The Supreme Court on Wednesday was told that an audit report on Pakistan Railways' finances during former minister Saad Rafique's tenure showed that there had been no corruption or irregularities in the state-owned company.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to losses racked up by Pakistan Railways allegedly during Rafique's incumbency.
A member of the company's finance department had earlier informed the court that it had faced losses to the tune of Rs163 billion during the PML-N government's tenure, and generated a total revenue of Rs180bn.
In April this year, the apex court had asked chartered accountancy firm AF Ferguson to carry out a forensic audit of Pakistan Railways to find out the reasons behind the colossal losses the department had faced over the last five years.
The former minister, who is currently in National Accountability Bureau custody, was presented in court today. His lawyer submitted the court-ordered audit report on Railways losses and told the bench that it didn't turn up any corruption or irregularities.
"But were there losses?" Justice Nisar inquired.
"These are not losses but a deficit that has carried on for the past 65 years," the lawyer responded.
The court ordered the auditor general and federal government to furnish their replies to Rafique's response.
Rafique also addressed the court, saying that before his term, Rs58m in pensions was paid to railways employees by the federal government, but during his tenure, the department itself had paid Rs21m.
"At least applaud this," he asked the chief justice, to which Justice Nisar responded that the PML-N stalwart would be praised when the matter is resolved.