01 October, 2014 / Zilhaj 5, 1435

NAWAZ Sharif has promised to start a bullet train from Peshawar to Karachi. Many nay-sayers are questioning the project. The same people said the same thing when Mr Sharif started the motorway. My job takes me to Punjab frequently and I travel on the motorway from Lahore to go to Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi.

It’s a joyride. Moreover the development around the motorway is remarkable. I have also widely travelled in Sindh. Comparing the roads in Sindh a friend of mine told me the other day: “When you leave Sunjerpur in Punjab and enter Sindh, you don’t need a road sign to tell you that you are now in Sindh, the road speaks for itself.”

The same nay-sayers are saying that Pakistan would not be able to finance the project. I will say to Mr Sharif: Tundee eh baad e mukhalif say na ghabra eh Auqab Yeh tou chaltee heh tujhay ooncha uranay ka lee yeh

Trucks take 72 hours to reach Lahore from Karachi on an average, whereas the new Business train takes 18 hours only. The bullet train will require even less. It would not only be good for thousands of passengers but would also be great for goods transportation.

The Pakistan Railways is probably the richest as far as as land assets are concerned. They have the choicest property from Karachi to Peshawar.

In Karachi, the Pakistan Railways has the best of the best property in Karachi’s heartland.

Starting from the west of Karachi City Station and travelling on Moulvi Tameezuddin Khan Road towards Dr Ziauddin Ahmad Road, the Pakistan Railways owns an open area of about 400 metres by 1,000 metres.

They use it for storing containers and have some godowns. If we divide this 400,000 square metres of land into 50 meter by 50 meter commercial plots, 160 sky scrapers can be built on this area. It will be within one kilometer of Karachi’s Zero point which is the Karachi City Railway Station, and the City’s Business district of I.I Chundrigar road.

If Railways insist they can ask the builders to leave space at the grade for containers and start constructing their office cum residential estate above it. Similarly Karachi Cantonment station has 800 meters by 100 meters land available on the east side of the station. Using 50 meters by 50 metres per plot, 32 skyscrapers can be constructed.

The presence of 192 skyscrapers in the heart of Karachi is mouth-watering for any world-class construction company, Businessmen and people who want to minimise travel time to offices would love this option.

Karachi alone would be able to help Pakistan Railways generate millions of dollars. However, if we do this for Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Gujrat also, we can surely generate the amount Mr Sharif wants for this game-changing project.

S. NAYYAR IQBAL RAZA Karachi


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Comments (46) (Closed)


