Chinese offer to build Gwadar- Khunjrab rail link put in cold storage

An offer by consortium of  Chinese firms in 2013 to build Gwadar-Khunjrab rail link in four years was put into cold storage after an extensive presentation was made to the then Railways Minister Khwaja Sa’ad Rafiq by consortium representatives in Islamabad.

According to information gathered from reliable sources in Islamabad, the official quarters concerned after the presentation had not responded to the Chinese consortium which was to under the project on a loan at a cost of Rs 250 billion including Rs 160 billion for infrastructure and Rs 90 billion for locomotives on  electric traction basis. The loan so offered was to be repaid in seven years.

If the offer was accepted the project would have been completed about four years back if not delayed on any account while major Railway project of Main Line-I from Karachi to Peshawar under the umbrella of great game changer China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is yet to take off.

Making the presentation, the Chinese consortium representative had drawn comparison between diesel electric locomotives, on which Railways are now being run in the country and electric locomotives. Highlighting the strategic importance and benefits of the project, it was stated that the proposed rail link will enhance security of Pakistan and stabilize the region due to its strategic importance, Central Asian Republics will be connected with Pakistan Railways network, boost trade relations between China and Pakistan and China could receive cargo to and from Gwadar along the shortest route from Gwadar to Khunjrab. Experts are of the view that this project is still viable and should be taken into consideration by those involved in infrastructure planning.