LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways (PR) has decided to arrange employment for the 25-years-old woman, who was raped by some staffers of its contractor (a private firm) in the Karachi-bound moving train, Bahauddin Zakaria Express, last month.

The PR is also set to provide considerable compensation to the affected woman—a mother of two kids. Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique also made a telephone call to her on Saturday night and assured her of his department’s full support, Dawn has learnt.

“We support you fully and we will not leave you alone. We have also appointed a senior lady officer as focal person to deal with your case,” a spokesman for the PR quoted the minister as telling the victim.

Later, presiding over a meeting at the railways headquarters, Mr Rafique, according to the spokesman, directed the private operator of the train to pay the woman all legal expenses being incurred on her case and others (if any).

“We will also arrange employment for this woman. We will keep following up her case besides providing her with financial assistance,” he pledged.

While reviewing progress of the department, the minister directed the officers concerned to overhaul 21 power vans and upgrade 33 others. He sought a feasibility report on shifting the entire railways stations (especially the major ones) to solar power. He also asked the officers to clear dues of the railway employees on a priority basis.

It may be mentioned that the victim reached Multan from Karachi on May 26 by train to meet her two minor children for the first time after her divorce. Her husband (a resident of Muzaffargarh) didn’t bring her kids to the railway station under pressure from his parents. Resultantly, she decided to go back to Karachi in the same train (Bahauddin Zakaria Express) on the same day. On the way, three staff members of the train took him to the AC compartment from the economy class where they gang-raped her.

According to the railways police, there was no deployment of the PR police officials in the train for safety and security of passengers as, under a contract, the provision of security arrangement in the train was the duty of the private operator of the train.

OPERATION: The railways Lahore division teams retrieved 11 of its 16 shops from the illegal occupants in the Garhi Shahu area and sealed them.

“On termination of the lease agreement, the shops were allotted to the new allottees through a transparent bidding process conducted by railways administration recently and previous allottees were bound to hand over the possession to new ones. But they kept carrying out the business activities with impunity,” said a spokesman for the PR police.

He said the operation was carried out under supervision of SP (Workshops) Mughalpura Malik M Attique, divisional engineer, assistant engineer Mughalpura, the SHOs of district police and railways police Mughalpura.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2022

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