LAHORE - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid on Saturday claimed that Main Line-1 (ML-1) will bring revolution in Pakistan Railways and tendering process of ML-1 will be completed in the month of May.

The minister while addressing a press conference at Railways Headquarters in Lahore said that Pakistan Railways decided to outsource ten passenger trains and six freight trains to private sector.

He said that three more trains of freight will be included in the system. He said that all trains are run in routine matter and we are not closing any train. He reiterated his resolve to make Pakistan Railways the profitable institution.

Sheikh Rashid also offered 8 railways hospitals and 36 dispensaries to the provincial health departments for setting up isolation wards or centres for effected patients of corona virus. He said that the railways had taken precautionary measures against corona virus and all divisions had been directed to ensure proper cleanliness at all railway stations.

The minister said the nation should not be afraid, and panic should not be spread as the religion also did not allow to do so and precautionary measures should be adopted.

However, he said that no train was being shutdown and all 134 trains to remain operational to facilitate the rail passengers. He said that few cases of coronavirus had been registered in the country and all these cases had history of recent traveling from other countries.

The minister said that three trains including Lasani Express (runs between Lahore and Sialkot via Narowal), Jinnah Express (runs between Lahore and Karachi) and Fareed Express (runs between Lahore and Karachi) were being outsourced, whereas, seven more passenger trains would also be outsourced in phases.

"Six freight trains will also be given to private firms to run," he added. Sh Rashid said that those trains would be privatized which were running in deficit. To a question, he said that coronavirus would never affect China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Main Line (ML-1) project would also be completed according to the schedule.

To another question, he said that railways earned Rs 400 to 500 million more than the earning of the previous year. Commenting on the political leadership of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N, the minister said that these parties had lost their position in the national politics.

He said that PML-N leader Maryam was just demanding to send her out of the country asked what they did for the people as they were not willing to return to the masses.