October 22, 2013

PAKISTAN: Wake-Up Call: Railway Minister Wants Security Beefed Up; Passenger Train Was Bombed On Monday That Killed 7 And Injured 10

The Express Tribune
written by Staff
Tuesday October 22, 2013

FAISALABAD - Railway Minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq has ordered Railway Police to beef up security for train tracks and stations.

He was addressing reporters at the Faisalabad circuit house on Monday.

The orders came in wake of a bomb blast in the Quetta-bound Jafar Express in Dera Murad Jamali on Monday that left seven people dead and at least 10 injured. Four bogies were derailed in the blast and two others overturned.

Rafiq condemned the blast and said that non-state actors were attacking lives in Pakistan and destroying its national assets under a well-planned agenda to destabilise the country.

He said the citizens and the government refused to be blackmailed by such barbaric acts. He said it was unfortunate that the attack was not prevented. To a question, he said 11 Railway police officials and 10 Frontier Corps officials were responsible for security along the particular section of the track.

He said by train blasts, terrorists aimed at creating impediments in the rehabilitation of the quack-hit areas in Balochistan.

Rafiq directed railway officers to take concrete measures and increase vigilance. He also directed officials concerned to ensure that close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed at important points at railway stations and that these were kept functional.

On losses and revenues

Rafiq said that the Railways Ministry had suffered more than Rs80 billion losses. He said the figure had been increasing at a rate of Rs30 billion per year.

He said since taking over, he had evolved a strategy to slash losses.

“I introduced some reforms that have helped the ministry increase its revenue by Rs2.18 billion in over three months.”

He denied reports that the government was planning to privatise Pakistan Railways.

“We have no such intentions,” he said, adding, “We intend to decrease its deficit and make it one of the most productive and beneficial ministries.”

Rafiq said though the Railway Department was not in a position to run new passenger trains, a freight train would be run from Faisalabad to Karachi every week to facilitate the business community in the region.

He said a strategy was being devised to resolve problems in train operations. He said bogies were being repaired to overcome shortage of space. All out-of-order locomotives were also being repaired, he added.

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