SAHIWAL: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has reportedly given a go-ahead for long standing demand of the people of Sahiwal for the construction of 44km long Express Highway, connecting the divisional headquarters with Lahore-Multan Motorway from the Samundri Interchange.

This two-way double lane road project will start from College Chowk and move through Sarwar Chowk, Qutab Shahana Bridge, Rahmah Shah, Koray Shah to reach Samundri Bypass.

Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Awais Malik, along with Deputy Director Development Ikram Wattoo and Highway Department EXEN Mansoor Hyder visited Madhali Road to work on feasibility of the project.

The DC said the highway department was assigned the task to finalise the budget of the project, the district coordination committee would approve the total cost within a week and it would be sent to the provincial government for approval.

EXEN Mansoor Hyder confirmed that the estimate for the budget of the project was being made.

Dawn learnt from sources that the CM was interested in the road project for political reasons. During the PML-N government, led by Shehbaz Sharif, when Lahore-Multan-Karachi motorway was approved, the then Planning and Development Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran tried hard to get the project approved but in

vain. However, the local parliamentarians kept demanding for the highway after the PTI came into power. This demand was forwarded many times by local PTI leaders and some parliamentarians to CM Buzdar.

The Buzdar government had approved a road project last year to connect Sahiwal with the motorway; however, it got delayed due to the intervention from various corners.

Some people in the power corridor say that as PTI leader and former MNA Rai Hasan Nawaz’s lobby is more powerful in the PTI and it insisted that the road would move not from Sahiwal city but from Chichawatni city.

Later, there were strong rumours among PTI high-ups that Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar wanted to contest the next election from NA-148, Sahiwal II.

Mr Sarwar’s frequent visits to district Sahiwal, especially to Rai House in Chichawatni provided enough evidence for some truth in the claim while the road project would have connected Chichawatni to his native hometown of Toba Take Singh.

However, later the PTI circles close to the governor confirmed that the proposal of Sarwar contesting election from Sahiwal had been dropped and he would now contest the election from Nankana Sahib.

It is in this background that the recent approval of the road connecting Sahiwal city with the motorway is understandable, a local PTI leader said while commented on the move.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2022

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