Quetta Voice Investigative Report:
Six out of a total of seven-passenger trains came to a halt in Balochistan. Only passenger train i.e. Jaffar Express operates from the province, which covers half of the country in terms of area. “Tired of appeals and requests for restoration of train service”, Saeed Bugti, one of the central leaders of the railway association lamented.
Bugti says the closure of six trains has compounded the problems of passengers, especially from the middle and lower middle classes. “People cannot pay heavy fares of buses and planes”, Bugti said.
Hundreds of passengers including male and female started coming out of the Jaffar Express, which just arrived from Lahore. Tired and irritated, the passengers prefer not to speak to the Daily Quetta Voice team. “We traveled for more than 25 hours from Lahore”, Muhammad Abdal, a young student said.
Passengers criticize the railway administration
Abdal was reluctant to speak to the media. From now on, I would not travel through the passenger train, he said, criticizing the railway administration for what he claimed their poor service. His claim could not be verified by the railway officials who preferred not to respond to his allegations.
In the past, most people used to travel by train service to Karachi, Lahore and other parts of the country. However, currently one passenger train operates from Balochistan. “This is economical that’s why people travel”, Saeed Bugti stated.
In Balochistan, the blockade of highways by angry protesters is order of the day
In Balochistan, the blockade of highways by angry protesters mounting pressure on the government to accept their demands is the order of the day. Especially, the Quetta-Karachi highway is always blocked and the passengers wait for hours for the reopening.
“We are solely dependent on railways since we cannot afford planes”, Muhammad Ajmal who just arrived from Lahore said. He said highways were neither safe nor troubled.
Most of the passengers, we spoke to were of the opinion that the provincial government should take up the issue with the federal government for restoration of the train service.