Phase II of Karakoram Highway (Havellian to
Thakot Section), a key CPEC project, was officially
opened to traffic
On July 28, the secondary road section (from Mansehra to Thakot) of Phase II of Karakoram Highway (Havellian to Thakot Section), a key transport project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, was officially opened to traffic. This marks the official opening to traffic of the whole project.
Considering the Covid-19 epidemic, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan appointed Mahmood Khan, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chairman of National Highways Authority and other officials to inaugurate this section of the road. In his speech, Mahmood Khan said that the highway has created a lot of employment opportunities for the local people and will also inject vitality into the economic development of the province and improve local livelihoods. He also expressed his appreciation to the Chinese builders for holding on to their jobs and completing the construction task despite the ravages of the epidemic.
The secondary road section (from Mansehra to Thakot), which opened to traffic this time, is part of Karakoram Highway Phase II (Havellian to Thakot Section). The Karakoram Highway is also known as the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway. It starts from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China in the east, crosses the three major mountain ranges of Karakorum, Hindu Kush and the Himalayas, passes through the Hongqilaf Pass at the China-Pakistan border crossing and reaches directly the northern town of Thakot in Pakistan. The Phase II of the Karakoram Highway aims to upgrade the highway. Havellian to Thakot Section is one of its three sections. The construction of this 118 km-long highway took 3.5 years. The project adopts Chinese standards and China Communications Construction Company is the contractor.
Since March this year, the Covid-19 has continued to spread in the country, causing a serious impact on Pakistan's economic and social development. Against this background, the Chinese side coordinated the prevention and control of the epidemic and the construction of the project. While ensuring “zero infection” of more than 1,500 Chinese and Pakistani employees, the Chinese side overcame the shortage of personnel, equipment and materials supply and other challenges caused by the epidemic, worked hard to overcome the difficulties and successfully completed the project on schedule and realized full operation of the line. This project has been highly recognized by various social sectors in Pakistan.
Corporate social responsibility has been fulfilled during construction of the project. At the peak of construction, there were more than 8,000 local employees, accounting for more than 80 percent of all Chinese and Pakistani employees, making a significant contribution to employment of local residents. At the same time, the project pays great attention to the follow-up development of the employees, and has trained a large number of Pakistani technicians, which has not only effectively improved the vocational skills of local residents, but also created a reserve of talents for the following operation of the project.