- Over 500 accidents and 100 deaths in train accidents since Saad tooks over as railways minister
- No top railway official or minister sacked after any major rail mishap
- Corruption rampant in Pakistan Railways
- PM was about to sack Saad Rafique
- Imran Khan calls for action against Saad Rafique
- Arrest Saad Rafique remains a top trend on Twitter after children’s death
By Iram Salim
(Pak Destiny) Today yet another fatal accident at ‘ungated’ railways crossing that resulted in the killing of seven schoolchildren in Punjab has raised a serious question as how more such incidents and financial loss are required to convince Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to sack incompetent member of his team – Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique.
Today at Lodhran district, some 325km from Lahore, a train going to Karachi from Lahore crushed two motor-cycle rickshaws on an ungated crossing, killing seven minor schoolchildren and causing injuries to another five children.
At least 500 train accidents have occurred since Saad Rafique assumed the charge of Federal Minister for Railways in 2013. More than 100 people lost their lives while hundreds suffered injuries in these accidents. These include one of the most fatal accidents over a year ago in which 20 people, mostly army officials, were killed when three bogies of a special train carrying army officials fell into a canal and one other was derailed as a railway bridge collapsed near Gujranwala district of Punjab.
While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expresses concern on the train accidents, Khwaja Saad Rafique usually orders investigation to ascertain facts behind the train accidents. He often sets a 72-hour deadline to complete the probe. But such 72 hours of investigation remain ‘mystery’ in every rail accident. At the end of any so-called probe, a train driver or an employee stationed at the railway signals gets marching order… which reflects fundamental flaws in our system.
Pressure has been mounting on Saad Rafique to resign after one train accident follows another. PM Sharif had also summoned him after revelation of an internal audit report pointing out over Rs16billion corruption in railways besides massive corruption in its signaling system to explain his position. However he somehow manages to save his skin.
PM was about to sack Saad Rafique
A top railway officer told Pak Destiny that the prime minister had made up his mind to send Khwaja Saad Rafique home on the issues of “corruption, mismanagement, lack of investment and increase in number of rail accidents” but he himself stuck in Panamagate and the reshuffle in the federal cabinet was deferred.
Finding it an appropriate moment to again win over the trust of Nawaz Sharif, Saad Rafique started paying full attention to Panamagate proceedings in Supreme Court and spending most of his time to defend the premier and his children.
Imran Khan calls for action against Saad Rafique
Death of seven innocent minor children has moved everyone in the country. Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has said Saad Rafique should resign for yet another tragic train accident. “Saad Rafoque has left his wok and his main job these days is to protect the corruption of the prime minister,” he said, adding on this tragic accident a junior rank official would be made a scapegoat like in the past.
Arrest Saad Rafique remains a top trend on Twitter after children’s death
On Twitter #Arrest SaadRafique remains a top trend on Friday after the news of seven minor children’s death in the rail-motorcycle rickshaw collision broke.
There has been a strong demand of action against Rafique. “Why no criminal case is registered against KSR despite loss of many precious lives. He should be arrested forthwith,” reads a tweet. Another tweet says: “I am surprised as why PM Nawaz is reluctant to fire Saad Rafique who is bringing so much bad name to his government.”
“Saad Rafique should at least show some moral courage and resign after this tragic incident. He at least should follow the footsteps of PIA chairman Azam Saigol who resigned after PIA’s ATR crashed on way to Islamabad from Chitral,” suggested Hasan Ali on Twitter.