LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said the opponents of Pakistan Muslim League-N fear that they will not be able to get any votes in Lahore and Punjab if the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project is completed on time.
He was addressing people after unveiling the first set of bogies of the train, here on Sunday.He criticised the opponents of the project, challenging Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman to prove the corruption allegations against him. He asked Imran to deliver in the province where his party was in the government, instead of hindering public-interest projects in Punjab.The chief minister, along with Chinese officials, inspected various parts of the train and visited its different portions.
He termed the train a comfortable, modern and economic transport system for common people. He said the OLMT project in Lahore is actually a project of Pakistan, which will facilitate millions of people daily. He regretted that some political opponents were trying to make the project controversial.
The CM censured Imran Khan Niazi and his followers for opposing the grand project of public interest. He said a PTI activist had moved the court against the project for the common people of Lahore. “It was alleged that Rs70 billion corruption was committed in metro bus project. However, they could not prove corruption of even Rs35 billion,” said Shahbaz.
He said the PTI had failed to start the metro train in Peshawar even in the last four years. Had there been the PML-N government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it would have completed metro bus project not only in Peshawar but also in other cities of KP, claimed Shahbaz.
“Those who talk of ‘tabdeeli’ (change) had done nothing to provide any relief to people. There is no metro bus or any other development project in KP,” said the CM. Nazi Sahib announced the metro bus project in Peshawar, but he failed to lay its foundation stone even in four years, added the CM.
He said according to the plan, 23 kilometres long metro bus project in Peshawar would cost the KP government Rs44 billion, while the Punjab government completed 27-km-long bus project in Lahore for Rs30 billion.
He said time has arrived that the baseless allegations levelled by the opponents are exposed before the public. He said while the people of Moscow, New York, London and Paris were enjoying the best public transport facilities, why the people of Pakistan should be deprived of it.
He said Pakistan could not be turned into the Pakistan of Allama Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam until all basic needs are provided to common people here.
Shahbaz said Niazi (Imran Khan) had been telling lies day and night. “I have said several times that if corruption of even Rs35 billion is proved in completion of the project, I will surrender myself in the public court,” he added.
He said the Punjab government saved at least Rs70 billion by discussing the project with the Chinese company, working on this project.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Punjab Mass Transit Authority Sibtain Fazal Haleem highlighted the important aspects of the OLMT and explained the utility of this project.
Shahbaz Sharif had been so excited about the unveiling of the OLMT project that he tweeted about it several times on Sunday.“Arrival of the first metro train represents a development worth celebration,” the CM tweeted.
“Orange Line is not just a public transport project but a means of extending to citizens respect and delivering world-class transport facility. It is meant to make them feel that they have equal right on the state resources like their rich counterparts... It aims to create equality...”
The CM announced that the decision of the courts regarding the OLMT would be respected.In his speech, the CM said that he was advised to wear orange shirt in accordance withthe OLMT, but he chose to wear green as the Green Line had been accomplished in the form of Metro Bus project.
General Manager China Railway Construction Company Zong Fi, while addressing the ceremony, said that the OLMT was the first project to take place in Pakistan’s public transport sector and they had the support of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Government of Punjab regarding the implementation of the project.
Chinese Consulate General Long Ding, in his address, said that today is one of the most important days of friendship of Pakistan and China when the first set of Orange Line Metro Train has reached Lahore.
Chairman Steering Committee Lahore OLMT Khwaja Ahmed Hassan said that the OLMT was the interpretation of that dream which Shahbaz Sharif dreamt in 1997 to provide the common man with travel services like that of the elite.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif said awareness was needed to cope with natural disasters. In his message on the National Disaster Awareness Day on Sunday, he said encouraging results could be obtained by utilising modern technology of disaster management.