Supreme Court gives four weeks to overhaul railways

Torrential rains: Alert issued for Sindh train drivers
Torrential rains: Alert issued for Sindh train drivers

ISLAMABAD (Khyber News): SC on Thursday gave the government four more weeks to overhaul loss-making Pakistan Railways in order to turn it into a profit-making national entity.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed issued these directions while hearing a suo moto case pertaining to financial losses the Railways department has been inflicting on the national exchequer.

The court gave the four-week extension for the restructuring of Railways on the request of the Planning Commission. The court also issued directives to the Sindh government and the Railways Ministry to submit a report regarding Karachi’s circular railway project.

CJP Gulzar Ahmed expressed reservations regarding the timeline for the completion of the much-touted ML-1 project after he was informed that the multibillion-dollar project, being built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), will be completed within three years.

“Three years is a lot. China lays down railway lines in months. If funds are available, so much time should not be spent completing the project,” CJP Gulzar remarked after the secretary Railways told him the project will take three years to complete. He also said that laying down a 1,800-kilometer railway track was not a problem for China.

The CJP warned officials that the Karachi to Hyderabad railway bridge could collapse at any moment. He compared the bridge with a railway bridge in Kotri built by the British before independence, noting that the latter was in “good condition” even today.

“There is not a single bridge over the Indus that the nation can be proud of,” CJP Gulzar regretted. He added that the Ayub Bridge built during former president Ayub Khan’s era was the only bridge that could be considered “beautiful”.

“Good bridges should be built for ML-1,” the judge urged the railway officials present at the hearing. He also directed them to “respect” the Indus as well during the construction because it “runs the country’s economy”.

The secretary assured the CJP that state-of-the-art bridges will be built under the ML-1 project.

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