The Railways system of the country needs dire attention to expand the network and to improve the services being granted to the citizens who use this medium to travel across the country. A three-member bench -comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah - urged Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed to complete the Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar track – known as the Main Line 1 project (ML1) – in two years and the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project in the next three months. While this order has initiated a debate around whether or not the court can issue such directives, especially if we see it in comparison to the criticism offered to the work of former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar. However, courts can certainly provide a push in the right direction, especially if the executive and the legislative are tackling other issues.

This particular order, as confirmed by Mr Sheikh Rasheed himself, has resulted in speeding up the work. The plan is to not hand over the charge of the KCR to the Sindh government because the transport system in the province speaks a lot of their work and credibility. This is also one of the reasons why the government has not been able to bridge the gap between both sides and take on each responsibility on its own. However, Sindh’s improvement, be it transport needs to be channelised through the government appointed there, and a feedback channel needs to be devised in order to ensure that the work will be done within the time frame allotted to them.

The reason why it is also a hindrance that Mr Sheikh Rasheed will be in charge of the process and not the provincial government is because the project at this point requires a lot of cash inflow that the provincial government needs to find a mean of and approve. The Japanese have been interested in investing in the project but since the provincial government is not involved and there is a lack of trust and coordination, there are delays in the process. The court has suggested selling some land of the Railways network in order to finance the project. This should be considered if it is a viable option.

At the same time, the overall Railways system in Pakistan also requires attention and work. There have been complaints regarding the system since the government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) took over. We have also witnessed multiple incidents due to negligence of the authorities, and many customers also allege Mr Sheikh Rasheed taking credibility for former Railways Minister Saad Rafique’s work. It is pertinent to look into these issues and address them so that the customers are content with the services being provided at the moment.