Wednesday February 01, 2023

Senate panel for revival of Peshawar-Torkham railway track

December 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Railways Monday referred the matter of some portion of Peshawar-Torkham railway track, falling in the vicinity of airport, to the Senate panel on defence, as this creates hurdle in its planned restoration.

The meeting of the committee was held at the Parliament Lodges with Senate Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi in the chair. The meeting commenced with deliberation on the question raised by JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad regarding the restoration of 59km railway track from Peshawar to Torkham.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad was of the opinion that the railway track is not only important for trade but also holds historical importance. He added that the railway track was built in 1926 and remained operational till 2007 but after the flood devastation in 2007, the track was damaged and remained non-operational till date.

Zafar Ranjha, Secretary for Ministry of Railways, informed the committee that restoration work of the track will cost around Rs1,982 million and the ministry does not have enough revenue to do so. However, he explained the ministry is in negotiation with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for the financing of the project and the provincial government is willing to finance the project.

He, however, pointed out that some portion of the track also falls in the Peshawar airport vicinity which will also create a hurdle in restoration of the work. To this, the chairman decided to refer the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence for further deliberation.

The secretary for Ministry of Railways also informed the Senate body about Afghan Transit Trade project which will link Pakistan to Uzbekistan via Afghanistan and costs around $8.2 billion. The committee directed the ministry to give briefing on the said project in the next meeting.

The Senate committee also suggested the Ministry of Railways to take input from the Ministry of Tourism on the Peshawar-Torkham project regarding its potentiality from the tourism perspective. The committee deferred the deliberations on the matter till the next meeting.

The meeting was attended by Senator Dost Muhammad, State Minister Senator Shahadat Awan, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, Zafar Ranjha, Secretary for Ministry of Railways and other concerned officers.