LAHORE: Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique threw a challenge on Tuesday to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan to contest election against him after resigning from the National Assembly.
“Let’s face each other in an election to assess the public support,” the minister told a press conference at Railways Headquarters.
“People vote for political parties so that they can work for the country’s progress not for creating chaos.”
Rafique asked Khan to assure the government that his workers would remain peaceful during the PTI’s Azadi March and that they would not join Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers.
“Only then may we allow the PTI to hold a rally. The government will, however, not allow PAT chief Tahirul Qadri to launch an Inqilab March,” the minister said.
He called upon the PTI chief to act sensibly. “Gone are the days when governments would be toppled by use force. We are ready to resolve all issues through talks,” Rafique added.
He said the PTI’s Azadi March was uncalled for. He said Khan had himself won a National Assembly seat in Rawalpindi through ‘rigging’ in the form of character assassination of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate.
Rafique said the stock market had crashed due to uncertainty spurred by the PTI agitation. He said Qadri had no political standing and was wanted in several criminal cases. Earlier, the minister provided details of Pakistan Railways’ performance. He said two to three more passenger trains would become operational this year. He said 32 locomotives had been deployed for the freight operation – the number was between eight and 10 last year.
The minister said Pakistan Railways had decided to start a cargo train in September. It will initially operate twice a week, Rafique said.
He said railways had added 23 locomotives, received from China, to its fleet. He said efforts were underway to make its own locomotive factory operational.
Rafique said a Railways Freight Transport Company would be set up to transport 16 to 18 metric tonnes of coal from Port Qasim to coal-fired power plants.
A 13-kilometre track will be built from Port Qasim to Bin Qasim at a cost of Rs1.5 billion in two years, he said. He said the Business Train had been declared a willful defaulter.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th,2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