Shehbaz requests Xi for support on Karachi rail project
Islamabad, April 18 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday requested China for support for the planned revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project to end the woes of hundreds of thousands of commuters in the metropolis, the media reported.
During an address at the inauguration of a mass transit bus project, he said that KCR would be a "gift for the people of Karachi" and bring great dividends.
"I will take up this opportunity to convey my request to Beijing, NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) and President Xi Jinping to reconsider (supporting) KCR for Karachi," he said, adding that the project's completion would lead to great feelings for China among the people of Karachi and the rest of the country, the Dawn reported.
During his speech, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed gratitude towards China for "strengthening Pakistan's economy" and supporting it on all international forums.
The Islamabad Metro Bus Service project, which will run on a stretch of 11 km from Peshawar Morr to Islamabad International Airport, is expected to benefit nearly 50,000 commuters every day. The project was supposed to be launched in 2018 but was delayed.
The premier blamed PTI for the delay in the launch of the project and regretted that the route plan for Islamabad was reduced abruptly to cut the cost from Rs 16 billion to Rs 12 billion, which he said, caused immense loss to the project's materialisation.
PM Shehbaz said that though development funds were available to complete public welfare projects during the PTI's tenure, what the previous government lacked was the will to serve the masses.