ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday while addressing the National Assembly said that motorways will be built in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan as well.
The budget discussion at the House enters its third day as Premier Sharif shed light on the country's infrastructural development projects.
"We initiated [the motorway] in Lahore and from there we went to Peshawar," PM Nawaz recalled. "It was not supposed to end in Lahore...it was to be built till Karachi and Gwadar."
In response to points raised by Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Nawab Ali Wassan, the premier said that progress on the Hyderabad-Karachi motorway is underway.
He further said that in the past, the project came to an end when his government had previously ended in the early 90s. He added that in 1997 his government again conceived of a project to build a motorway till Karachi.
Similarly, the premier said that there will be a motoway from Lahore to Multan and Multan to Sukkur, which comes under the Pak-China Economic Corridor (PCEC).
"Our government also made a coastal highway from Gwadar to Karachi," PM Nawaz said. "We have started construction in Gwadar and want to make it Pakistan’s best city and district."
He went on to stress importance of Gwadar and making it a duty-free port.
"Gwadar should be given the status of a free port and a new administrative system and unit should be developed there," PM Nawaz said. "Like Gulf countries, Gwadar should also become a duty-free port and have the same progress as countries like Singapore, Dubai and Hongkong."
The premier also acknowledged PPP's efforts and mentioned the Attabad Lake. "A tunnel is being constructed a few kilometres away from the lake, on which around Rs27 billion are being spent," he said.
He acknowledged that PPP started the project and said it was a positive move.
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The opposition in both houses of parliament had on Monday refused to participate in the debate on the budget unless the government agreed to arrange live coverage of all speeches through the state-run PTV, forcing a day’s postponement of the debate.
Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Ahmed Shah was temperate in criticising the government for missed targets in the outgoing financial year and perceived deficiencies in the new budget while opening the debate in the National Assembly.
The federal cabinet last week approved the budget for the fiscal year 2015-16 (FY2015-16), with a total outlay of Rs4.313 trillion, which is 9.1 per cent higher than the revised 2014-15 outlay of Rs3.9tr.
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Finance Minister Ishaq Dar while presenting the budget for fiscal year 2015-16 on the floor of the National Assembly said a growth rate target of 5.5pc had been set for the upcoming year, which he said is budgeted to reach 7pc by the end of PML-N government's tenure in 2017-18
Before announcing the budget, the minister briefed the cabinet about the salient features of the budget and said measures have been proposed which may enhance exports, industrial growth, and employment.