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China tables railway project linking to Pakistan


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The rail link funded primarily by China would connect Xinjiang’s western city Kashgar to the Gwadar deep sea port of Pakistan. — File photo
The rail link funded primarily by China would connect Xinjiang’s western city Kashgar to the Gwadar deep sea port of Pakistan. — File photo

A research study regarding an international railway project linking Pakistan with China’s Xinjiang province through Azad Jammu and Kashmir has been commissioned by China, according to a Times of India and China Daily report.

The rail link funded primarily by China would connect Xinjiang’s western city Kashgar to the Gwadar deep sea port of Pakistan, said state-run China Daily while quoting the director of Xinjiang's regional development and reform commission, Zhang Chunlin on the subject.

"The 1,800-km China-Pakistan railway is planned to also pass through Pakistan's capital of Islamabad and Karachi," Zhang had said at the two-day International Seminar on the Silk Road Economic Belt being held in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital.

Due to geo-strategic implications the project would be hard to proceed with, as it would be a requisite for the rail project to run through the Pamir Plateau and Karakoram Mountains. Although once completed it would emerge as one of the most strategically beneficial transportation infrastructures on the China-Pakistan economic corridor, opined Zhang.

"Although the cost of constructing the railway is expected to be high due to the hostile environment and complicated geographic conditions, the study of the project has already been started," he added.

President Xi Jinping had also spoken in favour of rejuvenating conventional trade routes connecting China, Central Asia and Europe.

A multi-billion deal has already been signed to initiate work on an Economic Corridor linking Kashgar with the port city of Gwadar through AJK. It also implied revamping the already in place Karakoram road link despite the cynicism expressed by political analysts in China.

The project exhibits tremendous potential as it would enable China to run a port alongside Gulf of Oman which is deemed to be a hub for activities relating to oil tankers.

India however has objected to the project citing concerns that the said route would involve a disputed territory. Pakistan had given the operational key of the port city of Gwadar to Beijing back in 2013, a move deeply detested by India as it alleged it could provide a chance to China to monitor its port activities.

Comments (69) Closed

Shahid Malik Jun 30, 2014 02:48pm

The railway project linking Gwadar with China through Karachi and Islamabad would certainly open many economic avenues both for China and Pakistan. Let us hope the actual work on this project gets started to materialize this dream

ilyas Jun 30, 2014 03:01pm

Love to see Gawadar port working as busy as port of Shanghai ( In Asia ) and Rotterdam ( In Europe ) . Long live Pakistan !

ProudtobeanINDIAN Jun 30, 2014 03:05pm

Be very careful while dealing with China... They will Flex their muscles when they feel they dominate the place... Know the Xinjiang's story..

Pune-Nagpur Jun 30, 2014 03:27pm

Congratulation to all Pakistani but what about Baluchistan ?? Pakistan's laregest territory. Are they happy?? about this Project???

Rizwan Jun 30, 2014 03:34pm

believe me or not.. I already wanted such rail line to be built in Pakistan... will help country to revive its economy.. May such project take place in good and sincere hands.

ahmedj Jun 30, 2014 03:53pm

So this is the reason of unrest in Pakistan's two western provinces along the tribal belt.

janan Jun 30, 2014 04:06pm

@ilyas oue friendly middle east countries are the big opposer to gwadar port and there are reports they are financing the separatist in the province to destablize the region.

Jungraiz Jun 30, 2014 04:18pm

The shortest route to Gawadar is thru KPK and Balochistan. To see this map, you can understand why Islo, Lahore and Karachi have been pushing for good and bad taleban for so many years.

khangul Jun 30, 2014 04:29pm

@ProudtobeanINDIAN The project has a great merit and will certainly bring prosperity to Balochistan, Pakistan, and the region. As for the Chinese, they have proved to be exemplary friends on political, economic, and security issues for the past 65 years. China and Pakistan have common interests and there is no reason to fear. So WAN AN.

sohaib Jun 30, 2014 05:18pm

@ProudtobeanINDIAN I m happy for India and the satellites they launched today, why cant you stop getting involved in everything good Pakistan does for its people?

Taimoor Khan Jun 30, 2014 05:21pm

Looking at the map , whats the point of Gawadar when the route eventually has to go through Karachi? The whole point of Gawadar was to have an independent port and not put all the eggs in one basket which is the Karachi port. In case of hostilities with our eastern neighbor, we will be again in vulnerable situation.

zak Jun 30, 2014 05:23pm

This will change the dynamics and brotherly bond of China and Pakistan will be cemented for good. The trade routes to central asia will be next. wow!

Moiz Omar Jun 30, 2014 05:24pm

This would benefit both Pakistan and China. Do it.

