MANZOOR AHMED RAZI,
is a seasoned labor leader and has served the interests of the workers
especially in Pakistan Railways for over 30 years. Razi worked in
Pakistan Railways in different capacities and what he says he was forced
to get pre-mature retirement. Currently, he is the Central President of
Pakistan Railway Workers Federation and President Railway Workers Inqlab
union. He has conducted various studies for improvement of the railway
service in Pakistan as well as the lot of the workers associated with
Pakistan Railways claim about improvement in railway services, overall
profitability of the organization and introduction of new trains from
Karachi to up-country destinations. What are your comments?
the Pakistan Railways have declared a profit of Rs800 million during the
last financial year while it has also inducted new trains between
Karachi and Lahore. However, the matter of the fact is that at what cost
all these achievements has been made by the Railway management?
They imposed a massive retrenchment in the
organization and as a result of that about 40,000 people were rendered
jobless worsening the unemployment situation in the country.
If the Pakistan Railways retrenched about 40,000 workers, how it is
managing its operations through the country?
the retrenchment was made in phases: In the first phase, some 8,000
people were retired, in the second phase some 6,000 employees were
removed and against some 20,000 people were removed under different
charges. Now the Railways have started hiring fresh people especially
from the up-country stations. Currently they are working with strength
of 83,000 workers and a large number of positions are lying vacant.
While hiring, the Railway administration should consider the
re-appointment of the experienced and clean hand former workers of the
you agree that there are visible improvements in Railway services,
schedule and quality of services during last 3-4 years?
definitely there is improvement in quality of services being provided by
Railways to the passengers, new trains have also been introduced on
different routes while maintenance of the stations has also been
improved. But see the increase in fares during last three years.
Contrary to the earlier practice of 5 per cent raise in Railways fares
after every three years, they increased Railways fares for times in
three years making the rail journey an expensive affairs and gradually
slipping out of the reach of the common man. As a result of exorbitant
increase in fares, the traffic is being diverted from railway to road
transport, which has been tremendously increased on all routes
throughout the country.
Fleecing the people in the name of improvement of
services especially by a public sector organization encourages the
private sector to make money by extorting undue profits.
Due shortage of staff, various important sectors like
— Karachi-Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Rohri and Rohri-Multan which offer
tremendous railway traffic have been completely neglected. There is no
rail car service available on these routes. Consequently, the passengers
of these routes have to barge into the regular trains from Karachi to
Lahore to Peshawar creating undue congestion in the trains.
is becoming a jungle of traffic due to growing population of vehicles
every year. In this situation, the suspended Circular Railway could have
played a key role in reducing the road congestion in Karachi. Have you
any idea to re-activate the suspended Circular Railway in Karachi.
Circular Railways (KCR) was a fantastic rail service for the commuters.
Unfortunately, instead of improving the system, it was scrapped by the
inefficient management providing opportunities to the so-called
transport mafia to operate at their will in plying vehicles on different
routes in Karachi. Although the World Bank has offered a loan of Rs20
billion for re-introduction of the KCR yet it can be re-started at a
much cheaper cost. System to KCR is already existing, stations and
tracks is also available. We as a trade union had a meeting with City
Nazim and have offered free services of the retired railway employees
for one year to run the KCR. Although he gave a warm response to our
proposal yet nothing has been done in this respect so far. It is highly
important for the big city like Karachi to have a mass transit scheme of
its own and in this respect KCR can do a great job by reducing the
traffic congestion, road occupancy and road accidents if the circular
railway was put in operation systematically, for increased frequency of
trains, timings and other facilities to attract the commuters from coast
to coast of the city. In this respect, the transport authorities should
not succumb to the pressure of the transport mafia that is strongly
opposing the re-introduction of the KCR system in Karachi.