A Pakistani train driver and his assistant have been sacked from service after stopping the train near Lahore’s Kahna railway station to buy yoghurt.
The trains department has been in problems recently due to various issues such as accidents, passenger safety, and decreased revenue, and social media criticism of the department prompted the minister to take action. As a result, federal railways minister Azam Khan Swati suspended the driver Rana Mohammad Shehzad and his assistant Iftikhar Hussain on Tuesday.
“I will not tolerate such events in the future and allow anyone to use national assets for personal use,” the minister warned in a statement.
“When you stop a train in the middle (of the tracks), it becomes a safety issue. Safety is our priority. We cannot tolerate anything which compromises safety,” a spokesman for the railway ministry said.
According to an AFP source, such incidents are common in Pakistan, and there is insufficient control. For example, in June, a train speeding across the countryside crashed with the cars of another train that had derailed minutes before, killing more than 60 people.
Earlier in December, the PR prohibited locomotive drivers and aides from using cell phones while on the job. They were also prohibited from taking selfies or recording video or audio messages on their phones aboard any train (passenger and goods).
Respective divisional chiefs were also told to watch train crew members (particularly drivers and their assistants) and take corrective measures if anyone disobeyed orders.