Taimur Jun 30, 2014 06:06pm

Can't wait to see this link up running and working... long live Pak-China friendship.... hope this starts as soon as possible...

umair Jun 30, 2014 06:19pm

This will change fortune of Pakistan. Only worries are that our corrupt politicians will try to eat whole chunk of commission. I hope Pakistan will have technocrat government by then.

Haider Rehman Jun 30, 2014 06:44pm

Bullet train. Godspeed!

Jamal Jun 30, 2014 07:23pm

This decision should be made by Baluch themselves. No outsider should be allowed make decisions about their land.

khan Jun 30, 2014 07:25pm

@Pune-Nagpur baluchistan is our province our internal matter and does not concern you. Worry about your own separatist movements . Mind your own business.

rolland Jun 30, 2014 07:32pm

Sir: This project would give a tremendous advantage to China by opening a short route to the Indian Ocean (via the Arabian Sea). Goods between China and the world and passengers of many nationalities (including engineering, technical and of course intelligence (spy) personnel) would be going back and forth through the heart of Pakistan. Exactly what significant benefits the host country would gain has not been spelled out. Potential enemies of the country could gather critical information while transiting through Pakistan. All aspects should be considered and studied at length before going ahead with this project which China could execute within a short time, given its capital availability, expertise, determination and experience. Pakistan should be a gainer in this deal. Rolland

Zafar Iqbal Jun 30, 2014 07:44pm

Would love to travel by train from Karachi to Shanghai. This could develop into the "new Orient Express".

Oz Jun 30, 2014 07:46pm

Please, no time to think... DO IT !!

Anwar Mahmood Jun 30, 2014 07:58pm

Pakistan has the most important geo political location and is also the flexamatic functioning energy corridor close to middle East oil.

Looks like Pak and China together are on sure way to dominate Asia.

Ahmer Jun 30, 2014 08:01pm

So eventually you'd be able to go to Paris or Berlin from Karachi via train. Awesome. Guess that is why "proudIndian" is jealous.

SachBol Jun 30, 2014 08:36pm

There was a report few years ago in BBC, that UAE ( especially Dubai), Iran and Us are dead opposed to Gawadar port and Dubai is heavily funding separatist in Baluchistan. Pakistan need to quickly go ahead with this program and treat it as national security.

Sultan Ali Jun 30, 2014 08:39pm

for those who is in favour of KPK routes, shortes route is KPK however biggest cities produced exports goods are no doubt punjab cities and karachi so make no sense to connect KPK while exporting cities can genrate revenue :)

bercha Jun 30, 2014 08:42pm

This project will connect China and Pakistan via GilgitBaltistan not Azzad kashmir....

Mohammad Akhtar Jun 30, 2014 08:50pm

Hope it is not just the talk and the project starts soon. If it does sure it will bring jobs to Pakistan and also link the world.

Mateen Jun 30, 2014 09:51pm

This is such a great news for Pakistan; It shows China trusts Pakistan, they need us and are happy to work with us, giving us all these infrastructural perks as gifts in return. All we need now is a leadership that reciprocates to the Chinese.

China should be allowed to construct air and naval bases near Karachi, Gwadar. It would help to remove American hegemony in the region.

zahid Jun 30, 2014 09:58pm

it will become great step in the history of Pakistan. but we have to bring people of Baluchistan on board for the better future of this project.

Saad(DXB) Jun 30, 2014 11:06pm

@Pune-Nagpur That is none of your business and is completely Pakistan's internal matter. Just like what happens in Assam, Nagalang and Tamil Nadu is India's internal matter

Shamoon Jun 30, 2014 11:15pm

Rail link between New York and California, over three thousand mile long, has changed American History. Europe is connected by rail links. Why not Asia. Rail links between Asian countries are essential if Asia wish to be part of global village. Besides, prosperity in Asia will diminish prevailing hostilities between Asian counties as it did in Europe.

anwar Jul 01, 2014 12:10am

@ProudtobeanINDIAN Does pakistan have a say or choice , it has to support all decisions china makes ,no freedom for pakistan to decide .

MEDUSA Jul 01, 2014 01:07am

Deja vu for Pakistan and China when the historical Silk Route will be revived once again thanks to our great friend China. Soon, Pakistan shall skyrocket to socio-economic success on all levels including high tech infrastructure.

Pakistan should collaborate with China and Germany to create world class engineering programs to prepare future students for employment in this rail project. Pakistan know how and skills needs to be utilized from pre to post phases of this magnificent project.

BTW, who cares a hoot what Modi's India thinks! India needs to mind its own business - it already has tons of assistance and investments from Russia and many other nations and it should stop being jealous of Pakistan and China projects. It can't even manage Occupied Kashmir and has mass murdered millions of innocent Kashmiri Muslims, and now it dares object to "disputed" territory?? Meddling in Pakistan's affairs has always been the problem with India, it needs to back off and first fix its own vast problems of poverty and corruption.

