ISLAMABAD - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday said that initially Pakistan Railways will fill as many as 2000 vacant posts of different cadres purely on merit.

Talking to media persons after meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Railways, the minister said that around 10,000 job opportunities will be given in Pakistan Railways to the people on merit. Sheikh Rashid said in first phase, the government had granted permission to the Ministry of Railways to fill the 2031 vacant posts.

To a question, the minister said that private partners would be asked to come forward and take over the Golra Railway Station to convert it into a food street and picnic spot.

He said both the Main Line-I and Main Line-II were important for the country. ML-I had been kept under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) while in order to upgrade ML-II, the private sector would be invited to invest on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis. Sheikh Rashid said the project of E-Ticketing which was started 12-year ago by Pakistan Railways is now earning around 10 million per day.

Meanwhile, Member of National Assembly Farrukh Habib took charge as the parliamentary secretary in Railways Ministry on Wednesday. The newly appointed secretary was briefed soon after taking charge. On the occasion, he said the improvement in performance of the institutions is first priority of the government.

“We will transform the railway into an ideal institution. We will end the railways losses and increase the profits,” Habib said.

He said the welfare of the railways employees will be ensured and the government will take measures on the priority basis to develop passenger sector.

Railway will be made a national identity. We have to stand it on its feet. A ticketing database will be established and timely pension will be ensured, he added.

He said the government will take special measures to increase the strength of the freight trains.

He also praised the passenger insurance policy and said it will boost their confidence.

Habib said that Pakistan Railways could play a role in developing the tourism industry in the country.