Tag Archives: Metro

PTI protests: Metro blocked, Model Town sealed



LAHORE: 

The Metro Bus Service was suspended on Sunday after scores of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers holding a demonstration near Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s house in Model Town blocked the Metro Bus lane and burnt tyres and vandalised streetlights. Police officials tried to disperse the protesters but did not arrest any of them. Police sealed several entrances to Model Town with barbed wire and containers.  The protest was going on when this report was filed.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers blocked roads for traffic in several areas, burned tyres and chanted slogans against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in protest against police action against party workers in Islamabad on Saturday night. Demonstrations were held at Shahdara Chowk, Thokar Niaz Beg, Shalimar Chowk and Garhi Shahu.

The protesters demanded the prime minister and chief minister resign their posts immediately.

Dozens of PTI supporters participated in the demonstration at Thokar Niaz Beg. They blocked the road with stones and burned tyres. Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rashid addressed the demonstration at Thokar Niaz Beg. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif must resign or the people of Pakistan would drag them out of their houses. “Our agitation will not stop till we receive their resignations.”

Rashid said, “The government has imposed Section 144 in the province but the PTI will hold demonstrations anyway.” [The government has not banned assembly, protests or rallies.]

He said the protests would continue till the Sharifs resigned. He said police violence against PTI and PAT workers in Islamabad spoke of a dictatorial mindset.

Rashid said police were harassing PTI workers all over the province. He warned police not to take any action against PTI workers. He said demonstrations had been organised at Faisalabad, Multan, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Sahiwal, Okara, Jehlum, Attock, Chakwal, Sargodha, DG Khan and Narowal.

“Our workers will only block roads. They will be peaceful. They will not take the law into their hands. Police should not hinder their demonstrations,” he said.

PTI Secretary General Dr Yasmin Rashid addressed supporters at Thokar Niaz Beg. She said tear-gassing unarmed protesters and baton-charging them was highly condemnable.

She said the protesters had stayed peaceful for 16 days but the government had used state machinery against them. “Imran Khan has been fighting for people’s rights for 18 years. No one can stop him from creating a new Pakistan.”

She said the courage of PTI workers was laudable. She urged them to stand by their leader till the revolution came about. “It is the right of every citizen to hold peaceful demonstrations… nobody can deny us this right,” she said.

PTI Punjab president Ejaz Chaudhary also condemned targeting media personnel and PAT, PTI workers. He said this was an attack on the freedom of media, the PTI will not allow that.

PTI MPA Dr Murad Ras said he was leading a peaceful protest at Liberty Chowk on Saturday night when he was beaten up by some police officials.

A Lahore police spokesperson told The Express Tribune that no cases had been registered against PTI workers on Sunday. “The protesters violated Section 144 in several areas but no FIR has been registered so far. We will take action against them later.”

Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said the government had given PTI and PAT workers a free hand to hold demonstrations but they had tried to enter sensitive premises and had to be stopped. In a statement, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri wanted to turn Pakistan into a war zone.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2014.


Foreign visit: Bilawal visits Shanghai Metro, power station



ISLAMABAD: 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, patron-in-chief of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), examined Shanghai’s Metro system from its monitoring room on Saturday during his visit to the city.

Bilawal also visited the Shanghai train station and was briefed about developments in the Shanghai Metro project. Shanghai became the third city in mainland China to have a rapid transit system after the first line opened in 1993. Since then, the Shanghai Metro has become one of the fastest-growing transit systems in the world with several lines still under construction.

The PPP leader also visited one of the city’s largest power plants, Pucheng Power Shanghai.  According to sources, Bilawal expressed an intention to use the innovation and technological advancements used in China to enhance development projects in Karachi.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2014.


Mass transit: Metro project to be completed by year end



ISLAMABAD: Work on the Metro bus project is in full swing and it will be completed within the stipulated time, an official associated with the project said.

“This is a public welfare project and every effort is being made for its early completion,” he said. The multi-billion-rupee mass transit project, which aims to cater to the needs of thousands of commuters, was launched in March and is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.

As many as 64 buses will ply on the metro bus route between Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the official of the project said.

He said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has already approved the construction of a metro bus depot worth Rs1.5 billion in Islamabad.

