Lahore: Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that Pakistan now in a position to provide its road and rail routes to all regional countries.
He said this while taking to media after addressing the “Regional Conference on Strengthening Transport Connectivity and Trade Facilitation in South and South-West Asia”.
The conference was organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Ministry of Commerce here on Tuesday.
He observed that the opening of the trade corridor was in the best interest of Pakistan. “We have to look at our interests, as we have to eradicate poverty, terrorism and extremism for which an improved and vibrant economy is of vital importance,” he said.
Rafique added Pakistan needed to exploit two main and significant resources – the unique geographical position of the country and a population of 180 million. He stressed that opening up of trade routes for India was also in favour of Pakistan.
“We are still lagging 200 years behind the developed world, therefore, we have to shun orthodox thinking to move forward on all fronts,” he maintained.
The minister stressed the need for exploring and taking optimal benefits from regional trade. Pakistan government, he added, was focusing and working on national and regional connectivity to connect China, India, Central Asia, Middle East and Europe while work on the Gwadar Port was going on at a swift pace.
The minister pointed out that the Torkham-Jalalabad link was of great importance regarding transportation of raw material, while the Quetta-Taftan link would prove to be the best trade corridor to access Iran, Turkey and European markets. Khokhrapar-Monabao (India) link was also being examined for trade.
He said a delegation of the Pakistan Railways would soon visit India to gain knowledge and experience of the Indian rail system, as Delhi had turned its railways into a profitable entity while Pakistan was yet to achieve the goal mainly due to lack of resources.
Pakistan Railways was searching for a foreign partner for investment to improve its infrastructure, he added.