It is quite annoying and painful to know that 74 souls perished away just within few minutes and the administration was merely helpless to take any immediate action towards saving and shifting the injured to first Aid assistance or mobilizing them in Ambulances.

My Question is “Where are we standing as a country in Health Safety Environment and Quality Management standards”?

Are we completely following Safety Standards and protocols for accident prevention and control or we are still behind in these practices?

The answer is that we are not adhering Health Safety Environment and Quality management standard practices in any of our Public or private organisations / departments. May be We have lot of documentations and text /laws / etc available in files but in practical emergencies our response is quite poor and shameful in ER response and management in public & private sectors.

As Safety Expert & Accident Investigation specialist I also have privilege for frequent travelling in Railway due to my in laws residing in Quetta it’s a wonderful journey that connects all the four provinces and it’s a learning journey throughout for children.

I can assure that Safety Standards are next to none in Railway system. As I travelled few months back from Islamabad to Quetta the condition of Business Class cabins were not up to required Safety standards, the electricity and wiring of the cabin were substandard and the health and Hygiene conditions were very bad.

The Wash rooms were hardly up to required standards and very little improvement could be seen in general. But We always comment to gain some political mileage that Railway is improving.

We should stop lying and start concentrating to the very core issues that needs serious attention and strong administrative and monitoring management that can revamp Railway system in a better way.

During my travel to Quetta recently we witnessed mostly the security / train staff in the railway hardly bothers to move around and check for things that can cause hazardous situation was not alarming for me to witness.

As we leave every thing on Allah Almighty. Moreover the security walk through gates and scanning machines are just there to give an impression that we exist but mostly all of them are either out of order or malfunctioned due to improper use or bad management.

This is Tax Payer money we need to remember ownership lacks here in the very beginning of the journey. Coming back to the first stage Ticketing should not be issued under one name for many passengers but again we are either saving paper ticket or not entering registered travellers on Railway system?

Why are we so lazy or I want to add don’t the superior’s check these things that can later lead to serious mismanagement where the administration is clue less in the event of any incident for providing the number of headcounts traveling?

The Major Issue and cause of such incidents are due to Ownership of work related activities and lack of taking responsibility & duty in a serious and honest manner that lacks in our system from top to bottom.

I would like to add that every one wants to retire peacefully with out any issues and waits for some one else to clean up the system is mostly what we see in our working system, this could be added as criminal negligence in Administrative end that destroyed most of our institutions.

Starting from purchasing ticket till we reach our final destination lot needs to be improved and corrected to ensure Safety of Passengers otherwise we should be ready for bigger accidents in future if we don’t get our self’s prepared in Safety management.

As Safety and Accident Investigation expert I personally advise that we should not comment in an early stage regarding the cause of Accident as it is quite difficult to speculate such things until or unless we get solid evidence after conducting proper Investigation process.

How it is possible that the train is half burning and statements are being received that accident occurred due to Cylinder blast “was there a witness who saw this in the heavily burning cabin is a question mark?

As per my personnel experience many other things can lead to such disasters, the cause can be short circuiting, Fuel leakage , May be smoking or heating up of track lines and causing fire, explosion of mobile battery, May be Power Bank, it could be any thing?. Speculations can create more problems and issues and by doing such practices one cannot lead to real cause of accident.

Point is that how can we make our travel Safe and secure with 0 accident culture and practices . This needs lot of hard work with out any compromise every day every week 24hrs a day and 7 days a week work towards continuous improvement process is the only key for accident survivals.

In my personal and professional experience some of these elements if added can improve working conditions of Railway system.

Self Assessment and prior Audits, Creation of HSEQ Wing, National Railway Safety Board (NRSB ) Or Safety Management Authority ( SMA). Risk Reporting System ) Professionalism of workers, Cleaning Staff management, Walk through Gates functional and operative, Scanning Machines , and overall supervision can improve getting rid of substandard practices and management in Railway affairs.

Old cabins should be replaced with new ones, we should not repaint cabins and just add them in train system just to get quick appreciation but needs high level of professional ethics in this as human lives are involved in this regard.

Safety Checks, Safety Audits, Safety Equipment’s, Safety Teams, Training and Management Uplifting conditions of workforce, Making the Job interesting that employees fell in love with work and serve as National Pride, Hiring competent Staff, ensuring competence of drivers, Mentoring Systems for new hired drivers and staff, Proper Job descriptions, and Customer dealing management programs can surely improve overall condition of PaK Railway.

We can take example of China that how they developed Lasa Train track for which it took them nearly 100 years to full fill Journey and dream for the people of Lasa province which was one of the most poor and disconnected area from rest of the Chinese provinces’.

But commitment of Rulers and Hard work of workers made the dream come true and Lasa became one of the world highest Altitude stations that man can build is a master piece of Chinese commitment to their people a project with pride for the Nation.

This province became one of the richest as tourist visit this magnificent Master piece from rest of the world. Lasa and the people of lasa destinies changed as soon as this link was opened to the world for tourism.

It is very sad to see that we having infrastructure and even stations made but no life is seen in some of the very important junctions. Tax Payer money is spent in billions to make infrastructures but it is a shame to see that bufallows & goats are kept in or they are abandoned for lack of monitoring and supervision from concerned authorities.

