A Phoenix Rises From the Ashes of Bakhshapur

Posted on January 23, 2008
Filed Under >Agha Waseem Ahmed, >Owais Mughal, Disasters, Economy & Development, Politics, Society
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Owais Mughal and Agha Waseem

After the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan witnessed widescale burning of Government and public property. Pakistan Railways got its share of bad luck. On the fateful night of December 27, 2007, the locomotive shown in the photo below was hauling Chiltan Express between Quetta and Faisalabad. When the train was 100 km east of Jacobabad, near the Sindh-Punjab-Balochistan border, it got attacked and burned by armed criminals at Bakhshapur Station.

While the criminals did the dastardly act of burning the locomotive as well as the coaches, people of Bakhshapur including the local nazim (mayor) provided exemplary help to stranded passengers by giving them shelter and food.
What is special about the locomotive in the photo is that it was burnt so badly that it was declared scrap. The railway workers at the Diesel Shop Quetta however, had different plans. They won’t take any engine as scrap. They utilised their workmanship and rehabilitated the engine within just 10 days. This photo was taken on January 12, 2008 and you can see the rehabilitated engine hauling a train again. This exemplary ‘can-do’ spirit of workers at Diesel Shop Quetta saved the country almost 60 Million Rupees and deserved this space at the pages of ATP. All in all 14 locomotives were burnt across Pakistan and 3 in Quetta Division. Between 2 other locomotives that were damaged in Quetta division, one is still under repairs while the other one is already back in service.

Angels of Sarhari

While we have noted the damage done to PR infrastructure by criminals, we also want to highlight the help given to stranded passengers by local population everywhere in Sindh. Following cutting is from Jang Newspaper where people of Sarhari (near Nawabshah) Sindh went out of their way to help passengers of Hazara Express that got damaged at Sarhari.

Photo Credits: Agha Waseem

ATP’s Other Posts related to Railways and Tramways in Pakistan.

1. The Trans-Balochistan Railway
2. Changa Manga Forest Railway
3. Lansdowne Bridge, Sukkur
4. Train Tickets can be bought from Post Offices Now
5. Khyber Pass Railway
6. Bolan Pass Railway
7. Khojak Tunnel
8. Chappar Rift
9. 3000hp Iron Horses of Pakistan
10. Karachi Tramway of Yesteryears
11. Lahore Rapid Mass Transit Rail Project

14 Comments on “A Phoenix Rises From the Ashes of Bakhshapur”

  1. Anwar says:
    January 23rd, 2008 12:20 pm

    It would not have happened if mobs of citizen had any hope for the future. In the absence of tomorrow, today is meaningless and it is this sense of meaninglessness among the masses that has contributed to nihilistic delusions. Sad it is but what we have witnessed is not different from other social hysterias our nation exhibits every now and then.
    It was however nice to read about help provided by nice folks to the victims of this carnage – so there is some hope!

  2. Agha Waseem says:
    January 23rd, 2008 12:39 pm

    Dear Owais,

    Great job. From the pieces you made a fabulous story.I think its a great service to let others know that the people of pakistan are not the kind that is portrayed, deliberatly with an intention, in the media.

  3. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    January 23rd, 2008 1:00 pm

    Hommage to Pakistan kay Jidaar log

    @ My Salaam to to the people of
    Sirhari locality who gave refuge to 1500
    affected by the cowardice of terrorists,
    for four days, its very emotional, Sirhari
    deserves a medal. Zindahbaad

    Pakistaniat Pa’indahbad

  4. temporal says:
    January 23rd, 2008 2:03 pm

    this is wonderful and highlights the indomitable spirit of the good pakistanis


    and then there are the bad ones that act and grab the headlines.

    i wrote recently about standing shoot to kill orders to the police, rangers, and the army … to be exercised when any public or private property is destroyed in any riot

    drastic perhaps….but is there any other way to convey the signal that destroying property is a no-no?

  5. Ali says:
    January 23rd, 2008 2:24 pm

    This shows very nicely that times of crisis can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Heartwarming to see the goodness of people being highlighted.

  6. January 23rd, 2008 5:01 pm

    This is wonderful! thanks for sharing this.. It may sound foolish, but I really feel like writing a thankyou letter to both the Engineering Shop and the People of the village of Sirhari!

    This is the kind of Pakistan I want to live in, the Pakistan of builders and consolers, not a Pakistan of looters and destroyers.

  7. Owais Mughal says:
    January 23rd, 2008 5:25 pm

    Dear Taban.Khamosh, your feelings are not out of place. If you want to write something for the workers of Diesel Shop, who rehabilitated this loco in record time, then we’ll make sure it reaches to them. I don’t have any contact for Sarhari people mentioned here so no promises there.

    You can send your comments at: http://pakistaniat.com/feedback/

  8. January 24th, 2008 5:43 am

    thanks for presenting this, makes a good day

  9. Kasim Mahmood says:
    January 24th, 2008 4:50 pm

    One of my engineering professors in USA mentioned how he once got stuck in a rural part of Pakistan when his car apparently died. He himself being a mechanical engineer and quite handy with cars was amazed how a local mechanic first diagnosed and then later using his genuine creativity, came up with a fix with limited resources and absolutely no state of the art tools. He told this during one of his lectures as an example of what separated a good engineer from an ordinary one. There are very creative people living all over Pakistan, who with the right opportunities can rise to their full potential.

    Thank you ATP for writing this story.

  10. MK says:
    January 24th, 2008 9:05 pm

    Tell me how in God’s name can any nationalist, terrorist, liberal, or anyone take this from us. The spirit and the courage and the dedication that is what pakistan is.

  11. January 25th, 2008 12:42 am

    It isn’t just cruelty, often the kindness of people can bring one to tears and restore his/her faith in humanity. Thanks to the people of Sarhari it is, for me, one of those time. May Allah(SWT) Bless them and spare our nation further torment and agony, if only for their sake.

    The accomplishment of the workers of the Quetta Diesel shop is no less amazing. There is so much creativity and spirit in the ordinary people of Pakistan.

    Many thanks Owais and Agha Sahib, for a wonderful article.

  12. syed sajjad says:
    January 26th, 2008 10:27 pm

    Hats off to the people of silhari, Pakistan. It just elates our spirits to know that the people across Pakistan share the same spirit of brotherhood and fraternity beyond the divide and prejudice created by our leaders.

    A great cheers for our brothers at the metal shop, Quetta division. We salute their spirit and efforts. Those of us, who are abroad, in whatever position, have a responsibility to improve the image of Pakistan and dispel any negative propaganda. Jeeway Jeeway Pakistan Inshaallah!

  13. February 6th, 2008 7:38 am

    These are actually pethatic people including poilitical personal.

  14. Jawaid Islam says:
    January 13th, 2011 2:45 pm

    So much happened that day, so much loss to the country of life and property and economy, the culprits have they been taken to task? No, but its heartening to know something positive about Zardaris while its just so fashionable nowadays to malign a man from that tribe.

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