The dilapidated condition of Pakistan Railways (PR) is an open secret. The whole system has been ruined by neglect and mismanagement of successive governments and its own employees. The Railways system was introduced in the subcontinent by the British in 1853 has almost outlived its life. Ironically, India made radical changes and transformed their Railways into an international level transportation system. Indian railways is world’s number eight largest employer, with more than fourteen lakh employees. Pakistan Railways, in contrast present a dismal picture. This department, like PIA is being managed on an interim basis; only makeshift arrangements are being made to keep the wheels moving, no matter the cost. The present government’s only solution seems to be privatization. They do not seem to show any interest in making these important institutions work.

Recently I traveled by train from Karachi to Rawalpindi, to observe the miseries of the passengers. I find no words to express my feelings, how roughly and rudely people are treated by the lower staff of Pakistan Railways. You are denied a ticket to Business Class, even if half of the compartment is empty.

Corruption is running like blood inside our huge organizations and eating it like cancer from the inside. Is there any remedy for this malady? Minister of Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafiq has been on TV talking about random topics and painting a rosy picture, he needs to get down from his high horse and look at reality, not numbers on paper. Large bungalows of Railway officers along with numerous perks call for their performance based remuneration. A complete overhauling of this department is needed, lest it would eat itself up like termite. Its employees have already sapped the very foundation of their organization.

IFTIKHAR MIRZA,

Islamabad, August 14.