Development agenda: Lahore metro train gets green signal

Published: May 14, 2015
ECNEC okays Rs410 billion worth of projects. PHOTO: PAKISTAN CONSTRUCTION AND QUARRY

ECNEC okays Rs410 billion worth of projects. PHOTO: PAKISTAN CONSTRUCTION AND QUARRY


The country’s highest project sanctioning authority on Wednesday gave its go-ahead to nine projects estimated to cost a total of Rs410 billion, Rs310 billion of which will be covered by foreign loans. The schemes include two re-gasified liquefied natural gas-fired (RLNG) power plants for Punjab – the country’s first ever – and the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) set aside Sindh’s objections to approve, in principle, the two RLNG power plants which will have a combined generation capacity of 2,400MW and a total cost of Rs178 billion. However, the approval for the two projects will be subject to further review of their cost to address some committee members’ concern that it was understated.

The plants, which are aimed at mitigating hours-long power outages in Punjab, will be set up in the Balloki are of Kasur district and the Haveli Bahadur Shah area of Jhang district. The government will obtain Rs136 billion in foreign loans to finance the two power plants which will be part of the next fiscal year’s Public Sector Development Programme.

During the ECNEC meeting, the Sindh government argued that ECNEC should not greenlight the RLNG power plants until they had been cleared by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). But the law ministry maintained that this was unnecessary and that the plants could be set up without being placed on the CCI agenda. The planning ministry, meanwhile, assured that the projects would be finished in two years.

Other projects approved by ECNEC on Wednesday include the Rs165.2 billion Lahore Orange Line Metro Train project, which will be funded by a $1.6 billion concessionary loan from China. The project is part of the more than 50 schemes agreements pertaining to which were signed during the visit of China’s President Xi Jingping.

The committee approved a Rs14.2 billion project to transmit electricity from the 1,320MW coal-fired power plants to be setup at Port Qasim Karachi as well.

It also gave its go-ahead to the Rs9.2 billion Rs9.2 billion Prime Minister’s National Health Insurance Programme and decided that it will be funded from the development budget. The planning ministry was reluctant to treat it as development spending and wanted the finance ministry to cover the cost.

ECNEC also approved the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) at a revised cost of Rs26.9 billion, Rs1.9 billion of which will be used to procure vaccines. The committee also approved a Rs11.4 billion scheme to provide necessary water facilities at Gwadar port.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (53)

  • Bd
    May 14, 2015 - 8:58AM

    More goodies for Punjab while the rest of the country fall apart. Only Punjabis matter in Pakistan. Other provinces are only good for their resources which Punjab steals.Recommend

  • concerned
    May 14, 2015 - 9:05AM

    don’t we need buses and trains in Khi? Has any one approved these plans?

    where is Sindh govt and federal govt?Recommend

  • May 14, 2015 - 9:22AM

    Karachi is the only megacity of Pakistan, doesnt the government think we need the metro train too??Recommend

  • Umar R.
    May 14, 2015 - 9:28AM

    NO, its mainly Lahore and if not then other 2 or 3 big cities. The other smaller cities lack even the most basic infrastructure be it roads, industry, employment etcRecommend

  • Anoni
    May 14, 2015 - 9:34AM


    Kindly stop spreading hatred. It has been delegated to provincial goverment therefore you should ask your provincial goverment . unless you are from across the borderRecommend

  • saad.
    May 14, 2015 - 9:49AM

    @bd.There we see a punjab basher.Sad bro .You voted for the wrong party in your province.So bear it till 2018.Recommend

  • Haider
    May 14, 2015 - 9:54AM

    I live in Lahore…But Karachi deserves this opportunity firstRecommend

  • Vectra
    May 14, 2015 - 10:02AM

    Only mere Rs410 billion for metro train,forget it as it will cost dame more in billions.Recommend

  • Azad
    May 14, 2015 - 10:14AM

    @ Bd : Don’t blame Punjab or Punjabi for your own inability. Your enemy is not Punjabi but the ones ruling over you. When PPP doesn’t do anything in Sindh, this does not mean that Punjab has taken those resources but that goes t Swiss accounts and Dubai real estate…..

