ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed on Tuesday said Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed should have resigned after the train inferno incident which claimed more than 70 lives.
“At least 70 people had died. What action did the railway ministry take,” the chief justice inquired. Sheikh Rasheed said action had been taken against 19 people. The top judge asked low-level staff was sacked, why the high-level staff was not terminated.
“Action would be taken against top rank officers as well,” the minister said. Gulzar Ahmed said he was the biggest among them, so he should have resigned over the incident. “Tell us, why should you not be held accountable for the massive number of deaths,” he wondered. Sheikh Rasheed said if the Supreme Court justice wanted him to resign, he would do so.
The Supreme Court has given Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed two-week time to present a plan to turn the railway into a profitable organization. The court has also summoned Federal Minister for Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar for not giving approval for ML-I project. “If Sheikh Rasheed did not act according to the plan submitted to the court, then he would be subjected to court proceeding for contempt of court,” said the CJP.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed was hearing the case on Tuesday.
Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan asked from where the railway would generate finances for ML-I project when it was already facing billions of rupees loss annually. The federal minister said the deficit would be finished the same day if the government took responsibility for pensions of retired people. He said it would take five years to finish the deficit.
The court has adjourned the hearing into railway deficit case till February 12.
A day ago, Gulzar Ahmed had said that railway was the most corrupt institution in entire Pakistan.
“Nothing is functioning properly in the railway department. Its all records are maintained manually rather than making them computerized. The world is running bullet trains and we are still running 18th century trains,” the top judge had said in his remarks.