MULTAN-Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq has said that holding talks with Taliban is not an easy task as fight with them is underway for last several years.

"The dialogue process will take time to move forward but we are hopeful," he added while talking to the journalists here at Multan Railway Station while going to Lahore from Karachi by Shalimar Express on Monday. He said that drone attacks, bomb blasts and suicide attacks were the gifts of Musharraf era, adding that the terrorists were working on foreign agenda.  He said that the morale of the government was high and the terrorists could not intimidate the nation.   "I've got cancelled my air ticket and now travelling on the same railway track which is hit by a bomb yesterday," he added.  To a query on frequent bomb blasts on railway tracks, he said that he had talked to the provincial governments for the security of the track. He disclosed that out of 58 locomotive engines to be imported from China, as many as nine had been received at Karachi.

He hoped that the rail operations would recover and improve considerably after addition of these 58 engines to the railway infrastructure. Answering a question on TADA bills of railway workers, he said that Rs650 million had been released for this purpose and the situation would improve soon.

When asked about Musharraf, Kh Saad Rafiq said that when he talked about Musharraf, the media criticised him. He asserted that the blasts, suicide bombings and lawlessness being witnessed by the country was a gift of Musharraf era. 

SNGPL BLAMED: All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, South Punjab Chapter coordinator Muhammad Anees Khawaja has said that Prime Minister should ask the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline to supply 16 hours a day gas to Punjab factories and mills so that they could run two shifts of their factories and could provide jobs to maximum number of people.

He said that Ministry of natural resources was treating Punjab step motherly because gas to Khyber Pakhtun Khwa and Sindh provinces' industries was being supplied round the clock.

He claimed that 56 hour a week gas was not sufficient to cater to the needs of textile industry because they would not be able to meet the demand of global market.  It may be noted that the textile industry leadership has been pursuing hard to the federal government for eradication of inter-province disparity on energy supplies.

They said the Punjab-based textile mills are paying Rs14.75 for each unit against around Rs6 per unit in other provinces due to uninterrupted power supply.

Accordingly, the Punjab-based textile mills are paying additional Rs80 billion per annum on this count and yet competing internationally.