A Pakistani lawmaker surprised his colleagues today by suggesting that the country's railways should be handed over to former Indian Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav if the government was unable to tackle the state-run entity's numerous problems.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Sajid Ahmed made the suggestion in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament while Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Noman Islam Sheikh was answering questions about the performance of the railways.
Yadav is widely credited for guiding the turnaround of the Indian Railways.
Pakistan Railways has been plagued by several problems over the past few years, including the lack of locomotives, shortage of spare parts and fuel and the cancellation of dozens of trains due to lack of financial resources.
Sheikh said new locomotives would have to be purchased for reviving the railways and making it a profitable organisation.
He said the Railways Ministry had floated a tender for purchasing 69 new locomotives.
All non-productive expenses had been stopped and expenditures were being incurred in line with available resources, he said.
The Pakistan Railways had received only Rs. 6 billion out of a total bailout package of Rs. 11 billion for 2010-2011.
A separate programme had been drawn up for repairing 96 locomotives with a loan from the National Bank of Pakistan.
Sheikh further said there was no proposal being considered for privatising the railways.