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Two PR officials suspended over Pattoki accident

By Khalid Hasnain 2020-05-29
LAHORE: The Pakistan Railways (PR) administration on Thursday placed two of its officers under suspension in the wake of May 26 train-car collision at a level-crossing near Pattoki that left two newly-wed couples dead.

Earlier, the PR Lahore division authorities had suspended service of its three employees two gate men and a mate (Gang No-14) for showing negligence in performing their duties, resulting in the collision. The mate, Mahmood Ahmad, who, as per a preliminary PR report, did not shut the gate at the time of passing of the train (2-Down Khyber Mail) on Tuesday (May 26) and Allah Rakha (gate man), who left the duty place without handing over charge to his colleague (reliever) Ahmad Sarfraz (gate man), were arrested on Thursday. Police were also looking for Sarfraz who is at large.

PR`s divisional superintendent Amir Nisar Chaudhry, who visited the families of the four persons killed in the incident on Thursday to offer condolence, told Dawn, `We may also pay compensation to the deceased persons` families if our top authorities (minister, chairman, CEO etc) decide to do so.` To a question, he said the driver and assistant driver of the train might also be questioned in the inquiry ordered by the minister and the chairman.

According to a notification, the officers who were placed under suspension on Thursday are Yasir Rafique, Assistant Executive Engineer, Raiwind and Javed Iqbal Sherazi, Permanent Way Inspector, Okara. `On account of collision of 2-down Khyber Mail with a car between PattokiHabibabad section on May 26, the officers Yasir Rafique (AEN, Raiwind) and Javed Iqbal Sherazi (PWI, Okara) are placed under suspension till further orders and result of the inquiry committee report, reads a letter.

An initial inquiry had held two gate men and a mate responsible for the accident.

However, it did not explain the nature of the negligence on their part.

`I would just like to say that the Pakistan Railway has been facing a complete administrative and functional failure. It seems to be on the verge of total collapse,` a former senior official of the PR deplored.