Prime Minister Imran Khan launched four new train services aimed at providing better commuting facilities to the people.
The new train services introduced by the Pakistan Railways (PR) include Faisalabad Express, Shah Latif Express, Sindh Express and Rehman Baba Express.
Addressing a ceremony held in connection with the launch in Islamabad, the premier said the PR was incurring yearly losses of Rs45 billion but they have decreased to Rs37bn under Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s watch.
Khan said the reason behind the downfall of public sector enterprises in the country was “political appointments”.
“The loss caused by political appointments which are not based on merit is borne by the people,” he said, adding that the Rs500bn worth of losses incurred by government corporations will eventually be paid by increasing the rates of consumer goods.
Khan asked the railways minister to act against and remove the political appointees which he said have “become a burden” on the department. He said the railways could become a highly profitable institution if people are appointed on merit.
The prime minister observed that on one hand state land worth billions of rupees, including ‘enemy properties’, has been illegally occupied, while on the other the country is “paying Rs6bn in interest payments on loans on a daily basis”.
To remedy this, he said, the government is drafting a policy to utilise the occupied state properties and turn them into revenue-generating ventures.
“We can sell several of these commercial properties to overseas Pakistanis and earn dollars for the country… to pay off our loans,” Khan said.
Appreciating the steps taken by Sheikh Rashid to improve PR’s functioning, the prime minister said his government was committed to introducing policies that would lift the common man out of poverty — a model to which he attributed China’s economic success.
Prime Minister Khan also touched upon the terrorist attack targeting the Chinese consulate general in Karachi earlier today, saying the assault was a “well-thought-out plan by the enemies to sabotage” Pakistan’s trade agreements with China and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
He paid tribute to the security forces who successfully managed to prevent the terrorists from entering the facility.
The Faisalabad Express launched today will run between Multan and Faisalabad. It will make stops at Khanewal, Abdul Hakim Railway Station, Shorkot Cantonment, Toba Tek Sindh and Gojra.
The train will include five economy class carriages, one AC standard carriage, one AC business class carriage and one AC parlour carriage or coach. The fare for the AC parlour is said to be Rs500. Similarly the AC business class fare will be Rs540 and AC standard Rs470 while a seat in the economy class will cost Rs260.
It will depart from Multan at 7am to reach Faisalabad at 10.30am and then leave Faisalabad at 11am to reach Multan at 2.30pm.
The Shah Latif Express will depart from Dhabeji at 8.30am to reach Mirpurkhas at 11.40am and make stops at Jangshahi, Jhimpir, Kotri, Hyderabad, Tando Adam and Tando Allahyar. It will leave Mirpurkhas at 2.30pm to reach Dhabeji at 5.35pm.
The train will have seven economy class coaches. The fare for Dhabeji to Hyderabad will be Rs140 and up to Mirpurkhas Rs200.
The Sindh Express is to run between Karachi (Cantonment Station) and Sukkur making stops at Drigh Road, Landhi, Hyderabad, Tando Adam, Shahdadpur, Nawabshah, Bandi Goth, Mehrabpur, Ranipur, Khairpur and Rohri.
It will comprise five economy class coaches with one AC standard coach, one AC business class coach and one AC parlour coach.
The Karachi-Sukkur fare for the AC business class will be Rs1,520, AC standard Rs1,170 and the economy class fare will be Rs470.
The Sindh Express will depart from Karachi Cantt at 8.30am to reach Sukkur at 4.45pm and then it will leave Sukkur at 11am to reach Karachi at 7:15pm.
The Rehman Baba Express, which will go into service from December 25, will run between Peshawar and Karachi.