Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has dismissed reports of a rift between sugar baron Jahangir Tareen and Prime Minister Imran Khan, insisting that Tareen is an important member of the party.
“Jahangir Tareen is an important member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). I don’t think there are differences between him and the prime minister,” Rashid told a press conference on Wednesday.
“PM Imran has made it clear he will not spare those responsible for the sugar and wheat crisis in the country [earlier this year],” Rashid said.
“In the past, many had benefited from subsidies provided. When the [forensic] report will be issued on April 25, everything will be in front of everyone.”
Criticising the media, Rashid said the media had forgotten all about the coronavirus pandemic in the country and had instead turned its attention to the wheat and sugar report.
Speaking about the measures taken by Railways to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the minister said they had set up quarantine stations at every station.
“It doesn’t seem the lockdown will ease by April 14. If the lockdown ends by then, we will resume 22 trains,” he said.
He added that he was thankful to the prime minister and finance adviser for the subsidy provided to Railways.
Rashid further shared that one case of coronavirus has been detected at a Railway workshop in Mughalpura, where 10,000 labourers work.
“Railways is incurring more than Rs1 billion in losses each week [due to the shutdown],” he added.
In an earlier press conference, the minister had rejected the impression that there were now two groups in the government after the sugar and wheat crisis inquiry report became public.
The minister had said whosoever was involved in the sugar and wheat crises should get exemplary punishment.
He also claimed that he first raised the issue of the wheat and sugar crisis in the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) and cabinet meeting.
He had added that Asad Umar did not give subsidy to anyone, adding that Tareen had warm relations with the prime minister and this would remain so.
“The premier playing is as the captain and is changing the position of fielders as per the country’s conditions,” he had said in reference to the recent changes made to the federal cabinet.