ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) has instructed Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid to submit in court a business plan to uplift Pakistan Railways from it current condition, giving the minister two weeks time for the task.
A three member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the Railways deficit case,while Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah are other two judges of the bench.
The CJ expressed displeasure with the railways minister over his running of the organisation while hearing the case pertaining to losses incurred by the national organisation,
The chief justice asked the railways minister to inform the court about an October 2019 fire that had engulfed a train, killing 73 passengers when apparently a gas cylinder brought by one of the travellers had exploded.
“You should have submitted your resignation,” said the top judge, in response to which Rashid said that 75 people had been dismissed after the tragic incident.
“Yesterday we were told that two people were fired. You fired lower-level employees, when will the higher-ranking ones be [sacked]?” asked the CJ.
Rashid in response said that “We will also remove higher-level employees,”.
“We do not see this happening, you are the highest-ranking employee,” remarked the chief justice, adding: “Minister Sahib don’t show people dreams, today you are running an 18th century railways. There is plundering in the railways department.”
The federal minister responded that he had been working 18 hours a day and had increased railways’ passengers by seven million.
The chief justice remarked “Even in 2020, your entire system is being run on parchis (favours),”
Justice Ahmed said: “Yes, Mr.Sahib [Rashid], tell us what you are doing. Your whole story is in front of us. The railways will not function under your administration.”
The court asked Rashid to present a business plan in the next hearing, adding that if there was any deviation from the plan presented in court, action will be taken.
The court also ordered that the six-kilometre portion of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) be completed in two weeks and instructed the Sindh government to provide all assistance on the project.
Adjourning proceedings till February 12, the court summoned Asad Umar the minister of planning and the secretary of his ministry in the next hearing.