FAISALABAD: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed asked the media to refrain from supporting former president Asif Ali Zardari’s stance regarding toppling the government as the PPP co-chairman was a “thief”.
Talking to reporters and businessmen here on Tuesday, the minister insisted he would not take back his words against PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
He further said railway tracks could be doubled if the government provided his ministry the required funds. He added that Pakistan would be operating the most expensive Orange Train in the world. “We have repaired about 20 old trains and put them back on track and they were contributing to the national kitty. We are also constructing an LM-1 track where the speed of the train would be 260 kilometres per hour,” he added.
The minister announced to launch a goods train for the traders and industrialists of Faisalabad, and demanded 10-day rent in advance. He also praised the business community for appreciating the decisions of Prime Minister Imran Khan and federal Finance Minister Asad Umer.
The local Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership stayed away from the events of Sheikh Rashid, who was only accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib.
Meanwhile, family members of a railways department cook, who is allegedly missing for a few days, staged a protest demonstration at the railway station platform prior to the arrival of the minister.
The family of Khurram Shahzad said he had been missing for four days and the railway officials were trying to hush-up the matter instead of tracing him. On the pretext of an inquiry into an LCD screen theft, railway employees Muhammad Haji and Hanif picked up Shahzad from his house. The officials said he had been taken to Lahore for an inquiry, the family claimed.
Siraj Mahmood, a brother of Shahzad, said they did not know the whereabouts of his brother and were gravely concerned.
“I am also an employee at the railways department. If my brother committed a mistake or crime he should be brought to justice instead of being detained,” he said.
Mahmood alleged that his brother had been kidnapped and the officials who had taken him from his home must be grilled over this.
The family appealed to the railways minister to recover Shahzad and punish the people who allegedly kept him in illegal confinement for four days.
Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2019