The National Highway Authority (NHA) has been improving and developing cross border road links for international bilateral trade and connecting it with the Asian Highway Network while the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) is uplifting Muzaffarabad-occupied Srinagar road links on strategic reasons. The NHA chairman Major General Furrukh Javed disclosed this in his one-day visit to Multan for reviewing the pace of work on Sher Shah Bridge (Chenab bridge) while Minister of State Shahid Jamil Qureshi was also present on the occasion.

Exclusively talking with this scribe, the NHA chairman said they are going to establish 4-lane roads network from Rawalpindi-Muzaffarabad via Murree and the end of 2005 would complete its first phase up to Murree.

The distance between Rawalpindi-Murree would be just half an hour drive and the government has allocated around Rs 800 million for this particular project.

He said the NHA is making comprehensive planning to extend roads up to the borders of neighbouring countries Afghanistan, China, Central Asian Republics and Iran with the view to facilitate regional trade traffic.

General Furrukh stressed that there would be a dire need for peace building in Afghanistan for establishing Central-Asian road trade route and present indicators were indicating positive trends.

Responding to a query, the NHA chairman said that Pakistan is ready to meet the WTO regime challenges of international trade through roads and country’s national frontiers can easily approach to central Asia from Gwadar to Afghanistan via Chaman, from coastal highway to RCD road link for Iran, Wahga to India and Northern areas to China. He said the M-I from Islamabad to Peshawar would culminate at Kabul via Torkhum and Jalabad.

The NHA is also going to construct Kabul Bridge in Afghanistan adding the contract for construction of Torkham-Jalalabad highway has been executed and the NHA will take this assignment as a mission. He said that international standard construction would be ensured.

General Farrukh said that a new road from M-VIII Gwadar to Khuzdar-Shahdad Kot and Ratodero would link with Indus Highway and RCD road link to Iran besides mutually linking the M-VIII and M-V for Asian Highway Network. The road length would be 792 kilometers, he said.

The Karachi-Quetta and Kuchlaak roadwork is being improved for international road trade.

The M-VIII route would pass through Neliet, Tubat and Awaran and finally it ends up at Asian Highway Network. The 316 kilometers long Kuchlaak Zob road would also be linked with international boarders, he added.

Source: The News