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No other option but to approach IMF for assistance: Sheikh Rasheed

No other option but to approach IMF for assistance: Sheikh Rasheed

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has categorically said, “We are stuck in a lot of crises and it is a well-known fact that IMF conditions will be really stiff. I, as minister, have been reiterating this since day one that we have no other option but to approach the IMF for assistance.”

Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Saturday, the Federal Minister categorically stated that there will be no economic stability without the political stability.

Chairman Businessmen Group & former president KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairmen BMG Zubair Motiwala and Anjum Nisar, General Secretary BMG AQ Khalil, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, MNA Aftab Jahangir, CEO Pakistan Railways Aftab Akbar and KCCI managing committee members were also present at the meeting.

Highlighting the improved performance of Pakistan Railways (PR), the Minister said that PR has earned Rs4 billion more as compared to the earnings during the same period of previous year. “We have also provided three more container trains to the business community and the number of freight trains during Imran Khan’s has enhanced from just 8 to 14”, he added.

He said that a total of 24 new trains have been initiated so far in which five categories have been defined for different types of passengers while the occupancy of Rehman Baba Train has reached 160 percent with improved earnings. “We have also initiated Jinnah Express and Green Line which will be followed by Sir Syed Express with a target to attract all five types of customers and our overall strategies have been very successful.”

Referring to 1760km long ML-1 project from Karachi to Peshawar, the Minister said that in this regard, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be signing the agreement on 27th April 2019 which would result in laying of completely new double track from Karachi to Peshawar with fencing on both sides and a minimum speed of 160Kms. Work on this project will be completed in the next five years, he added.

Commenting on Karachi Circular Railway Project, the Minister committed that as soon as the Sindh government signs agreement, approves the design and feasibility, Pakistan Railway will remove all encroachments, of which many of the commercial encroachments have already been removed,  and hand over the track to Sindh government but the Sindh government has to work in this regard.

“If KCR is not completed during our tenure, it will never be completed”, he opined, adding that it was a really essential project which has become part of CPEC now and the Gwadar port which is capable of docking 190 ships each day.

Responding to a suggestion, he invited the business community to undertake joint venture for setting up setting up the proposed parking plaza on PR land at II Chundrigar Road but Pakistan Railways must continue to get its share regardless of whether the parking plaza becomes successful or not.