Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum  Aurangzeb  while inaugurating Azadi Train in connection with the independence celebrations here today, paid rich tributes to the minister for Railway Khawaja Saad Rafiq for resurrecting Railways through his untiring efforts which she said could be gauged from the fact that the Income of Railways has risen from Rs.18 billion in 2013 to Rs.40 billion this year and the punctuality of trains has also gone up from 15-20 % up to 80%. She revealed that Railway had purchased new 4000 Horse Power engines which would be used for freight traffic.

The Minister said that she was proud of inaugurating the Azadi train this year. About the Azadi train she said that it would depict national heritage, culture, civilization and the strides that the country had taken towards development during the last four years. She said that the train had floats and galleries which exhibited different aspect of the national life as well as the history of the independence movement. Explaining the construct of the train she revealed that the most prominent gallery on the train pertained to the tribute paid  to the sacrifices rendered by the armed forces and the law enforcing agencies, which had been built with the cooperation of ISPR;  another gallery pays tributes to women performing duties in law enforcing agencies and the armed forces ;  yet another gallery depicts Indian atrocities on the people of Kashmir and brazen violation of human rights; yet another gallery show cases national heritage and culture and tributes  to Abdul Sattar Edhi have also been show cased;  another gallery presents pictorial history of Pakistan movement and the sacrifices rendered by the leaders of the movement to achieve separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent as well as a float concerning the CPEC which was the gift of the former Prime Minister for the people of the region. The minister said that the country was geared to celebrate seventy years of its independence and under the auspices of the government and the private sector a number of festive activities would be held on 14th August and the entire nation would participate in them.

She said that CPEC was the dream of the posterity which was being translated into reality now. The minister said that had Nawaz Sharif not constructed motor ways and network of roads it would have been impossible to undertake CPEC. The minister advised the parents to take their children to have a glimpse of the Azadi train so that they could understand the  journey that had to be traversed for winning freedom, particularly the role played by Quadi-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Summing up she said that the train would reflect the theme ‘ I am the new Pakistan, We are a living nation’.

Marriyum remarked that in 2013 the country was steeped in darkness. It was on the verge of becoming bankrupt.  She said that the PML (N) government under the stewardship of the former Prime Minister initiated power producing projects and the situation now was far better than in 2013. The economy has been put on the road to sustained development, CPEC has been launched, motor ways and network of roads has been constructed. She said as a consequence of these measures Pakistan was fast emerging as an economic power house. Marriyum said that there had been a 90% decrease in the incidents of terrorism which had been brought down to nearly hundred per year from 2600 in 2013, due to the visionary policies of the former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. The minister also paid glowing tributes to the armed forces for winning the fight against the terrorists through their unparalleled sacrifices. She said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would continue the implementation of the promises of the former Prime Minister.



            The minister said that the Quaid had envisioned a country where people felt safe and free; where people ruled the country and the Prime Ministers could serve the people without any fear and hindrance.  The MOS said that democracy was because of and for the people and it was the parliament which was the representative body of the masses. She said that country could not make progress without strengthening the parliament. Marriyum reiterated that every citizen should study the Constitution   as it reflected and protected their fundamental rights.

Referring to former Prime Minister’s journey back home she said that the tumultuous response and welcome that he was receiving from the masses was because of the fact that he had put the country on the road to development and prosperity and had initiated CPEC. She said the people by joining his caravan were paying tributes to him for the services that he had rendered.

Rejecting the criticism of the opposition on the rally of Nawaz Sharif, the MOS said that she could only pity their state of mind after hearing their statements about the reception being given to the former Prime Minister. The minister remarked how could those who have been organizing mini sit-ins and sparsely attended rallies in the darkness of the night understand what a sea of people during the day light really meant.

Later in her interaction with the media, she admired the role that it was playing in regards to the independence celebrations. Responding to a question She said that PPP and Benazir Bhutto had made sacrifices for the cause of democracy and it would not take any step to undermine democracy adding that those who had fought for democracy would not back off from their efforts to strengthen it. Answering a question about Railways, Marriyum revealed that the minister for Railways was paying special attention to the repair of old engines and for the first time a budgetary allocation has been made for the purpose.

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