Qamar Bashir, Former Press Secretary to the President recently published an ariticle titled The ML-1 Railway: A fulcrum for global trade. He noted that the visit of the caretaker Prime Minister to China for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum meeting has been highly successful. One of the major achievements is the signing of the Mainline-1 (ML-1) railway project, a crucial component of CPEC.
The ML-1 project aims to connect Peshawar to Karachi through a 2,600-kilometer track with an estimated cost of $7 billion. Planned to be complete in 16 years, it will increase the line capacity from 34 to 134 trains each way per day, moving up to 165 kilometres per hour — twice as fast as they currently run, benefitting various industries in Pakistan, drive the next phase of CPEC projects and enhance economic cooperation between China and Pakistan.
He pointed out that ML-1 will make Gwadar a more appealing and efficient trade gateway for Pakistan and its neighbouring countries, poised to stimulate economic growth and generate employment opportunities, facilitate the transportation of energy resources from the Middle East and other nations to Pakistan, addressing critical energy shortages and facilitating the movement of Thar coal within the country.