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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday noted that overall Railways in Pakistan is not being operated as per its rules and manual, therefore accidents are taking place frequently, in which precious lives are being lost and great damage is caused to the railways.

A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan, was hearing a suo motu regarding the performance of Pakistan Railways.

The chief justice said the Federal Minister of the Railways Sheikh Rashid told the press that 0.1 million people would be recruited in the Railways.

He said that people would be recruited in the Ml-1 project and not in the Railways.

Justice Ijaz said, "how come he [the minister] be so irresponsible, that we will employ one lac people on merit in Railways."

The chief justice remarked that they were unable to run the railways.

The court observed that the people at the helm of the affairs did not know what they had to do but to keep themselves relevant by giving statements in the media.

There seems to be nothing in sight by which the operation of the Railways in Pakistan could be improved, as not only infrastructure of the Railways is altogether bad and non-workable, but also its employees apparently not fit to operate the Railways.

There is a need for the government to take serious steps and overhaul the Secretariat from top to bottom to ensure that Railways operates in Pakistan safely.

"We expect that such measures will be taken by the federal government immediately to ensure that the Railways does not play havoc with lives, and properties are lost."

The Court ordered that a report in this respect be made available through the Planning Division within one month.

The Court directed the Sindh government 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.

The Chief Secretary Sindh was ordered to submit his report in this regard within two weeks, and the Chief Secretary Sindh and Commissioner Karachi were asked to be present in the court on the next date.

The secretary/chairman Ministry of Railways submitted a report regarding the up-gradation of Railways trough ML-1 project, under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

He said the PC-I of the ML-1 project was with the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for approval, and hoped that it would be approved in two weeks time, and after that groundwork would start.

The court expected that the ECNEC shall consider and approve the PC-1 of the ML-1 project as per rules within one month.

Regarding the KCR, the secretary Railways said that considerable work had been done in this regard.

However, there are bottlenecks because of nullah at Urdu University and a greenbelt near Nazimabad.

The secretary said if the Sindh government took immediate action and removed those two bottlenecks then the KCR would be completed and would be made operational.

The secretary also referred to the railway level crossings at which the Sindh government had undertaken to provide for construction of either overhead or underground paths, so that there was no eventuality of anyone crossing the railway line.

The case was adjourned for one month.

Meanwhile, the same bench reserved the judgment on regularisation of Railways employees.

The counsel of the employees informed that the workers in Railways were regularised under the policies of 1985, 2008, and 2012.

The secretary told that the new policy was under process.

He said the workers who had approached the apex court had been associated with the project and not direct employees of the Railways.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020