Imran Khan calls for ‘out of the box’ reforms

Khan promised his audience that his administration would protect civil servants from such external pressures and set up a merit-based system. (Photo courtesy: Imran Khan/Facebook)
Updated 14 September 2018

Imran Khan calls for ‘out of the box’ reforms

  • The prime minister says that Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy, once the pride of the nation, suffers now from “degeneration”
  • Khan said that overseas Pakistanis had “a lot of money,” though they did not want to invest it in their country of origin since they lacked faith in its governance system

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized the need to improve the governance structure of the country while addressing a group of civil servants in Islamabad on Friday.
He said that Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy was once the pride of the nation, though it suffered “degeneration” due to political interference.
He also promised his audience that his administration would protect civil servants from such external pressures and set up a merit-based system.
“I am not concerned about your political affiliation,” he noted. “I only expect you to perform your duties diligently.”
Khan recognized that Pakistan was facing significant economic challenges, though he described the situation as an opportunity to come up with “out-of-the-box” policy reforms.
However, he noted that his administration would not be able to accomplish much if the country’s civil bureaucracy did not properly implement its policies.
The prime minister said that corruption had destroyed the country, claiming that previous administrations had ruined state institutions to siphon off money and fill their coffers.
Admitting that the government was facing huge financial predicaments, he said that overseas Pakistanis had “a lot of money,” though they did not want to invest it in their country of origin since they lacked faith in its governance system.
He said that Pakistan could become a rich country within a brief span of two years and break out of the debt trap if it managed to address its governance problems.
At present, Khan noted, Pakistan’s debt stood at Rs30 trillion ($241 billion). He also noted that it was important to deal with rampant corruption and move toward a robust process of accountability in the country.


19 dead as train hits bus carrying Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan

Updated 29 min 57 sec ago

19 dead as train hits bus carrying Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan

  • The accident happened in the district of Sheikhupura in Punjab province
  • Pilgrims from Peshawar were returning from the shrine of Nankana Sahib in Sheikhupura

LAHORE: A passenger train crashed into a bus carrying Sikh pilgrims at an unmanned railway crossing in Punjab on Friday, killing at least 19 people and injuring several others, officials said.

The accident happened in the district of Sheikhupura, Raja Ijaz, an official at the state-run emergency service, said. 

Ghazi Salahuddin, district police chief, said the dead and injured were transported to a nearby hospital.

Officials said the Sikh pilgrims were from the northwestern city of Peshawar and were returning from the shrine of Nankana Sahib in Sheikupura.

Asghar Joya, a government official in Sheikhupura, said an initial assessment indicated the bus driver tried to cross the railway track as the train neared but the vehicle slid and got stuck. He said, however, that officials were still investigating.

TV footage showed the train and the badly destroyed bus on the railway track.

Sheikhupura resident Dilbir Singh said the pilgrims were returning to Peshawar when the accident happened. He said that prior to leaving for Peshawar they visited the home of a relative whose family member had recently died.

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in separate statements expressed deep sorrow over the accident and ordered authorities to provide the best possible treatment to the injured.

Sikhs have several shrines of their religious leaders in Pakistan. One, of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, is located in Pakistan’s Kartarpur bordering India in Punjab. 

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, mainly due to lack of enforcement of safety standards, a poorly kept railroad system and automobile driver negligence. 

In February, a train crashed into a bus carrying passengers at an unmanned railway crossing in Rohri district in Sindh, killing 19 people and injuring 28 others.

Last November, a fire caused by a cooking gas stove swept through a train in Punjab, killing 74 people. Survivors at the time said that it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop amid contradictory reports about the condition of the train’s brakes.