PESHAWAR: Defence minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday said the federal government had neither contacted the Pakistan Democratic Movement nor intended to reach out to the opposition’s alliance for dialogue to defuse political tensions in the country.
Talking to reporters during his visit to the TransPeshawar headquarters, Mr Khattak said the government wouldn’t back off from its commitment to accountability.
Accompanied by Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser and state minister for parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Khan, the minister said the ruling party had enough numbers to win majority in Senate elections.
He also ruled out the candidature of Jahangir Khan Tareen for Senate seat. “Tareen is nowhere to be seen in the Senate polls,” he said.
The defence minister also got angry when a reporter asked him about the alleged corruption in the BRT project.
“Shoot me if someone proves that I have taken ill-gotten money home,” he said.
Minister says PTI won’t back off from accountability commitment
The minister curtly asked the reporter how much he had been paid to ask that question.
Mr Khattak and his delegation were briefed on BRT operations, future potential projects followed by all administrative affairs, said an official statement issued here.
According to the statement, the delegates appreciated the overall BRT performance.
On the occasion, defence minister Khattak said the BRT Peshawar was the exemplary public transport system in the country with more than 156,000 people using it on a daily basis even during the Covid-19 restrictions.
He said since the inception of the project, the taxpayers’ money was spent on it in a very careful, calculated and transparent manner.
The minister said the number of BRT commuters would increase significantly soon after the arrival of more buses, commencement of bus service on the remaining feeder routes and the reopening of all educational institutions in the provincial capital.
Mr Khattak and his delegation later travelled in a BRT bus from Chamkani to the Mall of Hayatabad with other commuters without protocol.
The statement said during the journey, the commuters acknowledged the pivotal role of the BRT in the modernisation of the city’s transportation system.
The National Assembly speaker said his intention to pay a surprise visit to the BRT stations was to verify the effectiveness of the transport system.
He said travelling in BRT buses was no less than travelling in any international public mass transit system.
Mr Qaiser appreciated the role of TransPeshawar in putting its dedicated and tireless efforts into maintaining the state-of-the-art public transport system.
State minister for parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Khan said the provincial government successfully launched the BRT project with its dedication and commitment and in the best interest of the people.
He said the bus project was a major undertaking not just in the development of the physical infrastructure of the city but as a catalyst for urban regeneration and economic growth.
The state minister said the BRT was designed to improve capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus system, which was feeble enough to bear the load.
Meanwhile, the two ministers and the NA speaker met Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami chief Maulana Hamidul Haq at his home Akora Khattak area of Nowshera district ahead of the PK-63 Nowshera by-election, which is scheduled for Feb 19.
The JUI-S chief told reporters that he would form a committee to restore contacts between his party and government.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2021