    So think before you speak. Though i am a PTI supporter but i fully endorse and appreciate PMLN’s work.

    Let me tell you the difference: in Punjab politicians ask for vote based on work his party has done for public well being whereas in Sindh politician ask for vote by declaring himself a kind-off Bhutto as Sindh is their personal property.

    Think before you vote: or stand against it and stop complaining Punjab. have a look at the ruling competitors

    Competitors in Punjab: Pervaiz ilahi vs Shahbaz shareef

    Competitors in Sindh: Qaim Ali Shah vs Qaim Ali Shah

    A big laugh at Sindhi critique on Punjab. Recommend

  • Moavviz Suhail
    May 14, 2015 - 10:30AM

    Hello Bd. This country is for every single Pakistani citizen irrespective of where he lives. Its the provincial governments who should be doing for their provinces. Regarding stealing of resources, you must know that Punjab is the province that gives the highest return in terms of electricity and gas bills. Ask Qaim Ali Shah and PPP who ruling the country in the last term did nothing for Sindh and Karachi other than crushing their political rivalsRecommend

  • Javed
    May 14, 2015 - 10:37AM

    Are you mad. Metro is needed only when we have massive employment and roads are unable to cater during peak hours. Is this costly affair really needed ..?Recommend

  • Javed
    May 14, 2015 - 10:39AM

    Shahbaz sharif is the biggest enemy of Punjab. He is wasting precious resources on luxuries.Recommend

  • junaid
    May 14, 2015 - 10:42AM

    i kindly request to the government that plz dedicate some resources to the maintenance of existing roads whether in urban or semiurban areas because people are dearly facing problems using them because people are already facing a global economical crisis/turmoil and are living on edge. Recommend

  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    May 14, 2015 - 10:44AM

    I think people of the other parts/provinces of Pakistan don’t pay tax and only Lahori people pay all taxes this is why PML-N’s all focus is on Lahore.Yousuf Raza Gillani paid all his attentions on Multan and PML-N is paying all its attentions on Lahore.Every minister first pays his/her attentions on his/her native city and this is normal political move/activity by any ministers.Methinks for PML-N only Lahore is whole Pakistan and PML-N’s all developmental projects are first and foremost for Lahore and left budget is for the other parts/provinces of Pakistan.
    “Rs310 billion of which will be covered by foreign loans.”
    What the shameful policy of PML-N of breaking the begging bowl as Nawaz Sharif has said that we will not get more loans and how many more projects can be completed with this huge amount of money in Pakistan which will be spent only on Metro Train in Lahore!!!!!!Recommend

  • Czar of Subcontinent
    May 14, 2015 - 10:50AM

    @BD: Punjabis never complained when they were facing 12 hours of load shedding in Mr.Z era, and Karachi was getting electricity supply for 18-20 hours. Plus, you have to accept a truth( it will hurt you fir sure ) , whoever wins Lahore , tends to win Punjab, and whoever wins Punjab , makes government in Pakistan….Recommend

  • Solangi
    May 14, 2015 - 11:13AM

    It has become more than evident that rest of the Pakistan has always been screwed just to serve Punjab. Bengalis were lucky that they were geographically separate so got out much earlier. Now Punjabis are sucking every drop of blood from rest of the three provinces. Pakistani establishment cares just for Punjab and makes sure Punjab’s interests are protected at any cost.Recommend

  • Waqar
    May 14, 2015 - 11:17AM

    I can’t understand why do we Pakistani’s are so much cynical and negative?
    If there is something being constructed into Punjab from the allocated Punjab budget, what is the problem with other proviences?
    Why do you people force to your leadership (whom cast a vote) to build something similar?Recommend

  • Mohammad Umar Hussain
    May 14, 2015 - 11:17AM

    why not make the Karachi a new province the tax and revenue we geenrate will be able to make it frist class city ,but no the prasites form rest of th sindh wont let go of Karachi ,
    RIP KarachiRecommend

