Lahore/Islamabad: Cash-strapped Pakistan Railways will seek "help and guidance" from India in order to make its operations economically viable, Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique has said.
A Pakistan Railways delegation will soon visit India to learn from the knowledge and experiences of the Indian rail system, which has been turned into a profitable entity while Pakistan was yet to achieve this goal due to lack of resources, Rafique said.
"Pakistan needs to take help and guidance from the Indian Railways to make it (railways) economically viable and bring it on the right track," he said at railway headquarters in Lahore yesterday.
Indian Railways is one of the world`s largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km of track over a route of 65,000 km and 7,500 stations.
Rafique further said, "We have to do away with the doctrine of enmity with neighbours, especially India, as we cannot afford it today."
Pakistan Railways is also searching for a foreign partner to invest in improving infrastructure.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Islamabad, Rafique said the opening of the Khokhrapar-Monabao link for trade with India was being examined.
Pakistan-India trade is conducted through the Wagah border while the Khokarapar-Monabao sector`s potential for trade is five times greater, he said.
Trade could also be initiated through Ganda Singh Kasur and Amroka in Bhawalpur.
Opening up trade routes to India was in Pakistan`s favour as nations that buried centuries-old feuds had developed a lot, Rafique said.
"But we are still lagging 200 years behind the developed world. Therefore, we have to shun orthodox thinking to move forward on all fronts," he said.
Pakistan is also ready to offer its road and rail routes to all regional countries, including India, China, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Central Asian states, he said.