“More than 50 buses will be parked in the depot at night time,” the official said.

He said the Rawalpindi Development Authority had sought 20 acres from the CDA for the depot. “We are trying to get an additional three acres for this purpose,” he said.

Answering a question about the price of the land, he said the federal government had transferred the land to the Punjab government free of cost as the state land would be used for the public welfare project.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2014.


Metro bus route: Bridges to help signal free traffic incomplete



LAHORE: 

Five bridges of Metro Signal-free Project are still under construction. An elevated roundabout at Azadi Chowk and two bridges at Walton Road have been completed.

In January, the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) had started constructing six U-turns and two elevated roundabouts to make the Metro Bus route signal-free. It had also started construction of an alternative route to Azadi Chowk. The projects’ cost is estimated at Rs9 billion.

The elevated roundabout at Azadi Chowk was completed at a cost of Rs4.5 billion and inaugurated on July 14.

Two bridges at Qainchi on Ferozepur Road were completed at a cost of Rs1.5 billion in July. Four U-turn bridges and a bridge for motorcycles are expected to take another month to complete although the TEPA had set a four-month schedule for the completion of all the projects.

Some TEPA officials The Express Tribune spoke to said the agency had been trying its best to complete the projects at the earliest. They said, however, that the construction had been delayed as the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) had been slow in removing some electricity poles.

They said a U-turn in front of the grid station could not be built as the Lesco had not removed electricity poles from the site.

Lesco Director (Construction) Muzaffar Cheema said some poles had been removed and the remaining would be relocated soon.

“Electricity supply has to be suspended while shifting poles… we have to follow the maintenance schedule in this regard,” he said.

TEPA Director Mazhar Hussain Khan said the bridge for motorcycles and four U-turns would be completed in a month.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2014.


Interpretation issue: Court allows RDA to carry on metro bus construction



RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday allowed the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) to continue work on the metro bus project.

On August 6, LHC had extended an earlier stay order against construction work on the project in Rehmanabad and sought replies from the Punjab government and RDA.

Two petitioners had moved the court against alleged alteration in the master plan for political reasons.

RDA’s counsel, Kashif Ali Malik, informed the court that the stay order issued by the court never restrained the authority from carrying out construction and that the petitioners interpreted it differently. Upon his request, the LHC judge clarified that there is no restriction for the executing agency from continuing construction work.

The petitioners had alleged that their buildings were not to be razed in the original master plan but were added owing to the personal vendetta of the project chairperson Hanif Abbasi, whom they claimed is a political rival.

The main petitioner, Sheikh Iftikhar Adil, is the owner of a local newspaper whose office building, according to him, will be demolished due to an alteration in the original master plan by members of the ruling party. The other petitioner is Risal Khan, who lives next to the building owned by Adil. He had maintained that the original master plan was altered due to the political victimisation of his neighbour.

Khan’s counsel informed the court that his client was being victimised in someone else’s battle.

He had claimed that Adil’s son had contested against Abbasi in the 2013 general elections. The court however put off further hearing in this matter till a date is fixed by the LHC registrar office.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th,2014.


Metro bus: Two labourers killed on duty



ISLAMABAD: 

Two labourers working on the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project were buried alive on Tuesday after loose dirt collapsed on them at a site near Peshawar Mor.

Five labourers were busy in excavation work when they got trapped under a landslide. “A side of the road completely caved in due to the recent rains,” said Abdul Sattar, a labourer.

Other labourers started rescuing their trapped colleagues along with rescue workers and brought out two labourers who were alive.

The injured victims, identified as Muhammad Hashim, Samiullah and Zaid Khan, all from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, were shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Red Crescent ambulances.

The dead bodies were handed over to their relatives later.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered an inquiry into the matter and said compensation payments should be made to the families of the deceased and injured labourers.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2014.

 


Two workers killed at metro bus construction site in Rawalpindi



RAWALPINDI: Two construction workers were killed and three others were injured on Tuesday while working on the metro bus project in Rawalpindi, Express News reported.

The incident took place near Peshawar Mor where workers were digging a road for the construction of the project. However, the exact details of the incident have not been ascertained as of yet.

