PM-Imran-KhanPrime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the Main Line-1 railway network would ensure massive economic activity in the country along with creation of employment opportunities. “For the first time, Pakistan is undergoing huge development in railway sector in shape of Main Line-1 project being implemented in collaboration with China,” the Prime Minister said while addressing at the upgradation ceremony of Hassan Abdal railway station. The Prime Minister said railways was an important part of his vision of Naya Pakistan because of its affordable mode of travel for common man. Unfortunately, he said, the British infrastructure of rail network of 1861 the country inherited at the time of partition was cut down instead of expansion. He said the government got significant reduction in cost of project from $9 billion to $6 billion after negotiation with China. Imran Khan said with construction of under-passes , bridges and gates, the ML-1 project would reduce the distance between Karachi to Lahore to mere seven hours. He said ML-1 would significantly contribute to the economy of the country, with transformation the existing structure into modern railways, creation of job opportunities and ease -of-doing business. “I want Pakistan to become self-reliant with increased economic activity,” he said. He said under the vision of Naya Pakistan, all citizens regardless of their religions, had equal rights to practice their faith. He said the upgradation of Hassan Abdal railway station, which was at a close distance from Gurdwara Punjab Sahib, would facilitate the Sikh pilgrims. He mentioned that the railways station at Narowal would also help easy and affordable movement of Sikh community. The Prime Minister said Pakistan had potential of becoming a great tourist attraction for Hindus and Buddhist from all over the world. He gave reference of a renowned international magazine Condé Nast Traveller that ranked Pakistan as best tourist destination in future. He said the government was also focusing on easing up the visa system for tourism development. Imran Khan lauded Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid for his efforts towards upgradation of rail system in the country. Earlier, the Prime Minister took a tour of the upgraded railway station. Meanwhile. Prime Minister Imran Khan here Friday afternoon visited scenic Gabeen Jabba Valley and was highly impressed by its mesmerizing natural beauty. The prime minister was accompanied by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and others members of the provincial cabinet. He was given detailed briefing about provincial government initiatives for the promotion of tourism. The prime minister was briefed by Secretary Sports, Culture, Tourism and Youth Affairs Department, Muhammad Abid Majeed about ongoing and up-coming projects initiated by the KP government for the promotion of tourism in the province. The prime minister was told under Eco Tourism Project (ETP), as many as 93 camping pods were established in KP including 11 each at Beshigram (Swat) and Thandiynai (Abbottabad), five in Yakh Tangi (Shangla), six in Sheikh Badeen (DI Khan), 10 each at Gabeen Jabba (Swat), Malika (Buner), Shaheeda Suir (Buner), Allai (Batagram), Bamburait (Chitral) and Sharan (Manshera). The secretary said 83 technical bids for establishment of camping pods had been received and were in process of evaluation and would be finalized by November 30, adding during the last two years 10,410 booking of the camping pods had generated Rs13 million revenue for the government’s kitty. The prime minister was informed that 50 more camping pods had been approved that would cost Rs250 million. Apart from this, 40 additional pods for establishment of bathrooms, kitchen and allied facilities had also been approved and the imported pods would be procured through UNDP. The secretary said hotels rooms were insufficient for tourists in the country, therefore, a summary had been presented to the PDWP for construction of five hundred rooms in three tourists districts. Abid Majeed said interest free loans with five years for repayment would be given. For promotion of tourism, the government was taking measures to provide best areas after every 10 to 15 kilometers distances with facilities of petrol pumps, hotels and separate units for special persons. The prime minister was told that the government was also carrying out waste collection and management activities in the tourists’ destinations where recycling of waste of glasses, plastics and papers would be done while waste’s bins and awareness billboards would be installed while re-useable bags would be distributed among tourists to promote eco tourism and make tourists areas neat and clean. Regarding sports-tourism activities, the secretary said in February 2021 second Hindukush Snow and Ice Sports festivals would be arranged in Madaklasht Chitral, second international Snow Boarding competition would be held in Malam Jabba Swat to be followed by Malam Jabba Skiing Festival and in March 2021 Snow Marathon would be arranged in Kaghan Manshera. He said the KP government was also installing a 14 kilometers long Kumrat Cable Car from Upper Dir to Lower Chitral and this environmental project would include one intermediate station, 500 cars parking plaza and skiing slops to facilitate tourists and promote adventure sports. Abid Majeed said in order to promote tourism in southern areas, the KP government had planned Derajat Festival, development of Sheikh Badin Resort at Dera Ismail Khan, Takht-e-Sulman resort and making Dera Ismail Khan as horse capital of Pakistan. The prime minister was told that the government was working on a comprehensive plan to improve roads infrastructure leading to tourists resorts, which include 24 kilometers Thandiyani road expansion, 23 kilometers Minkayal to Bada Sehri, 45 kilometers long Shishikoh-Madaklasht road, 35 kilometers long Supat valley road, 67kilometers Kalam-Kumrat road, 50 kilometers Patrak-Kumrat road and 18 kilometers Thall-Jazzbanda road. The roads infrastructure development would cost Rs14,464 million that would be generated with the help of World Bank and others donor agencies.