Pakistan Railways does not even have funds to buy fuel!

Unending woes of Railways
by Isha M. Kureshi, Hyderabad, Sindh
Courtesy and Thanks: Daily Dawn, 19.2.2009
It is shocking know that Pakistan Railways (PR), which was incessant financial problems has now even does not have enough funds to buy fuel. The PR is the same organization that was established by the British in this part of sub-continent in the middle of nineteenth century catering to the needs of millions and was considered as one of the best transportation systems in the world.. It supplied excellent services to the passengers/clients and also provided to its employees the best residential facilities, inexpensive education and healthcare as well as clubs and gyms that were available almost in every big city.
At the time of independence Pakistan inherited 8,122 kilometers line. But certain small gauge lines were added linking; Mardan and Charsada, Jacobabad-Kashmore (1954) and Kot Adu-Kashmore line was constructed between 1969 and 1973 providing an alternative route from Karachi up the country.
The system functioned effectively and efficiently till seventees; not only showing profit but provided best and safest journey to the travelers and transporting goods from one place to other with minimum cost, maximum security and guarantee to the destination safely.

Troubles started the day, when in 1978 National Logistic Corporation (NLC) was established by Gen Ziaul Haq as a crisis management organization of federal government. Prime objective of NLC was to provide backup support to the armed forces in the time of peace and war in resolving logistic problems in transporting important commodities. Unfortunately with support of his government NLC monopolized the goods transportation even in civil sector, which hitherto was the primary responsibility of Railways.

Subsequently looking to the enormous profit the private transporters also jumped into the pasture. The transporters with active support of politicians become strong mafias, which at times even threaten to block the vital national arteries when forced to abide the traffic rules. As a result of this PR lost profitable goods transport business and become a ‘loss organization’ as the passenger transportation is conducted on no profit and no loss basis.

Thus shifting of cargo to Road Transport had a fatal blow on Railways, which for the last two more then decades is considered a sick organization; sustaining on annual federal doles-outs required even for disbursing salaries to the workers.

Moreover for lack of funds PR’s giant infrastructure, for non maintenances started crippling day by day resulting in horrifying accidents taking hundreds of precious lives. The other disadvantages that this ill-advised change brought were the increase in the freight charges that enhanced the cost of goods to consumer and consequently become on of the main cause of inflation in the society. Besides the roads are encumbered with huge trawlers and trucks that not only damage the highway networks but also are source of frequent ghastly accidents.

This is high time that government should consider reviving railways net work which in these days of high prices of oil will not only be cost effective and reduce burden on road infrastructure but safer in terms of journey. However, at the initial stage huge investment is required for maintenance as well as bringing improvement in the existing infrastructure. At the same time government freight, especially transported through roads should immediately be reversed to Railways so that the organization comes out of red.

4 thoughts on “Pakistan Railways does not even have funds to buy fuel!”

  1. Khwaja Aftab Ali, USA Says:

    September 20th, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Hearty Eid Greetings to the People’s Prime Minister of Pakistan and special appreciation for the recent development activities in Multan greater area. Would prime minister be kind enough to work on a mega project for this neglected area of Southern Punjab to create enough jobs which may stop poor people of this area to be exploited in big cities of the country and abroad. Last but not least, if the Prime minister could arrange to move/ transfer the Head Quarters of Pakistan Railways in Multan area-the real center of the country to boost under developed area and provide an opportunity to earn fortune by selling railways expansive land in Lahore, mostly used for railway officers’ residences. I hope PM will do his best as no one stays for ever on this authoritative important positions. Sincerely , Khwaja Aftab Ali, Advocate/ I.P. Attorney,presently residing in Florida, USA

  2. Hearty Eid Greetings to the People�s Prime Minister of Pakistan and special appreciation for the recent development activities in Multan greater area. Would prime minister be kind enough to work on a mega project for this neglected area of Southern Punjab to create enough jobs which may stop poor people of this area to be exploited in big cities of the country. Last but not least, if the Prime minister could arrange to move/ transfer the Head Quarters of Pakistan Railways in Multan area-the real center of the country to boost under developed area and provide an opportunity to earn fortune by selling railways expansive land in Lahore, mostly used for railway officers� residences. I hope PM will do his best as no one stays for ever on this authoritative important positions. Sincerely , Khwaja Aftab Ali, Advocate/ I.P. Attorney
    ����������-

    FIVE REGIONAL CITIES OF PAKISTAN should be
    upgraded with in the provinces in the country. Regional cities of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/ Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/ Larkana in Upper Sind, Jehlam/ Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province. These regional cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although these cities have their own history, culture and languages.Dera Ismail Khan in south of Pakhtun khwa/MWFP is under seige, Multan/DG Khan in south of Punjab is next target of religious extremists,Sukkar/ Larkana is being rule by criminals, Gawadar/ Qalat is trouble some. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals for every small issue and requirement of the daily life which should be provided in nearby cities. A good number of population travel to big cities for their survival to earn livelihood as the local feudal own majority land and keep the common man as their slaves. Creation of regional government and upgrading of the regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these regions. Circuit benches of the High Courts are already working in these areas and only requirement is the additional staff of different departments involved in additional work at the provincial capitals. The concern authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given upgrade/build the airports,TV station, civic center, libraries,hospitals, educational institutes and investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad and foreign firms to create jobs in the area as majority population in rural Pakistan do not have enough resources to survive. It�s remind me the condition of pre Islamic revolution of Iran in Shah time when the rural Iran was ignored and the capital Tehran was developed in a way to call it Paris of Middle East with modern life style. Couple of other big cities like Isfahan and Caspian sea was taken care of because of foreign tourists but rural area was ruled by cruel police and intelligence. Then what happen rural population supported the Islamic revolution and moved to Tehran and other big cities later on. The new government after revolution developed, built and upgraded the rural areas of Iran accordingly. A fund to upgrade/build these regional cities in Pakistan should be intoduced by public and private sector and Pakistani government, our foreign friends and Pakistanis living abroad may be asked to participate in this development mission in the country..KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,( former secretary, Iranian embassy, Saudi Arabia,1979-88) Advocate High Court & I.P. Attorney-first & the only Pakistani lawyer who earned Intellectual Property laws scholarship in USA,presently residing in Florida, USA. pip.law@hotmail.com

  3. Pakistan should do every thing to improve railways performance. It in fact such tremendous scope of benefiting out of it that it should give it top priority.

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