THE Auditor Generals report on the Pakistan Railways has identified no less than 4231 acres of land which were leased out without any contract. This was brought to the attention of Parliaments Public Accounts Committee on Monday, at a meeting of which Committee Chairman Ch Nisar Ali Khan, who is also the National Assembly Leader of Opposition, asked the Ministry to submit a report about the policy under which the Railways land would be returned in seven days. The report indicated that the Railways had not yet acted on the reduction of its overdrafts of Rs 21.859 million. The report also disclosed that, apart from not following procedure, the Railways had not recovered even the agreed rental for land used for agriculture or shops, stalls (khokha shops), parking stands, stacking, oil marketing companies, and other leases, totaling Rs 2.189 billion. As the PAC noted, this reflects mismanagement on a massive scale, to the extent that the Railways seems to be regarded not as a means of transporting people and goods efficiently and cheaply, but as a cash cow to be milked by its officials and their favourites. The department is obviously poorly supervised, even though there is an entire ministry on top of it. However, Railways land, acquired for expansion, has always been a target for unscrupulous elements. Railways land has been a perennial problem, because the Railways has not carried out the expansion envisaged by the acquisitions. Another problem has been the appointment of a minister who has a peculiar agenda, involving the award of a land transit route to India in pursuit of his Partys ancient pro-Indian agenda. The primary responsibility of any minister is to make sure the administration of the ministry, and of the department it is supposed to supervise, is carried out efficiently. The Prime Minister too should know that a coalition does not mean that if a ministry is given to a partner, it must be forgotten. The ultimate responsibility for maladministration is that of the head of government, not a coalition partners.