  • Hassam Tahir
    May 14, 2015 - 11:20AM

    Why would the Punjab govt make metro trains in Karachi?Recommend

  • ali
    May 14, 2015 - 11:20AM

    no metro bus or train or subway for karachi? these projects are pending in karachi since more then 30 years. Sindh goverment doesnt want to do anything in karachi because they do not have mandate in karachi. and this is why karachi has to made a separate province!!!!!! because we want to rule ourselves and make our city better!!!!!Recommend

  • Bd
    May 14, 2015 - 11:54AM

    Racist Punjabis lecturing others once again completely ignoring that Pakistani establishment, bureaucracy, army, ruling party, committees and agencies like the one that approved this metro rain for Lahore are all stuffed with Punjabis. So don’t be so dumb that other provinces don’t propose projects for their people. Those projects get shot down by the ruling Punjabi mafia that controls Pakistan. Even this reports mentions in passing how the objections of Sindh were set aside. Punjabis never approve any thing that does not benefit Punjab.

    Pakistan is nothing but a curse for people of provinces other than Punjab.Recommend

  • Syed Zulfiqar
    May 14, 2015 - 12:33PM

    @Solangi: Your comments are not justified, as in Sindh most of the time PPP ruled (in 90’s till now) but no city of Sindh got developed, even Karachi was developed under military rule. You must have traveled interior of Sindh where provincial govt maintains highways these people only fill their foreign accounts.Recommend

  • Rational Karachiite
    May 14, 2015 - 12:37PM

    Punjab is home to nearly 60% of the country’s population so its obviously going to have more repsentatives in major institutions but proportionally, Punjabis are not over represented at all, illiterates like you need to get an education, in fact if you look at data, Pashtuns,Sindhis and Urdu speakers are equally represented in proportion to their population make up, you’re definitely a hate filled person who is anti-Pakistan, most likely an Afghan nationalist who hates Punjabis no matter what, in fact your kind will bash Punjab no matter what because of historical reasons and little to do with ther present.

    As an ethnic minority in this country, I’m glad Pakistan isn’t as racist and fascistic as Afghanistan is.Recommend

  • Marvi
    May 14, 2015 - 12:43PM

    Why beg from others? Pakistan was made for Punjabis only so it is natural all the development work is for Punjab only. Can’t wait for the day Sindhi, Baluch and Pashtun nations get their freedom from Pakistan. They can only see development in their independent countries where Punjab will not be there to suck their blood.Recommend

  • Paki
    May 14, 2015 - 1:31PM

    Next time, when you’re voting in Sindh, Think!!!Recommend

  • Free Baluchistan
    May 14, 2015 - 1:47PM

    Pakistan is occupying Baluchistan ever since Pakistan was created. Baluch people never saw any development. Please give Baluchistan freedom so they can have development too.Recommend

  • khurram
    May 14, 2015 - 1:49PM

    @concerned: get a young dynamic CMRecommend

  • khurram
    May 14, 2015 - 1:58PM

    @Solangi: No one has done more harm to themselves than rural sindhis. There was a great vacuum in Karachi that has been filled by people from KPK that could have been filled by rural Sindhis but that would have meant that loss of power of wadera. Get a young dynamic forward looking CM and feel the change.We read in news papers that Zulfiqar Mirza’s farm house has ponies and ostriches but look at the poor women who are holding guns for him , not even wearing shoes. I would request demand that you need cricket stadium in rural Sindh and in10 years time they will be playing for Pak team. But a hari who has tasted the change will not sit at the feet of a Pir or Makhdoom.Recommend

  • Haroon
    May 14, 2015 - 2:00PM

    Again you are misguided by the false propaganda and lack of knowledge. After 18th amendment in the constitution, so much power is transformed from federation to the province. If you also look at NFC award, provinces are getting a healthy share of funds. Problem is that SS is very active and he always have interests in developing mega projects while they don’t care about education and health. There is another side of the story. People in south Punjab are not happy at all as they think, all budget is invested in Lahore only. So in order to fix this, local body governments is necessary. This is second stage of power and resource division.
    In Sindh, Qaim Ali Shah is a CM and we all know what he can do. Problem in Sindh and KPK are their CMs. There is no shortage of resources.Recommend

