ISLAMABAD - On the request of the Planning Commission, the Supreme Court of Pakistan Thursday granted four weeks for restructuring of Pakistan Railways.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed conducted hearing of the suo moto notice on the bad condition of Pakistan Railways. The court directed the Secretary Railways and the Sindh government to submit a report about the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

On the last hearing, the bench had directed the Planning Commission to file a report about the restructuring of the Railways within one month. The Sindh government was directed to ensure completion of overhead and underground passages on green-line at Nazimabad and Urdu University expeditiously to enable the KCR to run in Karachi.

During the hearing, Justice Gulzar noted that the bridge constructed by Britains at Kotri is still in good condition, while the Karachi-Hyderabad bridge could collapse at any moment.

He said, “There is no bridge on the Indus River that the nation can be proud of. The bridges built during the Ayub Khan tenure were still in better condition, whereas, all the bridges constructed later on are not in good condition,” he added.

The Secretary Railways informed that package-I of Main Line (ML-1) would be completed in three years in which state-of-the-art bridges would be constructed. The Chief Justice responded that three years are a too long time period. However, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said, “The Chinese lay railway lines in months.” He added that if funds are available, then the project should not take time to complete. Laying a track of 1,800 kms is not a problem for China. The CJP emphasized, “Good bridges should be built for Main Line-1 (ML-1).”

Karachi Commissioner also informed the court that the tender had been issued for fencing of railway stations in Karachi.

The Chief Justice expressed grave concern over the overall condition of the Railways and said that it is not being operated as per its rules and manual of Railways, therefore, the accidents are taking place frequently in which precious lives are being lost and great damage is caused to the railway.

He added that there seems to be nothing on sight by which the operation of Railways in Pakistan could be improved, as not only infrastructure of the Railways is altogether bad and non-workable, but also its employees apparently are not fit to operate the Railways. There is a need for the government to take serious steps and overhauling the Secretariat from top to bottom to ensure that Railways operate in Pakistan safely.

The chief justice further said, “We expect that such measures will be taken by the federal government immediately to ensure that the Railways do not play havoc with the lives and properties are lost.”

Later, the apex court deferred hearing in this case for one month for further proceedings.