Islamabad (HRNW): Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has condemned the Pakistan Railways (PR) for rejecting its application to run a special train between Karachi and Rawalpindi two days before the 12th death anniversary of the former PM and assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto to be commemorated in a public meeting at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat National Bagh on December 27.
Liaquat Bagh is the same place where Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Dec 27, 2007 during a 2008 election rally. Sindh’s Provincial Minister for Information Saeed Ghani on Sunday called Pakistan Railways’ decision partial, biased and politically motivated. PPP Karachi Division had sent an application to the PR to operate special train service for Benazir’s 12th death anniversary assuring it would abide by all the required procedure and make all payments, however the PR turned down the application. The provincial information minister claimed that the management of Pakistan Railways had taken such a decision in order to demonstrate its political animosity towards the PPP.
“We were given assurances by the Pakistan Railways’ administration when we contacted them, and now when we have completed all of our preparations, the management has turned down our request without mentioning any reason,” said Ghani.
“We had been repeatedly told that a response would be given to us in a day or two,” said the information minister, who is also the president of the PPP’s Karachi chapter. “We had even assured them of making a payment in advance to reserve the entire train.”
He said that thousands of supporters of the Peoples Party based in Karachi were completely prepared to go to Rawalpindi to attend the programme to mark Benazir’s death anniversary. He held Shaikh Rashid Ahmed responsible for turning down the application. Ghani said Benazir’s stature as a political leader was of international level, adding that she did not just belong to Sindh or even Pakistan. The attitude of the Pakistan Railways’ administration is condemnable, he added. According to a senior Pakistan Railways attributes higher number of passengers and overcrowding for being behind the decision of rejecting the PPP Karachi Division’s application. The number of passengers has increased particularly due to winter holidays of students, said an official of the PR. PPP Karachi General Secretary Jawed Nagori had submitted an application for the special train service to the divisional superintendent of the Pakistan Railways in Karachi on December 11. Through the application the PPP asked the DS to run a special train service having 12 carriages on the occasion of Benazir’s death anniversary, with the train leaving Karachi on December 25 and starting the return journey from Rawalpindi on December 27.