Only about one-third of the 500 train engines in Pakistan are said to be operational. Its railways are so unreliable that many people skip them altogether, and prefer to take a bus. As the story says, if you want to understand Pakistan, "see its railways."
For all the wonders offered by a train journey across Pakistan — a country of jaw-dropping landscapes, steeped in a rich history and filled with unexpected pleasures — it also presents some deeply troubling images.
At every major stop on the long line from Peshawar, in the northwest, to the turbulent port city of Karachi, lie reminders of why the country is a worry to its people, and to the wider world: natural disasters and entrenched insurgencies, abject poverty and feudal kleptocrats, and an economy near meltdown.
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