By Shakil Paracha
KARACHI: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed yesterday vowed to revive the Pakistan Railways (PR) with the help of private sector in a short span of time as the era of corruption was over now.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of Pakistan’s first-ever freight train in the private sector here, he said during the last two regimes, nothing was done except for purchasing locomotives at exaggerated prices.
The first-ever freight train in private sector left for its destination – Lahore. The ribbon was cut by the minister along with Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, CEO of Marine Group Asim Siddiqui, and CEO Pakistan Railways Freight Transport Company (PRFTC), Zafar Zaman Ranjha, a press release said.
The minister also assured replacement of all existing mainline tracks under Project of ML 1 (Main Line, Karachi to Peshawar via Lahore) with the Chinese assistance.
“ML1 will be the revolutionary project which is meant to replace 1,750 kilometer tracks,” he said.
He maintained that even Pakistan Steel Mills would be revived through that project. He assured initiation of two more passenger trains from Sindh as occupancy rate was higher than 142 per cent in the province.
The minister also called for removal of encroachments from Railways land so that Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) should be rvived.
The CEO of Marine Group, Asim Siddiqui, said that project of freight train had been initiated following an agreement signed with Pakistan Railways Freight Transport Company (PRFTC) to run daily one goods
train to and from Karachi to Lahore. Later another train would be added between Lahore and Karachi while other sectors including Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot would also be included in the network, he added.
He said there would be four trains to be operated daily by March 2019.
The Governor Sindh, appreciating the efforts made by Sheikh Rashid and Asim Siddiqui to revive Pakistan Rilways, said that the present government was making every possible effort to establish a corruption-free society.