Wednesday, January 27, 2021

DS Railways highlights KPT connectivity

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The newly appointed divisional superintendent of Karachi, Muhammad Hanif Gul, has pointed out that the completion of the KPT-Railways connectivity project would not only bring an economic boon for Pakistan Railways but a new era of progress and prosperity would also be ushered in. 

He made the remarks during his visit to the KPT connectivity project along with PD KPT connectivity, Riaz Ali Laghari, and Deputy DS (Infrastructure), Shoukat Shaikh. 

"Besides significant surge in the volume of freight earnings the project will massively ease out traffic congestion when it becomes operational,” the DS declared after visiting the project.

He was holistically briefed by Project Director of KPT connectivity project that aims at rehabilitation of 25 kilometers of railways track connecting Karachi Port Trust with Karachi City station entailing 12 level crossings, various yards and two bridges enroute. 

The DS also visited the Wazir Mansion station, a major container loading point, and was comprehensively briefed regarding the operational parameters by the concerned divisional officers.

Hanif Gul takes over as DS Railways Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The newly appointed Divisional Superintendent Karachi Railway Division, Muhammad Hanif Gul has taken over the charge of Divisional Superintendent Karachi, replacing Arshad Salam Khattak who has been transferred to the Railways Headquarters in Lahore to take up his new assignment. 

Hanif Gul belongs to Commercial and Traffic group of Pakistan Railways and hails from 28th Common of the Civil Service. 

The outgoing DS briefed his successor about the working and issues of Karachi Division in a jointly chaired meeting attended by all the divisional officers. 

Hanif Gul has a vast experience of serving in top management positions in Pakistan Railways. Prior to taking over the reins of Karachi division, he has served as Divisional Superintendent at Quetta, Peshawar and Gawadar. He has also served as Chief Commercial Manager Pakistan Railways Headquarters in Lahore.

AKU wins Rs 14.5 million grant

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
AKU’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research (CRM) has won Rs 14.5 million grant to develop new, targeted therapies for a common form of blood cancer in adults, Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) leukaemia. 

The chromosomal defect known as Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) is a characteristic of two important types of blood cancer: chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and Ph positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Ph+ ALL). 

The Ph chromosome is formed when chromosome 9 and 22 break and exchange portions which leads to creation of a new fusion gene called BCR-ABL. This fusion causes certain blood cells to become cancerous. It is the main cause of the common, CML, in adults and accounts for 20 per cent of (Ph+ ALL) cases globally. Generally, Ph+ ALL and advanced forms of CML are difficult to cure and survival rates are poor. 

The AKU researchers are looking to develop a more effective treatment by engineering stem cells to deliver a protein with therapeutic properties, the Helix 2 peptide, directly to the leukaemia cells. 

"We aim to combine approaches in molecular medicine and stem cell therapy to create a more precise form of treatment that has the potential to be more convenient for the patient since it will only require a single administration,” Dr Afsar Mian, the principal investigator of the study., observed. 

“We are anticipating that once introduced, the stem cells will grow and multiply in the body and continuously release the therapeutic peptide to target the cancer cells, inhibit their growth and ultimately cure the disease.” 

Existing medicines for Ph+ leukaemia are currently proving to be less effective due to growing drug resistance and the problem of side effects. Also, they require life-long use by the patient and do not lead to complete eradication of the disease. This innovative use of stem cells will also generate evidence on the use of peptides to provide targeted treatment in other types of cancers. 

In the future, Dr Mian and his team seek to combine their expertise in cancer research as well as drug design and delivery to see if such approaches can be used to treat other diseases. 

The grant was awarded by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan’s flagship National Research Programme for Universities that seeks to support high-level and promising scientific research projects that demonstrate strategic relevance and impact to local industry and society.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Railways Minister visits QICT, PIBT

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Federal Minister for Railways, Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, visited the Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT), a major container loading and unloading facility, under the auspices of the Dubai Port World where he was given a detailed presentation there. 

The Dubai Port World, commonly called as DP World, is regarded as the largest multinational firm, in terms of footprint, offering its services in the arena of port operations. 

The minister expressed the desire for exponentially increasing the volume of freight business in the country and declared it as the prime objective during his tenure.

"A vibrant freight service is the major way forward for a progressive and sustained economic growth,” he remarked during the presentation. 

The CEO Pakistan Railways, Nisar Ahmad Memon, apprised during the presentation that railways was working in full liaison with the DP world and the latter had been offered construction of a container terminal also. 

The minister also visited the Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT), the imported coal unloading facility at Port Qasim, and reviewed a comprehensive presentation there. 

"Railways, freight and economy are three interdependent variables connected linearly with each other,” he stated at the presentation conclusion. He was presented with mementos at QICT and PIBT. 

