PAK-CHINA FRIENDSHIP
Posted on March 12th, 2016

ALI SUKHANVER

A few days back someone posted a picture of Lahore on Face-book which showed a very horrible traffic-jam at some road but at the same time almost at the height of 40 feet or more a metro bus was preceding to its destination very peacefully. The caption under the picture was very interesting; ‘Hurdles for so many cars but ease for a single bus’. Someone commented upon the picture, ‘Cars are for the rich people, metro busses are for common men—means the government is trying to facilitate the common public on priority.’ Yes—the busses and trains are no doubt an easy and cheaper source of travelling for all those who cannot afford personal transport. Keeping in view the problems that a common man has to face in his everyday life, the government of Punjab signed a pact with the government of China regarding the Lahore Orange-Line Train project a few months back in the last year.

The work on this 27.2 Km long Orange-Line Metro Train project is already underway in the city and shall be completed in 2.5 years approximately. Out of the 27.2 kilometers long track of the Metro train almost 25 Km track comprises of fly-overs. Around 25 stations have been designed from the starting point near Raiwind to the ending point at Wahra Gujjran. The track would be 12meter wide and the Metro train would run at minimum speed of 80kms per hour. This Metro Train is expected to carry 2.5 lakh passengers daily and by 2025 the number of estimated passengers would reach 5 Lakh per day. Pakistan’s all weathers friend China is providing all funds, technical support and supervision for this project whereas civil works of the project are being carried out by Punjab government. Most of the analysts are of the opinion that after its completion, this project will lead to availability of respectable transport facilities of international standard to the common public. Experts say that this is a unique and unprecedented project in the history of Pakistan. Lahore Orange-Line Metro Train project could have never been materialized if Mr. Shehbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab had not taken personal interest in it. Mr. Shehbaz Sharif visited China many times to discuss this project with the Chinese experts. All technical pros and cons of this project were carefully discussed and ultimately this project was finalized. Orange Line Metro Train Project in Lahore would give a new colour and strength to Pakistan-China friendship. China is already doing a lot of co-operation with Pakistan in almost every field of life including the field of defense, communication, science and technology, education and above all the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) which is a mega project of USD 45+ billion. Moreover China is providing technical training to the engineers of Pakistan Railways regarding new digital signaling system. In short Pakistan and China are going to pen down a new tale of companionship and co-ordination in shape of different development projects; the Lahore Orange-Line Metro Train is also one of such a projects.

Some of the political rivals of Mr. Shehbaz Sharif are criticizing that the Lahore Orange-Line Metro Train project will damage the cultural heritage of Lahore including historical buildings and places like Chauburji and Shalimar Bagh. Another objection on the project is that it is causing displacement of hundreds of families living along the route. Mr. Shehbaz Sharif has assured the critics of this project that each and every building having even the farthest historical reference shall be protected and promised that the project would harm no such heritage rather it would add to the beauty of the city and comfort of the people ultimately. Talking of the displacement of people living along the route he assured that the government of Punjab is very well aware of the problems which the displaced families are facing and all necessary actions are being taken for their easement.

The fact of the matter is that during every process of construction and development, particularly in the thickly populated areas, people have to face a lot of disturbance but for a short period of time. After the completion of such development projects, things automatically go back to normal. Development projects like motorways, fly-overs, by-passes, overhead bridges, metro bus services and metro trains simply enhance the standards of living in a modernized way. Under the command of Mr. Shehbaz Sharif, the government of Punjab is doing all its best to provide more and more facilities of life to the people in spite of having very limited resources. It is the responsibility of the people to realize and understand the situation and co-operate with the government in the process of completion of development projects like Lahore Orange-Line Metro Train.

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