Rashid suggests no-trust move to remove Shahbaz from PAC slot

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid says that Shahbaz Sharif is not acceptable to him as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman and he will do all-out efforts to oust him from the office under the Constitution.

“I have told Prime Minister Imran Khan that appointment of Shahbaz Sharif as PAC head is not acceptable in any case. So, I have told him that a no-confidence move should be brought to oust him (Shahbaz),” he told reporters at his weekly press conference here at the Pakistan Railways headquarters on Saturday.

Responding to a query regarding arrest of the Punjab’s senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan, he said he fully endorsed the PM’s stance of “upholding the law”.

“I endorse the PM’s reaction over Aleem Khan’s arrest that law should be equal for all,” he said, adding that the government didn’t protest Aleem’s arrest by the NAB.

He said various politicians, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, were called by the NAB, but most of them were abroad these days.

Mr Rashid said that those who paved the way for Shahbaz Sharif to become the PAC chairman shouldn’t have done that on the pretext of smooth proceedings of the parliament.

He was of the view that his appointment as a PAC member should not be an issue. “This is purely a discretionary power of the prime minister. When he (the PM) himself puts his name on the list of PAC members, there should be no issue with the NA speaker in this regard,” he clarified.

The minister said he had talked to Imran Khan about the NRO-related rumours, but he (the PM) straight away rejected such reports.

He said he had accepted Bilawal Bhutto’s apology over his recent statement against him. “There is no quarrel with Bilawal now. He gave derogatory remarks against me three times. I responded him with six in return. It is tit for tat. So there is no issue with Bilawal now,” he clarified.

About ongoing reforms in Railways, he said the last government wasted billions on the renovation of various “less important” railway stations, ignoring Lahore, Karachi and other stations.

“They spent Rs2 billion on renovation of the stations, including Okara and Narowal. Everyone knows well about the revenue of Narowal and Okara. But they ignored Lahore and Karachi, which generate a huge revenue for the PR,” he deplored, adding that now it had been decided to release Rs2 billion fund for renovation of Lahore, Karachi and other mega stations.

He claimed that stern action had helped PR in bringing down percentage of ticket-less passengers to 27 per cent.
“Our trains’ punctuality ratio has also improved a lot to 90pc,” he claimed.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019

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