Jun 9, 2021, 4:11 PM
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Pakistani senators, businessmen demand revival of ECO-train

Islamabad, June 9, IRNA -- In recent months, there have been reports that the ECO train is being revived and in this regards, Pakistani senators and businessmen have called upon the government to take effective measures to further boost bilateral trade with Iran.

After a decade of delays in the resumption of the ECO freight train between Iran, Turkey and Pakistan in mid-March this year, whispers were heard about an agreement between the three founding members of the Economic Cooperation Organization to revive the railway project.

Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood had also welcomed the resumption the train saying it would facilitate trade between Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey.

At the same time, political observers and economic experts in Pakistan believe that the development of the rail network between the three influential ECO countries of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey will not only enhance regional trade, but also exchange goods, passengers and strengthen tourism.

Recently Pakistani Senate Standing Committee on Railways emphasizing the importance of rail connectivity in the region and the opportunity to strengthen and develop bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, called on the Islamabad government to take serious steps to revive the ECO freight train between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

The committee, which includes senators from various Pakistani political parties said the cargo train service is the best means of goods transportation amongst Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, saying it will not only cut the rate of tax on goods but would take only a few days rather than a few weeks.

In its editorial, the Pakistani newspaper 92 called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to pay special attention to the important and constructive effects of the resumption of the railway project with Iran and Turkey and to take serious measures to revive it.

Earlier Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan welcoming the re-launching of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) cargo train had termed it an important regional connectivity project.

“We must develop an integrated transport network to facilitate both intra-ECO trade and serve as a pathway for trade between the major economies to our East and West, North and South,” he added speaking at the 14th ECO summit.

The ECO cargo train will increase communication between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey, a move that was launched in 2009 with the aim of strengthening regional communications and trade.

Pakistani senators, businessmen demand revival of ECO-train

Convener of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) standing committee on Pakistan Railways, Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi in a statement has called for taking effective steps for the restoration of the cargo train service with Turkey and Iran.

He said the arrangement will not only help improve trade, rather will also stabilize and strengthen bilateral relations with these brotherly countries.

Sarhadi, who is also a senior vice president of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) also called for the beginning of the train service for the promotion of tourism among the three countries.

He stated that the initiative will also provide recreational facilities to people at affordable cost and help earn foreign exchange for them.

He requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to take personal interest in launching a tourist train service beside a cargo train. The step, will discourage the menace of human smuggling and instead of illegal border crossing, the people will adopt a legal route for entering other countries and will help all the three countries.

According to experts, the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad railway will develop connections between the three countries and make travel very easy. According to them, the journey from Istanbul to Islamabad by train will take 11 days, which currently takes up to 21 days by sea.

Experts believe that in the long run, this route will probably make travel cheaper, safer and more enjoyable for travelers than air travel, and if the project is implemented, it will significantly expand the connections between Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.

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