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PML-N ignoring Rawalpindi

July 30, 2012

THERE is no doubt that loadshedding and energy crisis are serious problems being faced by people across the country while government functionaries are busy in the blame game of accusations and mudslinging at each other.

The chief minister of Punjab after four years in office has suddenly realised that stepmother-like treatment was being meted out to his province with regard to loadshedding. This writer does not dispute the claim whether it is real or imaginary but the issue has been politicised. However, one thing is clear that Rawalpindi is not treated at par with Lahore, the chief minister’s hometown.

In Lahore, Ring Road with various bridges on it, the Kalma Chowk flyover and many other underpasses and flyovers have been constructed in such haste that bridges have started falling. These projects were initiated and completed under the direct supervision of the provincial chief executive.

Contrary to this, in Rawalpindi, a project called Leh Express was launched by former president Gen Pervez Musharraf to link the twin cities in order to reduce traffic pressure on Murree Road. It was later renamed ‘Rasheed Expressway’. Sheikh Rasheed was defeated in the 2008 election and the PML-N government which came to power shelved the project.

The newly-elected MNA, perhaps with the approval of ‘Khadem-i-Ala’ , announced construction of a highrise expressway from the GPO to Faizabad to ease the flow of traffic on Benazir Road. This also never happened and instead a small flyover was built which had little impact on the flow of traffic.

Similarly, another lawmaker of PML-N made numerous promises during his election campaign, including the Leh Expressway, but in vain. Now when the new election is in the offing, on his recent visit to install an agitation camp in Rawalpindi against loadshedding, Shahbaz Sharif formed a committee to prepare a feasibility report about the Leh Expressway to enable him to release funds for the project though no timeframe has been fixed.

All this appears to be only election propaganda to hoodwink the people of Rawalpindi once again, which is unfair and discriminatory. Being the chief executive of the whole province, Mian Shahbaz ought to distribute development funds indiscriminately to each district of the province.

RAJA SHAFAATULLAH     Islamabad