IT is indeed shocking that in the 21st century where other nations have progressed by leaps and bounds, our land is still chugging in the dark ages.
The recent horrible Tezgam tragedy in which over 70 precious lives were lost and more than 40 people were injured, most of them seriously, was an accident bound to happen, sooner or later.
There is no security check when you enter a railway station. One can bring anything aboard as accompanied luggage is not scanned.
The greatest disappointment was the manner in which Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid conducted his press conference after such a grim incident.
Imran Khan said a couple of years ago, of course, when he was not in power, that in civilised societies the minister resigns when a tragedy of such mammoth proportions takes place. Now he conveniently forgot to ask for his minister’s resignation.
Railway accidents under Sheikh Rashid have increased manifold. As a citizen, I demand his resignation and advise Imran Khan to put a competent minister as railway’s in-charge if he has one in his party.
THIS is apropos Dawn’s editorial ‘Tezgam tragedy’ (Nov 1) where Dawn wrote that the cause of fire in the train near Liaqatpur could not be determined.
The railway minister blamed passengers who carried gas cylinders. These passengers attend annual congregation at Raiwind regularly. Passengers of the train rejected the blame levelled by the minister and stated that the fire broke out owing to short circuit.
It is the responsibility of the railway staff to bring on track coaches fit both electrically and mechanically. It is needless to mention that train accidents have increased and three train collisions occurred from Dec 18, 2018, to July 2019, causing deaths of 24 passengers and injuring over 100.
Three fire incidents took place from June 2019 to October 31, 2019, killing over 70 passengers and injuring 40. Five trains were derailed from August 2018 to June 2019, injuring 36 passengers and leaving one dead. These are some instances which indicate lack of proper maintenance of track, signalling as well as rolling stock.
There was a time when a journey by railway was considered the safest mode of transportation in Pakistan, but now it has become dangerous because the railway track as well as signalling systems have not been effectively maintained.
There was a time when there was no railway accident in a year and at one time Pakistan Railways celebrated ‘no accident year’.
Since the railway minister blamed passengers who carried gas cylinders for causing fire and passengers claimed fire erupted after a short-circuit, it is necessary to determine the accident’s cause.
Therefore, a judicial inquiry should be conducted.
Syed Mushtaq Ahmad
Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019