LAHORE - Federal Minister for Pakistan Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique has hinted at shutting loss-making trains, as about seven trains are running in loss, causing a loss of around Rs.1.75 billion annually to Pakistan Railways.

Federal Minister stated this while inaugurating the Hazara Express after its renovation, running between Havelian to Karachi.  “Presently, seven trains are operating in loss including Khush Hal Khan Khattak Express, which is losing about Rs500 million annually and we have decided to divert all these trains.”

He further said that Railways would cut fares after the POL prices were reduced third time and the plan has been made in this regard, adding that fares would be reduced from train to train. Talking to media, he said Pakistan Railways (PR) and Pakistan Railway Advisory and Consultancy Services (PRACS) have worked together for improving the Hazara Express.

He said that some new facilities have been added in it, besides improving the existing facilities.

New added facilities include: announcement facility for passengers, curtains for ensuring privacy of women, prayer area, first-aid facility, and arrangements for providing food in boxes keeping in view the health standards.

The minister said that PR was endeavouring for bringing improvement in passengers’ trains and action plan had been made in this regard.

He said the department was working for increasing the composition of passenger trains, for which 91 coaches were required that would be attached with different trains and after which the department would earn a profit of Rs 1 billion annually. He said the department was focusing on ending unnecessary stopovers, adding that all stops were being pointed out which causing loss to revenue.

He lamented that unfortunately in past the stoppages were given on political basis.  Saad Rafique said that luggage van would also be introduced and it would be available in all big trains. The minister said that National Logistic Cell (NLC) locomotives would become part of the system from January 1st, adding that this year, the PR would earn Rs 8 billion from its freight sector.  Responding to a question, he said that at least five years were needed to convert all unmanned level crossing into manned level crossing, if all provincial governments support the PR in this regard.

To another query, he said that there was consensus among all political leadership on Speedy or Special trial courts which was the need of the hour. He said that the courts would be time bound and the objectives were clear. He termed it a good political decision for the betterment of the country.

Federal Minister said that the terrorists will never be forgiven for their atrocities. He said that military dictators formed military courts in the past to take revenge from their political opponents. “This time the decision of forming military courts has been taken by all the political parties of the country”, he added

He also said that the country is in a state of war and nations make tough decision in such situations.

“The government will do everything to end terrorism in the country”, the minister said. The railways minister added that it was inappropriate for Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain to talk about imposing martial law in the country. “Some elements are not able to digest military and government being on the same page”, Rafique added.