On August 7, Syeda Marzia Zehra became the first female station manager of Pakistan Railways (PR) only to be stripped of her position within a few hours.
The female officer from Pakistan’s Central Superior Service’s Railways Group couldn’t retain her position as Lahore Station Manager as a union of station masters allegedly severely opposed her appointment.
According to local media reports, the PRs’ administration immediately withdrew the appointment of Zehra as station manager, which was in addition to her exisiting responsibility as assistant transportation officer-1 (ATO-1), PRs’ Lahore Division, allegedly under pressure of the union.
“On Friday, the PR administration issued a notification, entrusting Ms Zehra with the charge of Lahore Station Manager. On this, the station masters association (Sampars Union) protested the decision of appointing a CSS (Central Superior Services) officer on the seat of station manager that is meant to be filled temporarily or permanently by the officials of the cadre of station master. Finally she couldn’t retain her charge even for a full day,” an official source in the department was quoted as saying.
“Appointment of a CSS woman officer as Lahore station manager and taking the charge back from her within seven to eight hours has happened for the first time in the history of railways in this subcontinent,” he was quoted as saying.
“The powerful station masters’ union didn’t bear her even for a full day. And finally the admin surrendered before it,” the source added.
Reportedly, Zehra had gotten the position after PR’s Lahore division admin removed Younas Bhatti from the office.
According to Zehra, the PR administration withdrew the notification of her appointment on the evening of August 7.
“Actually Mr Younas Bhatti was removed from the office on various complaints. After this a notification for my appointment as station manager on a look-after basis was issued on Friday. But it was, later, withdrawn the same day,” she was quoted as saying by local news outlets.
On the other hand, according to Pakistani media, the station masters were against hiring a CSS officer for the post of Lahore Station Manager. Union Central Chairman Muhammad Irfan reportedly said it was against the law and the civil rights of station masters.