Shehbaz desperate for an NRO: Sheikh Rashid

Railways minister says Pakistan would not begin its plummet into chaos in case of early elections


Shahram Haq December 09, 2018
AML chief Sheikh Rashid. PHOTO: AGENCIES/FILE

LAHORE: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid has alleged that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif broke his silence on the backdrop of a failure to reach a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) like deal with the establishment.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, he said Nawaz Sharif was not enthusiastic about a fresh attempt to strike a deal but his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif tried his best to reach an NRO.

“My old friend Shehbaz Sharif was dying for an NRO but he failed,” the minister said, adding the elder Sharif who was silent during the process has now decided to break all his silence since no NRO was given to Sharif brothers.

He said Shehbaz is enjoying his dungeon, where doctors recommended a nice temperature with other facilities coupled with frequent visits to the National Assembly. “I would never apply for a bail if I got such wonderful facilities in jail,” he added.

Referring to the recent statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding early elections, he said the country would not begin its plummet into a chaos if such thing happened.

“Whosoever performs better, public will choose them as their representative,” he said, adding that all dacoits are against early elections as they know people of Pakistan would once again vote for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Top judge rejects talk of NRO-style deal

He said the army and the judiciary are fully supporting the government to solve the crucial situation faced by the county. There is no doubt that army is supporting the incumbent government and they want country to come out of this socio-economic mess, he said.

“People of Pakistan are also observing what courts are doing to give justice to public.” Rashid said it was okay for the army to work parallel with the government.

“Modern economies have more than one governments, like in the United States there are almost eight parallel departments which acts as parallel government like Pentagon. The Pakistan Army is the backbone of our country”, he added.

With regard to the Pakistan Railways, the minister said the railways are currently expanding on its own resources. He further claimed that previous government acted as a procuring agent for railways whereas they were now moving with a proper long-term planning.

“The previous government procurement policy was not up to the mark, especially when it comes to purchasing 55 locomotives from General Electric. The deal cost 40 per cent additional cost, whereas the engine quality was also not up to the mark,” he claimed. “We have to bring down railways deficit and whatever initiatives we are taking now are through our own resources.”

Speaking about Main Line One (ML-1) project, the minister said this year all relevant decisions like its cost, mark-up and its execution process would be finalised. We want to simultaneously initiate work on other lines too, he added.

‘Sharif in no mood to mend fences’

“Such projects took much longer time, we want to initiate Work on ML-2 and ML-3 and two national agencies – the National Logistics Cell (NLC) and the Frontiers Work Organisation (FWO) have shown their interest in these projects. We want to work with Chinese to discuss, negotiate the ML-1 project and hope things would be finalised this month”, the minister shared

The minister said railways is entering into a joint venture agreement with the NLC. “Both organisations will use their locomotive strength to fortify the freight sector,” he said. Rashid also expressed desire to lease out 1,000 petrol pump sites along with establishing pharmacies at all available railway stations.

“Along with these initiatives, we are also auctioning the old stock of railway wagons through which railways is expecting to get Rs1 billion by December 31,” he said.

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