Karakoram Express and Karachi Express to be upgraded, says Saad Rafique

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.

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