ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan Friday expressed its dismay over the performance of Pakistan Railways and directed to submit report within one month about reforms and retrenchment of its employees. A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprised of Justice Ijazul Ahsan conducted hearing of the employees’ petitions for their regularization.

The top court also ordered for the retrenchment of 76,000 employees and directed to immediately introduce reforms in Railways and get rid of deadwood and incompetent employees. The employees are not only incompetent but also disloyal with the department. The Railways requires complete overhaul.

During the hearing, Justice Gulzar inquired from the Secretary Railways that how many Temporary Labour Appointments (TLAs) are in the Railways. He replied that 2,712 employees are TLA and said that their salaries come from local government. The Chief Justice questioned that then how were they Railways’ employees?

Justice Ijaz observed that previous governments have legislated for the regularization of temporary employees. The CJP asked from the secretary that how many accidents took place during his tenure. He also asked the secretary that how many Railways engines and bogies were non-operational.

He further inquired that how many accidents took place in the last six months and remarked that Railways department had become corrupt. There is no report of these accidents. He asked that who would take the responsibility for the loss incurring to the national kitty.

Justice Ijaz observed that people were inducted in Railways on political basis and added that occasionally the government gave grants to the Railways. The Railways Secretary informed that there were total 76,000 employees, 142 passenger trains and 120 goods trains operational.

Justice Gulzar questioned why there were 76,000 employees while the Railways could be run effectively with 10,000 employees. He further said that with huge number of employees Railways could not be run profitably. When all the Railways factories were closed then what these 76,000 employees are doing, he asked.

Justice Ijaz said that Railways computers were shut and it was reported in the press that the Prime Minister was bringing reforms in the Railways. The secretary said that reforms were being introduced on six points. He told that there ws no computerized data of 76,000 employees.

The CJP told the secretary not to make speech before the court as the court knew what was happening in Railways. He said that lives were lost in accidents and its burden came on national kitty. The apex court adjourned hearing for an indefinite period.