Train drivers went on strike on Sunday alleging that most trains had defective engines.
The drivers gathered at the Quetta railway station and told divisional officials that they would not run passenger or goods trains with old and faulty locomotives.
It is a sorry state of affairs of Pakistan Railways that drivers had to protest to highlight issue of faulty locomotives and dilapidated rail infrastructure. Drivers were of the view that they would not risk their lives anymore and would not drive dangerous engines on faulty tracks.
It has been witnessed that a number of train accidents have occurred in different parts of the country just because of vulnerable rail infrastructure and defective engines. Last week, incident of the derailment of Jaffar Express in Bolan claimed about 20 lives.
For the second consecutive day drivers were protesting and authorities have failed to convince them to give up the strike. Protesting drivers must have requested to the concerned authorities to redress their grievances but they were forced to choose the way of protest to bring their issue in the spotlight.
Misery is this that drivers are being held responsible for negligence in most of the accidents and nothing is being done to improve the system and infrastructure. Actually most accidents are caused by obsolete rolling stock and track as well as other technical and maintenance reasons. On the other hand, passengers are the ultimate sufferers of this deadlock as they have to wait for hours at railway stations to reach their destinations. It is also a fact that no investment has been made to upgrade the railway infrastructure for decades. It must be the top most priority of Railway Minister to ensure the safety of not only passengers but also of Railway staff.
Dilapidated and outdated system of Pakistan Railway is not only affecting passengers but also to locomotive drivers.