ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has approved the design of development works for the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR). Issued contempt of court notice to Ali Shah. Project
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Muneeb Akhtar heard the suicide case regarding the huge losses to Pakistan Railways (PR). As a revival of the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project.
At the last hearing, the court had issued contempt notices to Railway Secretary Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani and Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah for the apparent delay in completion of the KCR project. The court observed that both the officials had committed contempt of court by not complying with their order and directed them as to why Karachi Circular Railway has not been made operational yet.
The court also summoned the FWDG in person for the next hearing. Explain why this project has not yet become operational.
On Thursday, during the proceedings, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that the Karachi Circular Railway project must be completed within two months. The Chief Justice noted that the overhead bridge and some other works are yet to be completed. He asked the Director General of the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) why he had not started work on the project immediately. The official replied that although he had sent the design to the provincial government, it had not yet been approved, adding that the contract for the construction of the underpass had not been awarded by the provincial government.
However, the Chief Justice observed that this is a public interest project so it should be completed as soon as possible and this project should be completed at a cost of Rs 5 billion as underpass bridges do not require Rs 10 billion.
Addressing the Secretary Railways, the Chief Justice asked him if he wanted to issue a third notice, as he had received two notices earlier. Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan asked the Secretary Railways, “You have to write everything in the report.”
The Chief Justice observed that the Secretary was not providing accurate information to the Railway Court. When the Railway Secretary tried to say something, the Chief Justice said
He was asked to submit his answers on the show cause notice first before his hearing.
Meanwhile, the court issued a contempt notice to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and directed him to file his reply within two weeks.
Similarly, the court also issued show cause notice to the Secretary Railways and directed him to file his reply within two weeks and adjourned further hearing.
Launched in 1964, the old KCR route started from Dry Road and ended in Karachi. After years of losses, it closed in 1999. KCR’s rehabilitation plan includes converting the old route into a mass transit system with a total length of 50 km of railway track expected.
On February 12, the bench directed the federal government to complete the KCR in three months apart from rehabilitation and upgrading of the Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar (ML1) railway track (1,872 km) in two years.
The court had also directed to clear five kilometers of land of Karachi Circular Railway from encroachments and to make the infrastructure operational within a period of three months and the help of Rangers and police could also be sought in this regard.
Similarly, the court in its letter and spirit warned of dire consequences if its order was not complied with and the ML-1 project was not fully implemented within the stipulated time.
According to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) website, the scope of the project is to double the entire track from Karachi to Peshawar, increasing the speed of passenger trains from 65/110 km per hour to 160 km per hour. In order to ensure the safety of freight train operations, trains have to be separated from the trains running at a speed of 120 km per hour, computer-based signaling and control system and grade.
Meanwhile, senior PPP leader and former senator Taj Haider has said that it is worrisome to issue a contempt of court notice to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who went into solitary confinement for 12 days after a positive test in COVID-19.
“Such contempt of court notices give the impression that the courts and their issues are separate from basic humanity,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Taj Haider said that the precedent is being set by our esteemed courts, only in the future of human societies the jurisprudential laws will not be followed. He appealed to the apex court to reconsider the contempt of court notice on the ground that the Chief Minister contesting COVID-19 has the right to recover before fully resuming his official duties.