Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique has said the present accountability laws need revisions and there is hope that political parties in the Parliament would evolve consensus on the issue.
In an interview with a private news channel, the minister said the PML-N had raised objections when this law was framed. Even PPP had disagreed with it but later on the lacunae in could not be removed through the Parliament.
“Now, after the surfacing of the Panama papers issue, there is a hope that political parties would agree to some new law to make the NAB institution more vibrant and effective,” he said and added, during the PPP tenure in 2008-13 an effort was made to review this law but the then PPP government was strict to accountability for a certain period.
Answering a question about Maryam Nawaz’s running the state affairs, he rejected the notion and said, PML-N believes in an ‘order of working’ and all functionaries are performing in order of their portfolio and seniority. “Maryam Nawaz holds no public office and all minister are working as per their status and seniority.”
He said previously there had been corruption in Pakistan Railways and the money allocated to the entity was not used properly.
“During this tenure, we have improved its working and today 3500 luggage trains are operating annually as Railways revenue has surged to Rs 36 billion from Rs 18 billion in three years.” He said the deficit has also decreased and though it would not be overcome by 2018, yet railways would be stable by the time.
However, more railway stations would be constructed with renovation of many existing ones and punctuality would further be improved.
He said the issue of 125,000 pensioners has been resolved by automating payment of pension. Moreover, by 2018 all railways land would be computerized though vacation of all land may take more time.
Answering a question about Royal Palm issue, he said its management was defaulting every year and by the time they owe Rs 650 million to railways. For the last three years, they have not paid our revenue share and not the rent for last two years.Saad Rafique said, a case was filed against them by the PPP Railways Minister Ishaq Khakwani but no decision came in this case.
“Now, we have terminated their contract and also sent the matter to NAB. Let the courts decide the matter now.”
He said Pakistan Railways wants to run this club but will not let it become property of a bunch of people no matter how much influential they are.
“It is state property. I personally went to them to resolve the issue but to no avail. So, we had no other choice than to terminate the contract.”
Answering a question, he hoped that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would not cross the red line during protest against the government but no guarantee could be given about Imran Khan. He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and his party have no sacrifices for democracy in their record but PML-N, PPP, ANP and some other parties have a long history of defending democracy.
He said Imran Khan was clamouring on Panama Papers but himself has offshore company. The opposition’s Terms of Reference ToR were totally person specific as they wanted to target the Prime Minister alone.