TAXILA: A protest was held by PTI on Sunday against the alleged transfer of Rs30 million from Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) to the Orange Line train project in Lahore.

The rally was led by PTI leader and MNA Ghulam Sarwar Khan, MPA Sadeeq Khan and MPA Taimoor Masood Akbar. Newly-elected councillors from TMA, cantonment board and chairmen and vice chairmen from various union councils also participated in the rally, accompanied by local PTI workers.

The protesters marched from the community centre, down Faisal Shaheed Road to the TMA complex, carrying banners and placards emblazoned with anti-government slogans. They also criticised the government’s economic policies.

Local administration locked the complex’s doors to prevent the protesters from entering the building.

Speaking at the protest, PTI leaders claimed Rs30 million from the TMA’s funds was transferred to the Lahore Orange Line project. They said the revenue generated from taxes and leases should be spent on the city, rather than on other areas.

They also alleged that various development projects had been given to favoured contractors and civic body officials were getting 25pc shares in these projects. They said those elected in the local body polls were being denied development projects, while those who lost were being given shares in various projects being executed by the civic body.

Addressing the protestors, PTI MPA Sadeeq Khan said the PML-N government had failed to mitigate the plight of the poor. He said the Sharif brothers were wasting national funds on the Orange Line project and metro buses, rather than improving national institutions such as PIA and Pakistan Railways, because PML-N leaders were receiving kickbacks from such projects.

Mr Khan said PML-N leaders did not pass on the benefits of the reduction in petroleum prices at the international level to the people. He said the government is acquiring fuel at lower prices, while doubling and tripling the price for consumers in order to make money, rather than imposing taxes on industrialists and business professionals.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan also called on the federal government to take immediate steps to revitalise state institutions like PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills, Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) Taxila and Heavy Electrical Complex Taxila, instead of “throwing them away in a loot sale”. He said the government should also pay the outstanding salaries and pensions of employees at state institutions like HMC.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2016