Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled the 293-kilometer Hakla-DI Khan Expressway on Wednesday, an important part of the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Hakla-DI Khan motorway has 11 interchanges, 36 bridges, 33 flyovers and 119 underpasses. It would help in transforming DI Khan as one of the main business hubs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, linking South Punjab and Balochistan. It would also enable supply of agricultural produce to different parts of the country.
Speaking on the occasion the prime minister said previously the development of the country was confined only to GT road, Lahore and onwards to Karachi which were also called as Eastern route of the CPEC.
“But a country achieves progress if there is uniform development across its length and breadth. It is made possible due to long-term planning like China which has planned 30 years ahead,” he added.
The prime minister said the future planning would envisage a roadmap towards progress, embracing all parts of the country.
If there are few places to be developed, the people there will become rich, and other people in the backward areas will fall into poverty. He added that this is the biggest problem in developing countries.
The Prime Minister recalled that in the 1960s, Pakistan had long-term plans because the country’s largest projects were conceived during that period.
The Prime Minister said that for the past 25 years, he has insisted that corruption is the biggest problem in Pakistan.
He said that in the past, the cost of building roads was high because the money went into someone’s pockets. “Building roads is to make money. Why road construction was expensive in 2013, but now it is completed at the lowest cost,” he expressed his curiosity. The Prime Minister said that the cost of building dual roads has doubled in the past.
“About 10,000 billion rupees fell into the pockets of the corrupt, and this happened in a poor country,” he said regretfully.
The Prime Minister praised the efforts of the Minister of Communications, saying that his department has been one of the three best performing departments.
He said that after adopting anti-corruption measures including electronic bidding, the National Highway Administration doubled its revenue and also recovered 5 billion rupees worth of land occupied by NHA.
He emphasized that development should be “always inclusive” and not focus on specific parts of society.
The planning should be made in a way that no area or people were left behind, he said, adding Madina had been the most successful model of the world. In that state living standards of the people were raised.
The prime minister further said people in the far-off areas, were deprived of health facilities and stressed upon provision of education and justice.
He said the people in the backward areas like Mianwali would have the facility of availing the best treatment facilities due to the health cards.
Each family would get treatment worth Rs1 million free of cost. Such initiative would also enable the private sector to establish a health network in these areas, he added.
The prime minister said Hakla-DI Khan would connect those areas which were less developed. The lack of facilities forced the inhabitants of DI Khan and Mianwali to move to developed cities which also resulted in the brain drain and flight of talent.
He expressed the confidence that the motorway would go a long way in raising the standards of living of these areas and by reducing the distance from seven hours to three hours from Islamabad to DIKhan.
The Prime Minister said that such prospects also herald a bright future for Pakistan.