PESHAWAR: Japanese Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda called on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan at the Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad and discussed areas of mutual interest and development projects in the province.

The two agreed on the better cooperation between the provincial and Japanese governments, said an official statement issued here on Friday.

Elementary and secondary education minister Akbar Ayub, secretary of the communication and works department and relevant senior officials also attended the meeting.

The chief minister said the government would improve the quality of roads and other infrastructure in the merged tribal districts with the assistance of JICA and thus, increasing commercial activities and improving traveling facilities in the region.

He said 700km roads and 10 bridges in the province would be rehabilitated at the cost of Rs28 billion with the assistance of JICA, while roads, bridges and other infrastructure in rural areas would also be improved.

The chief minister said the strengthening of road network would help promote tourism and trade activities in the province.

He said the government had forwarded the concept paper for the improvement and rehabilitation of damaged rural roads and bridges in the province to JICA and Japanese embassy through the Planning Commission of Pakistan.

Mr Mahmood said the roads had been selected on merit including those leading to basic public facilities and those damaged by natural disasters.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was making efforts to improve accessibility to social services and enhancing community activities.

The Japanese ambassador expressed satisfaction with the improved law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and praised the government for promoting tourism and trade activities in the province.

He said the JICA president was expected to visit Pakistan and would meet Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020