SC orders Pakistan Railways to curb corruption

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad ChaudhryISLAMABAD: While hearing a suo motu case regarding irregularities and non-payment of salaries to Pakistan Railways (PR) workers, the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ordered the PR authorities to curb corruption in the department.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the case. PR Chairman Arif Azeem, counsel for PR Rai Nawaz Kharal, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) additional prosecutor general and former Railways Board secretary Shafiqullah appeared before the court.

At the beginning of the hearing, the NAB official told the bench that in compliance with the apex court orders corruption cases in Railways were referred to NAB, adding that investigation was carried out in cases including sale of scrap and purchase of 69 locomotives.

He added that some of the cases referred to NAB were: reusing of lubricants in locomotives, corruption in Royal Palm Golf Club, Lahore, pilfering of valuable consignments from cargo trains, unauthorised payments of more than Rs 220 million by the PR Accounts Department and repair of 36 locomotives.The bench was apprised that as many as five passenger trains resumed operation in pursuance of the SC orders. The trains are Mehr Express, Shahsawar, Sandal Express, Marvi Express and Attock Passenger.

The court was also informed that under a public-private partnership Business Express had started operation between Lahore and Karachi from February 4. Whereas “expression of interest” was requested for four more trains – Shaheen Express, Fareed Express, Super Express and Lahore- Rawalpindi Rail Car.The CJP categorically inquired from the PR authorities that what changes have been made in ticketing system? The PR chairman pledged that they would computerise ticketing system.

Giving details of encroachment on PR land, the NAB official informed the court that within 45 days the PR had restored 771 acres of land from 2,000 illegal occupants.The CJP observed that computerisation of ticketing system would help in reducing corruption to 25 percent. He also ordered the PR authorities to issue pension regularly to retired officials. Later, the court disposed of the case. – Dailytimes