Tag Archive: Railways

It is very easy to find a scapegoat for anything which goes wrong in the public sector. The easiest scapegoat in this country is hapless bureaucrat. Even those who are decision makers (politicians) lay the blame at the doors of bureaucracy.

There are many public sector entities which have been sunk along with massive funds of taxpayers money due to corrupt practices of politicians, their reckless governance and the politics of nepotism. It has now been clearly established that people who try to reach the corridors of power through “democracy” use every fair or unfair means including cheating and fraudulent practices. Imagine when these people are entrusted the management of economic resources, what they would do to these resources and the public sector entities.

Take the examples of PIA, PSM, PR to name a few. When these were run by bureaucrats of professionals, these entities were doing their jobs properly but when politicians were allowed to interfere, these were destroyed. Express Tribune, its latest edition has taken up the hopeless case of Pakistan Railways and, as usual, has tried to pass the buck on to the bureaucracy. The paper writes that  Pakistan Railways has hit a new low because of corrupt and incapable officers, delay in train schedule and frequent locomotive breakdowns. Only 250 of a total of 550 Pakistan Railways locomotives are fit for running, according to sources. The paper has ignored the role of a very “clean” minister who only recently was advocating on a TV talk show that those belonging to his constituency deserve Railway jobs more than those who meet the criteria. He even sacked a lady officer who refused to accept his list of potential recruits.

The paper will be well-advised to carry out a research on how and when Pakistan Railways started sinking. There was a time when out of 80,000 something employees, 38,000 were recruited by the three Railway Ministers, one each during Zia, BB and MNS regimes. These people had no jobs but were on the payroll. They were either rickshaw drivers, khokhawallahs, shopkeepers or simple workers but they were enrolled nonetheless. They would receive their pay on first of the month, overtime on 16th and even TA/DA on the specified date.

It was for the first time after these ministers’ excesses to the Railways that it started taking massive overdraft from SBP and started sinking. Consequently, it had no funds for development and expansion.

Instead of passing the buck on to easy preys, the critics should carry out objective analysis.

Do you have any idea how management of another State Enterprise, a national flag carrier has mis-managed Pakistan International Airlines Corporation. With its aircrafts packed to capacity and with its misplaced economy in the areas of passenger service, it is still running into losses to the tune of billions. Like Pakistan Steel, it is on the lifeline provided by the Government in the form of bail-out package every now and then. These packages alone are going to sink the national ship of economy. For how long will the poor masses pay for inefficiencies and corruption in the high places in Public Sector entities?

And mind you, PIA has all the elements of a vibrant organization. It has 40 aircrafts flying to 59 destinations. Its slogan proudly says, come fly with us. But it seems that the only thing flying these days is cash out of PIA coffers. It is the same organization which was in dire straits in the 90s but recovered in 2000 onwards.  It was earning profit till 2004 (Rs. 2.31 billion) where after it started losing altitude and eventually was nose diving. At the end of 2008, it had a loss of Rs. 36 billion. Major reason for its downfall is its number of employees per aircraft which is highest in the world. Since it has a very attractive compensation package, every political party tried to stuff it with its workers or the ministers and MPs sold PIA jobs during their regime. Steel Mills, Railways and PIA are going to destroy Pakistan if their management is not corrected and they continue to breathe under oxygen tent of bailout packages.