Railways have no future in Pakistan, should be sold immediately
ISLAMABAD: Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Friday that there is no future for railways in Pakistan, therefore it should be sold without any delay.
All the efforts to rehabilitate railways have failed; therefore, this sick enterprise should be sold instead of new experiments, which will waste time and money.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that once railways were the most popular and cheapest means of transporting passengers and goods, but now it is a failed enterprise with no hope of revival.
He said that railways could not function in a country where transporters and contractors make important decisions in assemblies.
In such a country, trucks will continue to replace the railways; billions will be wasted on constructing unnecessary roads, and the railway tracks will be stolen and sold to private steel mills.
He said that the railway is the backbone of the economy of neighbouring India, but it has been made a liability in Pakistan, which has caused a loss of Rs977 billion from December 1, 2022, to July 31, 2022.
The business leader informed that until 1960, the railway was very popular; it was a major means of travel, and 75% of commercial goods were transported through it.
Afterwards, this department became a victim of the conspiracies of transporters, contractors, and bureaucracy, and now it is among the most incompetent and corrupt departments.
Now the share of railways handling cargo is not even 25%, it no longer enjoys the confidence of the masses while transporters are thriving at the cost of the masses, he said.
In many nations, it is illegal to use trucks and trailers to transport goods from one province to another because they are expensive, and the public pays for them, but this is not the case in Pakistan.
Here, this important department is being destroyed, and its lands are continuously seized.
Shahid Rashid Butt said that the elements who destroyed the railway are against its sale because if the private buyers revive it, their transport business will be affected and there will be a lesser need for new roads.
Policymakers know that an effective railway system facilitates commerce and trade, reduces transportation costs, and promotes rural development and national integration, but it is not given importance in Pakistan for obvious reasons.
He said that lack of attention, poor policies, increasing expenditures, misappropriation of funds, pilferage, nepotism, floods, inadequate technology, and mismanagement have left railways with huge budget deficits running in billions of rupees, which is a question mark on its sustainability.
Now it is being planned to outsource sixteen trains, which will only waste time and capital, he said.
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