ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Railways in a presentation to the Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at the Prime Minister’s House on Friday disclosed that Business Express Train running between Lahore and Karachi, on the basis of Public Private Partnership is going well on commercial lines, and another train, Shalimar Express, will be launched on the same concept on the 25th of this month. The Prime Minister is expected to receive the train at Multan.

The Prime Minister directed that 50 per cent locomotives that have been repaired be dedicated to the freight trains, which is critical to generate revenues for Pakistan Railways to make it profitable enterprise in due course.

The Prime Minister was happy to know that the operation of Business Express Train between Lahore and Karachi was running successfully without delay or breakdown. Its success must be ensured on the grounds of quality, profitability and competitiveness, he said.

The Prime Minister was informed that the agreement between Pakistan Railways and NLC had been signed according to which 30 locomotives would be repaired by NLC.

The half of which would be available to Pakistan Railways and the remaining half would be used for transportation of NLC freights exclusively.

Gilani directed the Ministry of Petroleum to double the credit limit of fuel supply to Pakistan Railways to ensure the smooth operation of the passenger and freight trains.

It was also decided during the meeting to ensure the procurement of locomotives on pro-active basis as these were of fundamental importance in the process of rehabilitating Pakistan Railways.

The Prime Minister also directed that responsibility must be fixed against those who were found responsible for preparing defective tender documents for procurement of 150 locomotives. Gilani directed Pakistan Railways to operationalise the train between Kasur, Raiwind, Lahore and Shahdara to provide efficient and affordable travel facilities to the people of Lahore and the people living around provincial capital.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission apprised the meeting that the restructuring of the Railway Board based on corporatisation concept with the help of World Bank, was complete which would be submitted to the Government soon. The Secretary Railways said that Premnagar (Raiwind) dry port equipped with state of the art facilities is operationalised and will ease up the pressure on Lahore dry port and provide efficient facilitation to the business community.

The Prime Minister was briefed about new initiatives, such as four trains and a Parcel Express to be operated on Public Private Partnership basis alongwith outsourcing of ticketing on some routes. The Prime Minister was also briefed on Gul Train, between Pakistan and Istanbul which will pass through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.

Gilani directed Ministry of Finance to hold a meeting with Ministry of Railways for payment of pension commutations, GP fund dues and other employees related expenses without delay.

The meeting was attended by Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Minister for Railways, Dr Hafeez Sheikh, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr. Nadeem ul Haq, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and other senior officials of respective Ministries and Prime Minister’s Secretariat.