ISLAMABAD: The ministry of railways informed the Senate standing committee on railways that the ministry did not have funds to restore the 65km railway track from Peshawar to Torkham.

However, the ministry was in negotiations with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for financing the project and the KP government had shown willingness to finance the track restoration, Ministry of Railways Secretary Zafar Ranjha informed the committee at its meeting on Monday.

The railway track was established in 1926 and it remained operational till the 2007 floods destroyed it.

He further informed the committee that restoration work would cost around Rs20 billion. Some portions of the track fall in the vicinity of the Peshawar airport and that issue had also imp­e­ded the restoration work.

Senate Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence for further deliberations.

The ministry of railways had carried out a feasibility study for restoration of Peshawar-Torkham track.

The restoration of the track would improve connectivity and would boost up transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and increase in the government tax revenue besides promoting tourism and generating economic activities in the area.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad said the rail track was not only important from trade perspective but it also held historical importance.

The secretary also infor­med the Senate panel about Afghan transit project which would link Pakistan to Uzbekistan and cost arou­­nd $8.2 billion. The committee directed the ministry to brief the panel on the project at its next meeting.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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