ISLAMABAD                     -                 Pakistan Railways has extended the suspension of the operations of all the passenger train services till April 24 due to the ongoing lockdown.

“After deliberations we have decided that those trains which we wanted to operate from April 15 have been delayed and the operations will now be resumed on April 25 or first Ramadan,” Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said in an interaction with the media.

In his video message he said that prior to 1st of Ramadan “we will again deliberate the matter and will discuss it with Prime Minster and other high officials to decide whether to operate the trains on April 25 or not.” “For now, the operations of trains will stay suspended till midnight April 24,” he said adding that the service of freight trains will continue. Sheikh Rasheed said that “we have offered the government to use trains as quarantine hospitals at Taftan and Chaman Borders. “God forbid, if pandemic erupted in other areas across Pakistan our trains will be available to be used as hospitals,” the minister maintained.

Pakistan Railways had previously announced the closure of its entire passenger train operations across the country till March 31 as a precautionary measure. However, the suspension was extended till April 14.

Last week the Railways Minister had told a press conference that if the lockdown is lifted on April 14, they are ready to operate twenty to twenty-two passenger trains from April 15. The Minister further said that Pakistan Railways is incurring a loss of Rs one billion weekly due to lockdown. To reduce the losses, it was decided that if the lockdown was lifted on April 14 Pakistan Railways will be ready to operate around 22 trains initially.