RAWALPINDI - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Tuesday said that there was no room for protest in Islamabad due to growing tensions along the Line of Control (LoC).

Talking to media persons while inaugurating the cooking, computer and beautification classes here at Railway Handicraft School, Sheikh Rashid said that the government was trying its best to resolve the issue through talks. “However, if there is a law and order situation, the government will protect the life and property of people,” he said.

The minister said that Pakistan Railways (PR) would submit the Mainline (ML-I)’s PC-I to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council’s (ECNEC) Planning Commission this week. “Under the ML-I, over 1800 kilometers long rail track would be laid across the country at the cost of around $9 billion,” Rashid explained. The minister added that with the start of ML-I, the travel time from Rawalpindi to Karachi would be reduced from 22 hours to 10 hours. “A train from Rawalpindi would reach Lahore in just 2.5 hours,” he informed. The minister said around 80,000 youth would get jobs under the project, adding that no new application would be accepted in that regard as the ministry had already received one million applications.

He said that basic allowance of railway police personnel were brought at par with Punjab Police and Pakistan Army. “Earlier, the police personnel were receiving 50 percent allowance of the basic pay of 2010,” he reminded.

He said the government was taking all possible measures to overcome the losses of Pakistan Railways, and claimed that its quarterly income had been enhanced to

Rs600 million.

Rashid said that employees of Pakistan Railways were its assets, and all available resources would be utilized for their welfare.

He said that past governments were responsible for price hike in the country because of their large scale corruption and loot of the national exchequer.