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April 16, 2018

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Nawaz’s ouster damaged Imran, says Saad

LAHORE: Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique has said disqualification of former premier Nawaz Sharif has, in fact, damaged Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan also, and he will realise it during the upcoming elections.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of residential apartments for railway employees of three and four grades at Garhi Shahu here Sunday, he said that nobody gained anything from disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

He said politicians are human beings; they have feelings and they deserve to be respected. They should come to power and leave offices with respect and democratic process must continue, he added.

“Don’t disrespect politicians; don’t disgrace them, rather trust them as this is not the way to run a country,” he demanded. “We would not stay silent. We used to even speak against General Zia, General Ayub and General Musharraf as well,” he warned.

He pledged that apartments would be allotted to Railway employees purely on merit and preference would be given to those who had been displaced due to Orange Line Metro Train project.

The minister said, "Pakistan Railways has become a source of earning as we have introduced reforms in the department." He strongly condemned the firing incident at the residence of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and said the state should protect judiciary. He said it was a day of solidarity with judiciary. The culprits must be arrested. It was not acceptable in a civilised society and civilised country, he added.

He criticised the way the Senate chairman was elected. He said despite that he (Senate chairman) was given warm welcome in Lahore while he travelled from Islamabad to Lahore by train. He was given protocol and security as well.

He applauded the railway administration and said the number of railway passengers had increased due to sincere efforts of the current administration. He said the country had 150-year-old railway setup, while the world had acquired modern system.

He said around 7,300 employees had been regularised and salary structure revised. We introduced e-ticketing and the future of Pakistan Railways was bright, he said, adding that it must be depoliticised. The minister said that more than one decade was required for transformation of railways.

He said he worked vigilantly during four years of his tenure as the Railways minister. Unfortunately; he was disturbed for the last six months. Now most of his time is spent defending himself, he added.

He said those who raised the slogan of "change" did nothing in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. He said PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari should share his performance. He said that vote should be given respect. Unfortunately, majority was not accepted in the past, and subsequently the country was divided into two, the minister added.

“We were accused of rigging in elections. Nawaz was ousted; the country and system were undermined. Those who commit wrong will be held accountable.” On the occasion, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said his constituency was divided into six parts. He said those who could not be loyal to their own (dear-ones), how can you expect loyalty from them for others. “We will not let anyone come to power through engineered elections,” he warned.

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