calls on PM Imran, discusses matters related to railway ministry | Pakistan Today

Sheikh Rasheed calls on PM Imran, discusses matters related to railway ministry

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at his Parliament House chamber in Islamabad.

During the meeting, both discussed matters related to railway ministry.

Rasheed also briefed the PM in detail about various measures being taken for the turn-around of the organisation into a sustainable and profitable venture.

He also apprised the prime minister about the issue of thousands of acres of encroached land of Pakistan Railways worth billions of rupees.

On Monday, Rasheed had said that Pakistan has cut the size of the biggest Chinese “Silk Road” project in the country by $2 billion, citing government concerns about the country’s debt levels.

The megaproject to revamp the colonial-era line stretching 1,872 km (1,163 miles) from Karachi to Peshawar was initially priced at $8.2bn, but wrangling over costs has led to delays.

The changes are part of Islamabad’s efforts to rethink key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Pakistan, where Beijing has pledged about $60bn in financing, but the new government of populist Prime Minister Imran Khan appears to be more cautious about the Chinese investment.

“Pakistan is a poor country that cannot afford the huge burden of the loans,” Rasheed told a news conference in Lahore. “Therefore, we have reduced the loan from China under CPEC for rail projects from $8.2 billion to $6.2 billion,” he had added.

Rasheed had said that the government remains committed to the Karachi-Peshawar Main Line-1 (ML-1) project but added that he wishes to further reduce the cost to $4.2bn from $6.2bn.

Islamabad has baulked at the financing terms and has pushed for deeply concessional loans for ML-1. It also invited third countries to join.

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