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Pakistan Railways Removes First Woman Station Manager Hours After Posting

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The Pakistan Railways administration has withdrawn the notification of the appointment of Syeda Marzia Zehra, a CSS officer, as the Lahore Station Manager within hours after her posting was met with strong resistance by the railways union.

Zehra, who is assistant transportation officer-1 (ATO-1), PR’s Lahore Division, failed to retain her charge even for a full day and the department was forced to backtrack on its decision. The union had opposed the posting on the grounds that a CSS officer could not be appointed as the station manager.

This post is meant to be filled temporarily or permanently by the officials of the cadre of the station master, reports said. “There are only two station master posts in the country: one each in Karachi and Lahore. And a station master is supposed to look after the operational affairs of the aforementioned stations,” said the report.

The post of the manager (BS-17) of Lahore Station — the country’s No 1 railway station — was vacant after the PR’s Lahore division admin removed Younas Bhatti from the office.

According to Zehra, the PR administration withdrew the notification of her appointment on the evening of August 7. “Actually Mr Younas Bhatti was removed from the office on various complaints. After this a notification for my appointment as station manager on a look-after basis was issued on Friday. But it was, later, withdrawn the same day,” she was quoted as saying by a local news outlet.

On the other hand, according to Pakistani media, the station masters were against hiring a CSS officer for the post of Lahore Station Manager. Union Central Chairman Muhammad Irfan reportedly said it was against the law and the civil rights of station masters.

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