SIALKOT: While breaking ground on the 89-kilometre-long Sialkot-Lahore Motorway, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday obliquely hit out at rival political parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in particular, saying that they “do not wish to see poverty eliminated”.
“Your passion will disappoint ‘container people’ because they are the ones blocking progress,” Nawaz told the audience in an apparent reference to the PTI and PAT which used purpose-built shipping containers as stage during their 2014 marathon sit-in in Islamabad. “Some people are born to make roads and others to protest over them,” he added.
The PTI is leading another movement seeking accountability of the ruling Sharif family for holding offshore companies while the PAT has also launched a movement to seek retribution for the killing of its 14 workers during a police crackdown on the part headquarters in Lahore’s Model Town in June 2014.
The premier said his government was working on development projects to banish power outages before 2018. “We are eliminating load shedding and poverty. People should keep in mind the year 2013 when they had to protest on the streets against load shedding,” he said.
Nawaz said Pakistan had entered an important chapter of its history, characterised by stability after years of economic instability. “Indicators show that the period of hopelessness is over and a prosperous future is ahead. International journals, rating agencies and international monetary institutes have admitted this,” he claimed.
Referring to the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Premier Nawaz said the work we have started with China will have a positive impact on Pakistan. “Pakistan has to make CPEC a success. This is a responsibility of the state as well as of the people and we need to vanguard this stability. We have to take forward the peace process,” he added.
Nawaz said his government had eliminated terrorism and the scourge was taking its last breath. “We salute the Pakistani soldiers who sacrificed their lives for this cause.”
The premier said the Sialkot-Lahore Motorway was another milestone in the progress of the country. He said the 89km-long motorway would cost 43,000 million rupees and would be a gift to the people of Sialkot.
“Through this motorway, the agricultural land of Sialkot and Gujranwala will be linked to national highways through six interchanges,” he said, adding that the people of Sialkot, especially industrialists and traders, have a positive approach towards progress of the country.
The four-lane road to be constructed jointly by the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and the National Highway Authority (NHA) will connect the two major business centres and will be completed in around 24 months.
The motorway would begin at the Lahore bypass interchange on N-5 which will also connect it to the M-2 near Kala Shah Kaku. It will end around 15 km west of Sialkot.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2016.
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