Getting serious: Capital’s transport issue echoes in upper house

Senate body formed to work on new system; local lawmakers urged to play role.

Peer Muhammad February 25, 2013
Senator Mashhadi lamented that despite being the federal capital, Islamabad lacks a public transport system. PHOTO: FILE


The need for an affordable, quality transport system in the capital was felt by legislators in the upper house of parliament on Monday. A parliamentary committee will be formed to mull over a modern transport system.

The ruling came from Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari after a motion from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi for a discussion on the existing poor transport system in the capital city.

The move was supported by all members, with recommendations that an independent transport authority be established as the capital city currently lacks such a body and depends on the Punjab Transport Authority.

There is a dire need for an effective transport system in the city, and the six lawmakers who represent this city should take the initiative, Bukhari said.

“I recommend constituting a committee to work out the modalities of a light transport and underground train system for the city,” Bokhari said, adding that the committee will be led by leader of the House Jahangir Badar.

Earlier, Senator Mashhadi lamented that despite being the federal capital, Islamabad lacks a public transport system.

“Transport systems are not rocket science that demand a developed country…as Tehran has one of the best transport systems in the world,” said Mashhadi. He opined that the bureaucracy and political elite do not have compassion for the masses and resources are only spent if there are chances to get kickbacks.

“There is no public transport in Islamabad as the elite travel in luxurious cars and get salutes, while the poor must walk and be interrogated and humiliated by the police at every check post,” he remarked, while stating that in many countries, bureaucrats and even ministers use public transport.

Senator Babar Awan said that despite being a small city, Islamabad still awaits a good public transport system. He said that the bureaucracy in the city is politicised and claimed that they even use media for their interest. He said that CDA has failed miserably in providing a state-of-the-art public transport facility to the citizens and there is a crucial need for an independent transport authority to accomplish this task. He also noted that the CDA made many plans for a train and bus service, but none came to fruition.

PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain, also from Islamabad, said that there is no effective public transport system in any metropolis in the country. He said that the best mayors, including former Tehran mayor and now Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Istanbul mayor and current Turkish Prime Minister Tayyib Erdogan gave their cities quality transport and it was one of the reasons they were given opportunities to lead their countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2013.


Ismael | 10 years ago | Reply Pakistan needs a successful public transport system. But it must be protected all the time from criminal elements for it to succeed.
Faheem | 10 years ago | Reply

Bravo! This will help us to save fuel, save foreign exchange, avoid traffic hassle, and avoid pollution. I promise to park my cars at home and use Islamabad-Rawalpindi bus/train service once it starts.

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