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
14 Comments
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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

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14 responses to “A Phoenix Rises From the Ashes of Bakhshapur”

  1. MK says:

    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.

  2. Kasim Mahmood says:

    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.

  3. thanks for presenting this, makes a good day

  4. Owais Mughal says:

    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/

  5. 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.

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