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Pakistan’s Supreme Court wants train travel to become safer

Hearing adjourned for a month

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 9, 2020 | Last Updated: 11 months ago
Posted: Jul 9, 2020 | Last Updated: 11 months ago

A medical staffer wearing protective gear in a train coach prepared as a temporary quarantine facility at the Rawalpindi Railway Station during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19, March 31, 2020. Photo: Online

The Supreme Court ordered on Thursday the Pakistan Railways to ensure that travelling by train is safe for everyone.

The government should take immediate steps to build people’s trust in our railway system, said the court while hearing a suo motu case on losses in the Railways department.

At least 22 people were killed after a train crashed into a passenger bus at a railway crossing near Farooqabad’s Jatri Road on July 3. Many lives have been lost because of train accidents, remarked the court. The Railways cannot be run like this. Even its infrastructure isn’t working properly.

“Our railway system is such that the train only follows the pre-existing tracks, while countries around the world are running bullet trains now,” said Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

The top judge expressed his shock at Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed’s statement on new hirings. Rasheed kept saying that they will hire 100,000 people. “The Railways already has 77,000 employees, where will the new ones go?”

The government, however, suggested that they may fire 21,000 employees. We are trying to bring the employee count to 56,000, said an additional advocate-general. Maybe Rasheed made a mistake while choosing his words, he added.

The court has asked the planning division to submit the report on the ML1 project and reserved its verdict on the regularisation of gatekeepers at the level crossings.

The hearing has been adjourned for a month

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