Former minister for Railways and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique, while addressing his successor and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, advised upholding the “pride of the nation and the one that the latter had expressed while commuting via train”.
Sharing a video making rounds over the internet, in which Sheikh Rasheed can be seen sitting in a rather good-looking passenger car of Pakistan Railways, the PML-N leader said that railways had been earning some Rs18 billion; however, after he took the reins, the figure augmented to Rs30 billion. “An approximate increase of Rs6 billion per annum is a proof of the hard work and commitment with which the affairs of railways were dealt,” Saad said in a Facebook post.
He said that earlier the staffers suffered without salaries, but owing to the reforms carried out in his tenure, more than 75,000 employees had been given their salaries for the month of August in advance so they could celebrate Eid like others across the country. “No fear of privatisation is haunting these employees either. You too, keep them safe and far from any such fears,” Saad stated.
Continuing to name the reforms carried out in his stint, the former minister said that punctuality of trains lied somewhere around 45 per cent in 2013, whereas it had crossed 77 per cent now.
“Racks in Karachi Cantt, Okara, Raiwind, Sahiwal, SIbbi, Harnai and Narowal, to name a few, have been upgraded as well. Donations were sought from passengers to get fuel tanks of the trains filled prior to our tenure. We, now, have left enough fuel for you to keep those engines running for another 20 days,” he said, adding, “We want railways to prosper, and that is how you would prosper too, Sheikh Sahab.”
He also said that state institutions always bore the brunt of politics of negativity and hoped that the new minister would put in all his efforts to keep those engines running and generate revenue. “If Pakistan Railways lose its might again, the nation and history would not forgive the culprits,” he added.
Saad also said it was regrettable that Azadi train did not operate this year and advised his successor to keep the project running as political differences were not worthy enough to mar an expression of love towards the country.
“Despite our political and ideological differences, with a prayer for the prosperity of all state institutions, especially Pakistan Railways, I wish you good luck Sheikh Sahib,” concluded Saad.