LAHORE: Federal Railway Minister Azam Khan Swati says that the day the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government starts to politicise it, Pakistan Railways (PR) will fail.
“There is a deficit in our world. And this is a Victorian-era department that needs to be modernised with (the assistance of) state-of-the-art interference or automation,’ said Mr. Swati, speaking here on Sunday at PR’s Mughalpura workshop with journalists.
“The railways will drown as the Victorian system can no longer work if we do politics and avoid focusing on modernising it,” the minister said. He said he would not send railway employees the PTI flags in his hands.
Mr Swati voiced deep concern about the workers’ living conditions, adding that he would strive to provide them with new housing.
Says workers will be provided new houses
“He said, “The best officer in my ministry would be a worker. “In line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, my first priority will be to give the workers new houses.”
He was of the view that PR would become a productive state-owned entity if the employees’ working standards changed. He said he was paying out of his own pocket to stay at the Lahore Rest Home.
Turning to other concerns facing the department, the minister said he was minutely monitoring it. I have learned that there is a loss of Rs2 billion per annum from the electricity metre problem. So, we’re going to save the money this year by fixing this problem.
He said there would be no consensus on the issue of clearing encroachments from PR land in answer to a query. I assume that the railways will never come out of this turmoil if we do politics over intrusions. So, I’m going to try to reduce losses and raise sales.
I promise you that there will be no link between politics and the railways. My connections will be used for the good of the railways, as in the future there will be no political or external interference in this department,’ he said while addressing the officers during the conference.
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In response to a query about the Pakistan Democratic Movement at a press conference on Sunday, however, Mr. Swati said that the opposition had collapsed and that his narrative had been dismissed by the people. “The opposition must immediately submit resignations as we will hold by-elections upon accepting their resignations.”