Bangladesh inherited a railway system, which was inferior to ours, but it has since improved it tremendously. It has managed to import quality locomotives from China, because of more strict procurement procedures and checks and balances. Bangladesh has succeeded in controlling corruption and kickbacks within manageable limits through transparency and accountability.
There is no dearth of quality locomotives produced by China, provided those responsible for negotiating such contracts keep a balance between nominal kickbacks and choice of firm and its credibility. The head of Parliamentary Committee on Railways Mr Waqas has stated on television, that irregular procurement of 75 locomotives from a firm of ill-repute was turned down by ECC, Parliamentary Committee and PPRA, yet our controversial Minister for Railways wanted to go ahead with this controversial deed. Mr Waqas has also been reported by media to have stated that he was pressurized by ANP President to write a favorable report, which he declined. In spite of all this, a committee headed by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission was formed by the PM, which gave the go ahead. There is no role for Planning Commission in such matters, nor should it override decisions of parliamentary committee, especially when this deal had been rejected by all three forums. The Deputy Chairman PC is a retired IMF employee who holds foreign nationality and as soon as any accountability proceedings might start he can catch the first flight out with his briefcase. This only further emphasises the need to avoid appointing such individuals with split loyalties and dual nationalities to key sensitive policymaking assignments, where in case of any accountability, they can avoid it by seeking safe asylum in their adopted new countries, where their families and assets are located. Key slots in Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission, State Bank, National Bank, Auditor General, Foreign Service, PIA, CAA, PSO, OFDC, Petroleum and Defense ministry etc, should never be given to individuals who can evade accountability and scrutiny on pretext of their immigration status, or unsubstantiated medical grounds as has been done by likes of Hussain Haqqani who claim political asylum in countries whose interests they have sworn to serve.
MIR. TASSADAQ,
Lahore, April 7.