–SC orders submission of report on losses incurred by department within six weeks
–CJP asks Saad Rafique to pay him due respect outside courtroom as well
LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar Saturday ordered a five-year audit of Pakistan Railways by AF Ferguson & Co, besides seeking a report on the losses incurred by the department within six weeks.
Hearing the suo motu notice case about alleged losses in the railway department, the two-member bench comprising the CJP and Justice Umar Ata Bandial summoned Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, who appeared before the court.
Addressing the court, Rafique said that the apex court should order an audit of the department for the last 10 years as proof of improvement in the railway’s performance. The CJP remarked that the audit is only conducted by powerful people.
Earlier in the day, CJP had enquired where the railways minister was to which the railway secretary replied that the minister had not been summoned to appear before the court.
“Please call railways minister, we will speak in front of him,” the top judge said.
When Rafique appeared before the court, he called the CJP “an honourable judge” over which the CJP said that you should also respect me outside the courtroom. The minister said that not only the nation but the government has also got relief from the steps taken by the SC. He added that his department had worked tirelessly for the betterment of railways and stated that they looked for SC’s appreciation.
The CJP said that he will appreciate the government after the audit report.
On April 14, the SC ordered the complete audit of Pakistan Railways, as CJP came down hard on Rafique over a meeting the latter had held with some people a few days ago, leading to speculation that efforts were being made to influence the judges.
The CJP reprimanded Rafique over his strong statements against state institutions, adding that the days when courts were disrespected are long gone.
“You know what your body language was at the place where you had gone a few days back,” said the CJP to which the minister said “I have relatives there. I had gone there for tea. Taking tea with my relatives is my right.”
Earlier on April 7, the CJP had taken a suo moto notice of over Rs60 million alleged corruption in Pakistan Railways and summoned Rafique and the secretary concerned.
The court directed the railways’ officials to appear before the court with relevant documents and apprise the court regarding the reasons for the losses.
The CJP had applauded Indian Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and said that despite being illiterate, he made the railways a profit earning institution in India. “His theory is now taught in Harvard University,” he claimed.