ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered Federal Minister for Railways Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed to submit a comprehensive business plan for the Pakistan Railways in two weeks.

The court while showing its extreme displeasure upon the Tezgam tain incident also suggested the minister that he should have resigned over the said tragic incident.  

On Tuesday, while hearing a case related to the losses incurred by Pakistan Railways on second consecutive day, a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah expressed its displeasure over the poor performance of the national organisation.

The CJP inquired about the Tezgam incident of October 2019, killing 73 passengers, to which Sheikh Rasheed replied that a legal action was taken against the people found guilty.

“Can you tell us about the progress you have made in the case? All your records are in front of us,” the chief justice said while having a dialogue with Sheikh Rasheed.

“You should have submitted your resignation,” said the top judge, in response to which Rashid said that 75 people had been dismissed after the tragic incident.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed said, “we were told yesterday that two people were fired.”

 

He questioned, “you fired lower-level employees only, when will the higher-ranking ones be dismissed?”

Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed replied that they will also remove higher-level employees, to which the chief justice remarked; “We do not see this happening, you are the highest-ranking employee.”

“Minister Sahib don’t show people dreams, today you are running an 18th century railways. There is plundering in the railways department”, the CJP added.

The federal minister in response informed the court that he had been working 18 hours a day and had increased railways’ passengers by seven million.

“Even in 2020, your entire system is being run on ‘parchis’,” the chief justice remarked.

The court asked Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed to submit in court within two weeks a comprehensive business plan to make the railways profitable. The court also asked for an update on the up-gradation of railway tracks.

The court also warned the minister that if the plan to turnaround the railway department was not complied with, a contempt of court proceeding would be launched against him.

The court, while adjourning the hearing till February 12, also summoned Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Asad Umar, for not issuing the tender of ML-1—a cross country project being implemented under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The court also ordered to complete the Circular Railway Karachi Project in two weeks while instructing the Sindh government to cooperate with railways.

Meanwhile, talking to media outside the Supreme Court building, Sh. Rasheed Ahmed said that they would honour the court instructions. He said, “I would abide bty the Chief Justice even if he desired my resignation.”

He said that his ministry would follow the instructions of the Supreme Court in improving the affairs of Pakistan Railways.

“We are thankful to the Supreme Court for taking up this matter. We shall proceed forward in light of its instructions. We shall also request the court to settle the stay orders issue”, he said.