ISLAMABAD July 04 (APP): Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad
Rafique on Monday 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
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-i-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 clamoring 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.
The minister said that PTI had blemished the country’s face
during its sit-in at D chowk and badly effected country’s
economy. Once again he is preparing for protests, therefore it
would be better for him to fight legal battle instead of dragging
masses to streets. “We have no objection their filing references and shall contest the case.”
He said even the cases registered against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were baseless no corruption charges could be proved true against him.
Replying to a question, he said the government still believes in negotiation with the opposition on Terms of Reference but these should be in line with the constitution.
To another query, he said Imran Khan has no capacity to jam the cities as people are not in favor of those who threaten democracy and smooth functioning of the government.
He claimed that not a single corruption case was registered against the present government in any of its mega projects during last three years.