Inquiry ordered into tragic train accident under Railways Act, Fawad Ch tells NA
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Addressing the National Assembly Session, Fawad told the house that the Federal Government Inspector for Railways was reaching at the site for investigating the cause of the derailment and to assess the damage and fix the responsibility.
Giving the details of the accident, Fawad said at 03:38 hours, 18 coaches of Karachi to Sargodha Millat Express derailed and fell across the “down-track” near the Raiti Railway Station, and Sir Syed Express coming from Rawalpindi to Karachi collided with them. He said that the driver of Sir Syed Express tried to apply emergency brakes, however, its locomotive hit the derailed coaches infringing the down track. He said a total of 1,388 passengers were traveling on the two trains. He said the whole country was grieved over the tragic accident.
Responding to the points raised by some members, the minister said the country had been facing such accidents due to negligence of the past governments for years. Pakistan had inherited an efficient railway system, but it along with other institutions was ruined by the neglect of previous regimes, he added. He said both the PML-N and PPP during their rule went on the corruption spree and plundered the national wealth. They did not allow any institution to flourish, rather ruined them by stuffing political appointments, he added.
He said the opposition leaders were taking credit for enhancing the budget for Railways during their governments. Locomotives were purchased by the PML-N government, and Khawaja Saad Rafique was facing a corruption reference filed by the NAB in that regard, he added.
The minister said the PML-N government had spent some Rs300 billion on the Orange Line Train in Lahore. The Railways would not have faced such a situation had the PML-N spent that amount on its betterment, he said.
Similarly, Fawad said, the PML-N and PPP regimes had ruined the Pakistan Television, Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan International Airlines, and other institutions, and they had even no regret for that. Excessive political appointments, he added, were made in the said institutions from 2008 to 2018. On the contrary, the PTI government had so far appointed heads of 60 organizations, and none of them on political grounds. The minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan believed in merit and transparency, and that was why all appointments today were being made in line with his vision.
The minister invited the opposition to join hands with the government for judicial and electoral reforms, instead of using the parliament to get relief in the cases against their leaders. The minister said the PTI had emerged as the single federal party of the country while the PPP and PML-N were restricted to Sindh and Central Punjab respectively, and would further squeeze to limited areas in the next general election.