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Saturday Sep 15 2018

Rafique asks for one month's time to submit response in railways losses case

LAHORE: The Supreme Court resumed hearing a case pertaining to monetary losses suffered by Pakistan Railways on Saturday. 

Former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique was present in court as the hearing went under way at the apex court's Lahore registry.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar asked Rafique if he had read the audit report. To this, the former railways minister responded that he was among those who had helped the department become stable. 

"I am not here to be insulted," Rafique remarked, reminding the court that the code of conduct for judges does not allow them to insult anyone. 

Assuring the former minister that he was not being insulted, Justice Nisar said, 'Just respond to the question you've been asked." In response, Rafique said that he had come to the court to be appreciated but all he had received was an admonishment. 

"Submit your response and we will see if you deserve to be praised," Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said. 

Rafique then apprised the court that he could not respond to the court on a 1000-page report. "I am not an accountant, I cannot respond to the report. Please tell me where does the report mention me or says I was involved in corruption," the former minister said, lamenting that justice was not being served to him.    

In response, the chief justice advised Rafique to 'leave his arrogance at home.' "Correct your behaviour. What is it that you are so angry about?" the top judge remarked. "You had made up your mind at home that you will disrespect the court."

In response, Rafique said that he could not imagine disrespecting the court. He also stated that he had made his best efforts to improve the railway department. 

The chief justice then advised him to hire a lawyer and consultant. 

Citing his engagements pertaining to the upcoming election, Rafique requested for a month's time to submit his response. 

The court then accepted Rafique's response and adjourned the hearing.

The case

On April 7, the top judge had taken a suo motu notice of alleged Rs60 billion corruption in the Pakistan Railways. The top judge had also summoned railways minister, secretary and board members along with the audit report.

A week later, the apex court had ordered the complete audit of Pakistan Railways during the case hearing.

During the case's hearing on April 28, the Supreme Court sought a report on the losses incurred by Pakistan Railways. The report found that losses of Pakistan Railways stand at Rs40 billion. 


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