Omar Jul 01, 2014 02:37am

@Haider Rehman have u ever seen a freight train with speeds in excess of 100mph

ya Jul 01, 2014 02:55am

@Sultan Ali if you were to allow the link to pass through kp and balochistan then it would create jobs throughout the country and not only in sindh and in punjab. The maintenance and building of the lines would create jobs in kp and balochistan and manufacturing goods increase will create jobs in punjab. Then you have the transport industry that would benefit tremendously from this. Goods would br transported from the manufacturer to kp and balochistan. Its a win win for everyone. Half the problems pakistan has is because of the fact that it keeps all of its eggs in one basket.

coolie Jul 01, 2014 03:07am

Chinese like traveling in railways.

aly Jul 01, 2014 03:23am

Dawn reporters should correct it is not axad khashmir. It comes through Gilgit-Baltistan.

SyedMubeen Bokhari Jul 01, 2014 05:06am

@Pune-Nagpur u need not worry about Baluchistan.Baluchistan is an itegral part of Pakistan .Worry about Tamil Nadu,Nagaland,Manipur and Asam.

Khan Jul 01, 2014 06:00am

@Pune-Nagpur Once they see cash flowing in their province our balouchi brothers will be very happy. They foreign politics being played in Baluchistan will end. The country that is creating this politics will Inshallah soon run with the tail between their legs.

Khan Jul 01, 2014 06:04am

@ProudtobeanINDIAN We all know very well that all donors do flex muscles whether they are Chinese in Pakistan or Indians in Afghanistan. This story is repeated all over the world all of the time. You have to loose something to gain something. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Khan Jul 01, 2014 06:13am

@anwar If it is a great decision to bolster Pakistan let it be. Think about your own intentions not others. You have been revealed.

BR Jul 01, 2014 09:50am

Good idea but wrong routing. Karachi infrastructure would require major over haul to accommodate such a venture. The productivity of the route would be greater if it goes straight via Peshawar and Quetta. This would allow other cities and provinces to grow and integrate with rest of the country.

Ishrat Jul 01, 2014 11:45am

The project sounds promising. Long live bullet train.

subedei Jul 01, 2014 12:11pm

this is excellent news. as an avid geostraegist, i had anticipated a link of kashgar with gwadar, but, i had expected improvements to, and expansion of, the highway system, instead. a rail link is a great idea! should china seek to be a voice of moderation in this region, it could encourage rapprochement between pakistan and iran. and, with the specific, and mutually beneficial, aim of improving conditions in the baluchistan region by increasing economic activity and opportunity, the benefits could be region altering. I base this scenario, fundamentally, on the close proximity of pakisan's gwadar port to iran's chabahar port. both are recent developments with great potential that should increase traffic to the region, in general. should the unique values of each be combined through a coordinated, forward-thinking, strategy, the result might be an outcome greater than the sum of its parts. as it now stands, the 170 km distance between the two, by air is a 556 km road trip requiring almost 9 hours travel along a convoluted route. acknowledging that this quandary results from iran's commitment the preservation of the bahukalat protected area, and to not violating that space with a highway and the consequent traffic, an alternative means to connect iran's hwy 98, from chabahar, with pakistan's hwy n10,to gwadar, could be to build a bridge across chabahar/jiwani bay, linking the two. granted, building a 28.5 km bridge is no mean feat. nevertheless, china has taken on projects such as these more frequently as of late, e. g., the jiaozhou bay bridge. such a bridge would create a direct, road, route from chabahar to gwadar with a distance of ~209 km and a drive time of ~ 2.25 hours. this reduction in travel distance and time could drastically increase the efficiency of chabahar-gwadar traffic/commerce.

subedei Jul 01, 2014 12:12pm

yes, there are real, historic, grievances, and animosities, and on many levels in this region. nevertheless, if the nations, and their peoples seek to improve their economies, and in doing so, create the possibility of a better future, someone must take the lead in suggesting a vision for change, thus creating the possibility of making a change. who better than an ascendant china to encourage a new age of international cooperation, based in mutual respect of sovereign equality and with the intention of equally mutual benefit. I think that now may be the time for the chinese leadership to place the greatest emphasis comprehensive, regional strategies for its approach to international relations. as iran and Pakistan are both observers to the shanghai cooperation organization, i

Akhtar Jul 01, 2014 12:33pm

This is excellent news for Pakistan and it's economy. It also shows that the Chinese have confidence in Pakistan and it's people.

