No salaries if pensions held any longer: SC to management

Published: October 29, 2011

MACHINERY: 468 is the approximate number of locomotives which are nonfunctional.

ISLAMABAD: 

The Supreme Court on Friday directed Pakistan Railways (PR) to immediately clear pensioners’ dues and asked for its departmental record to determine when faulty locomotives will become functional again.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry began hearing a suo motu case regarding delayed payment of dues to pensioners of Pakistan Railways. The chief justice said that Pakistan Railways is being destroyed for personal motives and warned that if employees were not paid, salaries of high-ranking officers, including Railways chairman, would be withheld.

The CJP expressed displeasure over the absence of Railways chief. During the course of hearing, Railway Board Secretary Shafiqullah said that pensioners are facing problems due to a shortage of funds, but arrangements are being made to disburse pensions as soon as possible. He requested the court to pass an order to allow them to draw their pension from the federal government’s budget like employees of other departments.

The CJP said Railways has been in crisis for the past four months and its management is guilty of neglect. “Pakistan Railways is a commercial entity and it should generate its own funds.” He said withholding pension from retired government employees is a violation of human rights. The apex court also ordered pensioners to open bank accounts close to their homes.

Shafiqullah said that 106 trains have developed faults and another 362 locomotives are non-functional due to mechanical failure. “Negotiations are under way with companies for repairing 273 locomotives.” The CJP asked him why he did not resign when Railways had practically ground to a halt. “Bad governance is the main reason behind the failure of Pakistan Railways.” He said PR officers have failed to deliver and if they cannot perform their duties, others should be given a chance.

The court also asked what steps are being taken to regain control of ticketing — which has been taken over by black marketers — acres of land occupied by the mafia.

Meanwhile, former railways minister Sheikh Rasheed informed the court he would like to become a party to the case since more than a 100 million people have been affected by the degradation of service.

He will express his viewpoint on the next date of hearing. The case was adjourned till October 31.

(Read: A game of brinkmanship)

Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Babloo
    Oct 29, 2011 - 5:43AM

    Well when you have Babur, Ghazni, Ghori medieval missiles named after Afghan feudals from medieval ages, who nneds railway engines ?

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  • kala_bacha
    Oct 29, 2011 - 6:39AM

    Broke Railways is the gift from ANP!

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  • Imran
    Oct 29, 2011 - 6:55AM

    Mr. CJ, when judges, and generals are drawing hefty salaries, there isn’t anything left for the ordinary people. Could you please declare the last salary hike of high officials illegal? Anything short of it won’t help.

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  • Fareedi
    Oct 29, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Since everyone else seems to be asleep… why don’t we hand over the country to Supreme Court to run…

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  • Pakistani
    Oct 29, 2011 - 10:29AM

    the Judges are the highest paid gevernment servants today. Can the CJ please respond to this.

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  • Haq Sach
    Oct 29, 2011 - 12:12PM

    Corrupt minister destroyed the rail system.

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  • Pragmatist
    Oct 30, 2011 - 8:13AM

    To all those who say that US Aid is not required, this is what will happen. Don’t EVER forget that it was American aid that sustained Pakistan’s economy and military. Once the aid dries out, this is what happens.

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  • Ajay
    Oct 30, 2011 - 10:56PM

    Recently Pakistan army wasted money by testing Hatf-7 missile to threaten India, this money could have been utilized to pay salaries of railway employees.

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  • tauseef31
    Nov 1, 2011 - 5:45AM

    Imagine the rot in Railways! Hats off to the Supreme Court. I love a judiciary that can play an active role in this rotten society through suo motto actions.

    I am sure and I hope the Chief Justice would take steps to ensure that the Supreme Court after him follows and improves on the path taken by him instead of slipping into an inactive domain. No wonder, the CJ is the most liked person in the recent Gallup survey of Pakistan and the guys who are in executive positions are the ones most derided by people.

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