imran
May 17, 2013 01:53pm
Comon! They are having a laugh, in a country where normal trains seem vanished, if they are there they dont run on time. A country where people are starving, millions of graduates are jobless, hospitals are without doctors or doctors are on strikes, schoold with no teachers and no free education for poor people, no safety on road, street or even in the house for people, no money in the pocket of poor people to buy bread or pay monthly rent, where mothers are diving off the roof with kids because they cant feed their kids anymore, factories are closed, no electricity for 12 hours in a day and we are talking of building a bullet train. Not against this, but its the priorities which need to decide on. Get everyone food, health, education and jobs and then build all these. Bullet train is not going to pour foob into a poor empty stomach or give health or education to a poor kid. I dont know when our politicians will stop these gimmicks. Perhaps never because they know if these people get educated why would they vote for them in future and how they will play with their emotions. End of the day, people are suffering and will keep suffering until we all change our priorities. There is no point building a thing where everyone doesnt have the equal right to use it, right now our country is a complete car crash, repair it first then start polishing it, otherwise there is no use polishing a car if its not ready to run.
Truthprevails
May 17, 2013 02:05pm
Please check out the number of Metro's that run in Indian cities. Other than that there are multitude of high end Volvo buses that ply from even a 3-tier city. Which city are you from sir?
Tariq Chundrigar
May 17, 2013 08:41am
There is no question transportation of the quality of a bullet train would greatly help any country. But the concern is the total lack of thought regarding any other development-our school curriculum is around 25 years old, saying you come from a 'peeli' school is now almost an insult. Additionally, Pakistan inherited one of the most complex and complete railway system that served a wonderful purpose, and was indeed a joyride for the whole populance-a low-tech system that was easy to maintain, and yet has been utterly destroyed. One fears the same thoughtlessness is at play with the bullet train, which sounds more like a gimmick than true infra structure development.
Ahmed
May 17, 2013 07:38pm
The bullet train should be built after Imran Khan has ended corruption in KP (which, per his promise during elections, will take 90 days) and cooled down the anger of the taliban (which, per his promise during elections, will happen as soon as we withdraw the Pakistan Army from Fata). Till then, PMLN should focus on ensuring law and order in the panjab and baluchistan where it has provincial governments and making Pakistan an attractive place for investors.
malole
May 17, 2013 06:40am
Right. No money no honey.
Tansar
May 17, 2013 07:48pm
Guys, for God's sack, it just slipped out of his mouth. Do you think he really meant it? I mean, come on. Be realistic and wake up. It would be a miracle if we even fix the current infras structure of trains and lot other important things which will facilitate poors.
Md Imran
May 16, 2013 03:53pm
Shariff gave Lahore the metro bus system and a seperate "bus-way" for these hi-tech busses. It is a massive accomplishment that has not been possible in many large and much wealthier cities around the world ( infact i dont think any Indian city has such facilities ). The motorway was rightly called as a engineering marvel. The bullet train is long due in Pakistan, and will be a game changer in the region. There were plenty of nay sayers when Brooklyn bridge was being built, and look at it today. Anything is possible.
ss
May 17, 2013 07:12am
you and all pakistanis that did not vote for PML(n) have no idea how important bullet train is for Pakistan's survival :-/
Caz
May 16, 2013 10:26am
In the realm of fantasy the sky is the limit. Promising fantasia to the unwashed masses of pakistan it seems will get you everywhere.
Muhammad Ahmed Mufti
May 16, 2013 04:04pm
We already have bullet trains in almost every city. These are visible on important occasions; mostly running between ground and the sky and sometimes running from triggering fingers to hearts. We don't need any bullet trains. Can we have just plain simple trains that run on time?
sharad
May 17, 2013 10:17am
So there will be skyscrapers and high valure property at the two ends but 30kms away, Pakistan will start with no connecting rail network to carry passengers away from major stations. High speed rail is not like roads where you can have an industrial corridor all along. To stay viable, they can stop only after at least 300-400 kms otherwise they lose all their advantage. How do you invite industry to cities in between unless you have an efficient regular train network. I think Nawaj Sharif thought over the financing of building a bullet train track but forgot how to have enough fare paying passengers to sustain economic viability. I wonder if business only in peshawar, lahore, karachi will be able to fill trains leaving every 5-10'. If only few trains are run, only to pay back initial investment, pakistan will have to stop all other projects.
masmanz
May 17, 2013 04:49am
This kind of anti-development thinking is actually responsible for general poverty and malnutrition .
masmanz
May 17, 2013 04:47am
The two are not mutually exclusive. High speed train will help in economic growth, which in turn will give money to educate more people.
Amir
May 17, 2013 04:28am
Excellent idea. We have already eliminated hunger, poverty and illiteracy. Whe have fixed the economy, healthcare and energy crises. Lets now build the bullet train. In fact we should also build bullet train in Murree, Lahore and specially in Raiwind. We should give free rides on bullet train for PML N supporters. Once we build the bullet train we will be the envy of the world. People from USA will come to Pakistan to ride the bullet train. We owe only a few hundred billion dollars to IMF, world bank, Asian bank and other financial institutions, we desperately need projects like bullet train. May Allah help our nation. Nawaz Sharif and his think tank Zindabad.
Shah
May 17, 2013 08:26am
Pakistan can never invest too much in: communications (roads, trains, internet and phone), education and security. This must be top 3 priorities of any government no matter which party is in power.
Ali
May 16, 2013 07:07pm
How about fixing the current rail system? How about improving the quality of education so that we can attract top level companies like Siemens, IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Mitsubishi, GE, etc. to setup offices in Pakistan? How about tackling corruption? Improving Healthcare... These need to be fixed befor we have a bullet train