  • khurram
    May 14, 2015 - 2:07PM

    once you get that freedom then the people in Karachi will like to get freedom from you and so on. there is a better way to ask for your rights and that is to ask your local MPA and MNA and say that we want a project for our city, it could be a university, airport or transport. if he does mot raise that voice then the fault is at that level and not with Punjabis. Get the education level of haris up and they will be future entrepreneurs, policemen, teachers artists and cricketers.Recommend

  • Zubash
    May 14, 2015 - 2:19PM

    Punjabis like you think Punjabis are the “czar of subcontinent” but other nations that are forced to live under Pakistan don’t want czars. They don’t want to live in a country where Punjabis get to decide everything. They want freedom from a country where Punjabis get everything while others get nothing. Oh and Pashtunistan generates all the electricity but Pashtuns face 20 hours of load shedding while overcrowded Punjab gets almost uninterrupted electricity at throwaway prices. Ranjeet Singh did not bring the gas, oil and electricity that you people enjoy in Punjab. Stop being so thankless and stop stealing from other provinces.Recommend

  • concerned
    May 14, 2015 - 3:10PM

    Provincial government is financing these project, no body is stopping other to initiate there own projects. BTW not a Punjabi nor living thereRecommend

  • Usman
    May 14, 2015 - 3:47PM

    @Free Baluchistan: Development in Balochistan (learn to spell it correctly first) is not linked to freedom, it’s linked to Balochis rising up against their feudals to demand rights. They have all the provisions as any other province, and more quotas than others. Its time we in the sub-continent realise being part of a big progressive country like Pakistan has much much more advantageous than like being Nepal and Kashmir, quashed by India’s size.Recommend

  • fact
    May 14, 2015 - 4:06PM

    The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council that gave the green signal to the metro train and other projects for Punjab is made up of mostly Punjabi members. It is answerable to Punjabi prime minister of Pakistan and is popped up by the Punjabi establishment of Pakistan that ensures Punjab’s interests are well taken care of.

    Punjab is financing the train and other luxuries through multi billion loans that its proxy Pakistan government is taking from foreign governments. Other provinces that are forced to be part of Pakistan even though they do not want to be will suffer more when the Pakistan government pays back the massive loans and the interest they accrue. Punjabis will benefit from the trains but the suffering will be endured by poor people of other provinces.

    Already Punjab snatches most of what belongs to other provinces using the excuse of the over population that is defining characteristic of Punjab. Have some mercy on people of other provinces for a change please.Recommend

    May 14, 2015 - 4:06PM

    The approval is not coming from the provincial government it is coming from the federal government. Recommend

  • Xnain
    May 14, 2015 - 4:22PM

    @PTI and Bharaties coming and trolling on this
    If you have CM sindh living on bhang and CM KPK living on vitamin injections. whatelse would you expect? Punjab remains the most dynamic province thanks to continuous spending of CM Punjab. Rest its customary for incompetents to blame the bright one. Below grade students in the class never like the high scorers. Its naturalRecommend

  • Tahir
    May 14, 2015 - 4:59PM

    Hello dear all friends

    My birth is Punjab and i am 40 years old and since last 20 yars i live in lahore.. who says i being lahori would be benefited from metro train or bus. i own a bike and once in life sat in matro bus and that was a bad experience. Majority of my friends have same stories.

    The people of rawapindi did not like matro but govt. not only constructed there but also going to make many more projects in different cities of Punjab.

    reason very simple BIG Projects BIG COMMISSION

    Who gave a mandate to govt. to do so ZARDARI sb 5 + 5 year deal formula

    who is responsible for this????? may b Sindhi also who would not left PPP and Bahtto isim what so ever the worse situation may b

    Bhatto was great personality but people commanding after him r not even BIBI shaheed (as i have a right to differ as per democracy rules

    i voted nawaz for 15 yrs but now i want change and get rid of PATWARI AND THANA CULTUR

    So we r also responsible for our fortune also

    I voted PTI knowing no change is possible in my life but for batter future of my kids i based a change may b after 100 years result come out

    we in Punjab pay highest electricity bills hours load shedding, and no CNG

    i own a small car but cant afford Petrol so once in month i drive it for family and no CNG in punjab available

