Railways officer suspended over Tezgam tragedy after SC drubbing

CJP had grilled Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, saying he should’ve resigned after the incident


Waqas Ahmed January 28, 2020
At least 74 lives were snuffed out when a blaze ignited by a cooking gas cylinder blast swept through a passenger train which was en route to Rawalpindi from Karachi on October 31, 2019. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Hours after the Supreme Court rebuked Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid, a senior officer was suspended on Tuesday in connection with the deadly Tezgam Express incident that killed 74 and injured dozens others in October last year.

“In the wake of fire incident of 7-UP (Tezgam Express) on 31.10.2019, with immediate effect and till further orders Mr Jamshaid Alam, a BS-19 officer of Railways (Commercial & Transportation) Group, presently working as Deputy Divisional Superintendent/Passenger/Karachi is placed under suspension,” said a notification issued by the Railways Ministry on Tuesday.

The federal minister had assured the top court that action would be taken against all officials found responsible for the tragedy. He claimed that 19 people had been held accountable for the incident and the top management should also be held responsible.

'You should have resigned after Tezgam tragedy': SC grills Sheikh Rashid

Resuming the hearing of a suo motu case initiated by former CJP Saqib Nisar pertaining to losses incurred by the Pakistan Railways earlier in the day, a three-member bench of the apex court also expressed displeasure over Rashid’s running of the strategic national organisation.

“Your [Sheikh Rashid’s] entire performance is in front of us,” Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed said. “Why should you not be held accountable for the deaths of 74 people? What investigation was conducted? You should have resigned after the incident,” he asked.

On Monday, the apex court had remarked that Pakistan Railways was the ‘most corrupt’ institution in the country.

Tezgam train inferno death toll reaches 74

The county’s top judge also remarked that the railways should be closed adding that “we do not need such intuition”.

At least 74 lives were snuffed out when a blaze ignited by a cooking gas cylinder blast swept through a passenger train which was en route to Rawalpindi from Karachi on October 31, 2019.

The cylinder brought by some passengers said to be members of Tableeghi Jamaat on-board Tezgam Express exploded when the train was chugging past Liaquatpur city in the southern Punjab district of Rahim Yar Khan, according to officials.

The fire, fanned by wind on the cruising train, quickly spread to two other compartments of the train catching most passengers off guard.

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