Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday berated the government over the Ghotki train accident and said PML-N and incumbent ministers are “paper tigers” who are politicking the issue.
Two express trains collided on Monday in Sindh’s Ghotki and killed over 45 passengers, while more than 100 others have been injured, said police and rescue officials.
The Millat Express derailed and the Sir Syed Express train hit it soon afterwards, railways officials confirmed, saying that the collision took place between the Raiti and Obaro railway stations.
A rescue operation is under way at the site of crash and the injured are being shifted to hospitals.
Bilawal, addressing the floor of the National Assembly, said a tragic incident has occurred in Ghotki, as he lamented that a poor person’s life is not safe during travel via the railways.
“They (government) do political point-scoring even when an incident like these happen,” he said, adding: “I want to convey a message to the affectees of the crash: We stand with you and demand answers from the authorities.”
The PPP chairman questioned why railway accidents were occurring repeatedly during this government’s tenure, adding they had not answered the questions raised in this regard.
Meanwhile, PML-N staged a walkout after Bilawal criticised the party and the speaker did not let former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal take over the floor.
Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, speaking on the floor of the assembly, said all the political parties were politicking the issue when they should be doing the opposite.
“We had immediately started works on the ML-1 project after coming into power,” he said, adding if he responds to the Opposition’s claims, they would flee the house.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, speaking on the floor earlier, had informed the house about the initial investigation findings. “1,388 passengers were on board both trains.”
The minister said the probe into the incident was underway and necessary tools have been dispatched for repairing the railway tracks.
“The railways have been neglected for several years, and that is why today, we had to witness such an incident,” he said, as he shifted the blame on PML-N and PPP.
“Had the past government invested capital in Orange Line Trains, we would not have to face such a tragic incident …. the people who ruled this country did not let any institution prosper,” he said.
The minister, taking a jibe at the Opposition, said they were making faces like they were unaware of why the incident had occurred. “The people involved in the downfall of the railways will not tell us how to revive it.”
Fawad said from 2008-18, political hirings took place in public institutions that led to their downfall and left them almost non-operational — may it be railways or Pakistan Steel Mills.
Further lambasting the Opposition, Chaudhry said they had refused to talk to the government over electoral reforms.
“When we speak to them about electoral reforms, they ask us to first [amend] National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws,” he said.
Chaudhry said the government aspired to take matters forward with the political parties, but the Opposition was just interested in getting their cases disposed of.