    So b positive sindhi brothers and sisters

    Look to Muslims of india and b thankful to Allah for not a minority or 2nd lass citizen

    Try to come out supporting brathri, relatives and old politician who did not work for your walfare and vote to new oneRecommend

  • Malveros
    May 14, 2015 - 5:29PM

    Brainless haters will hate. Well done to Lahore for spearheading this project. Karachites and Sindhis can sulk and ponder upon why they vote for MQM and PPP and therefore zero progress in their province. Even KPK is improving drastically. Baluchistan will be a shining light of progress in a few years but Alas Sindh will remain the most backward province in Pakisan.Recommend

  • Aqeel
    May 14, 2015 - 5:46PM

    While our power shortages have crippled the economy, we are going for a metro train that runs on electricity. A metro line infrastructure, with 16 stations, will need around 4000MW of electricity per week. That is enough to power a small village. Priorities anyone?Recommend

  • bajwa
    May 14, 2015 - 6:41PM

    If Sind keep electing PPP, no development work is expected.
    Just look at the condition of Larkana, you will understand what I am saying.Recommend

  • jimmy rehman
    May 14, 2015 - 7:54PM

    The money should be spent on improving education and health care rather than something that will benefit about 1% of lahores population.Recommend

  • citizen
    May 14, 2015 - 10:46PM

    @bd you are right people dying , no anti terrorism plan or infrastructure and the graveyard of killed on which metros would run only to create more sense of depriving in the poor and suffering class Recommend

  • farhan
    May 14, 2015 - 11:48PM

    Stop Separating Hatred. We all are one and remain united not separated by 1000 of miles as East Pakistan. Now Come to Karachi. Karachi Deserves more than other City Of Pakistan. Congress wont have government in maharashtra but they give priority to Mumbai and build a bridge on see and proud of that. If Sindh Government is corrupt not paying any attention than Federal Government has some Responsibility on Karachi, The City Which Polls tons of Taxes Deserves Mass Transit System, Metro Buses Subway and all that. But Nawaz Government totally neglecting Karachi as far as development projects are concerned. The People of Karachi really happy if side by side operation some Mega Projects Were also developed in his tenure. It also eradicates the rumors that he only focuses on Punjab Development.
    The Another Dilemma with Karachi is that Sindh Government has no Mandate In Karachi and therefore wont spend a single penny on Karachi. Looting the taxes and resources of Karachi but if they say that they need a City Government or another province. it annoying but for how long you alienate the educated class of Karachi. Ultimate Result Karachi Suffered. The Karachities remember the Musharaf era when Rapid Development projects have been build in Karachi. This is the real Difference Between Democracy and Dictatorship. Recommend

  • Rana Khurram
    May 15, 2015 - 12:06AM

    I have read comments of all the participants, Thats all is an initiative of CM Punjab. I don’t know why other country’s CM does not show progress. and blaim on other who doing some consteuctive.PM told several times if sind government show interest to construct any Metro or other Mega project they come with physibility plan Government is more happy to invest on that project,but till yet sind government does not show any interest. In education sector whole country see how board exeminations conducted in sind including karachi i can challenge come to Lahore Board and pass the exam and you will realized what is fool proof and solid education system in punjab.this is also provisioning of CM punjab.Recommend

  • Nathan
    May 15, 2015 - 3:36AM

    Why is Punjab treating the whole country like Britishers used to treat India? Extract resources from colonies and don’t spend a dime on them. Britishers might have been more lenient than Punjab. Recommend

  • Syed
    May 15, 2015 - 6:54AM

    Did you not see two coal fired power plants near Karachi? Most of the development in Punjab comes from Punjab’s budget, why doesn’t your provincial govt does the same? Elect PMLN in Sind next time.Recommend

  • @Nathan
    May 15, 2015 - 7:41AM

    You are right on the money. British were definitely more lenient than big hungry brother Punjab in dealing with Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP even though Punjab does not officially claim that the provinces of Pakistan are its colonies. It is disgusting that Punjab considers other provinces only good enough for their resources and shamelessly extracts them while giving nothing in return. .Recommend

  • Teacher
    May 15, 2015 - 9:15AM


    You can’t fool us. The ambassador of the quality of education in Punjab is none other than the prime minister Nawaz Sharif who was elected by Punjabis to rule over Pakistan. Look at his calibre. He can’t even speak a couple of sentences in English. Prime minsters and presidents in most counties are the most brilliant minds so we can well imagine how the rest of Punjab fares when its beloved prime minister, who has been elected by Punjabis no less than three times, leaves so much to be desired.

