PAKISTAN: The Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail expects that Pakistan will become its 49th member state in September, after the government deposited an application for accession to the COTIF convention on February 21.

The convention sets out a legal framework for international rail transport, and Pakistan's accession is linked to the Economic Cooperation Organization initiative to introduce regular container trains between Islamabad, Tehran and Istanbul.

There are longer-term ambitions for the freight service to be extended to western Europe and southern Asia.