Abu Zain - Have you ever seen a rock falling from a mountain? It covers its decline journey fast, resulting in its descent and things coming in its way also collapse with it, consequently terminating in a nadir. Dwindling and nose-dived institutions are also like a falling rock and if these are government organisations then the intensity of collapse can be 2,4,10 or even 100 times quicker. In these intuitions taxes worth millions have been spate which is collected from hard work earning of public. And then this amount of millions is increased to billions. We will not take names of these institutions because you can certainly name them. But hold for a second are you going to take name of Pakistan Railways?

Yes it is right that before 4 years Pakistan Railways was one of these failures, when earning was Rs18 billion and loss was Rs33 billion in which for last 3 years there was an increase and this year it could have reached more than Rs50 billion. In those worst circumstances a meticulous, honest and committed political worker told his leader that he will accept the challenge of renewal of railways. That political worker was Khawaja Saad Rafique and leader was Nawaz Sharif. At that time formulas were made to auction Pakistan Railways. Avaricious land mafia was very much ready to snatch Pakistan Railways’ lands, worth not millions but billion of rupees, in peanuts. These lands were dispersed in different cities. But Khawaja Saad Rafique made a strange, passionate and unbelievable statement that he would not let Pakistan Railways, a national asset, to be auctioned or privatised. Railways was facing worst situations like its factories were closed, power connections were cut off, employees had to close roads and face police to get pays, different sections were swiftly closing, millions of rupees were payable to old employees and pensioners. Practically Railways was ran by contractors meant that they used to decide that Pakistan Railways needed which thing at which price along with they supplied it at their own rates. In any commercial transport organisation revenue is generated through freight sector and money is spent on passenger sector but practically Pakistan Railways was sending only 182 freight trains upcountry. Resultantly industrial peace was losing its meaning. The section which was strong and powerful used to put harmful pressure on administration and get perks and privileges and other sections remain hushed.

Saad Rafique saw that Pakistan Railways have become a haunted place, Railway instead of giving a look of an institution started to look like a scrap store. He was told that railways is run by locomotives, meaning engines, and in these engines bogus mobil oil was used, diesel tanks were empty and it was a practice that money was collected from passengers to buy diesel from a petrol pump to run the train so it can reach its destination. This occurrence can easily be traced in 2011 audit report. Four traction motor engines were working at two or three motors. Saad sat with his personnel and worked day and night. He made a team of chairperson, CEO, member finance and other important portfolios that were hardworking and honest officers. He ended Saturday break as well. On daily basis there were 12 hours long meetings, zealously brain storming was done and signs of life were seen in Railways who was at death bed. Punctuality of trains was declined than half and railway employees tell that when they used to see some train entering the railway station on time they used to get astonish and later on, it came to know that train has reached the station after delay of 24 hours. There was no proper management of electricity in trains. Some coaches of a train was at 220 volts and other coaches were at 110 volt consequently power shut down occurred in entire train and it started to look like a pitch dark cave.

Saad believed that Railways is a commercial organisation and commercial organisations run at their own income. It was a result of merit, hard work and honesty that Railways organisation which failed in achieving its targets badly started to evolve. When the federal government gave the aim to earn Rs30 billion, Rs33 billion were netted; at the goal of Rs33 billion, Rs36 were earned; and as a response to target of Rs36 billion, Rs40 billion were earned and this fiscal year jump of Rs10 billion is taken and mark of Rs50 billion has been set. In past, train tickets were blacked and now you can do online booking without any hurdle and difficulty. Instead of overhauling, trains are upgraded; a dozen of new trains have been manufactured and in next 1.5 to 2 years no timeworn train will be left. After Second World War, Britain did not spend money on railways. Even no money is spent on railways after Pakistan’s creation. But now 11 railway stations are under construction. Among them Okara Railway Station will soon be inaugurated. Kohat Pindi and Sibi Harnai Sections are also going to revive. Before 4 years railway has 8 engines for freight and now it has 95, annual 182 freight trains have augmented to 3.5 thousand. Recently 55 General Electric, 4000 horse powered engines, have become part of railway fleet. Before this Pakistan Railways does not have any contemporary and powerful engine.

Now salaries of railway employees are transferred in their bank accounts at the end of the month, pensioners who reach their death bed in wait of pensions now receive it on time, obligations of 5 billion have been cleared. Even for the first time in history employees are provided with allowance. 125 years back the skeleton of railways which was constructed by British, is now been updated for the first time. It was seen for the first time in history that dreadful drivers’ strike, this year, was failed in least time of 6 hours due to efforts of Saad Rafique and his team. Second episode will be carved when due to CPEC or some other reason the train of railway upgradation will push the accelerator and in the first phase train speed from Karachi to Peshawar will be in between 120 to 160 kms, Lahore to Rawalpindi route will be squeezed into 2.30 hours and Lahore to Karachi will be pressed to 9 to 10 hours. The new system of signalling is also being applied .NESCOM, a department of Ministry of Defence is also helping in establishment of a system to stop the accidents. Revitalisation of railways is long journey of 15 to 20 years, out of which only 4 years are being used to take it out of reverse gear and make it to run on track of success.

We read success stories of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and other foreigners and applaud them but all these stories are about private businesses. A son of Pakistan, Khawaja Saad Rafique has written an unforgettable success story of revival of Pakistan Railways, a national institute, and putting it on track of progress and modernisation.