    Punjab is infamous for its caste system, baradaris, nepotism and bias against other provinces that ensure only Punjabis rise to the top in Pakistan. Punjab will be nothing if it were not for the resources from other provinces that the ruling Punjabi elite has been awarding to Punjab ever since the creation of Pakistan.

    It is also funny how you people taunt others for lack of education when it was Punjabis who were at the forefront of smear campaign against Malala Yousufzai. You people did not even spare a young woman who just asked for education.Recommend

  • Palijo
    May 15, 2015 - 1:39PM


    Over 60 years of colonization of Sindh by Punjab Pakistan nexus and all the Pakistan federal government has to show for it in Sindh are “two coal fired power plants”? And even those are there for the services of Punjab since the population of Punjab is so huge and Punjab is so energy deficient that it needs all the power plants in other provinces that it can get its big fat hands on.

    What will you people do without the gas and oil and coal you people literally snatch from Sindh and other colonies of Punjab? How will you pay for Punjab’s “budget” if the excuse of your huge population was not there to get the elephant’s share of revenue from the federal kitty? How will you fund your “development” if the colonies become independent from Punjab Pakistan nexus?

    No and Sindhis should never vote for racist PML-N that cares only for Punjab since winning election in Punjab is all it needs to rule over Punjab but Sindhis definitely should vote out the PPP government backed by Punjabi establishment and get independence from Pakistan. Hopefully soon.Recommend

  • H Chaudhry
    May 15, 2015 - 8:20PM

    @BD and Others PUNJAB has nothing to do with your issues. You are yourself responsible for issue. You elect wrong people, you keep giving your FEUDALs power. Go tell your Feudal lords to do something for you. In 18th Amendment, Provinces are independant. What Punjab is doing is by its resources and not taking from you. Punjab has established itself where people pay bills. BTW I am not from Lahore and my home cities of Gujranwala and Sialkot are also developoed a lot in last 5 years. Waht Shahbaz is doing is what People vote him to do. For others, Karachi needs these thigns but its not job of Punjab or Federal Govt. Ask your PPP/MQM leaders to do it from their budget.Recommend

  • Tahir lhr
    May 16, 2015 - 12:05AM

    All sindhi brothers

    plz check my post above. i know the fact convencing others is like putting elephant in a rickshaw. we being resident of Punjab pay highest electricity charges (i may send u my bill ref no. almost 15 to 20 rs. pr unit + taxs}, hours load shedding u may check on mdia or net and there is no CNG.

    I did not vote Nawaz and PML but as pr my observations its ZARDARI SB 5 + 5 years deal formula Nawaz is in power. both r friendly opposition to each other. opposition leader is not more than a P.A to Nawaz.

    So why u sould not get responsible for not laving PPP. my father has served at important positions in federal gov. and as pr his experience 85% corruption among whole country is in sindh province.

    u all find solution of ur problems in bad mouthing Punjab or Punjabis, Recommend

  • kk
    May 16, 2015 - 12:56AM

    what will be the fate of metro bus.this stupid chap shahbz is insane .first he spent billions for metro and to make it look successful gave millions in subsidy now he is spending billions of ruppees which is mostly loan on metro train. only lahore will be benefited and loan with intrest will returned by whole nation. i request patriot lahorites to please protest against this luxurious project Recommend

  • Suhayb Manzar
    May 16, 2015 - 5:22AM

    Its really pathetic. This is a Punjab government’s project, why are people from other provinces are getting so upset? Go ask your provincial governments to start projects for you. Also I know most of these people spreading hatred are Indians, but if there are some genuine people here they need to get some sense.Recommend

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