People welcome prayer section in trains

PESHAWAR: Crossing Pakistan in long-distance trips every day, hundreds of thousands of Muslim commuters will soon have their long-demanded prayer section as railway authorities have launched a plan to redesign all trains to accommodate Muslim worshippers.
"It was a long-time and legitimate demand, which should have been met much earlier," Saad Rafiq, the federal minister for railway told
"But, it's never too late. Thousands of passengers -both male and female- will soon have designated area to offer prayer onboard in each railway car," the minister added.

"Redesigning of the railway cars has already begun soon after the decision was announced. I have directed the railway authorities to accomplish the task as soon as possible," he maintained.
The redesigning of the railway cars, according to authorities, will be completed in phases. Long-route trains are being redesigned in the first phase.
"Redesigning of hundreds of railway cars is not an easy task, especially when you are running out of money. It will take time," Saad said.
"But let me assure you, it will take time but not long time- a few months," he maintained. Demanded by Muslim commuters for years, the authority has taken the decision to re-design the railways cars in order to carve out the proposed prayer sections.
The prayer section will have a digital compass to tell the passengers about the direction of Qibl'ah with the moving train changes its direction.
Saad, a senior leader of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) that has formed the government in the wake of a victory in May 2013 general elections, has accepted the railway ministry as a challenge as rampant corruption, bad governance, and lack of efficiency have brought this important mean of transport to a virtual collapse.
Numbers of railway passengers have ostensibly reduced during last five years due to lack of facilities, and inordinate delays.
"I have taken this as a challenge. I admit that it is not an east terrain to ride, but it is not impossible either," he observed.
"Creation of a passenger friendly atmosphere is the most-wanted requirement for the rejuvenation of railway."
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Railway authorities think that designation of special prayer section in railway cars will help attract the passengers who use other means of transport.
"Thousands of passengers do not prefer to travel by train because they do not want to miss their prayers," a senior railway official, who asked for anonymity, told

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