Means of Transport
Transport and communication systems are vital to the economic health of a country,and the density of the transport network is an index of economic development.As the economy becomes more complex and interlinked,adjustments and improvements must be made in the means of transport and communication.Pakistan,is a relatively large country of diverse topography.Development of Transportation network in the plain areas is comparatively easy and economically rewarding.The reverse is true of the mountainous areas and this fact is reflected in the present in the present distributional pattern of means of transport and communications.The density of the transportation pattern is very low in the Northern and North-Western hilly areas and in the Baluchistan Plateau.Vast tracts of land are either totally devoid of any modern facilities or very inadequately served.The following means of transportation are available in our country:(i) Inland transportation(roads and railways) .(ii) Waterways (river and ocean transportation and (iii) Air transportation.
1. Inland Transportation
(A) ROAD TRANSPORTATION
Road transport plays a vital roll in the economic development through mobilization of human and material resources available in the economy of a country.It facilities trade and opens business opportunities by collecting goods from the producing centres and distributing them to different areas where they are needed.It promotes foreign trading by arranging the distribution of imported goods and collection of indigenous products to be sent abroad it serves as a mean of creating link between the urban and rural sectors and facilitates the movement of the people all over the country.Such movements accelerate social welfare of the people and help the government in maintaining law and order within the country.It also facilitates the arrangement for guarding the frontiers through mobilization of defence store and personnel to the far flung border areas.It supports and compliments the working of other transport systems.Such as rail,air and waterways which have a limitation of not being extendable to every part of a country and as such,their utility as means of mobilization of resources is very much reduced.
Again,road transport does not require a huge investment and the return of investment made in it not spread over a very very long period.Above all,its maintenance cost is also comparatively very low and as such,its development,improvement and expansion can be effected easily and cheaply in comparison to other systems.
Road Transportation in Pakistan:
All the time Pakistan was created there was not much vahiculay traffic on roads except bullock carts and other animal drawn carts .But today the thronged with trucks,buses,station wagons,jeeps,cars and motorcycles.National logistic cell established in 1978 is performing great service by transporting essential commodities to and from Karachi Port Inland.
Although road traffic is increasing rapidly,the density of the road network is still inadequate and the condition of most roads is unsatisfactory in quality,width, and separation of up and down carriageways.Slow moving carts mingle with modern vehicular traffic and accidents and traffic jams are frequent.
The main roads of Pakistan are as follows:
1.Karachi to Torkham via Lahore:
This is the longest and an important road of Pakistan.It is also known as the grand trunk road.Its length is about 1735 kilometers.
This road links Karachi Port with other interior parts of our country.The import and export of Afghanistan goes through this road.All the big cities situated on this road are linked with other small towns and villages through small roads.In many regions,this road run parallel to the railway line at some places due to heavy traffic from Hyderabad to Karachi,it has been rebuilt and is known as the Super Highway.This road passes from the following towns and cities.Karachi to Thatta,Hyderabad,Nawabshah,Rohri,Rahimyar Khan,Bahawalpur,Multan,Khanewal,Sahiwal,Okara,Pattoki,Raiwind,Lahore,Gujranwala,Gujrat,Jhelum,Rawalpindi,Nowshera,Peshawar,Torkham.
2.Karachi to Chaman via Kalat and Quetta:
This is the second largest and an important road of Pakistan.Its distance is about 834 kilometers from Karachi to Chaman.This road beginning from Karachi passing through the remote areas of Baluchistan Province,reaches upto ,Chaman,a small border town near the border of Afghanistan.The products of Afghanistan ,such as dry fruits etc.come to Karachi through this road.Besides this the requirements of rural and urban areas of Baluchistan are fulfilled through this road.
3.Rohri to Quetta via Sukkur,Jacobabad-Sibi:
This is third important road of our country.Its distance is about 410 kilometers.This road passing through different parts of Sindh Province,connects various important cities of Baluchistan Province.The products of Baluchistan Province and trade with other province is mainly performed through this road.
4.Dera Ismail Khan to Quetta via Fort Sandeman:
This is also an important road of our country.This road connects the areas of N.W.F.P .with Baluchistan Province.This road also goes from Dera Ismail Khan to Peshawar via Bannu and Kohat.It has strategic and economic importance.The distance from Dera Ismail Khan to Quetta is 555 kilometers.
5.Third National Highway:
On the right bank of Indus River,a big highway is under construction.Its distance from Karachi to Peshawar will be about 1220 kilometers and it is expected that it will be completed upto 1993.This highway will connect the following cities:Karachi,Sewan Sharif,Dadu,Larkana,Shikarpur,Kashmir ,Dera Ghazi Khan,Dera Ismail Khan,Bannu,Kohat and Peshawar.
Railways are the convenient and quick means of transport of people and goods particularly heavy items,over long distances.
Pakistan inherited 8554 km.(5315 miles) of railways ,to which much addition has not been made.The extension work has hampered because of difficulties in maintaining and running the existing railways.The locomotives in Pakistan were run by coal.After the creation of Pakistan coal became a scarce commodity .Therefore,Pakistan had to change its engines from coal to diesel which required money and time.Workshop had also to be remodelled to to repair and maintain them.Another problem was the availability of railways are switching to concrete sleepers.At some places metre gauge track has been changed into broad gauge track.Besides this,electrification of Railway track from Lahore to Khanewal has been completed and work of electrification to Samasatta Railway track is under progress.At present, Pakistan Railways comprise of 8775 route kilometers,907 stations and 78 train halts.Its major assets include 753 locomotives,2339 passengers coaches and 34851 freight wagons.
Following are the principle routes at Pakistan railways:
1.Peshawar to Karachi via Lahore:
This is the main line of Pakistan railway.Its distance from Karachi city to peshawar cantt.is 1045 miles or 1682 kilometers.This line passing through Lahore (Pakistan Railway Headquarter) connects the biggest port of Pakistan(Karachi) with other cities of the country.The following are the important stations situated on this route:Peshawar,Nowshera,Attock,Hasanabdal,Texila,Rawalpindi,Jhelum,Lalamusa,Gujrat,Wazirabad,Gujranwala,Lahore,Raiwind,Pattoki,Okara,Sahiwal,Khanewal,Multan,Bahawalpur,Khanpur,Rahimyar Khan,Rohri,Khairpur,Nawabshah,Hyderabad,Kotri,Karachi.
It is a double line from Lodhran to Karachi and Lahore to Raiwind.Trains can go up and down lines simultaneously,but from Raiwind to Lodhran,it is a single line track and trains have to stop at various stations to pass the trains coming from the opposite site.
Electric trains are being run between Lahore and Khanewal and further extension work is under progress.It is estimated that the expenditure of oil consumption have been reduced due to the use of electricity,and a large amount of foreign exchange is being saved also.
2.Karachi to Quetta via Kotri,Dadu,Jacobabad:
This is also an important route of Pakistan railway.This line connects the port of Karachi with various cities of Baluchistan Province and reaches upto Quetta.This line has been further extended from Quetta to Zahidan via Nokundi ,Its distance is about 323 miles.
3.Rohri to Chaman via Sukkur,Larkana,Quetta,Chaman:
The distance of this route is 239 miles,it reaches from Rohri to Chaman,a town situated near the border of Afghanistan.The products of Afghanistan such as fruits etc.reach various provinces through this route.
4.Peshawar to Multan via Attock,Kundian,Mari Indus,Multan:
This is a branch line which reaches from Multan to Attock and meets the main line.
5.Lalamusa to Khanewal via Sargodha,Faisalabad:
This is also a branch line passing through various commercial centres and meets the main line near Lala Musa.