Retired railway drivers came to rescue passengers stranded in deserted places since midnight when senior serving drivers had applied brakes in accordance with their ultimatum to press the authorities for the acceptance of their demands.
In this situation, All Pakistan Train Drivers Association said that the strike would continue till the acceptance of all demands while association’s spokesman alleged that the minister had put the lives of the passengers at risk by deputing retired or junior drivers in locomotives. Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that 13 striking drivers had been arrested after registration of cases against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act for putting the lives of passengers in danger by stopping trains at odd hours in deserted areas.
First of all, in our opinion both sides are wrong because when train drivers were switched off the locomotives at Rohri, Mehrabpur, Khairpur and other stations in odd timings of trains ,they were wrong, because they created situation worst-hit passengers who paid for safe and timely journey. Secondly, Ministry of Railway did wrong to register FIR against drivers under Anti-Terrorism Act because in democratic societies it’s a common practise to register demands and grievances and call for strike. Luckily, Railways Minister is also a political worker and knows very well democratic values. He also knows how to make impossible to possible because its politics and first step is always negotiation. We believe he will avoid more confrontation and sit for table talks.
We consider Railway administration also responsible for creating this situation because Railway drivers announced on July 18 that they will enforce a wheel-jam strike which effects from July 23, if demands will not fulfill. At such a point it was administrative responsibility to engage drivers in negotiation and make sure plan’ B’ to handle the worst situation but failed.
We salute retired Railway drivers for courage and patriotism.
Directorate of Technical Education and Skills Development Gilgit Baltistan, TVET Sector Support Programme, convene Donors Conference for Sustainability of TVET
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