ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Railways suffered a loss of Rs26.99 billion during the last fiscal year which is less by 0.93 per cent over the fiscal year 2014-15.

This was revealed by the Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique in a written reply during the question hour of the Senate on Friday.

The minister in response to a question by PPP Senator Sherry Rehman clarified that the expenditure had increased from Rs59.177 billion during 2014-15 to Rs63.156 billion instead of Rs64.23 billion during the fiscal year 2015-16.

The minister listed down a number of factors for the increase in expenditure of Rs3.979 billion during 2015-16 over the previous year 2014-15.

One of the main reasons of increase in expenditure, he said was increase in salary/ pension of Federal Government employees/pensioners at the rate of 7.5 per cent with effect from 1st July 2015.

The second factor that led to increase in the expenditure was that the government allowed family pension to widow/ divorced daughters with effect from 1st July 2015 extending financial relief to the families of deceased government pensioners.

Likewise, the minister said that restoration n of pension which was stopped with effect from 1st December 2001 has been restored by the present government with effect from 1st July 2015, which has almost doubled the amount of pensioners who has attained the age of 72 years.

Similarly, 25 percent increase has been allowed to pensioners on medical allowance with effect from 1st July 2015.

The Minister further said that increase in operating expenditure was largely due to introduction of new passenger/ freight train services during the fiscal year 2015-16.

On the other hand, the minister conceded that main reason for decrease in operating expenditures was the decrease in fuel prices in the international market.

Separately, Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman informed the Senate that implementation on National Action Plan (NAP) is being ensured to rid the country of terrorism.

Minister said that it is because of the commitment on NAP that incidents of terrorism have witnessed a marked reduction.

He said that there is no proposal under consideration to lift the ban on the issuance of arms licenses.

Responding to a question, Baligh-ur-Rehman said that Prime Minister has approved a package of 58.66 million rupees for the up-gradation of health facilities in Islamabad Capital Territory. He said that the basic health units will be upgraded in a period of one year.

The Minister of State said that Local Government system in Islamabad has been fully empowered to address the basic problems of the people.