KARACHI   -   Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Monday said that there was no other option than Imran Khan and the opposition was bent on taking NRO from the incumbent government.

Rasheed said that the federal, Sindh and Karachi’s local governments had devised a joint strategy to clear Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) track from encroachments within 15 days.

He said this while addressing a press conference along with Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhter and other government officials after chairing a meeting to devise strategy for removing encroachments on KCR track as directed by the apex court bench led by Justice Gulzar Ahmed. 

Sheikh Rasheed said that out of a 45-kilometer KCR track, they had already cleared encroachments from 20 kilometres. “The remaining track’s encroachments will also be removed within the time period given by the apex court,” he said adding that they would revive KCR and remove encroachments within 50 feet of the railway track.

He asked the encroachers to clear the sides of the track voluntarily so that the process could move on smoothly.

He further assured his complete support towards the Sindh government that is working to bring Chinese investment under CPEC for the KCR. He also said that some parts of the remaining green line project and KCR track are also planned to be elevated.  Speaking on it, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhter said that unfortunately 50 percent of the city comprises of slum areas that area encroached. Before speaking on the political issues, the federal minister asked the government officials to leave. 

To a query if PTI and its coalition partners are worrying of the opposition moot at Iftar on Sunday, the federal minister said that they do not worry instead, it would be those wanting NRO and accused of wrongdoings by NAB to worry for their future. “All those gathered yesterday were facing inquiries or are indicted in corruption cases,” he said and while regretting over hike in inflation blamed the previous governments.

Rasheed also demanded the resignation of health minister over spread of AIDS in PPP stronghold Larkana and said that if they would have some shame on it, then at least the provincial government had have resigned over it.

To a query regarding expansion of railway track from Karachi to Peshawar (ML-1), he said that they have land allocated for ML-1 and would initiate the project from Sindh province. “We have given four trains to the Sindh province in order to improve transport facilities to the people of Interior Sindh,” he added.

When asked regarding increase in salary of Railway police, he said that he had held talks with former Finance Minister Asad Umar over increasing salaries of all the railway employees. “Now new finance advisor is in place and will raise issue before him,” he said.

He said that there is no other option than Imran Khan and the opposition is bent on taking NRO from the incumbent government. “At one moment I asked Imran Khan to give NRO to these politicians as they had illegal money to mobilise masses that could unnecessarily create problems for the incumbent government,” he said.

He however, added that Khan blatantly refused to give NRO and vowed that he would not let go any thieve of the national wealth.

The minister said that the Stock Exchange plot and other precious land in the city belong to railways and he would take up this matter in his next visit to the city.

To a query on report of standing committee regarding six trains being run in losses, Rasheed said that the railway trains have suffered minimal losses on local trains that are for the facility of the masses and if anyone want to overcome these loses then we could raise ticket prices to an extent for overcoming it but it would overburden the poor.

Later during his visit to Karachi Port Trust, the federal minister also inaugurated a freight train from KPT to Rawalpindi and said that the service was revived after 25 years of gap.