ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday reiterated his support for efforts to secure international financing of $4.8 billion for a railway line from Pakistan to Uzbekistan through Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Khan signed a joint letter with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan asking international financial agencies to finance the railway project, saying it fit into Islamabad’s vision for trade and connectivity via Afghanistan to the Central Asia republics.
The signing ceremony, held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad, was attended by Uzbekistan’s Minister for Transport Makhkamov Ilkham. The joint appeal has already been signed by the presidents of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
Nisar Ahmed Faizi Ghoryani, Afghan minister of industry and commerce, and Uzbekistan’s Ilkham, have both separately called on Khan during their Pakistan trips.
Ghoryani is on a five-day visit to Pakistan from December 27-30 to attend the 8th meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA).
During his meeting with Ghoryani, Khan “mentioned the Trans-Afghan railway line project, “Mazar-e-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar,” and highlighted Pakistan’s support to Uzbekistan’s efforts to secure financing for the project.”
“In this regard, he mentioned that he had signed a joint appeal letter addressed to the Heads of various International Financial Institutions by Heads of State/Government of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Khan office said in a statement.
In his meeting with Khan, Ilkham discussed bilateral relations, regional connectivity and peace and security in the region.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said Khan underlined Pakistan’s resolve to forge closer trade, investments energy and people-to-people ties with Central Asia.
Khan highlighted the importance of joint efforts to promote regional connectivity for the sake of economic growth and the development of the region and said his country’s seaports provided a great opportunity to Central Asian states to access the Indian Ocean.