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$1.6bn Lahore metro train deal signed with China

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SHANGHAI: President Mamnoon Hussain and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping witnessing the signing of the framework agreement between China and Pakistan on Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project on Thursday. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif signed the agreement from Pakistan side.—APP
SHANGHAI: President Mamnoon Hussain and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping witnessing the signing of the framework agreement between China and Pakistan on Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project on Thursday. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif signed the agreement from Pakistan side.—APP

LAHORE: Pakistan and China signed on Thursday a $1.6 billion agreement for a metro train project in Punjab, the first of its kind in the country.

Financed by China, the Orange Line Metro Train Project will be completed within three years and Chinese companies will design, construct and monitor the project. The Punjab government will provide all facilities for speedy completion of the project.

The work on the project will start this year and will be completed within 27 months.

The signing ceremony of the agreement, witnessed by President Mamnoon Hussain and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, was held in Shanghai.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Xu-Shaoshi, signed the agreement.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shahbaz said the project would help an estimated 250,000 passengers a day and the number would go up to 500,000 by 2025.

He said the project would be completed within the stipulated period and after completion it would be extended to other cities of the province.

He said the PML-N leadership had promised to the masses provision of modern travelling facilities and this agreement with China was meant to fulfil that promise. He thanked China for helping Pakistan in this and several other development projects in the country.

The metro train project route will be from Thokar Niaz Baig, Multan Road, Chauburji, The Mall, Laxmi Chowk, Railway Station, Garhi Shahu Bridge, GT Road, Pakistan Mint up to Dera Gujran.

The total length of the project is 27.1km and its 25.4km track will be elevated.

Earlier, addressing a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr Shahbaz Sharif said that eradication of poverty was essential to eliminate extremism from Pakistan and the country could defeat terrorism and extremism only by acquiring modern education and emulating the example set by China for fast progress and prosperity.

PRESIDENT LAUDS TIES WITH CHINA: President Mamnoon Hussain has said that multifaceted partnership between Pakistan and China with focus on economic and trade relations, will usher in an era of prosperity for the people.

According to Ms Saba Mohsin, the Press Secretary to Mamnoon Hussain, the president expressed these views during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of conference on interaction and confidence building measures in Asia (CICA).

She said the two leaders discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

President Mamnoon congratulated his Chinese counterpart on assuming the chair of CICA. He expressed the confidence that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, this forum would play a meaningful role in peace and development in Asia and beyond.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the China-Pakistan Economic corridor and called for speedy completion of the projects.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2014