Make N-45 part of CPEC as alternative to landslide-prone KKH

UPPER DIR: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Parliamentary Leader in National Assembly Sahibzada Tariqullah has asked the federal government and China to make the national highway passing through Malakand Division part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) to provide an alternative route to the landslide-prone Karakuram Highway (KKH). cpecHe said the inclusion of N-45, passing through Nowshera, Dir, Chitral, would not only strengthen the CPEC by providing a second passage but would also ensure access to Central Asian Republics (CARs). The suggestion could widen the scope of CPEC in addition to connecting CARs without using the territory of the increasingly becoming hostile Afghanistan. The inclusion of this new route in CPEC could be an alternative both to the KKH and access to CARs via Afghanistan. This route is also opening up several passages to Afghanistan in Dir, Bajaur and Chitral. The JI leader, who comes from Upper Dir, felt encouraged to note that China also understood the importance of this route, urging the federal government to make serious efforts to incorporate it into CPEC. Tariq said the highway was safe and secure for CEPC and could provide round-the-clock all-weather route. He said this could provide strategic strength to CPEC as it would not be dependent on one route. He pointed out that KKH, the approved CEPC route, was considered vulnerable as it remained closed to traffic twice to trice a year due to heavy snowfall and recurring landslides. The MNA said that the KKH was not only at risk of landslides but portions of it were also often washed away by floods in rainy season. “These factors often cause suspension of traffic on KKH, but with the inclusion of N-45, CPEC-related traffic would have an alternative route,” he argued. He said tens of billions are already being spent on the widening and improving of N-45, also known as Nowshera-Dir-Chitral Highway. This includes an almost nine kilometre-long Lowari Tunnel connecting Chitral with the rest of the country. The provincial government is also constructing an 81-kilometre-long motorway that would fork from the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway at Kernal Sher Khan Interchange in Swabi to Chakdarra in Lower Dir, he added. Tariqullah said that the former president General Pervez Musharraf had also declared the Nowshera- Dir-Chitral route a short and safe access to CARs. This highway, he added, could boost Pakistan’s economic ties with CARs, the region was rich with natural resources that could be tapped to the advantage of the country. He pointed out that N-45’s length from Nowshera to Gilgit was 751 kilometers, which was shorter than KKH. He said this route could also be connected to KKH via Shandor Pass. The MNA said the region consisted of underdeveloped districts had suffered greatly from natural disasters like earthquake and devastating flood, and the people of the region would get some relief after the N-45’s inclusion in CPEC.–Daily Times]]>

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