The two terminals' visits were followed by the visit of Marshalling Yard Pipri (MYP). The minister was briefed, at length, there by the CEO Railways. He planted a sapling in the outskirts of the yard also.

Minister vows to double Railways freight volume

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Federal Minister for Railways, Muhammed Azam Khan Swati, has declared that annual freight revenue of Pakistan Railways will be doubled in few months from PKR 11 billion at present to PKR 22 billion. 

He made the pledge while talking to the media at the office of Divisional Railway Superintendent Karachi. "If I am unable to expand freight service then Railways may crumble like the Steel Mills,” he reckoned while vowing to go all out to increase the freight revenue. 

He remarked that one of his prime targets would be completely overcoming the losses and transforming the railways into a profit-earning entity.

The federal minister revealed that the railways' schools and hospitals would be outsourced in order to provide best educational and medical facilities to railways' employees and their children. 

He emphasized upon the role of media as fourth pillar of the state, adding that his department was accountable to media before the nation. 

Earlier the federal minister visited the Karachi Cantonment and the Karachi City Stations besides various stations on KCR loop and green line interchange area, the Diesel shed and Hasan Hospital under railways administration.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Railways minister visits KPT, Wazir Mansion

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

"The establishment of a marshalling yard in Wazir Mansion will prove immeasurably beneficial. The facility, if constructed, will be advantageous in terms of significantly enhancing port efficiency, drastically declining turnaround time for containers, massively curtailing the port area congestion and substantially escalating the freight service of Pakistan Railways."  
This was revealed during a presentation given to the newly appointed federal minister of Pailways, Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, who visited the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), along with the Chief Executive Officer Pakistan Railways, Nisar Ahmad Memon and other senior officers of the department, on January 7. 

Marshalling Yard is a place where railway wagons are shunted and shaped into form of trains besides placing engines and wagons there which are not in use. Currently Pakistan Railways operates a single marshalling yard in Karachi division that is located in Pipri.

During his visit to KPT, the Railways Minister was holistically briefed about 33 kilometers long rail network at KPT possessing a container handling capacity of 125 million tons. 

"Pakistan Railways and KPT can jointly make a difference and contribute enormously to economic development of the country,” the minister remarked on the occasion 

He also visited the Wazir Mansion station followed by South Asia Pacific Terminal (SAPT), the prime container loading facility in Karachi. 

He was given a detailed presentation regarding the operational parameters of SAPT with special focus on connectivity of SAPT with Pakistan Railways through rail network. The minister was also presented with a souvenir in SAPT.

Railways new minister calls for attainment of fiscal targets

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The newly inducted Minister for Railways, Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, has called for utilizing all resources to overcome losses and transforming the organization into a profitable entity. 

He was chairing a meeting at the office of Divisional Superintendent, Karachi, which was attended, among others, by the CEO of Pakistan Railways, Nisar Ahmad Memon, Additional General Manager (Traffic) Syed Mazhar Ali Shah, Divisional Superintendent Karachi, Arshad Salam Khattak, Project Director RBOD, Riaz Laghari, besides other officers. 

The minister was given a comprehensive presentation by the Divisional Superintendent Karachi regarding the division's performance with special focus on freight service and revival of Karachi Circular Railway besides the ongoing court cases particularly of encroachments and relevant matters.

“Railways should retain an unlimited potential which, if utilized properly, can usher the organization into a new era of economic prosperity and vitality,” the minister remarked while emphasizing the officers to demonstrate relentless devotion to their duties. 

He urged for continuous improvement in their working, punctuality in respect of passenger trains which, he added, would improve the public image the Railways. 

He called for greatly focusing on the attainment of given fiscal targets as being their central objective and said whole-hearted efforts be made for accomplishment.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Railways retrieve precious land in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
In continuation of the land retrieval and anti-encroachment drive launched by the Pakistan Railways Karachi Division about a couple of weeks ago, the department has swiftly retrieved its 42 acres of land worth billions of rupees from a famous cloths brand in Jama Goth Karachi. 

The land had been illegally occupied by a well-known cloths' brand for the last 25 years where they had constructed a warehouse/godown for commercial purposes. 

The failure in retrieving that land in the past had resulted in conclusion of departmental action against many officers of Karachi Railways. 

The Divisional Superintendent Karachi Railways, Arshad Salam Khattak, has commented the concerned divisional officers and its police force for accomplishing a major task. 

He announced that the Karachi railways' anti-encroachment and land-retrieval operations would be escalated further owing to categorical directives from the apex court on December 29. 

This was the third successful operation by the Karachi Railways' during the stern drive initiated on December 22 last year.