A railways minister should mind the phenomenon that is the rail line, especially in Pakistan, where some of its 12,000 kilometres-long tracks are rusting. War and peace do not fall in his domain, except to ensure that the system is maintained at all times.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, however, seems to have his priorities wrong, for we often find the loquacious minister making forays into issues that do not concern him. The other day, he criticised the minister for science and technology for tweeting about a proposal, later clarified by the foreign minister, to deny Pakistan’s airspace to India. He said it was not the science minister’s job to talk about cabinet decisions. We wish the railways minister applied the same principle to himself.

Speaking at a function in Rawalpindi on Wednesday to express solidarity with the people of India-held Kashmir, Mr Ahmad said he foresaw a war with India in October or November. It is of course true that Narendra Modi’s recent actions in IHK poses a serious threat to regional peace, but what made the minister come to this rather precise conclusion, and was it really his duty to potentially create a public scare?

Those whose duty it is to keep the gunpowder dry to meet any eventuality know their job — they proved it well in February. For a government official to talk recklessly about war is an act of gross irresponsibility.

The minister ought to leave war and peace to the right quarters and instead paid attention to the issues plaguing Pakistan Railways, of which there are many. Wide sections of the tracks have been damaged by the ongoing monsoon, not to mention already crumbling infrastructure and chronic system failures that have resulted in all too many rail accidents in the months since he took charge of the portfolio. The minister once promised to revamp the railways within 120 days. His zeal would be best applied towards fulfilling this much-delayed pledge.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2019

Opinion

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom
18 Apr 2021

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom

Does the state of Pakistan, all institutions included, have the political will to address the runaway intolerance in society and
Ostrich approach
18 Apr 2021

Ostrich approach

The logic of blocking social media to contain protests is flawed.
Wings of mediation
18 Apr 2021

Wings of mediation

ADR benefits could ensure the expeditious settlement of tax disputes.
Banning Mr Rizvi
17 Apr 2021

Banning Mr Rizvi

Sooner than later, fanatics start to pull their own strings.

Editorial

18 Apr 2021

More cabinet changes

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has reshuffled his cabinet yet again in what is obviously another attempt to shore up his...
Blocking social media
Updated 18 Apr 2021

Blocking social media

FOR four hours this week, all social media platforms in the country were shut down, a measure the government said ...
18 Apr 2021

Peasant rights in Sindh

IN a seminar held in Nawabshah recently, the Sindh Human Rights Commission and Hari Welfare Association reiterated a...
17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...