Pakistan Studies 2059

Transport and Telecommunication


Transport and Telecommunication

Pakistan Railways

Pakistan Railways Layout:

• Pakistan's railway track extends to a total of 11899 kilometers.

• It has 54 train halts and 900 train stations in total.

• The railway extends from Karachi to Peshawar.

• There is a little-used line that goes extends from Peshawar to Afghanistan.

• There are also branch lines that extend from Nowshera to Dargai, Sukkur to Sibbi, Quetta to Chaman and Zahidan in Iran. 

• The railway tracks are non-existence in the high mountains of north-western and northern areas.

• The railway cannot access Kalam, Skardu, Chitral, Mingora, and Gilgit.

• However, places at the foothills of mountains including Bannu, Peshawar, and Kohat are accessible via railway.

Reasons for the Railway Deterioration:

• It has a lack of investment.

• The rails and sleepers are worn out.

• The operations of railways are not very efficient.

• There is corruption in railways.

• There are several non-profitable stations.

• The reservation system is bad.

• There is only a single main track.

Development of Pakistan Railways since 1947:

• There was insufficient coal supply, therefore steam engines were replaced by diesel engines.

• Faster trains were introduced e.g. Shalimar Express that travel from Karachi to Lahore.

• Electric traction was given from Lahore to Khanewal that accumulates to 289 kilometers out of a total to 12625 kilometers.

• Several repair workshops were established in Sukkur, Jhelum, Islamabad, and Moghalpura.

• In 2002, work started to transform the single track to dual-track from Khanewal to Lodhran.

Recent Developments in Railways:

• The introduction of new services increased railway revenue.

• Efforts to build railway track to Gwadar that will connect Pakistan to CAS.

• The digitization of the ticket system and prevented the ticket black market.

• The introduction of a one-window ticketing system.

Revitalization of KCR (Karachi Circular Railway):

• It was in operation from the 1970s to the 1990s.

• It closed because of inefficiency and failure to meet the growing population's needs.

• The decision to reopen the KCR is still not taken.

• However, a proposal has been proposed for the expansion and reopening of KCR.

Salient Features of Proposal:

• It will be linked to newly built bridges and flyovers to provide effective rail-road links.

• KCR will be extended to provide access to suburb cities.

• The stations, ticketing system, and timetable will be improved.

Dry Ports

Functions of Dry Ports:

• Inland cities that do not have seaports or are far away have established dry ports.

• These ports are established to promote foreign trade.

• They can make import and export procedures faster.

Locations of Dry Ports:

• There are 9 dry ports in Pakistan.

• There are in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Larkana, Faisalabad and Lahore.

Aims of Establishment of Dry Ports:

• To fasten the checking and clearance process of Cargo.

• To reduce the burden from port Qasim and Karachi port.

• For the smooth collection of profit by the government.

• To provide easy transportation from production point to seaport.

• To increase trade activities (foreign) in the cities that are not in proximity to seaports.

Requirements for Establishing Dry Ports:

• To build a dry port, there should be an efficient rail transport in place to carry bulk and heavy cargo.

• The managerial staff should be efficient.

• They need open areas and huge storage shed.

• There should be a refrigeration facility available for perishable goods.

• There should be an efficient road network.

Roads & Motorways

Principal Roads of Pakistan:

The National Highway:

• It is also known as “The N5” and “Grand Trunk Road”.

• It extends from Karachi through Lahore, Peshawar, and Turkham for about 1260 kilometers.

The Indus Highway:

• It extends to 1204 kilometers.

• It covers Karachi to Kotri, Kotri to Dadu, Shikarpur, Dera Ismail Khan, Larkana, and Dera Ghazi Khan.

The RCD Highway:

• It extends over 600 kilometers.

• It connects Karachi to Quetta.

• It also connects Pakistan to Turkey and Iran.

Route 50:

• It connects Lahore to Quetta.

Route 65:

• It connects Sukkur to Quetta.

Karakoram Highway:

• It connects Pakistan to China.

Karachi to Gwadar:

• A road that connects Karachi to Gwadar is under construction.

Road Transport


Rail Transport

Principal Motorways of Pakistan:

• In 1997, Islamabad to Lahore Motorway was constructed that covers 339 kilometers.

• In 2007, Islamabad to Peshawar Motorway was completed named as ‘M-1’ that covers 155 kilometers.

• The Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad Motorway named as ‘M-3’ covers 52 kilometers.

• The Karachi to Hyderabad Motorway named as ‘M-9’ covers 135 kilometers. This motorway was abandoned because of insufficient funds.

