Pakistan locomotive driver suspended for stopping train to buy yoghurt

Minister of railways warns that no one will be allowed to ‘use national assets for personal use’

Stuti Mishra
Thursday 09 December 2021 11:25
<p>File image: Pakistan authorities say such unauthorised stops are a security breach </p>

File image: Pakistan authorities say such unauthorised stops are a security breach

The driver of a locomotive in Pakistan has been suspended after he stopped the train to get some yoghurt, an act that left several passengers furious.

The matter came to light on Monday after a video on social media showed the driver’s assistant buying yoghurt from a nearby stall and walking with a plastic back towards the train’s engine, unconcerned by the delay.

The train was taking passengers from Lahore city in the north to the southern metropolitan city of Karachi, according to reports.

But just 18km into the journey, Rana Mohammad stopped the locomotive at Kahna railway station to buy yoghurt.

“Look at his swag. He has stopped the train right in the middle and is buying dahi (yoghurt),” the man who shot the video can be heard saying, referring to Iftikhar Hussain, the driver’s assistant. Mr Hussain has also been suspended.

While the video left many in splits, authorities said stopping the train midway was a security breach and actions such as this would not be tolerated.

“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,” Syed Ijaz-ul-Hassan Shah, a spokesperson for the railway ministry, told AFP on Wednesday.

The country’s minister of railways, Azam Khan Swati, warned that he will not “allow anyone to use national assets for personal use”.

An unnamed railway official told the news agency that such incidents were common in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s railway department has often been criticised for issues relating to passenger safety, which has led to it recently tightening rules related to photography and videography in trains.

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