LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said the Pakistan Railways (PR) would promote tourism in the country and initially three trains would be run for the purpose.
Addressing a press conference here at the PR headquarters, he said the tourist trains with steam engines would be operated between Rawalpindi and Taxila, Peshawar and Attock Bridge, and Karachi and Keenjhar Lake.
He said the management of Hassan Abdal Railway Section had been shifted from Peshawar to Rawalpindi division to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims to their sacred place in Panja Sahib, so that they could celebrate the Besakhi festival in a better way.
Narowal Railway Station near Kartarpur had already been upgraded while Nankana Sahib and Hassan Abdal stations would also be further uplifted, he added.
He said Chaklala Railway Station would be upgraded soon.
To a question about Kartarpur Corridor, Sheikh Rashid said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had done marvellous work in that regard, which was diplomatically a victory for Pakistan.
He said now the focus of the PR management would be on the freight sector. The number of freight trains would be increased from eight to 15. “The Pakistan Railways can only be stabilized if the freight sector works,” he added.
Sheikh Rashid said two more freight trains were expected to be launched on December 25.
The minister said any railway employee or police staffer, if found involved in helping passengers to travel without tickets, would be dismissed.
To a question, he said a record Rs 56.2 million revenue was collected by the railways on November 27. The income had been increased by 20 per cent after extension of timings of seven reservation offices as most of the people liked to purchase tickets in late hours. It had been decided that the reservation offices would remain open round-the-clock, he added.
Sheikh Rashid said the PR had earned Rs 20 billion in last four months and hopefully it would be able to achieve the yearly target of Rs 10 billion profit. He said the Railways income had increased by Rs 2 billion during the last 90 days whereas the income from passenger sector had risen by Rs 1 billion.
“I appreciate officers, labourers and workers of railways for this achievement,” he added.
The minister said the PR had also reduced its expenditure by Rs 1 billion during the last 90 days.
He said the Pakistan Railways had collected Rs 50 million for the Prime Minister and Chief Justice Dams Fund, which would be presented to the authorities soon.
To a question about occupancy of the newly introduced trains, he said that occupancy ratio of Latif Bhittai and Mohenjodaro Express trains remained 141 per cent which was a good omen.
Responding to a question about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said initial work had been done on the Mainline 1 (ML-1) during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China.
He said Quetta-Tuftan and Quetta-Gawadar railway tracks would be converted into standard gauge.
Addressing another press conference, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team had started building the country from scratch as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had inherited a Pakistan, which was in a shambles. “Think about the prime minister, who is bound to pay interest of Rs 6 billion every month on loans,” he added.
He said the Sikh community loved Pakistan due to Imran Khan and General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He offered the Sikh community to come forward and construct five-star hotels at any of their sacred places under the public-private-partnership with the PR.
To a question about local body system, the minister said he stood with the prime minister on the matter. It had been proved in the past that non-party system was better than the current party-based parliamentary system.
To another question, Sheikh Rashid said Imran Khan had rightly said in his speech at Kartarpur that Pakistan-India relations could not be normalized without resolving the Kashmir issue.
Feb 22, 2019 0
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily