In a thundering speech in 2013, Nawaz Sharif promised the people of Pakistan that a Bullet train will run in the country soon. But Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique denied any possibility of the promises seeing the light of the day.
In fact, the Railway Minister adds that even the demand for such a train was made fun of. “When we asked the Chinese about it, they laughed at us. We should consider the 160 kmph train under CPEC as a bullet train. We can’t afford an actual bullet train, there’s no market for it,” Rafique said.
He also asked, “Even if we launch the project, we don’t have such a big range of upper and middle-class passengers who will buy tickets.”
The Nawaz Sharif government has been approaching the Chinese to help Pakistan in making a bullet train under the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. The project focuses on road building and energy infrastructure to end chronic power shortages in Pakistan.
Lamenting the state of affairs in the department, Rafique said even today trains are being repaired manually. “We are looking to move towards greater automation of this process, which will help curtail human error and accidental deaths,” he claimed.
Twitter as always, is having a field day.
We will build 1st Ever Bullet Train for Pakistan : NS 8 March 2013
We can't afford bullet trains :Railway Minister 29 Nov 2016#NoonTurns
— مہندس القطری (@Engr_Naveed111) November 30, 2016
The statement comes at a time when India, too, is expected to flag off its first ever bullet train in 2023. The bullet train which is expected to cover 508 km between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will give its passengers the thrill of riding under the sea. The 508 km long high speed rail corridor will have a 21 km tunnel under the sea.
But here are some words of wisdom for both India and Pakistan.
@dawn_com Be sensible! Forget about affording, neither India nor Pakistan NEED Bullet Train in first place. Try running TRAINS first.
— Anant Jain (@ATruesec) November 30, 2016
And here is some serious advise too.
‘Pakistan can’t afford bullet trains’ – Pakistani Railway Minister
Give up bullets, you may afford bullet train one day.
— Sathya Marakini (@sathyamarakini) November 30, 2016
Don’t we all agree!