Islamabad, Sep 14 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated five tunnels on the key Karakoram Highway that connects the country with China.

The tunnels were rebuilt by the China Road and Bridge Corporation to restore parts of the all-weather highway that were submerged due to land sliding in 2010.

The five 7-km-long tunnels are part of 24-km-long portion of the reconstructed highway, officials said at a briefing at the site in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The project would facilitate thousands of commuters of the area.

The Karakoram Highway would play a significant role in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the prime minister said.

“Both the Chinese and Pakistani governments are working hard for early completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. Under this project, works on some power projects have already been started,” Sharif said.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction that hundreds of thousands of tourists visited the northern areas of Pakistan this year.

“This trend is encouraging, as it will encourage the foreign tourists to visit the beautiful land of Pakistan.”

The prime minister said that security force would be deployed on the Karakorum Highway for the safety of commuters and traders.

He said the government has allocated about $258.8 million (27 billion Pakistani rupees) for the development of the highway, and that all possible resources will be provided for completing development projects in Gilgit-Baltistan area.

The prime minister told ministers and members of Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly in Gilgit that the development projects will change the destiny of the people of the area.