Rescue teams managed to save three workers, one of whom is reportedly in critical condition. The injured have been taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project in March this year. The project is expected supposed to complete in March 2015.


Casualty of protests: Multiple marches to impede metro construction



RAWALPINDI: Construction work on the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project may be stopped from Tuesday (today) due to the ‘Azadi March’ and ‘Inquilab March’ scheduled for August 14, informed a senior government official.

The project was already delayed due to various reasons, such as Ramazan break, monsoons and Eid holidays. However, this time, the project is likely to suffer further delay due to the planned protests of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).

The district administrations of the twin cities have placed containers at various locations of the cities to stop the protesters from reaching their destination which is why labourers are likely to stop working from Tuesday, said the official.

“It is difficult for contractors to freely move machinery as containers have been placed on the roads,” he added. The official said the situation is uncertain as to how long the protests will continue and thus the administration has no option but to stop the work on the ‘crucial’ project.

According to the official, it all depends on how the government deals with the protesters. In case of drawn-out demonstrations, we may even lose a week which we cannot afford, explained the official.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had inaugurated the project in March this year and it is supposed to complete in March 2015.

It will be difficult for the government to meet the deadline as the project is already delayed, said Zahir Saeed, the project director and Rawalpindi commissioner.

When asked why construction work is being stopped two days before August 14, the official said it would be difficult for workers to transport machines from one place to another with the erection of barricades.

“We will try our best to complete the project timely but it seems difficult to meet the deadline due to the current situation,” he said, adding that in such projects a single day’s work holds immense value.

When contacted, Capital Development Authority Spokesperson Asim Khichi claimed that work on the Islamabad section of the project would be stopped due to Independence Day celebrations announced by the government.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th,2014.


Metro bus: LHC vacates stay order



RAWALPINDI: 

The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) vacated a stay order on a section of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project at Committee Chowk on Saturday.

On August 5, LHC had issued a restraining order after shopkeepers filed petitions against demolition of their buildings.

The petitioners had contended that the land acquisition collector (LAC) disbursed compensation among owners of shops at ground floors and ignored those on the first floor and above.

During the hearing, Rawalpindi Development Authority’s counsel Kashif Ali Malik argued that under the law, LAC was responsible for compensating landowners while those operating businesses on the floors above were entitled for compensation under the “built up property” clause which can be made after detailed studies.

The counsel said the issue is related to factual controversy and should be referred to a civil court.

Justice Shah Khawar then directed LAC to refer the case to a civil court to determine whether the petitioners’ objections as to land measurement and compensation amount were properly determined while pronouncing the award.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.


Partial pause: LHC extends stay order against metro bus



RAWALPINDI: 

The Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday extended the stay order on the construction of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metro Bus Project in a specific area after two petitioners had moved the court alleging alteration in the original master plan for political reasons.

LHC Justice Shah Khawar, while hearing the petitions, extended the stay order till August 12 and sought replies from the Punjab government and Rawalpindi Development Authority.

On July 18, a stay order was issued by LHC Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi on the extent of the disputed property of the petitioners near Rehmanabad.

The main petitioner, Sheikh Iftikhar Adil, is the owner of a local newspaper whose office building, according to him, will be demolished due to an alteration in the original master plan by members of the ruling party. The other petitioner is Risal Khan, who lives next to the building owned by Adil.

Adil maintained that his building was not on the bus route in the original master plan that was prepared by Nespak consultants. In that plan, some plazas alongside Murree Road that belong to a sitting provincial assembly member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and his relatives were to be demolished, said Adil.

He alleged that in the altered plan they decided to demolish his building instead and termed the act illegal.

The other petitioner, Risal Khan, through his counsel, maintained that the original master plan was altered due to the political victimisation of his neighbour. Khan’s counsel informed the court that his client was being victimised in someone else’s battle.

He claimed that Adil’s son was running against Metro Bus Project Chairman Hanif Abbasi in the 2013 general elections and this is why the plan was altered to demolish Adil’s office building.

The counsel said the decision was taken due to political reasons and requested the court to grant a stay order. The court, while extending the stay order, adjourned the matter till August 12.

Meanwhile two more petitions have been filed in the court against the metro bus project by shopkeepers of the Committee Chowk.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2014.