An inter-city train driver in Pakistan has been suspended after he made an unscheduled stop to pick up some yogurt.
A video of the driver’s assistant collecting the snack from a street stall before climbing back
into the carriage has been circulating on social media.
The incident on Monday raised questions about the safety and regulation of railways in
Pakistan, where accidents are common due to mismanagement and neglect.
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This incident went viral on social media
“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 spokesman for the railway ministry, told AFP on Wednesday. The passenger service had started its journey in the eastern city of Lahore and was moving
south towards Karachi.
In a statement, the country’s minister of railways, Azam Khan Swati, warned that he will not “allow anyone to use national assets for personal use”.
A railway official admitted to AFP that such incidents are not uncommon in Pakistan, and that oversight is often lacking.
The minister acted after a video went viral on social media showing a train driver stopping and purchasing yogurt from a store. After the video clip drew criticism, the minister took action and ordered the Pakistan Railways Lahore administration to suspend driver Rana Mohammad Shehzad and his assistant Iftikhar Hussain.
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Train driver got suspended
More than 60 people were killed in June when a train hurtling through farmland smashed
into the carriages of another service that had derailed minutes earlier.
Earlier in December, the PR had imposed a ban on the use of mobile phones by locomotive drivers and assistants while on a journey.
They had also been barred from taking selfies, recording video and audio messages on their phones in all trains (passenger and goods).
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Respective divisional heads had also been directed to keep tracking crew members of a train (especially drivers and their assistants) and take prompt action if someone was flouting the orders.
AFP with additional input by GVS