LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Saturday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government would soon overcome financial challenges through its policies.
Addressing a press conference at PR headquarters, the minister said bad economy, price-hike, and corruption were greatest challenges faced by the incumbent government. However, he expressed the hope that such challenges would successfully be overcome in a few months.
Govt decides to toughen stance on opposition
He said the United States had decided to support Pakistan after the “historical” visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan “that was a great success of the PTI regime,” adding, the next PM of the United Kingdom was also a close friend of Imran.
It was PM Imran who asked America that war against Iran would be a blunder that would destabilise the entire region, Rashid said, adding “such courage could only be expressed by an honest person”.
To a question, the minister said the PM had expressed his annoyance over a PTI delegation meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
He said the opposition was organising small public meetings at different places that were not any issue for the government.
“All money-launderers are joining hands,” he said, “all the big thieves are crying now.”
He added: “The premier is firm that no concession can be given to the looters and plunderers”. Rashid said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz was responsible for destruction of the party.
To another query, the minister said voting over no-confidence motion against Senate chairman would be tough, adding “I am seeing the success of Sanjrani.”
About the railways, he said no new train would be launched now until the completion of Main Line-1 (ML-1) project, which would be completed with the help of China.
The minister also said that he had ordered for upgrading at least 10 coaches per week so that shortage of passenger coaches could be overcome and such coaches would be attached with the trains at branch lines where passengers were travelling on the roofs of the trains.
Around 100 about-to-retire drivers had been given two-year extension in their service and during this period, 347 under-training drivers would complete their training, he added.
He also announced cancelation of leaves for all railway officers because of rainy weather and for smooth operation of the trains. Rashid said that he was visiting the most deprived and mishandled railway division Sukkur from Tuesday as that division was neglected during the previous tenures.
The minister said all the institutions had appreciated the performance of the railways ministry as six to seven million passengers had been increased besides the raise in freight because of the policies of the current setup.
Opposition shows strength in street numbers
He also announced construction of two new washing lines in Karachi and Lahore on emergency basis. The minister said that possession of the Royal Palm Club had been taken over by the railways and a five-member committee under the supervision of CEO Aftab Akbar would see the matters of the club. He said train timings would be settled by the end of the next month.
The minister said that he would present himself for accountability at the end of the working year in November.