Importance of Motorways:

• Motorways made road transport efficient.

• It promoted the establishment of industrial estates on its routes.

• It promotes industrial growth as it supplies raw material to industries and goods to markets.

• The increase in industrial growth will also create new employment opportunities.

• The motorway can also be connected to CAS and Afghanistan to stimulate foreign trade.

Air Transport & Water Transport

Air Transport:

• It is the best transport for high-value light-weight items.

• It is the fastest transport available.

• Gilgit and Skardu are accessible via air transport.

• Air cargo for perishable items to the Middle East has stimulated.

• People visit other countries via air transport generally.

Factors for Construction of International Airports:

• The flat road is required for runway construction.

• The relief and climate are also considered for the construction of international airports for smooth operation all year round.

• The location should provide the smallest route to other countries.

• International airports should be built in the capital city to facilitate foreign diplomats and delegates.

• The proper infrastructure of cities is also a requirement.

• There should trade and industrial centers.

Water Transport:

Keamari Port:

• It is a natural seaport.

• It has several wharves i.e. a place where cargo loads/unloads.

• It receives cargo ships, tankers, and containers.

Modernization of Keamari Port:

• Support facilities have been provided for the transportation, storage, and unloading of liquid products.

• To bypass traffic congestion in the port area, flyover bridges are constructed.

• The increase in the volume of cargo is handled by the rehabilitation of berths.

• Measures have been taken for environmental protection and keeping the seawater clean.

• The storage facilities in East and West Wharves have been expanded.

• Cargo handling has been modernized by container terminals at West Wharf.

Port Qasim:

• It is another natural deep seaport of Pakistan.

• It relieves the workload on Keamari Port by utilizing modern machinery.

• It handles raw materials for Pakistan Steel Mill.

• It combines functions of industrial zones and multi-purpose deep seaport.

• It handles the cargo containing jute, LPG, iron ore, edible oil, grain, fertilizers, and coal.

• Industries include assemblies, cotton textiles, chemicals, paper, and board.

Gwadar Port:

• It is located at the Makran Coast, Balochistan.

• It can become a milestone event in Pakistan's economic development. 

• If Gwadar Port is developed, then it will serve the country’s economy in the following ways:

- It will facilitate the export of Balochistan’s fruits and result in Balochistan’s development.

- If port Qasim or Keamari is affected in any way, then it can serve as a substitute port.

- It can serve as an entrepot for CAS helping both Pakistan and Afghanistan’s economy.

- CAS can open their warehouse at Gwadar port for storing export material.

- Afghanistan can also store their export material at Gwadar port.


• Telecommunication devices provide communication over long distances.

• It transmits images and sounds along the radio waves or wires by converting them into signals.

• They include fax, computers, radios, telephones, and televisions.

• The Internet is a new development in telecommunication, and it connects computers by satellite and telephone.

• The Internet allows the user to send/receive emails, create webs and visit webs anywhere in the world.

• Besides the internet, cell phones are also a recent development.

• Mobile devices allow people to communicate or access the internet wirelessly.

Importance of telecommunications in Pakistan:


• It can help in the promotion of education by making distance (online) learning possible.

• The internet is helping students in the classroom to take help and guidance from the resources and information available on the world web.

Industrial Development and Marketing:

• Easy and speedy access allows industries to help with new technologies as well as to order these advance types of machinery to improve the quality of products.

• Foreign companies can open their branches in Pakistan with the introduction of advanced telecommunication facilities.

• TV, radio and social media offer great advertisement and marketing mean to industries to acquire greater and international exposure.

• The Internet offers a mean to Pakistan to improve its export activities by finding market trends and opportunities.

• Pakistan can use the e-commerce market to increase its economy.

Shortcomings of Developing Telecommunications in Pakistan:

• Any breakdown or faults in the internet service can affect the industry’s functions and operations.

• Advanced telecommunications and the use of the internet and computers are reducing employment for locals because the literacy rate is low.

• Frequent load shedding in Pakistan affects the supply of the internet.

• Easy access to everything and all kinds of websites can harm local culture.

• Computers and other IT equipment are expensive when used in large quantities.

• The computer devices and IT equipment need to be imported i.e. import burden on Pakistan’s economy.

Government Plans:

• Development of needed infrastructure provision.

• Easy access of the internet by establishing internet cafes and centers at railway stations, post offices, pumps, and airports.

• The promotion of education channels for kids on television.

• Investment in training required skilled IT professionals.

• The development of the IT industry including software in Urdu and regional languages.

• Promoting internet usage in business and education.

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