LAHORE - Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib said on Monday that Pakistan Railways (PR) would be established on modern lines by ensuring compliance with all international standards to make it self-sufficient.

Talking to the media here at PR Headquarters, he said that the government would focus on actual initiatives and Pakistan Railways would be brought at par with railway system of neighbouring and European countries.

To a question, he said that the fiscal deficit, inherited from the previous regime, was one of the major challenges being faced by the present government, adding that PR was being provided with Rs 37 billion subsidy by the government to meet its financial requirements.

Parliamentary Secretary mentioned that they were exploring the ways and means to reduce the PR fiscal deficit and enhance its revenue targets especially the freight side, having immense potential of growth. He said that PR was also set to install Wi Fi internet in trains to facilitate passengers, adding that as per Prime Minister’s vision, the security and safety of the passengers was most important, for which the PR Postal Company was further improving the insurance system and railways’ regular passengers would have more attractive packages.

Furrukh Habib continued that like PIA, the PR was also putting in place a system for train passengers so as to provide them with online TNR (Ticket Number for Reservation), and they would not have to go to PR reservation offices.

To another question, he said that it was government’s priority to develop IT (Information Technology) related plan of Pakistan Railways speedily and effectively, besides putting in place best financial system and ensuring safety of the passengers. Track and signaling system of railways would also be improved. Pakistan Railways was also planning to generate enhanced revenues from its commercial lands, he mentioned and opined that increased resources would also help better care and welfare of the railways employees.

He said that past governments had never given that much importance to Pakistan Railways as it had deserved, asserting that railway system was a strategic asset of Pakistan. Later, he was briefed about Railways operations by the high officers concerned.