Islamabad: Pakistan Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has informed the National Assembly that the country cannot afford to have bullet trains.
"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," the Dawn quoted Rafique, as saying.
Asserting that Pakistan does not have enough money to launch a bullet train project, the Railway Minister said that even if they launch it, they don't have such a big range of upper and middle class passengers who would buy tickets of bullet trains.
Giving a comprehensive overview of the performance of his department to the members of the house, Rafique claimed that he was doing as much as possible to turn his department into a profit-making entity.
He said the biggest problem with railway lands across the country is that while being under the possession of Pakistan Railways they are owned by the provincial governments.
"The provinces are not prepared to turn over these lands to us, despite a Supreme Court order to do so," Rafique said.
He questioned as to how could railways commercially exploit the land that doesn`t belong to them.He , however, made it clear that the land occupied by traditional dwellers or slum residents would not be touched.
"How can we displace those people; where will they go?" he said.
Rafique said that a strict action would be taken against those who use using railway land for commercial purposes.