TK from USA
May 17, 2013 02:30pm
Any reference to Bullets, Guns, Violence must be eliminated from print vocabulary of Pakistan. The new trains can simply be called fast trains or super fast trains.
Janan
May 16, 2013 08:14pm
Like India already did?
Imran
May 16, 2013 08:15pm
I am surprised why we cannot see the long term benefits of the bullet trains project. Education alone cannot bring the prosperity to the country. No country in the word has prospered without the infrastructure and the most important of all transportation and communication infrastructure. If Pakistani people want to prosper and compete in the world, they should open their minds to the development projects. Mr. Nawaz Sharif has the right idea, even if we don
Nasir
May 16, 2013 02:05pm
How he goes to Gujranwala through motorway?
Rashid Sultan
May 16, 2013 08:41am
And ruin nature's bounty and wildlife for ever??? What is this mad obsession with roads, trains and skyscrapers? Who is this man with crazy ideas? Leave the country side alone. More low and slow rise please.
Raja
May 17, 2013 01:30am
You can do anything you put your mind to, this is only a Bullet Train. Insha'Allah many negative minded pessimist and nay-sayers will be proven wrong.
Irrfaan Akhtaar
May 16, 2013 04:14pm
click some snapshots from chinese bullet train and post then on big billboard around karachi, problem solved in cheap way
G.A.
May 16, 2013 12:19pm
Motorway maybe a joyride for you but not for the malnutritioned and unkempt people of this country that makes up a huge number. A country that has run railways and airlines into the ground and can barely fix gutters wants bullet trains passing through slums. Genius!!
Khota
May 17, 2013 02:02am
Last time I checked, a lots of poor and uneducated masses were also travelling on the motorway, in air-conditioned Daewo buses.
snaveed80
May 17, 2013 07:42am
Even if they happen to materiazle the fantastic idea, howsoever, Pakis would try their best to gobble it up in no time, they are addicted to wreaking havoc on state property. They did it with yellow-cabs, they couldn
Riaz Ahmad
May 16, 2013 08:09am
Sale of railway property will yield the biggest corruption bonanza in human history. Major portion of the proceeds will be converted in to high value property in London and New York. It will be the biggest rip off in the sale of national assets.
Riaz Ahmad
May 16, 2013 08:02am
To run on full speed, the rail lines and signalling systems have to be up graded, other wise it will be bullet train travelling at the speed of a donkey. It is better to upgrade and the railway system running cheaper trains with affordable fares for ordinary people. Pakistan governments love luxury projects for the rich.
ahmed.jumma@yahoo.com
May 16, 2013 07:46am
If there is a Will nothing is impossible in Pakistan. Sharif can manage Bullet Train if he can convince the Army to stand up for building a new Pakistan. The Army generals, political leaders have billions of dollars in foreign banks, they can bring back the money for investment in their motherland for prosperity of future generation. Pakistan has coal mines, gold mines, God gifted beaches, agricultural lands, rivers, mountains of precious stones, treasure of jungles and above all very hardworking people. We do not have a single 3-Star hotel on Hawksbay Beach for middle class and foreigners although 66-years have elapsed. The obstacles must be removed immediately for a prosperous city equally beneficial for the country.
Agha Ata (USA)
May 16, 2013 12:47pm
Is running a bullet train more important than giving education to a hundred million illiterate people?
Farhan
May 16, 2013 12:46pm
What wildlife?
Ravi Ingale from University of Pune.
May 16, 2013 07:30am
Pakistan first of all you improve your present rail system.
Shah
May 17, 2013 08:09am
Although I haven't voted for him but on this I really support him. To buid a seperate track for Bullet train I think that they can built a parallel track along with motorway from peshawar to Lahore at least.
M A Mujeeb
May 16, 2013 07:09am
The idea of Bullet Train is good. But the priority of the new government should be to bring the economy in proper shape and get rid of poverty, load shedding, terrorism and corruption.
fiaz
May 16, 2013 01:19pm
Keep dreaming
Yousuf Hussain.
May 17, 2013 09:16am
Nawaz Sharif has to improve the current infrastructure of Pakistan Railway rather than dreaming of bullet train. Absurd idea by leader to attract masses. And the writer is surely dreaming.
Tariq
May 16, 2013 06:03pm
Good thinking batman! But don't think about running before you can walk! First you have to create the "mental capacity" ( by way of educating) of the bullet train passengers (nation) to appreciate such things. By the time the public is educated enough such transport systems will be automatically warranted. For country like Pakistan, it's priorities at present time are (should be) different.
sal
May 17, 2013 02:05pm
Eradicating poverty, building power stations and acheiving 100% literacy would be more worthy goals than a buillet train for business and elite.
Truthprevails
May 17, 2013 02:10pm
Has the author done some research on the viability of the project, while most developed countries are not so much inclined towards a bullet train. If its the speed of travel that is important than develop airlines. If its economy then work on the grassroots level, improve education and open up the mind.
Khota
May 17, 2013 01:57am
Yes it is more important, as it will be a step towards achieving the education for future generations.
Khota
May 17, 2013 01:59am
From Lahore to Gujranwala through Sugian bridge.
Khota
May 17, 2013 02:00am
Wild life, that produces a lot of cow dung.
Ahmed
May 16, 2013 09:03pm
Its not a either-else proposition.
skeptic
May 17, 2013 07:31pm
for a country like ours mired with so many issues warranting desperate immediate attention it would be a tragedy and extremely unwise to invest in such an ambitious and mis thought project. just make the simple railways system work before making such attempts, its like trying to run before you can walk.
K.Rashid
May 17, 2013 06:48pm
To make a major impact on both the energy crisis and economy of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif 's government should instead build a visionary 500,000 barrels per day modern world class refinery and petrochemical complex on the coast . This will immediately supply enough fuel to curb those huge imports of petroleum and petrochemcials that eat much of the country's hard currency. Much like what Reliance has done at Jamnagar in India. Let us be visionary like them. The impact of this on the country's economy will be much greater and long lasting
Sinn Sal
May 16, 2013 02:37pm
Bullet train? In Pakistan? Well in that case Nigeria is sending 10 astronauts to the moon.