LAHORE: A senior officer of Pakistan Railways resigned from the office in protest against ‘rough attitude’ of the Punjab Assembly’s Privilege Committee members (MPAs) for not following their orders that, according to him, were unlawful.

However, the MPA (mines and mineral minister of Punjab), who moved the motion against the officer, rejected the allegations as false and baseless.

The officer told Dawn that he was sick of fighting such a corrupt mafia since his appointment in the Pakistan Railways in 2001. “That is why I finally decided to resign from the office rather than bowing before the corrupt,” Tariq Latif, a grade-19 officer of the superior service’s railways group (30th common) currently working as director to PR’s chairman / federal secretary, said.

“You cannot imagine how much I was humiliated by the PA privilege committee chairman and the members — almost 40 MPAs at a recent meeting. And this left me with no option but to go home for spending a peaceful and honourable life,” Mr Latif, who also worked as PR’s divisional superintendent (DS) for Sukkur and Lahore divisions, said.

According to the resignation submitted to the PR chairman on Oct 1 (Saturday), Mr Latif said he joined the PR in 2001 after clearing the CSS exams (30th common) and tried hard to serve the department with devotion and to the best of his abilities. He stated that time and again, he had been a victim of the corrupt mafia operating in the country.

“On March 11, 2022, he was called by the privilege committee of the PA on a privilege motion moved by Mr Latif Nazar Gujjar, MPA from Faisalabad, who was calling me time and again, ordering for transfer / posting and not to stop fresh encroachments on railways land,” the PR officer said in his resignation.

Mr Latif said the MPA (Mr Gujjar) also called him for transferring a gardener from Lahore DS office to Nankana Sahib against a non-existent post. At the start of the proceedings, he said, the committee chairman and MPAs used words “Badtamiz, Gunda, Badmash. However when he sought permission thrice for speaking, the chairman and members used abusive language.

“I told them that I have right to go to court of law for using such an abusive language against a civil servant who didn’t follow the unlawful orders of the elected representatives. And finally they expelled me from the assembly hall. Same day, I was transferred from the post of Lahore PR division DS,” he explained. “In such circumstances narrated above, where a civil servant cannot perform his legitimate duties as per law, I hereby tender my resignation from the government service,” he concluded.

Mr Latif, while responding to queries raised by Dawn, said he took the final decision to resign after the committee summoned him again on Saturday (Oct 1). He said when he appeared before the committee chairman and members on Saturday, there were almost 40 MPAs led by the chairman and they humiliated him by using abusive language that was unbearable for him.

“The chairman appeared to be very furious for not attending calls by me. But I respectfully told them I didn’t do it intentionally. During meeting, the chairman and members were of the view that I should be suspended from the service and arrested with immediate effect. But I told them clearly that he would proceed to court if they took an action against him,” he maintained.

He said it was unfortunate to say that honest government officials / officers continue to leave government service due to such mafias operating in the country. “But I always performed my duties with dignity without taking pressure of corrupt mafias. But since I am sick of fighting the mafias, I finally decided to resign,” he added.

The minister said that in March this year, he tried hard to contact Mr Latif (the then Lahore DS) for solving various issues being faced by the residents of railway colony (Faisalabad). “The residents, my voters, used to come to me and urge me to resolve these issues. I called him on his cell number, but his staff told me to contact the official landline number. I also did that but he didn’t respond,” the minister claimed.

He said Latif’s arrogance forced him to move a motion in the PA’s privilege committee that summoned him in March. Mr Latif, he said, appeared before the committee and instantly, without hearing the allegations, became furious and challenged powers of the committee. He said even the then CEO railways also stopped him from doing so. But he left the meeting.

“He was transferred by the PR administration,” he added. He said later he was summoned again by the committee for Thursday, but he didn’t come. On Friday, he said he appeared before the committee. “I was not there. But I heard he did some wrong there again,” the minister said, terming him a psycho case. He said he never asked him for transfer of a gardener.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022

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