Pakistan Railways to shutdown operations until March 31

Final decision on suspension of operations taken after PM Imran's approval


RAWALPINDI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday gave approval to Pakistan Railways for suspending train operations from March 24 to March 31 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, has claimed six lives and infected more than 800 people across the country, as the authorities kick into action to stop the transmission of the virus.

The government earlier retracted a notification issued on the shut down of the operations, although later the prime minister gave it a go-ahead.

Sheikh Rasheed holds session via video link

A session of the department under Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed took place via video link on Tuesday, following which the notification regarding the suspension of trains was issued.

According to the official notification, the suspension will come into effect from 12 am today. 

Earlier today, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had hinted at the shutdown of the national railways' operations from Tuesday. Speaking on Geo Pakistan, the railways minister said that the final decision on the matter rested with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Also read: PM Imran to discuss public relief package with economic team as virus crisis deepens

Apart from this, he said that a recommendation had been made to the prime minister to give a relief package to the department and continue salaries of the railways employees during a possible shutdown. 

In the same vein, the federal minister had expressed dissatisfaction over him not being kept in loop about the shutdown of operations. The railways ministry has shut down 44 trains from operating so far.

Last week, the Sindh Government asked the federal government to order closure of industries and railway service in the country on an immediate basis to slow down the transmission of the coronavirus epidemic.