Friday, March 13, 2009

A new train connection between Pakistan and Iran and Turkey

Pakistan Times has an article [undated but I think published today] indicating that train service between Pakistan and countries west will come into service some time this year. It will run on a newly connected track system. As we have mentioned often, infrastructural developments like this have long-term effects. In this case, of course, the effect will be to bring the Subcontinent into closer relation to the Middle East. The costs of shipping between South Asia and the Mediterranean world will drop abruptly. This is significant because for over a century there has been talk of establishing train connections to South Asia and (another issue, but a related one) Central Asia without it being possible for political reasons. Afghanistan's lack of railroad lines arose from the attempts by the 19th Century powers to keep their respective empires apart. Forms of transport in the modern period, trucking and air shipping, and telephony, have of course changed that, but railroads are coming, at least in some parts of this region. So far, political issues have restrained such developments. RLC

Pakistan-Iran-Turkey container train service soon
'Pakistan Times' Punjab Bureau

LAHORE: Pakistan, Iran and Turkey at Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit have agreed on a container train service, which is expected to start this year. Talking to media at Allama Iqbal International Airport here Thursday, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sumsam Ali Shah Bokhari said the tri-nation train service would not only boost trade activity but also improve regional contacts.

The initiatives taken in the 10th ECO summit at Tehran would ensure regional development and prosperity, he said, adding that all the ten member countries had stressed the need for resolving mutual problems by enhancing cooperation at all levels to bring stability and counter terrorism in the region.

To a question, he said the summit also discussed at length the new formula for tri-nation gas pipeline project and soon there would be a breakthrough in this regard. Sumsam Bokhari said that during the summit, the presidents of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan had decided to hold meeting after every three months to review the regional matters.

He asserted that deputy foreign ministers would hold an important meeting, which would be followed by a meeting of foreign ministers of all the three countries. Later, the presidents of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan would meet again in Tehran in April. While, the next ECO meeting would be held in Islamabad, he maintained.

He also hailed the President Asif Ali Zardari for his efforts in holding of the summit as well as the role played by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in this connection. To a query, the minister said the present democratic government would not obstruct the lawyers’ Long March, provided that it was being held in a peaceful manner.

Long March is not being participated by all the lawyers community of the country but its some group, he added.

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