It is need of that day that communication is made first class for Pakistani Citizens and no blame game should be encouraged between political arena and civil administration for covering up facts for sake of protecting their chairs or future.

The real future lies for making sincere efforts , eradicating corruption of all forms from departments and pave the way for finally serving the citizens of Pakistan I think it’s about time.

I would like to ad that with all that is discussed in media it is important that senior chain of command that is involved in operational function and safety of Railway and Passengers should step down or be held “accountable” as we lost 74 Pakistani lives & their loved ones demand justice and fairness from authorities, at least we can show them some respect and honour in this regard.

I sincerely hope that upgrading and efforts shall be made to overall Railway system with competent people who can deliver and serve nation’s key service provider to excellence.

We need to remember “ All Accidents are Preventable”

M. MISHAL .A.KHAN,

Islamabad.

Pakistani airports

It is very depressing to highlight the dishonesty of Karachi International Airport (KHI) workers. I am the resident of Turbat, Balochistan and I wanted to visit Qatar since my father is a employee in that country. I bought the ticket and it was the time of my flight at Monday night. I reached at the airport and boarding was being done. I showed my passport, ticket and other all of the requirements which I had. The checker made me stand aside, he checked other all of the travelers and let them go to take their flight. At last, he called me and told me that they cannot let me take the flight and go to Qatar. I asked, “why?” He told me that you do not have credit card and it is one of the rule and requirement of Qatar that every visitors must be having a credit card. I said it should have been told at the time when I bought the ticket. I am under 18 years and none of the bank in Pakistan issue credit card to me even I cannot open a bank account. He said sorry sir, we cannot do anything. My eyes were full of tears at that moment and I left the airport. Thus, I request the concerned authorities to take immediate action against these dishonest workers so that another visitors like me must not be deceived and their heart must not break down.

HAMMAL NAEEM,

Turbat.

Tourism In Pakistan

It may be hard to remember now, but there was a time when Pakistan was an important tourist destination. In the 1960s and 1970s, we were part of the acclaimed hippie trail when backpackers from Europe would cross the Khyber Pass and make their way through Peshawar, Chitral and Karachi. Now, ranked by the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, we are 122 out of 140 tourism countries. That is actually an improvement of three ranking points compared to last year, but if this is a victory for us, it is purely a pyrrhic. There are many reasons for the decline of tourism, but none is greater than the insecurity that plagues the country. From Kashmir to the northern areas and from Fata to Swat, it is simply not safe for foreigners to come and experience the best that the country has to offer.

The security problem would spoil every country trying to promote tourism, but our governments have hardly helped in recent years. Many of our museums are virtually empty because our heritage has been looted by private collectors who can easily smuggle items out of the country or exhibit them at home. The ancient civilizations of Mohenjodaro and Harappa have not received the attention of the government they should have and are therefore crumbling before our eyes. It took the government more than 10 years to submit a list of heritage sites to UNESCO so that it could receive money for maintenance and maintenance. Even then it left out many Mughal palaces, forts and tombs. A separate tourism ministry was established in 2004 to promote tourism in the country, but almost 10 years later it is safe to say that it has not been a success at all.

FASIH IQBAL,

Rawalpindi.

 

Train under ferocious fire

 

The whole nation was completely shocked to know about more than 73 people, more are on count, who were killed due to apparent blast caused by gas cylinder in Tezgam train in Rahimyar Khan, unfortunately, some of victims have been identified yet. According to some of the passengers, train kept on pacing forward despite ferocious fire; the brakes in the bogies were dysfunctional. Ironically, Gas cylinders are noticeably prohibited items that cannot be carried as luggage. What is very lacking is the responsibility of the railways to safeguard safety guidelines which are supposed to be monitored by authorities unlike Airport authorities which have far more stringent and strict rules to follow. Placing the blame on passengers without proper strict monitoring is tantamount to throwaway the incident in the same old junk-box. The concerned authorities must take the Health Safety measure to prevent such casualties and take vehement measures to ascertain the real cause of the incident. Let’s not make life is very cheap in Pakistan.

NASIR SOOMRO,

Karachi.

 

Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC)

 

The Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC) is changing paper-based documents to support commercial transactions. While the ECAC speaks for universally acceptable and reliable electronic transactions, there are a number of challenges that need considering. Although recently formed, and it being necessary to get accredited by the ECAC to conduct e-transactions in both private and public sectors, few businesses are registered and complying under the certification standard. The absence of robust compliance measures and/or sanctions will encourage few to part with their traditional ways. The high fee for applying and then registering can be irksome to some. In Pakistan, many businesses operate unregistered and are happy to do so. For them, moving to a more secured yet detectable enterprise can put one off. Additionally, cyber security and cyber legislation is already a fragile state of affairs, more constricting and less facilitating for the common man, hence the limited level of trust in government based institutions.

To be successful, allowing secured digital systems, cyber laws need to be strengthened and overcome their propensity to curtail fundamental rights like free speech. Businesses should be encouraged to register by providing a more commerce friendly environment. The fee should be based subject to qualification criteria that meet the size of the business. Additional training should be provided to entrepreneurs ensuring digital literacy and know how.

BARRISTER DR MOBEEN SHAH,

Islamabad.