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Railways losses: Supreme Court seeks audit report in six weeks

LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Saturday ordered the authorities concerned to submit a report on audited accounts of the loss-making Pakistan Railways within six weeks’ time.

A two-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, gave this order during hearing of a case pertaining to the colossal losses of Rs60 billion incurred by the railways.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, who appeared before the bench in response to court summons, told the judges that not only the people but the government too has gotten relief because of the steps taken by the court.

He said they have worked very hard to set the railways on its feet, but are frustrated at their efforts not being acknowledged and asked the chief justice if he could say something in their praise.

Upon this, Justice Nisar asked them to wait until submission of the audit report to win praise.

Earlier today, when the bench took up the case, the minister was conspicuous by his absence.

Taking notice of his absence, the chief justice asked the railway secretary to explain as to where the minister was.

Upon this, he replied that he has not been summoned by the court for today’s hearing.

Justice Nisar asked him to summon the minister, remarking that he has not been granted exemption from personal appearance.

Separately, the apex court set a 15-day deadline for the Punjab police chief to arrest the key suspect behind the murder of journalist Zeeshan Butt in Sialkot.

IG Punjab Arif Nawaz informed the bench that the main suspect is still at large.

Zeeshan Butt, who was associated with a Lahore-based newspaper, was allegedly killed by a union council chairman of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) within the jurisdiction of Begowala police station on March 27.

Suspect Begowala Union Council Chairman Aslam Cheema has been at large since the registration of a murder case against him.

During the course of previous hearing, the IG pleaded for a week’s time to bring the culprit involved in the murder of the journalist to justice.

The bench turned down his plea for more time and directed him to ensure the arrest within four days.

The chief justice came down hard on the police chief over failure of the police department to arrest the killer, asking him if he was associated with any political party. Upon the question, the IG replied that the accused was affiliated with the ruling PML-N.

To a query, he informed that the suspect’s name had already been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

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