Ministry of Railways (Pakistan)

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Ministry of Railways
State emblem of Pakistan.svg
Federal Ministries of the Government of Pakistan
Agency overview
Formed May 1974
Type Railway transportation ministry
Jurisdiction Federal Government of Pakistan
Headquarters Ministry of Railways
Block D
Pakistan Secretariat
Minister responsible Khawaja Saad Rafique, Federal Minister for Railways
Agency executive Parveen Agha, Parliamentary Secretary for Railways

The Ministry of Railways (Urdu: وزارث ريلوے‎; reporting name: MoR) is a cabinet-level ministry of the Government of Pakistan. The ministry initially functioned as a subdivision of the Ministry of Communications and was eventually established as an autonomous ministry of the federal government in May 1974.

Its primary purpose was to manage the state-owned rail transport services – the North Western Railway (later renamed Pakistan Western Railway in 1959, and then Pakistan Railways in 1974) and the Bengal-Assam Railway (later renamed Pakistan Eastern Railway in 1959).

The ministry is also responsible for the planning, administration and establishment of passenger locomotive services throughout Pakistan while overseeing the government policies on regulation and development of the nationwide rail network and infrastructure. There are several industries and organisations that fall under the purview of the ministry which may or may not be entirely associated with the Pakistan Railways.

The ministry has its headquarters at the Pakistan Secretariat in Islamabad where it's governed by the Federal Minister for Railways, who is required to be a member of parliament – an office currently occupied by Khawaja Saad Rafique as of June 2013. The federal minister is also accompanied by the Parliamentary Secretary for Railways, a bureaucratic officer tasked with managing the ministry's day-to-day operations – an office currently occupied by Parveen Agha as of January 2014. The parliamentary secretary is almost always the chairperson for the Pakistan Railways too.


After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the country inherited the powerful North Western Railway in West Pakistan, which came with an expansive rail network and a well-developed infrastructure.[1] Whereas, in East Pakistan, the Bengal-Assam Railway operated in a limited capacity. With the railways being the nation's only established and operational intercity public transport mode, its associated infrastructure "constituted the most valuable capital asset" of the newly founded nation.[2]

Unified governance of railways[edit]

Immediately following the partition of India and the formation of Pakistan, the North Western Railway and the Bengal-Assam Railway were renamed Pakistan Western Railway (PWR) and the Pakistan Eastern Railway (PER) respectively. Both railways were owned by the Central Government and efforts were made to unify the governance of these two railways under a singular Railway Board.[3]

However, until the formulation of the Railway Board, both the railways were administered through the Railway Division of the Ministry of Communications. The division was headed by the Director-General of Railways (DG Railways) within the ministry who had the general supervision over railway operations.[3]

Railway Board Ordinance, 1959[edit]

In 1959, an ordinance bill was passed in the parliament underlying the need for the creation of a semi-autonomous Railway Board. The board was perceived in accordance with the principal powers of the Central Government as stipulated in the Railways Act IX of 1890.[3]

Even after the establishment of the Railway Board (RB), the Central Government continued to administer the affairs of the railways, albeit less directly. There were no suggestions of actual transfer of property or changes in the financial relationship of the railways to the government. The board however had the general supervision over the railway operations but referred to the government for matters of general policy.[3]

Railway Board and its organisation[edit]

Since its establishment in 1959 and up until 1 July 1962, the Railway Board management consisted of the former DG Railways, a financial member and an engineering member. The board was assisted by a small staff of experts in fields ranging from operations and finances to engineering. General managers were appointed for both railways who were tasked with the day-to-day operations of the railways including procurement, personnel and fares.[4]

Under the GMs, the organisation of PWR was based on a divisional system, while that of PER was based on a departmental system. However, it later transpired that the departmental system held an inherent weakness as traffic and operational movements increased on the PER and the decision-making was kept centralised for the railway, needing immediate reforms. Even amidst such teething perils, the management was found competent.[5]

1962 Presidential Order and organisational reforms[edit]

Earlier on 20 September 1924, a special resolution had been adopted by the Legislative Assembly of British India which came to be known as the Separation Convention of 1924.[6] The resolution asked for the separation of railway finances from the general finances of the country.[7] But soon after the independence, the Central Government discarded the resolution and the railway finances were merged with the general finances of the country. In preparation for the second five-year plan (1960—65), the necessity to separate the railway finances from the general revenues continued to be felt.[8]

After the first session of the third national assembly, president Ayub Khan issued a presidential order (PO 33) on 9 June 1962. The presidential order instructed for the transfer of control of both railways, PWR and PER, from the Central Government to the provincial governments of West Pakistan and East Pakistan respectively.[9] When the presidential order came into effect on 1 July 1962, concurrent Railway Boards were established by both provinces, repealing the original Railway Board Ordinance of 1959.[5]

The presidential order also reinstated the formerly discarded Separation Convention, whereby the railway finances were ultimately separated from the general finances for the fiscal year 1961-62 and thereafter,[8] giving each board increased autonomy.

