- PTI optimistic of re-election in NA-125
- Rafique’s position weakened after NADRA report
- A number of financial scandals in PR exposing the minister badly
- PR’s expense has gone up by 10.5pc from Rs57bn to Rs62bn
- A total loss of PR swells to Rs27billion
- Rs10billion financial bungling
- Award of three train contracts to the minister’s favorites
From Raza Ruman
(Pak-destiny.com) Fate of Pakistan Railways (PR) Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique hangs in the balance.
If survived by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) revelation that about 150,000 votes cast in his constituency NA-125 in 2013 election are unverified he may lose his ministry for several financial scandals besides staggering Rs27 billion loss his ministry is facing.
It is surprising as how he manages to survive after the latest NADRA’s report of unverified votes of more than 50 per cent ballots. “We are very much optimistic that the court will call for re-election in the NA-125 after NADRA’s startling report,” says Ishtiaq Ahmed, a PTI leader.
Talking to Pak Destiny Mr Ahmed said Imran Khan had already declared that whenever this constituency NA-125 opens Mr Rafique will no longer be an MNA because massive rigging had been committed there. “This case is already pending in court and after NADRA’s report he seems to have no chance to survive. We have actually started preparation for the re-election in NA-125,” he said.
Citing the example of NA-122 where some 60 percent votes were not verified as per NADRA report and the court ordered for re-election, he said similarly on these grounds re-election in NA-125 is very much on the cards.
“Saad Rafique is using his political clout to safe his seat but he will not succeed this time. Let me tell you,” the PTI leader said and expressed the hope that in the next hearing Rafique may be sent home.
On the other hand, one scandal after other in the railways is surfacing, showing how poorly its affairs are being managed these days under Rafique.
After Rs10b misappropriation of funds and illegalities pointed out by the internal audit of railways, the last scandal about colossal loss of Rs27b has been unearthed. Its expense has increased to whooping Rs62b.
The latest report says, the gap between income and expenditure of the Pakistan Railways during the last financial year to June this year widened to just below Rs27bn, up by 8pc from the previous year’s deficit of Rs25bn, in spite of a surge of 13pc in its earnings from Rs31.92bn to Rs35.97bn.
The major increase of 28pc in railways expense is classified as “other revenue expenditure”. The general administration expenditure has also risen by 18pc owing to rise in pay and pension.
Overall the company’s expense has gone up by 10.5pc from Rs57bn to Rs62.91bn, well below the increase in its earnings, according to the monthly financial position of the railwFay sent by its financial advisor & chief accounts officer to the ministry recently.
The rising gap between earnings and expenditure shows that the cash-starved railway has failed to control its expense in complete disregard of its fragile financial health.
The expense figures do not include interest on foreign loans and the Rs40bn over draft drawn from the State Bank of Pakistan, appropriation to depreciation reserve fund besides repayment of foreign loans on replacement and capital accounts.
Improvement and welfare besides other revenue expenditures constituted a major chunk of spending with the former increasing from Rs65mn in 2014-15 to Rs74mn in 2015-16 and the latter from Rs16.83bn to Rs21.54bn. The general administration cost has gone up from Rs7.28bn to Rs8.62bn.
The operating expenses decreased from Rs18.76bn to Rs18.28bn while repair and maintenance spending increased from Rs14.08bn to Rs14.39bn, said the letter. Since 2011, the PR has been getting annually Rs40bn overdraft from the SBP which remained Rs34bn till the last day of the last fiscal year.
If the PR continues to be run this way sooner it will be defaulted and the federal government’s pumping of regular enormous funds into railways may not continue for years as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will have to intervene and eventually remove Rafique from this ministry to better manage the Pakistan Railways. – Pak Destiny