Pakistan to get $8 billion loan from China to upgrade Railways
China is going to help Pakistan to upgrade its entire train network. A 1,163-miles track from Karachi to Peshawar near the Afghan border is set to be upgraded with an $8 billion loan to Pakistan. The project is a part of Belt and Road Trade initiative which was inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s. The $60 billion dollar project “Belt and Road Trade” initiative is to improve the overall infrastructure of Pakistan, reports Bloomberg.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in a statement that the first phase of the work will kickstart this year. Pakistan’s Railway network has become a byword for delays, corruption, and ineffective service. Although the state-owned Pakistan Railways has been unprofitable, Parveen Agha, Secretary of Pakistan Railways, said it has doubled its revenue to PKR 40.1 billion in the last five years. She also added,
“This is one of the biggest opportunities for us, this is the upgrade of the entire railway system.”
The unprofitable state-owned Pakistan Railways has doubled its revenue to 40.1 billion rupees ($362 million) in the past five years and aims to do so again over the same time period.
Pakistan Railways have always been under-vested for the past many decades. The organization has also suffered from the ingrained graft and sacked many officials involved in corruption in recent years. According to the Parveen Agha without providing details said that the organization is now staffed by “people of good repute.”
Muzzammil Aslam, CEO of brokerage firm EFG Hermes Pakistan Ltd said,
“Corruption could be a big challenge for this project, as it will make transportation cheap and competitive.”
There is also a matter of security to look after as well since the year 2000, at least 96 people have been killed and 480 injured in 137 attacks on Pakistani trains, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. To make Pakistan Railways safe, Since the past four years, the authorities have been raising a special security force of 700 commandos as well as deployed extra police to the trains.
A passenger also said about Pakistani Railways.
“We have taken three to four trips so far and it looks better now, with Chinese investment Pakistan Railways can be the best.”
Pakistan Railway is improving day by day by adapting to modern tech that will definitely help institute achieve landmarks. There are chances that the same system will be made efficient to use for other transportation means in the country. Pakistan Railway previously launched an Android application for booking train tickets through a mobile phone and Pakistan Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique also inaugurated Pakistan Railways’ own e-ticketing system.