Pakistan Railways has partially suspended its operations as heavy rains and floods continue to pummel different parts of the country.
Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, while addressing a press conference, said that they have suspended operations because of the importance of the passengers’ lives.
He said that due to floods, the department has suffered a loss of Rs10 billion.
The minister said that they have decided to close a part of ML-1, whereby the operations of the passenger trains will be partially suspended. Similarly, he added, train operations between Lahore and Karachi have been stopped.
He further said that the train running from Peshawar will be limited to Multan while the train operations between Khanpur and Hyderabad will remain suspended. He added that railway tracks are inundated with rainwater.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Railways issued a notification, announcing the suspension of train operations between Multan and Hyderabad for five days. However, it added, freight and cargo express trains will continue to run between the two cities.
The notification was issued to all divisions, mentioning that they have taken the decision to protect the life and property of passengers due to rains and floods.
The Kotri and Dawood sections have already been closed for trains due to damage to the railway tracks and bridges by the floodwater. In order to ensure safety, the railway authorities will inspect the bridges of all seven divisions before resuming train operations.
Earlier, it emerged that while some trains had been suspended, others were being run in parts, with three trains operating as one train.
As the delays piled up, many passengers asked for refunds on their tickets, which led to major losses to the department.
Among the cancelled trains are Pakistan Express from Rawalpindi to Faisalabad and Karachi; Jafar Express running from Peshawar to Lahore to Quetta; Tezgam Express running between Karachi and Rawalpindi; Awaam Express running from Peshawar to Lahore to Karachi; and Bolan Express running between Karachi and Quetta. The Green Line running from Rawalpindi to Lahore to Karachi has also been cancelled.
Agreements with Qatar
Rafique, during his presser, also took the opportunity to comment on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Qatar.
He said that the emir of Qatar has promised to give jobs to another 100,000 Pakistanis while he has also spoken about investing $3 billion in Pakistan.
He added that the government did not ask for any loan from Qatar, rather these will be government-to-government investment agreements.
The minister said that investment in the energy sector was discussed, and the country is also investing in Pakistan’s ports. He added that the Qatari government is also interested in investing in Pakistan’s airports.
He dismissed speculations about Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) or any airport being sold.
Rafique said that Karachi needs a modern airport, adding that airports all over the world run on foreign investment.
He said that they are adopting the model of the world, but they have not discussed selling any airport.
The minister said that negative propaganda started in Pakistan regarding the PM’s Qatar visit.
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