LAHORE - Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that Karakoram Express and Karachi Express will be upgraded by June 30 this year.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, he said these trains would be upgraded on Green Line pattern. He said that upgradation of these two trains would provide good travelling options to passengers. He said that special Eid trains would also be operated, adding that seasonal trains would be run during summers, which include Awam Express, Shalimar Express and Bahauddin Zakaria Express. He said, “We are planning to run cargo train having a capacity of transporting 12,500 tonnes of cargo.” He hoped that branding initiative would help earn handsome amount of revenue. He said that land of railways would be utilised for commercial purposes, as rules had been framed and sent to the cabinet and soon approval would be obtained. Preparation for introducing solar system at stations, terminals, buildings, DS offices, headquarters was underway to reduce electricity expenses and soon the project would be announced. Railways had decided to reduce freight fares by 10-15 per cent, he added. He said that Hirok bridge would be completed by coming April 15. The minister said that efforts were being made to make Sibi-Harnai section operational before the end of this fiscal year. Saad Rafique said that process of outsourcing three airports was under way, adding that Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports would be outsourced. He said these airports would be outsourced after competitive bidding.
He said, “The PIA restructuring have to be carried out and the matter had been discussed with international consultants.” He said that efforts were being made to give restructuring roadmap in few months besides starting it’s implementation. Khawaja Saad Rafique hoped that in few months, Pakistan airlines would start flying to the UK. To a question, he said Nawaz Sharif remained in opposition for 19 to 20 years but not a single corruption case was proved against him. Terming Imran Khan a fascist, he said that he had nothing to do with democracy. He said Imran Khan was in himself a Sicilian mafia. “Imran Khan is not a leader, he behaves like a gangster,” added the minister. To another question, he said that it was unfortunate that democracy in the country did not strengthen in the way it should be. He said that the parliament would strengthen when all political parties would understand that they had to set aside their differences in larger national interest. He stressed the need to stop levelling dirty allegations against each other.