Is Pakistan Railways Doomed? Experts Call for Privatization After PIA Sale
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Is Pakistan Railways on the right track? With the recent privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), experts are urging the government to consider selling off Pakistan Railways as well.

Global Interest in Privatization: PIA’s privatization attracted bids from countries with top-notch railway infrastructure, including Germany, France, and Turkey. While the railways business is more complex, this interest suggests potential for Pakistan Railways.

Time for Reform: A former Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry member argues for immediate divestment, citing the railways’ decline and the burden it places on public resources.

Trucks vs. Trains: A Losing Battle? Despite its efficiency in bulk transportation, Pakistan Railways struggles to compete with trucks. Valuable assets are underutilized or stolen, leading to massive losses.

India’s Success Story: India serves as a prime example of how a well-managed railway network can be an economic powerhouse. In stark contrast, Pakistan Railways suffers from staggering losses and low social scores due to frequent delays and cancellations.

Read Also: Government to Fast-track PIA Privatization Before IMF Agreement: Insider Updates

A Glorious Past, A Bleak Future: Once a vital part of Pakistan’s transportation system, Pakistan Railways has fallen victim to mismanagement and corruption. Its cargo handling capacity has dwindled, leading to a loss of public trust.

Time to Sell Before it’s Too Late: The dominance of trucks and the misuse of railway land for telecom infrastructure highlight the urgent need for privatization.

Financial Woes and ROW Charges: Pakistan Railways’ financial woes are evident in its drastic increase of right-of-way charges for telecom companies. This opportunistic move indicates a lack of long-term vision.

Opposition and The Path Forward: While politicians might resist privatization, policymakers acknowledge the importance of an efficient railway system for economic development.

A Final Chance? Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s proposed rail link between Reko Diq and Gwadar port might be a last-ditch effort to revive the sector.

Beyond PIA: Privatization for a Brighter Future: Following PIA’s privatization, calls for selling off Pakistan Railways are growing louder. Experts believe other entities like PEMRA and Pakistan Steel Mills could be next. A renewed debate on railway privatization is crucial to determine the best course of action.

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