By Akhtar Munir Bettani
ISLAMABAD: Special Azadi Train which started its journey on August 11, from Islamabad was witnessed by more than 10 million people while its historical galleries were visited by nearly six million visitors across the country.
Officer Incharge Azadi Train Muhammad Ali Chachar told APP that according to a rough estimate, nearly 60 lakh people visited the historical galleries of the Azadi Train during its short stays at various railways stations including Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta.
He said the Azadi Train was also visited by prominent personalities including Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique, Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Advisor to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui, Advisor to Prime Minister Ameer Muqam, Speaker Balochistan Assembly Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani, Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Asad Qaiser and Federal Parliamentary Secretary of Defence Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal.
The first destination of the Azadi Train was Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Peshawar city. A large number of people welcomed the Azadi train at various railway stations of KPK
including Peshawar, Noshehra and Attock.
After night stay, the train returned to Rawalpindi for three nights stay at Railway Station. Thousands of people visited the train’s historical galleries and cultural floats during its stay and showed keen interest in the floats representing the culture of all four provinces including FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir.
Later, Azadi train resumed its journey to other parts of the Punjab province including Lala Musa, Malakwal, Sarghoda, Faisalabad, Simla Hills, Gujrat, Wazirabad, Gujranwala, Lahore, Raiwind, Rahimyar Khan, Multan, Bahawalpur and Sadiqabad. On every station, a good number of people warmly welcomed the Azadi Train.
After that the train reached Sindh province amid warm welcome at all railways stations including Pano Aqil, Ghotki, Rohri, Sukkur, Jacobabad and Shikarpur.
After two nights stay at Sukkur Railway Station thousands of people witnessed the cultural floats, visited historical galleries and enjoyed live folk music.
After that the Azadi Train touched Balochistan province and the first station was Dera Murad Jamali, later Bakhtiar Dhomki and Sibi. A large number of people were present at all railway stations for reception of Azadi train.
After a night stay at Sibi, the Azadi train started its journey to Abigum, Mach, Kolpur and in the last Quetta city Railway Station.
More than three lakh people visited Azadi train in Quetta during three night stay. Speaker Balochistan Assembly welcomed the train and proposed that Azadi Train should be arranged twice a year to educate our youth about the history and culture of our country.
PNCA also arranged musical shows and entertained the visitors of Azadi Train. A large number of families and students also participated in the cultural and musical shows.
Azadi Train taking stays at various Railway Stations in Sindh reached Hyderabad and Later Karachi.
During three nights stay, thousands of people visited the cultural floats and galleries of Azadi Train.
During 45 days tour, Azadi Train visited a number of cities across Pakistan including Larkana, Khairpur, Sialkot, Narowal, Bahawal Nagar, Pakpattan, Kasur and Khanewal.
Talking to APP, people belonging to different walks of life including women, children and youth highly appreciated the government for initiating Azadi Train project on August 14, to educate and inculcate the spirit of freedom and patriotism among the people specially the youth across the country.
Directorate of Electronic, Media and Publications (DEMP) distributed more than 24 thousands booklets about Pakistan Movements and Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah during 45 days long journey. APP