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Time to avail a good offer... By Ehsan

03 December, 2013

It goes without saying that China is our time-tested friend. The saying, 'a friend in need is a friend indeed', appropriately fits China, which has, for all these years, been helping Pakistan in various sectors and making positive contributions towards progress, prosperity and the development of Pakistan and its people. Pakistan Railways over the years has been ruined; from time to time it has been reported that it is on the verge of total collapse with more and more passenger trains being shut down due to lack of resources, equipment, machinery and, more importantly, fuel to run these trains. It is good to note that the new federal government is attaching due importance and priority towards revamping the railways and making it a financially viable public sector organisation once again in the shortest possible period by taking all possible measures and tapping all resources and opportunities.

I recently read in the newspapers that a consortium of two leading construction companies from China have offered soft-term loans to make their contribution in putting the Pakistan Railways back on track through the construction of the important Gwadar-Khunjerab rail link at an estimated cost of Rs 250 billion in four years. The reports said that the Chinese consortium offer is being given due consideration at the appropriate level in Islamabad and Lahore. Needless to say, the Gwadar-Khunjerab rail link has its own strategic importance from a security and other aspects and will go a long way to connect our railways network with the Central Asian Republics, boost trade relations between the two friendly countries and, more significantly, generate vast employment opportunities and promote tourism in the northern areas as well as Balochistan.

Being one of the millions of Pakistanis who prefer to travel by train across the country mostly, I ask the official quarters concerned in Islamabad and Lahore to attach top priority to the timely offer of assistance by the Chinese consortium and take a decision instead of letting this be another unfortunate victim of lengthy official procedures and unnecessary delays. If the federal government is sincere towards the railways then all such offers of assistance should be availed keeping in view the interests of the country.

EHSANUL HAQ QAZI
Lahore

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