PR to lose another profitable passenger train

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: If the mismanagement, lack of sufficient number of engines and train buses, continuous loss and rampant corruption in the organization was not enough, the management of Pakistan Railways is planning to handover another money-spinning project to the private sector which will deprive Railways of another income source, it was learnt on Monday.
According to reports, the management of Pakistan Railways has decided to privatize another passenger train, Karachi Express, this month. The train, which runs between Karachi and Lahore with a fine standing, will be handed over to a private firm after necessary redecoration and repairs, sources told The Frontier Post.
The Karachi Express is considered the last passenger train which brings sufficient income for the Pakistan Railways (PR), said the sources. But the project will be handed over to the company running a “Business Train” which had been a bad experience for Pakistan Railways. The private company is defaulting millions of rupees to Pakistan Railways (PR) but the management of PR is going to privatize another passenger train this month.
Refuting the news report of deal with the company operating ‘business train’ the Railways officials claimed that the new passenger train would be run by a private company, Air Rail Service (ARS) (Pvt) Ltd, which is already running ‘Shalimar Express” on Lahore-Karachi route. The official concerned rated the ARS better than the firm operating BT.
But irrespective of the fact that the train is going to be handed over to good or bad company, the rational behind kicking out cost-effective train of the PR family is still subject to stern scrutiny. If the project is doing well then what’s the reason of selling it out? Why not to privatize the trains running with loss? These are vital questions which the sources privy to this report asked and the officials were unable to answer.
Sources inform that the project after being privatized will be renamed as ‘Shalimar-II’ which is likely to be inaugurated by the end of this month in Lahore. The train will not offer fare concession to railways’ employees and others that are presently enjoying the discount. The fares will be much higher for the middle class commuters to afford.
Muqadar Zaman of the Railways Mazdoor Union while talking to The Frontier Post termed it yet another move towards the privatization of Pakistan Railways and adding that employees will not allow the railways to go into the hands of profit-earning private companies at the behest of World Bank and other international credit agencies.
He appealed to Prime Minister, Minister for Railways, Chairman and GM Railways to halt the process of privatization of important and profitable train, the process which he said was harmful to the Pakistan Railways, its employees and also railway passengers.


Published on January 25, 2013


4 killed, 42 injured in Karachi explosion

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The New Year in the violence-hit metropolis started with a blast on Tuesday killing four and injuring 42 others.

The explosion that occurred in the parking area set up for the participants of public gathering of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) in the Azizabad Ground near headquarters of MQM.

The jalsa that concluded just before the blast was addressed by MQM chief Altaf Hussain and TMQ chief Allama Dr. Tahirul Qadri.

The explosion that was heard several kilometers away occurred when a bomb planted on a motorcycle parked near buses went off resulting in panic in the area and worst traffic jam at the surrounding roads.
Three buses and several vehicles standing near the motorcycle were damaged by the blast while motorcycle used in the blast was completely destroyed. The explosion also damaged nearby buildings and shops.

An eyewitness said the explosion occurred when the MQM workers were about to board their buses after attending the jalsa.

Officials at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital said they had received more than 30 injured people and three of them were in a serious condition. However, Sindh Health Minister Sagheer Ahmed told media that as many as 4 were killed and 42 others injured in the explosion.
Police and Sindh Rangers cordoned off the area and began collecting evidence after the blast. Police officials told the media the bomb was planted in a motorcycle parked near a maternity home in the parking area. SP Police, Imran Shaukat told 2 kg locally-manufactured explosive had been used in the blast.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, Governor Sindh Dr. Ishratul Ebad Khan, CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif, JI’s Liaquat Balooch, ANP’s Shahi Syed and other leaders had condemned the blast. MQM Chief while flaying the blast said such cowardly acts could not stop MQM for its struggles for revolution.
Moreover, the Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon had condemned the blast and termed it a conspiracy to destroy the peace of Karachi. He said the government was taking steps for halting the act of terrorism, however, the masses would also have to come forward for eradicating the menace.
He informed the Chief Minister Sindh had taken notice of the blast and summoned a report from the IG police.

Published  on January 2, 2013

CI foils shipment of seven falcons

Naimat Khan

The Customs Intelligence on Thursday foiled another attempt to ship seven rare falcons at Karachi Airport which were supposed to be airlifted to a Gulf country.

Police on Tuesday had thwarted similar attempt when it, after getting reports from local journalists, detained a consignment of an unspecified number of falcons and other bird species at the Hyderabad Airport.

The Costumes Intelligence lodged an FIR of the Thursday attempt in Karachi and took the falcons in its custody. Meanwhile, sources informed The Frontier Post that several raids were being conducted in Karachi to impound many of the species which are reportedly kept somewhere in the DHA area of the city.