george wu Jul 01, 2014 01:16pm

The mountainous terrains between Liuzhou and Guiyang were no jokes, even when we were in the traditional trains during the Japanese invasion of China in 1942 ! Many tunnels had to be built before the New Silk Roads connecting Pakistan, Middle East and Europe again, this time hopefully by the High Speed Railways at 200 plus miles per hour ! But after reading how the engineers solved the frozen and thaw soil problems in the railway between Beijing and Tibet, I have confidence that eventually the world would be easier to travel in the near future. By the way, Why the Indian and the Pakistani people who were, by my little knowledge here, originally they both were from the same tribes thousands of years ago, after the "Divide and Conquer" by the British colonialism, became enemies today ? Killing each other like there is no tomorrow ? George Wu, A.I.A. 2014-7-1

Janderbari-Malikpur-Abbottabad Jul 01, 2014 02:06pm

This is the opportunity for Pakistan and nation to grow... God help us. But unfortunately touts/puppets like Imran Kahn, Tahir ul Qadri, Pervez Elahi, Sh Rashid, were brought to destabilize country and make excuse for investor to change the decision. Nation must take note of these touts. This project will make the nation otherwise nothing!!!!

Mekal Faruki Jul 01, 2014 03:50pm

Pakistan should proceed without delay working with China to implement the proposed railway line from Gwadar to Kashgar as a major investment in the economic future of Pakistan and China. This project will put Pakistan on the correct economic track for the future. Pakistan's security is tied to its economic success, and the railroad will be the engine of its success.

george wu Jul 01, 2014 06:43pm

@subedei My design of the Great Wall Village is to have the Container ( @ US $2,000 each ) housing ( steel, bamboo, wood CLT ) built over the free air rights of the High Speed Railways, from Gawadar to Shanghai, some 4,000 miles of housing, for the majority of the people who live in the mountainous terrain with the less for generations. They used the High Speed Railways to go to work places and improving their economic conditions. It is a Win-Win situation for both Pakistan and China ! George Wu, A.I.A. Registered Architrect born in Hong Kong in 1936, educated and worked in New York since 1956. - 2014-7-1

someone Jul 01, 2014 07:00pm

China should be very careful while proposing any plan for disputed territory of Kashmir ( aka PoK) . There are 100 billion USD at stake.

vaqas Jul 01, 2014 08:34pm

If this link along with the already existing railways replace the roads for trade and goods transport, then i am all for it.

Ali Jul 02, 2014 01:21am

@Pune-Nagpur - are all maoist happy or people from other parts. If some .5-1% are unhappy then they were born unhappy

Ali Jul 02, 2014 01:26am

@Jamal - this is a federal matter and must be decided by the federal govt

Ali Jul 02, 2014 01:28am

@rolland - did u think about this all by yourself or someone helped you. I can only say wow what u been smoking

Sangat Singh Jul 02, 2014 02:04am

Pakistan, be careful. Chinese intention are always devious.

Safar Shah Jul 02, 2014 04:06am

@Jungraiz a straight line on 2 dimensional map is not always the shortest route if you have to cut through mountains and previously untracked terrain. Get over your racist conspiracy theory, Punjab was more developed than other areas even 1000 years ago!

Shiraz Jul 02, 2014 06:44am

@ProudtobeanINDIAN. Be very careful when dealing with Russia. Homie!

Pak Soul Jul 02, 2014 01:08pm

And India objects to it and within few hours, Pak forces diffuse a massive bomb planted at Hub...salute to all those who work to make a safer and progressive Pakistan.

Mustafa Jul 02, 2014 01:28pm


Money makes everyone happy.

Mustafa Jul 02, 2014 01:31pm

US and India can destroy this Railway link with their drone, Khwaja Saad Rafiq.

Mustafa Jul 02, 2014 01:36pm

@Anwar Mahmood

"Looks like Pak and China together are on sure way to dominate Asia."

China is a friend of the Muslim world in general, Pakistan is China's oldest friend, but not necessarily it's only best friend. China has strategic relations with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Syria also.

Arif marri Jul 02, 2014 02:49pm

@Pune-Nagpur yes we are happy

rashmi Jul 02, 2014 11:16pm

Whether it is economic growth or condition of countrymen , nothing will change till there is terrorism in pakistan

rashmi Jul 02, 2014 11:19pm

@Anwar Mahmood bro wat a joke..

riaz Jul 03, 2014 12:24am

the corridor is to pass through Gilgit-Baltistan, not AJK.

salim Jul 03, 2014 02:30am

A great project for opening up trade and increasing Pakistan's strategic importance.

salim Jul 03, 2014 02:32am

A great project. Its importance will be apparent with the passage of time. Baluch sardars will cooperate if they are bribed.

Ravi Jul 03, 2014 01:02pm

We can now connect Amritsar to Karachi by rail