LAHORE - Ruling out possibilities of clipping nails of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has said that a stronger anti-graft body would be more active after Eidul Fitr.

“NAB will become a Tarzan and will work on both sides after Eid,” he said, while addressing a press conference at Railways Headquarters on Saturday.

Terming available draft of proposed amendments to the NAB Ordinance a fake document, Sheikh Rashid claimed that no such thing has been made public so far. He claimed that the ruling party was in contact with the Opposition for bringing changes in NAB Ordinance and the 18th Amendment. He said that the these amendments would take time.

He said that the PML-N had offered conditional support for bringing changes in 18th amendment.  “PML-N desired amendments in NAB Ordinance as well as ending of cases against the Sharif family”, he said, adding, it would be a big joke with the nation if demands of the PML-N or the PPP were accepted.

To a question, he said that Shehbaz Sharif wanted to flee again while expressing desire to be with his elder brother.

Referring to flour, sugar crises and IPPs reports, the minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would not spare mafias and would fight decisive war against looters of national exchequer. He said that the PM would not only complete his tenure but would also win the next elections due to his fight against looters and plunderers.

He said that sugar, flour and IPPs mafias remained part of every cabinet and protected their vested interests. He said that the mafias were still intact but the entire focus remained on Jehangir Tareen. 

He said that investigation commission on the IPPs had not been formed yet and action against the sugar and flour mafias had been delayed due to delay in the forensic report.

To a question about removal of Firdous Ashiq Awan, he said the former SAPM would now show up at the media from time to time to ask the question of why she was expelled from the cabinet. He said that the ex-SAPM might get a new assignment. He said that the PM had introduced a professional team in the Ministry of Information, adding that Senator Shibli Faraz would play on the screen while Asim Salim Bajwa would act behind the screen.

Referring to the atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir and targeting minorities in India, he said the Indian Muslims were looking towards Imran Khan and he (PM) would never disappoint them in the testing time.

Terming the lockdown a joke, he said that no one was following the government directions and businesses community was the ultimate sufferer as a result of the lockdown. He requested the authorities concerned to allow the small shopkeepers to open their shops. He said that closure of retail outlets would ultimately affect industries in Faisalabad and Gujranwala.

He said that millions of people were expected to fall below the poverty line and unemployment would become a big issue in future as a result of the lockdown.

He said the Railways had decided to set up 1,000 marquees on its land throughout the country to compensate its Rs 5 billion per month loss due to closure of train operations. All the Divisional Superintendents had been directed to set up marquees and food streets on vacant land, he said. He said railways operations would be restored within 24 hours of directions passed by the premier in this regard. “Our preparations in this regard have been finalized. A team headed by the Secretary/Chairman Railways and CEO has made preparations for launching 30 trains in the first phase and these would be immediately rolling as soon the orders for restoration of operations are received,” the Minister claimed. He said that there would be no delay in pays or pensions of the Railways employees despite hard times. He said PC-1 of the CPEC was in the final stage in the planning ministry and hopefully ML-1 would be inaugurated this year. He said that the current year would be year of revolution for railways. He said that such machines had been installed at Railway Stations which could detect coronavirus patients from 50 feet distance. He appreciated the workers of Railways and said they kept the outdated trains updated during the lockdown. He said that PSO and Attock Petroleum would be the supplier of the oil for railways.

He said the deficit was reduced by Rs 4 billion last year and this year’s target was Rs 6 billion but the pandemic ruined the plans. He said that he was trying to completely abolish the Rs 34 billion deficit of railways in five years but due to the pandemic, it was hard to achieve this target.