SUKKUR: Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique on Tuesday said that it would take a few weeks to restore train operation between Karachi and Rohri as floodwater was being drained to clear tracks. The army, railway officials and Sindh government were working day and night to help restore train services in the country, he added.

Speaking to the media during his visit to flood-hit areas in Sukkur, he said Railways had witnessed many crises over decades but the current one caused by floods appeared to be worst ever. He noted that train operations had remained suspended for 20 days now as floods had ravaged Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “We had to suspend the operations because we cannot put people’s lives at risk,” he said.

He praised PR officials and staff for working hard to get tracks cleared of floodwaters.

He pointed out that train service between Rohri and Peshawar had been restored while tracks on the Badin-Dadu and Quetta-Chaman sectors had been cleared. The Taftaan-Quetta sector tracks would be cleared soon, he added.

Recalling his ministry’s performance during Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government’s previous tenure, Saad Rafique said that for the first time in the country’s history, the PR was able to generate a revenue of Rs18 billion and increased it to Rs54 billion.

The minister acknowledged that provincial governments in collaboration with the federal government were working hard to rehabilitate displaced people and their areas devastated by the recent unprecedented rains and floods, which had washed away houses, roads and standing crops.

Saad Rafique said it was every citizen’s duty to help affected people in this hour of need as the calamity had affected over 30 million souls.

He said that the PML-N leadership would soon announce sending of 2,000 truckloads of relief goods to Sindh and Balochistan.

Turning to politics, the minister criticised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan as a non-serious person. He pointed out that Mr Khan had until now lashing out at the US and now he seemed to have bowed down before it.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2022

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