National Assembly agenda: PPP to seek govt’s explanation on twin capital city plan

Published: September 23, 2013
National Assembly of Pakistan. PHOTO: APP/FILE

National Assembly of Pakistan. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Days after government’s plan for building a twin capital city across the Margalla Hills hit headlines, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) decided to take up the matter at the National Assembly.

The mega project, with an estimated cost of $12 billion, will be linked through a tunnel and includes construction of two ring roads in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and a new airport at Rawat.

The project, initially announced by the former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, was shelved in 2004 after much criticism. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resurrected the multi-billion project in a recent meeting of the cabinet.

The government has been facing criticism since the news about revival of the project came out; and so far it has not issued any official response.

“The government has not formally asked the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to once again shelve the project,” sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

In order to have a formal discussion on the project and get a policy statement from the government, the PPP has decided to take up the matter here on Monday evening session of the National Assembly.

According to sources, Dr Nafisa Shah, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho and Shazia Mari will ask the Cabinet Division’s minister-in-charge regarding the proposal of twin Islamabad city project and construction of the Margalla tunnel.

Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed filed an adjournment motion in the Senate over the issue.

Mushahid had contended that the project, which had neither been proposed by the planning commission nor sanctioned by the Executive Committee on National Economic Council (ECNEC) or approved by any environment protection agency, would have dangerous implications for the ecology and environment of the Margalla Hills National Park.

“The project is not only illegal but is also detrimental to the environment of Islamabad,” said the senator.

PIA drunk pilot fiasco

In the coming session, Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will also quiz the government over the recent incident in which a drunken pilot of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) was arrested by UK police as he was about to board and fly a plane carrying 180 passengers.

The PTI leader Dr Shireen Mazari and four other members have sought explanation from the government over the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2013.

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