RAWALPINDI, Dec 16: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the role of railways cannot be neglected in the economic and social development of the nation and the government is focusing to improve the standard of railways system.

Inaugurating the “Pakistan Express”, a new train service between Rawalpindi and Karachi, at Rawalpindi Railway Station, the prime minister said the government would provide all available resources to run a bullet train, and to improve the condition of tracks as well as living standard of railway employees.

Federal Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Minister of State for Railway Asjad Mehale also spoke on the occasion.

The prime minister noted that Pakistan Express equipped with all modern facilities would provide affordable mode of travelling to common man.

Pakistan Railways is a symbol of national integrity and a backbone of our economy, which needs special attention of the government for its improvement, he said.

He vowed to approve all projects of Railways Ministry and fulfil legal demands of Railways employees. He said the government was determined to making Pakistan Railways self- sufficient with an objective to ensuring excellent passengers and trade services.

Mr Aziz said the government was committed to the development of rural areas and provision of basic amenities to the masses including water, electricity, education, and roads.

Appreciating Carriage Factory workers, Federal Minister for Railway Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, in his speech, said their hard work made it possible to launch the fastest train service of Pakistan.

He said a non-stop train had already been started from Rawalpindi to Peshawar and its fare was just Rs70.

The minister said during the last six months, the number of passengers had increased by two million, which would go up to five million before the next elections.

Mr Ahmed said for the first time, manufacturing of five new engines has been started in Bahawalpur, adding that the renovation work of trains had also been completed.

The minister said after the accident of Ran Pathani, a new railway line from Kotri to Ran Pathani was needed. He said lack of proper security arrangement at crossing points was the main reason for accidents, adding that removal of 300 crossing points between Pindi and Karachi would not only lessen the distance, but also save precious lives.

He said three more non-stop express trains — Alexander, Gandhara and Jinnah — would be started, adding that Jinnah Express would be on track from December 25. Computer ticketing service has been started at all stations, he added.—Online

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