ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique on Tuesday informed National Assembly that an investment of Rs10 to 12 billion is needed to put the cash-starved Pakistan Railways back on track.

Speaking in the house, he said that at least an investment of Rs10 to 12 billion is immediately needed if “we are serious about revamping Pakistan Railways as we could not invest a single penny this time around as we had no funds”.

About the train crash near Nawabshah on Sunday, he said that an investigation into the accident is under way and its final report would be compiled in a couple of days.

Lack of resources ‘real cause’ of Hazara Express tragedy: Saad Rafique

About the cause of the accident, he said that two wheels of a bogie were jammed when the train embarked from Karachi, which should have been removed from the train.

Besides, a piece of railway track near the accident site was damaged, which led to the accident, he said, adding six railway officials have been suspended and a compensation of Rs1.5 million each will be given to the families of those who lost their lives.

However, he rejected the media reports regarding the use of wood as a joint in the railway track. He said the track where the accident occurred was in poor condition and that no wooden patch had been installed to repair it.

He also said that the de-railing of the train was not the cause of the deaths, adding six railway officers have been suspended in connection with the accident.

He said that the agreement regarding the construction of the Main Line-1 (ML-1) is going to be signed in October, adding the previous government had completely abandoned the railways.

Speaking on a point of order, the Minister for Communications, Maulana Asad Mahmood, emphasized the need for upholding the constitution, strengthening democracy and respecting the state institutions.

He said that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) does not believe in demoralising the state institutions and people working with them. “We should work for forging unity among the people to restore peace in the country in order to achieve economic goals for the prosperity of the countrymen,” he added.

Regarding the fight against terrorism, he said that his party recently convened a grand national Jirga of tribal people, which proposed Pakistan and Afghanistan formulate a common strategy to fight terrorism.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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