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Railways ‘a commute for the poor and common people’, says PM Imran Khan

PM Imran Khan visits the Hassan Abdal Railway Station before speaking to people at the inauguration event in Attock, Pakistan, November 6, 2020. The News/via

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Friday railways were important for Pakistan “because it’s a commute for the poor and common people”.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Hassan Abdal Railway Station — after 127 years — in Attock, he said trains were a cheap and comfortable method to travel throughout the world.

PM Imran Khan added that the role of railways in the Naya Pakistan journey was crucial. Trains, he noted, were a cheap and comfortable method to travel throughout the world.

“Unfortunately, we did not develop the railway system provided by the British.

“For the first time, the biggest investment to Pakistan Railways is coming through the ML1” or the Main Line 1, he noted, referring to the Karachi-Peshawar Railway Line.

Improve tourism in Pakistan

PM Imran Khan said the journey Karachi to Lahore through ML-1 would come down to seven hours. The project, he noted, “will be an important step towards self-reliance”.

Railways would play an important role in Pakistan’s economic development, he remarked, adding that the country should provide all kinds of facilities to improve tourism.

“If we improve tourism, there will be no need to ask for a loan from anyone. I want Pakistan to become a country that does not have to beg anyone,” he said.

‘People of all religions are equal’

The premier said the government tried to make things easier for the Sikh community, who, he added, would “get a lot of convenience from the Hassan Abdal Railway Station”.

“In Naya Pakistan, people of all religions are equal,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said local resources were utilised for the upgradation of the Hassan Abdal Railway Station.

“The ML-1 project is very important for the development of railways,” Rashid added, noting that a reduction in the electricity tariffs for industries was “an important achievement of the government”.

Earlier, the premier, accompanied by the railways minister, was briefed about the various facilities installed for the passengers’ convenience.

New facilities at Rs300m railway station

Rashid had previously reviewed the arrangements ahead of the premier’s visit to inaugurate the Hassan Abdal Railway Station, the reconstruction of which cost Rs300 million.

The British-era railway station has been upgraded to a two-storey structure, with 24,502 square feet of covered area. The boundary of the railway station covering a total area of 101,610 square feet, including passengers’ facilities, was also improved.

In a briefing, Divisional Superintendent (DS) Railways Syed Munawar Shah apprised the railways minister of facilities at the new structure.

Water plants and a new tube well have been constructed to provide clean and cold water to the passengers, while a 300 KV generator was installed for uninterrupted power supply at the Hassan Abdal Railway Station, Shah told Rashid.

A canteen and a cafe were set up near the waiting area, he added.

Visit to Swat

Later in the day, PM Imran Khan, accompanied by provincial and federal ministers, would visit Swat, where he will inaugurate a new block of the Saidu Sharif hospital.

The prime minister would also attend a ceremony in connection with the distribution of Sehat Sahulat cards and address the gathering there.

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