ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced the commencement of construction on two motorways connecting Pakistan with Termez in Central Asia.
The PM told the National Assembly that the Gwadar-Termez motorway will connect Gwadar to Central Asia, as Termez lies between Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
Addressing members of the National Assembly from Balochistan, he said: "I want to tell them that from Gwadar, this 650 kilometre road which meets Chaman will be complete by 2016. The western route will also be completed."
The route from Termez to Mazar-i-Sharif, which will go onto Kandahar and then Chaman, is being developed.
He said that interior Balochistan will be 'open' as a result of these projects, saying "Quetta will be joined to the rest of the country by road".
He said that the motorway from Peshawar to Torkham on to Jalalabad was also under construction and would be completed very soon.
The route goes on to connect with Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Termez, so Pakistan would have two routes to access Central Asia.
The PM said the government was undertaking "a very large project for roads and communication in Pakistan", adding that the project which will cost hundreds of billions this year and the next would connect the whole country and each province to one another. He said the project was "for the unity and integration of Pakistan, to end differences inside Pakistan".
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The prime minister also promised at least Rs22.5bn in development funds for projects in Karachi.
The Green Line project, which Nawaz Sharif said would cost at least Rs20-25 billion, "will be funded 100 per cent by the government", while a Rs2bn grant has been released for the K4 water supply project for Karachi.
The premier said "[Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah] will keep Rs2.5bn for the [K4] project. I said the federal government will match the amount with a grant. We have already released Rs2bn of the Rs2.5bn grant for the project."
Speaking about the Green Line project, he said: "The Green Line is a present to the people of Karachi and Sindh. We have set aside and released Rs5bn for the Green Line."
He said that although both projects are the responsibility of the Sindh government, the federal government would also contribute to these.
"This is the duty of the provincial government," he said, referring to the Green Line. "The Lahore Metro Bus was built through provincial government funds. The Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro was paid for by the Punjab government and the federal government [which paid for the Islamabad part]. But the federal government is paying for this project."
Nawaz Sharif also said that work on the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway was under way and that the project should be complete by the middle of 2017. The motorway would connect both Karachi and Hyderabad to Lahore.