Azadi Train ready to begin journey today

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad—Azadi Train is all set to begin its one-month country-wide journey from Margalla Station Islamabad on Thursday to showcase different aspects of Pakistan’s culture and highlight sacrifices of heroes of the independence movement and armed forces for the country’s defence.
The multi-coloured bogeys of the train depicting culture of the four provinces, FATA, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan are ready to roll out, said Managing Director Carriage Factory Muhammad Yousuf at a press conference here Wednesday.
Behind the preparartions of the Azadi Train is toil and sweat of the factory workers under the guidance of its managers.
Muhammad Yousaf said Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique and Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid would inaugurate the Azadi Train. Diplomats had also been invited to attend the ceremony.
Sheraz Manzoor Haider, Chief Finance Officer Ministry of Railways and Incharge Azadi Train Sajid Bashir Raja were also present in the press conference. Muhammad Yousuf said after trvelling across the country, the train would reach Peshawar from where it would return to Rawalpindi on September 13.
He said the Azadi Train had three different parts consisting of six floats, six galleries and six operational vehicles. “Six floats will display the cultural traditions of four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK,” he said.
Two coaches, he said, were reserved for the armed forces to highlight the sacrifices of the war heroes and pay tribute to their services to the nation. He said another coach would highlight different aspects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and other development projects of the government.
The other coaches, Muhammad Yousuf said, would be allocated for the Independence Movement of Kashmir and Ministry of Railways. To a question, he said the Azadi Train would stop at all the major stations for three to four hours where musical programmes and cultural dances by the artists were organized by Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and Lok Virsa for entertaining the public participating in Independence Day celebrations.
As many as 20 artists under the auspices of PNCA would also hold a puppet show on national themes as part of the Independence Day programmes, he added. “Azadi Train is only an axhibition train and will not carry any passenger,” he said.
Muhammad Yousaf said the Azadi Train would travel across the country as part of 70th Independence Day celebrations and provide an opportunity to the artists to showcase their talent and earn as well. He said the train journey was jointly organized by Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage to mark the Independence Day celebrations. To another question, Muhammad Yousuf said the Azadi Train would cover around 4,000 kilometer distance within a month. He said that strict security arrangements had been made for the Azadi Train.

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