Central Railway Division and provincial boards[edit]

In transferring the jurisdiction of the railways to their respective provincial governments, the resulting provincial Railway Boards exercised all the powers and functions of the former Railway Board (as established in 1959) with the exception of a few responsibilities.

To address these exceptional responsibilities, the Central Government established a Central Railway Division which retained certain powers and functions not completely dissolved to the provincial boards. These included the responsibilities of:

  • Dealing with international organisations and foreign countries;
  • Implementing agreements with such organisations and countries;
  • Coordinating rail movements to and from ports; and,
  • Coordinating Development Programmes of each railway as part of the National Development Programmes.

Furthermore, the provincial governments were refrained from altering the priority of movement of defence traffic, close or dismantle any railway line, or modify any Ministry of Defence lines, without the prior approval of the Central Railway Division.

Aftermath of the Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]

The disproportionate politics resulting from the One Unit geopolitical programme led to the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. In the aftermath of the war, the province of East Pakistan seceded from Pakistan to become Bangladesh. With its secession, Bangladesh inherited the PER railway and its associated infrastructure, while the province of West Pakistan became what is now the modern state of Pakistan inheriting the PWR railway.

Following the loss of Pakistan's eastern province, its president took over the PWR railway and created the Ministry of Railways around it in 1974 to look after the planning and policy-making, technical advisory service and management of the railway.[10] The PWR railway was then renamed Pakistan Railways in May 1974.

Defining the ministerial jurisdiction[edit]

In 1982, the Ministry of Railways was merged with the Railway Board under a presidential order,[10] resulting in the federal ministry as it stands to date. The ministry has since been tasked with administering the various railway junctions and stations in rural, insular and urban areas of Pakistan.


The Railway Board (RB) is the highest governing body for technical matters of the Railways and MoR, which stands merged with the Division.

The highest form of bureaucrats in the railways consisted the government appoint bureaucrat who is the Chairman of Pakistan Railways. The following list includes the officers and government appoint bureaucrats reporting directly to the Secretary Railways:

Manager of Railway Operations (GM Operations)

  1. General Manager of the Manufacture and Railway Services (GM of Manufacture)
  2. Government Inspector of Railways (GIR)
  3. Director of the Railways Marketing (DRM)
  4. Director-General of Vigilance Department (DG Vigilance)

Functions of the Railway Division[edit]

  • All matters pertaining to Pakistan Railways.
  • Movement and priority in respect of Defence traffic.
  • Maintenance of Railway lines for strategic reasons.
  • Negotiations with International Organizations and other Countries and implementation of agreements, with them.
  • Coordination of Development Projects of Railways as a part of the National Development Programme.
  • Standardization and specifications of materials and stores.
  • Overall efficiency and safety of Railways.
  • Coordination of Rail movements into and from Ports.


Pakistan Locomotive Factory Risalpur[edit]

Pakistan Locomotive Factory Risalpur was commissioned in 1993 at the cost of PKR. 2284.00 million including PKR.1496.00 million foreign aid. The factory has capacity to manufacture 25 locomotives per annum.[11]

The technology for manufacturing of locomotives has been acquired from Hitachi Japan, General Electric, ADtranz Germany and Dalian Locomotives & Rolling Stock Works, China.[12][13]

Pakistan Railways Carriage Factory Islamabad[edit]

Pakistan Railways Carriage Factory, Islamabad was set up in 1970 under the technical collaboration of LHB, Germany for manufacture of passenger carriages. The capacity of the Factory is 150 passenger coaches per year on single shift basis.[14]

Railway Estate Development & Marketing Company (REDAMCO)[edit]

REDAMCO was established in 2012.[15] REDAMCO deals with non core business of Pakistan Railways that includes, Development of lands, business of advertisements and hoardings, and matters relating to franchises.[16]

PRACS (Pakistan Railway Advisory & Consultancy Services)[edit]

Pakistan Railway Advisory & Consultancy Services Limited (PRACS) was incorporated in 1976 as a private limited company. In the year 2002, it was converted to a public limited.[17]

PRACS provides a wide range of services in the fields of Civil Engineering, commercial management of passenger trains as well as passenger reservation and ticketing, Rail Cuisine, Mechanical engineering and Electrical engineering. [18]

RAILCOP (Railway Constructions Pakistan Limited)[edit]

Railway Constructions Pakistan Limited (RAILCOP) is a subsidiary of Ministry of Railways was incorporated as a Public Limited Company in 1980. RAILCOP offers services in Engineering fields like railway tracks, railway stations, bridges, overhead bridges, under-passes, tunnels, culverts, railway facilities at port and harbors. RAILCOP has also completed a numbers of projects in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Iran and Senegal Railways. [19][20]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]