A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Railways was held on Thursday at Parliament House. Issues taken up included discussion on the ill-fated Rawalpindi bound Tezgam Express and compliance report on various recommendations made by the Committee to improve the working capacity of Pakistan Railways.
Chaired by Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo, the members present included Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Brig. (R) John Kenneth Williams and senior officers from Ministry of Railways along with all concerned.
Reviewing compliance status of recommendations the list of railway accidents, as per Committee demand was shared. It was noted that one major accident and 10 minor ones took place from November to December, 2019. Accidents on account of negligence of road users were four.
Discussing the commencing of freight train service, especially with regard to the Afghan trade transit route, the Committee was informed that the service between Karachi and Chamman will commence soon. It was also revealed that a train to Adda Khel Dry Port will be startedl. The Committee was briefed that currently just 4 percent of the freight goes through train. Chairman Committee, Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo directed the Ministry that all out efforts must be made to begin this service at the earliest.
Deliberating over budget and expenditure of Pakistan Railways, the Committee took strong notice of exorbitant TADA rates; directions were given to present details in the next meeting.
Reviewing details of the Tezgam Express accident, the Committee shared details of eight missing bodies that was provided by the Madrassah administration who were travelling in groups for a religious gathering. The list was endorsed by seven members of the Shura, so chances of it being a hoax were eliminated. It was recommended that a forensic analysis of the ashes for DNA must be conducted left and right of the track once again be checked and local police verification must be pursued as well. Probing about the inquiry on the accident the Committee was informed that it is being reviewed by the Ministry and will be submitted to the Committee once the process is completed. The report was submitted to the Ministry three days ago.