Pakistan Railways Minister, Kh. Saad Rafique, Summoned and Grilled by the Supreme Court

By Maryam Iraj

On April 7, 2018, CJP, Mian Saqib Nisar, took Suo Motu on the financial losses and embezzlement of Rs. 60 billion in Pakistan Railways, and summoned railways secretary, board members, and Minister of railways Kh.Saad Rafique, along with the detailed explanatory audit report.

Commercial transport organisations generate their revenue through freight sector and money is spent on passenger sector but practically Pakistan Railways was sending only 182 freight trains upcountry, lately. Consequently, it suffered the losses of 60 billion.

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar,  observed while taking the suo motu that Indian former railways minister, Lalu Prasad, despite his poor academic background, made the Indian Railways very profitable. He went on to explain, “Today, the reforms brought about by Lalu Prasad are being taught at Harvard University,”

In compliance with the summon issued, Kh. Saad Rafique, appeared before the apex court, 14 April 2018, in his well-known insolent style, but the Honorable Judge changed the flagrant narrative of Rafique for good. His conversation starter was,” App nay mujeh yaad kia” (you were missing me, to which CJP rebutted him with the following: You were summoned.

To no one’s surprise, Mr. Rafique went on to register his family background and told CJP that, “he is the son great Kh. Rafique.” Once again, CJP took the ever-impudent minister to task by letting him know that “he does not take after his father by any standard”. CJP further told to the railway minister, “Alas, you don’t follow even 1% in the foot steps of your great father. I did Jihad with him.”.

CJP further observed that gone are those times when institutions were disrespected by politician for petty concerns. Institutional sovereignty reigns supreme. “You should have seen what your body language was like. If you don’t respect the institutions, then no one will respect you,” Chief Justice reprimanded Kh. Saad Rafique.

The critical remark by CJP, Mian Saqib Nisar, was not enough for Rafique and he had the guts to tell the apex court that the statements made by him at different occasions were against his political opponents. “There is a misunderstanding which I want to clear. I can leave if you don’t want to hear me out,” Rafique said.

Here is one example of public talk with his intimidating and disrespectful style:

In response to Rafique arrogance, the Chief Justice replied, “We are well-aware of your intentions. If you leave the court then contempt proceedings will be initiated against you.”

The railways’ minister further added that there will be substantial improvement in the department in the next 12 years. Over which, the CJP remarked, “Should the court then allow you to continue your appointment without contesting elections for the next 12?”

Railway minister responded, “Railways is earning Rs.50 billion with a loss of Rs. 35 billion. It was rescued from privatization but the institution’s improvement will still take 10 to 12 years,” he stressed the statement before the honorable judges.

Minister is an avid twitter user and kept tweeting about his judicial experience yesterday:

While talking to media outside the court, he said:

According to Rafique, due to his honesty and diligence many of his friends in assembly are annoyed with him. He does not even draw his salary for job. Why would he need that as he is already making huge amounts of money through a lot of other means. This is the same man who is convicted in Ashiana Housing scam of billions by NAB.

In his hearing with CJP, Mian Saqib Nisar, was rebutted many a times for his traditional verbosity. At one occasion, CJP asked him to be silent or he would be exposed otherwise.

Pakistan has come to a point where Judiciary is stronger than ever. Its clean, crisp and articulate in the face of dirty politics of financial corruption and moral degradation. According to CJP, “I am doing Jihad. No matter how many big names you drop, I will only respond to merit”.

As Rafique was beating about the bushes, CJP asked him to come to the point and show the performance of  Railways or be prepared for the contempt of court case.

Fazed by the judge’s remarks, Rafique said, “You are our chief justice. You should give me a chance to speak.” This is the same man who threatened his opponents and judiciary many times in his public talks. His phrase of “lohay kay channay”  was also picked-up yesterday by CJP.

Here is Rafique’s infamous public talk in which he threatens those who will fix him or his party:

Yesterday’s experience of Rafique in court would change his opinion about the judiciary of Pakistan for good. Now, nobody can swallow and spit the institutions of Pakistan.