Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Saad Rafique has also called for the dissolution of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) days after the same demand was made by his colleagues Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Rafique, whose party came into power following the success of the no-trust motion against former prime minister Imran Khan on April 10, asked for the closure of the accountability watchdog offices during a press conference at Railways Headquarters on Friday.
Rafique was given the portfolio of the railways minister by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He had also served at the same position during PML-N’s tenure from 2013 to 2018.
Saad Rafique and his younger brother Salman Rafique (Punjab’s former health minister) remained in the custody of the NAB for months on corruption charges during PTI’s three and a half years of rule. The PML-N leader said he believed in his personal capacity that NAB should be seized from working but the government must provide job protection to its employees.
Established during the tenure of a military dictator Pervaiz Musharraf, the anti-corruption body has long been accused of being a tool of political victimization of opponents by the government. The majority of the politicians from the incumbent ruling alliance claim one-sided accountability has been the hallmark of NAB and more so during the years of the PTI’s former government.
Rafique also outrightly rejected the PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s narrative, saying that the former prime minister was himself responsible for his government’s ouster and not the United States.
“He (Imran Khan) is stubborn, foul-mouthed, rude who wasn’t even ready to shake hands with his allies in three and a half years. His own party men and allies left him due to his bad nature,” he said.
He said his party would not remain silent on Imran Khan’s onslaught and would politically respond to it. “We cannot tolerate it further that you [Imran Khan] call us traitors and we remain silent,” he stated.
The minister also accused the PTI government of doing nothing to bring improvement to the railways in three and a half years. The PTI government had not taken a single step on the Main Line-1 project, he claimed.
Terming the project a backbone for the railways progress, the minister claimed the former government made no progress on it, saying the project could no longer be left dormant. He added the Pakistan Railways would re-approach the contractors (Chinese companies) for negotiations on the ML-1 and would hopefully succeed in getting them back soon.
Rafique said that he issued directions to re-start construction work on Sibi-Harnai track. He said he would reevaluate the e-ticketing project launched by the former government.
The minister added that the railways would continue outsourcing the trains in a transparent manner. He said all the employees posted on the key positions during the PTI rule will continue working at the same posts without any disturbance.