WPK 200127 PAK RAILWAY-1580136873302
People wait for a train at Lahore station during a foggy morning in Pakistan on January 17, 2020. The Pakistan Supreme Court has summoned top railway officials in a case related to monetary loss. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday summoned top railways authorities in a case pertaining to monetary loss in the department.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed directed Federal Minister for Railways Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, Secretary Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aijaz Buriro to appear in person before the court on Tuesday and explain why the railways was facing monetary losses and had failed to perform.

The bench expressed resentment over the railways audit report and remarked no other government department was facing corruption on this scale.

The bench also observed the locomotives Pakistan Railways had were old and rickety and passengers, who travelled by train, were risking their lives.

Chief Justice Gulzar also asked about the follow-up of Tezgam train inferno in October last year, in which 73 people were killed. Fire had broken out in a compartment of Tezgam when the train was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi.

The departments’ counsel responded that an inquiry against this was currently under way.

Justice Gulzar pointed out that the Railways department had failed to install proper tracks and signals to ensure safety of the passengers.

At a time when other countries are venturing into bullet trains and improving the entire infrastructure according to modern needs, we are still lacking in advanced passenger and goods trains, he said.

The court expressed its disappointment at the performance of the institution and said “a person should first travel by train before taking over the ministry”.

The entire Railway department indulges in corruption and elements of public service and delivery is missing.

The bench said that railways was the most corrupt department of Pakistan where only lip service is being done instead of making any real change.

“The records are not computerised,” the bench remarked adding, “the stations and railway tracks are in jeopardy. Every passenger travelling by train is in danger. The freight trains are also not operating,” said the bench.

Gulzar also criticised the minister and said that he should do a better job of handling the ministry.

“The whole institution is politicised,” CJP added.