Workers rally for revival of Railways

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Hundreds of railways workers, representatives of trade unions, political activists and a large number of students held a big public rally here on Thursday at the Rawalpindi Railway Station to warn the government of continued destruction of the Pakistan Railways. They said only a complete overhaul of the administrative structure and induction of workers into the decision-making process could save railways from complete collapse. The rally was organized by the Railway Workers Union (Open Line). Speaking on the occasion, RWU general secretary Mohammad Naseem Rao said that most of the major public sector enterprises in Pakistan including the railways had deteriorated in recent times,
The workers said to be unproductive and uninterested in delivering quality services were held responsible for this deterioration, he blamed. The successive governments and railways administrations had destroyed the public service culture in the organisation through corrupt practices, he said. The RWU had provided a comprehensive 142-point set of recommendations to the railways management almost two years ago with workable solutions to reduce the railways debt by at least Rs 20 billion, but the union had never received a response from the relevant authorities which indicated their lack of seriousness in improving the situation, Rao said.
RWU Rawalpindi Chairperson and leader of the Worker’s Party Pakistan Aasim Sajjad said that railways was historically a profitable enterprise until 1980s when the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq created National Logistics Cell (NLC) and gradually deprived the railways of all of its freight services.
It is pertinent to mention that NLC was under the supervision of the then Railways Minister General Saeed Qadir.
Aasim Sajjad said the railway serves ordinary Pakistanis who have no alternative cheap transport. He demanded that immediate steps should be taken to revive the railways freight service.
Other speakers including RWU chairman Aashiq Husain Chaudhry, president Nasir Khan, organiser Maqbool Hussain and National Students Federation general secretary Alia Amirali also spoke on the occasion.
The speakers said that students and workers should revive their historic alliance and expose the so-called ‘politics of change’ being propagated by right-wing forces close to the establishment.
The convention condemned ‘Business Express’ recently launched for the high-income groups while the poor people had no such option. They also rejected the long-term project of privatising Pakistan Railway as well as other major public utility providers such as WAPDA and demanded of the Supreme Court to play it role in the revival of Pakistan railways.



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