Friday, July 19, 2024

Ever Deteriorating Status of Pakistan Railways

pakistan railway Anybody travelling by rail in Pakistan is exceptionally shocked to know that the political leaders have discovered misappropriations in Pakistan Railway during July 2011, whereas these have been continuing since 1950’s.

Railway journeys have been essential  for my professional responsibilities. Continuously for thirty five years, I have been traveling from
North to South and from East to West in Pakistan. Following lines give a very very brief representative account of how paid employees on duty play havoc with their responsibilities. Permissiveness of irrelevant facilities without any degree of supervision and check, and over looking of small misappropriations in departments has encouraged boost of crimes and corruption in every molecule of the entire body of whole social setup. Some suggestions form part of the details below for authorities concerned.

pakistan train

The legal permissions of free private journeys for the railway employees continue to be misused. This sanctioned facility has given birth to countless off shoots which have been devouring the resources of the railway department very mercilessly. Not only the railway employees and their families but also the whole chains of their relatives, neighbors and relatives of neighbors and friends have been found to be managing for making use of this facility. A railway employee feels proud of offering even his least familiar friends to travel by train without ticket, advising “BUS MERA NAAM LE LENA.”

In 1962, I was proceeding to the Ticket Window at Rohri Railway Station, when a railway employee in uniform stopped me and asked me about where I was going. When I told him that I was going to purchase a first class ticket (Top Railway Class in that era) for Sukkur. He addressed me in these words: “Why waste money. Journey is short. You simply pay me half of the actual cost of the ticket and I shall manage your journey till you are out of Sukkur Railway Station”. When I refused and resumed walking towards Ticket Window, he continued walking behind me with offer of further less money in the deal. I did purchase ticket but I had been very much shocked and disturbed. It might be frivolous for some readers but due to the nature of rearing and teachings at school and college by the most responsible local and foreign teachers, of my institutions, the incidence did shock me as it was first of my long journeys from Rawalpindi.

In November 1991, I boarded the train from Rawalpindi to Sialkot. I entered the 24-Seats part of the compartment. All seats were occupied. I had to keep standing. After the train moved from Chaklala, a ticket checker entered the compartment, had a glance at the seated passengers and then asked me to show ticket. I produced the ticket which he checked. To my astonishment he started moving to other compartment without checking the seated passengers. I abruptly gripped his arm and asked him to check all the passengers. With a miserable grin he said “They are relatives of my colleague, going to a marriage party”. I still reserve my ticket of that occasion.

In 1998, on sudden death of my sister in Sialkot, I had to travel from Hyderabad with a ticket without reservation in economy class. I requested the person responsible for on spot reservation to reserve me a seat, stating the reason for my journey. The man told me that he could reserve a seat for me if I could pay him some money.

In year 2000, traveling in sleeper class from Sialkot to Lahore to Hyderabad, there were two different family groups in my cabin, consisting of two men and three women. They traveled up to Lahore and the ticket checker did not even ask them to show tickets. They must have already settled affairs mutually.

Honest citizens perhaps do not know that there is another meaning of word ‘Oblige’. It is not in dictionary. This type of ‘Oblige’ means picking pocket of some unfortunate stranger to afford financial aid to a friend. Here is how I learned this from an aged railway employee in year 2004. A group of three elderly railway employees dressed in uniform, standing in economy class near my seat, had been discussing something in Punjabi language. I was alerted to a statement by one of them. The statement was “You know, I obliged him so many times but he is utterly a thankless chap.” I was aroused by abrupt urge to interrupt asking the man about the nature of obliging his friend many times. He proudly explained that he permitted and managed his friend’s railway journeys without tickets.

I have generally seen ladies with very long ‘Tusbeeh’ moving their hand and lips silently. They always travel without ticket and nobody checks them as the ticket checkers are afraid of their curse. In all fairness, these ladies must be heavily fined and charged as they deceive God as well as people.

We have poor men hesitating to attend the funeral of their nearest relatives due to lack of money for railway journey. All Pakistanis be treated impartially. The rotten custom of “Hardships to be equally shared by all, facilities for Government and the companies’ employees only” must now be abolished.

For a poor and seriously indebted country of ours, I have never been able to understand:-

A. Unlimited free private journeys, legal or managed, by railway employees including highly paid officers, whereas our poor majority postpone or cancel journeys even for very urgent reasons.

B. Free electricity to WAPDA employees including highly paid officers.

C. Free gas to gas employees consuming precious energy ruthlessly whereas poor man hesitates even genuine consumption to avoid high bills.

D. Profuse concessions in Air tickets and number of journeys for very highly paid members of government sponsored Air Lines. I have known PIA employees weekly flying to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia, simply to buy kitchen items.

This limitless permissiveness reflects that governments have never assessed the degree of poverty and helplessness of poor lot of the country and the oft repeated boisterous statements in their favor are simply because they are the casting-vote for the power chair. We have been getting foreign loans with ever increasing interests their on and still we have permitted New York facilities to civil departments.

Let us learn to live within our means. Except for the disabled and the special persons, no free of cost facility should be permitted to anybody, who so ever. Government, semi government and even purely private bodies must see that nobody gets anything free of cost, so that every penny is accumulated for the benefits of the poors. This will definitely result in the following:-

1- A lesson to live within our own means.

2- Equal treatment for all citizens.

3- Funds for better maintenance of Railway, PIA, WAPDA and Gas companies.

4- A lesson going deep to minds to avail of a facility only on payment of cost.

Above incidents are only a very few of the activities connected to the train and the on board employees. Activities related to other numerous sections of the department can very well be assessed. The resultant impression speaks that misappropriations in this department has reached a stage of ‘right’ and consequently there appears to be no remedy for that.


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Category: Social

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  1. Rameez says:

    @mashraf i agree with all of your facts our system is always supporting the people who have have wealth and contacts and no one cares about the ordinary people who makes the major part of the population of country.

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