KARACHI - Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Tuesday said robbers and thieves have been brought to book.

Speaking after paying his respect at the mausoleum of the country’s founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on his 142nd birthday, he lamented unfortunately thieves became watchmen in the country.

“Thieves, robbers and plunderers have been brought to book,” the minister said, adding that those who stole money from the pockets of the entire nation were being billed gentry.

He said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari may bear the brunt of his father’s politics.

Referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s conviction in Al-Azizia reference, Rasheed said he was jailed for seven years in a weapons case, but Sharif was handed mere seven years in jail despite what he said looting the entire world’s wealth.

He predicted that the “remaining thieves” will go to jail before March 30, adding that PPP leader and former opposition leader Khursheed Shah’s turn to be held to account will also come.

Those who have plundered the country’s wealth will meet a sticky end, he asserted. The minister alleged that Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif was more corrupt than his elder brother Nawaz Sharif.

Rashid opens Pakistan's first freight train in private sector

Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Tuesday vowed to revive the Pakistan Railways (PR) with the help of private sector in a short span of time as the era of corruption was over now.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony of Pakistan's first-ever freight train in the private sector here, he said during the last two regimes, nothing was done except for purchasing locomotives at exaggerated prices.

The first-ever freight train in private sector left for its destination - Lahore. The ribbon was cut by the minister along with Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, CEO of Marine Group Asim Siddiqui, and CEO Pakistan Railways Freight Transport Company (PRFTC), Zafar Zaman Ranjha, a press release said.

The minister also assured replacement of all existing mainline tracks under Project of ML 1 (Main Line, Karachi to Peshawar via Lahore) with the Chinese assistance.

"ML1 will be the revolutionary project which is meant to replace 1,750 kilometer tracks," he said.

He maintained that even Pakistan Steel Mills would be revived through that project. He assured initiation of two more passenger trains from Sindh as occupancy rate was higher than 142 per cent in the province.

The minister also called for removal of encroachments from Railways land so that Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) should be revived.

The CEO of Marine Group, Asim Siddiqui, said that project of freight train had been initiated following an agreement signed with Pakistan Railways Freight Transport Company (PRFTC) to run daily one goods train to and from Karachi to Lahore. Later another train would be added between Lahore and Karachi while other sectors including Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot would also be included in the network, he added.

He said there would be four trains to be operated daily by March 2019.

The governor appreciating the efforts made by Sheikh Rashid and Asim Siddiqui to revive Pakistan Railways, said that the present government was making every possible effort to establish a corruption-free society.