ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has given its approval for the $7.2bn project to upgrade the railway between Karachi and Peshawar.
The approval was given by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP).
This 1,872km-long rail line is a part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will link Kashgar, China, with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
CPEC Authority chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa said that this approval is a major milestone in the CPEC phase two.
The modernisation of the rail line is expected to boost the speed of the passenger trains to 160km/h from 110km/h.
With this approval, Pakistan will undertake negotiations with China for the project finances and inform the International Monetary Fund regarding the loan.
The CPEC is a $60bn project under China’s President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative to connect Asia, Africa and Europe with a network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.
In April 2019, Malaysia and China signed a revised agreement to resume construction of the suspended East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).
As part of Belt and Road initiative, the ECRL project will connect Port Klang on the Straits of Malacca to Pengkalan Kubor in north-east peninsular Malaysia.
In March, Nepal decided to use the Chinese track gauge standard for its railway system in a bid to reduce costs.
In October 2018, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group and Myanma Railways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study of the 431km Muse-Mandalay railway line.