(14 September 2018)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said Pakistan railways is an effective, cost-efficient and safe ways of goods transportation and has been a backbone in fulfilling public’s transportation needs. Importance of Railways cannot be denied. Despite wide network railways stood at Rs. 42 billion annual losses, which is worth consideration. Railways revenue in 2013 was Rs. 18 billion while loss was Rs. 32 billion; revenue increased to Rs. 36 billion where loss has also been increased to 40 billion. Immediate and revolutionary measures are required to be taken to curb the Railways losses.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that Railways current standing is the result of poor planning and politicizing of public departments. The PML-N led government has tried to make the performance of railway better and the revenue has also been increased but the increased losses could not curb. This government seems serious in reformation of public organization running in losses. Railway under the minister-ship of Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed has achieved a milestone by initiating two new railways in less than a month time including Mianwali Rail Car and Rawalpindi Express.
The former minister said that Pakistan railway is comprised of five main lines including Karachi – Peshawar, Kotri – Attock, Rohri – Chaman, Quetta – Taftan and Taxila – Khunjrab, while twenty branch lines are there to connect the far remote areas of the Country to the railways’ network. Government need to renovate the existing system and reform it in accordance to the modern day needs. New and latest trains should be introduced in addition to the revival of outdated and old lines and circular railways. Karachi circular railway should be given priority in order to facilitate the general public with affordable and convenient transportation.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that railways guest houses located across the Country should be commercialized after converting to hotels & motels and recaptures the railway’s vast land from the grabbers to promote tourism in the country and increase profitability of the important public sector organization. Pakistan is not yet connected with any other Country except India. If Prime Minister Imran Khan gives attention, Iran, China, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Turkey and even Europe can be connected with Pakistan Railway; by extending Quetta – Taftan line to Zahidan of Iran and by extending Taxila – Khunjrab line to Kashghar of China. Since there is no railway system in Afghanistan, it can be done through three phases by extending Karachi – Peshawar line to Kabul via Jalalabad or by extending Rohri – Chaman line to Speen Boldak in first phase, then to Qandahar afterwards to Hirat and then to Turkmenistan. If the Pakistan Railway get connected with other countries, it will gives Pakistani products an easy access to international markets and international trade will be inclined to new heights.