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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday inaugurated the Metro bus service from Peshawar Morr to New Islamabad Airport. Speaking at a ceremony after the inauguration ceremony of the Metro bus service, the prime minister said that the project started by the former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, was unfortunately delayed for the last four years.

The project costing Rs15 billion to be made operational in 2018 was delayed following change in government. He said that this project was for the common man and not for the prime minister.

The prime minister said that 15 buses have been borrowed from the Punjab Transport Authority to make the project operational. He said that the previous government had no interest in serving the nation, and stated that during Nawaz Sharif government four metro projects and Orange metro were undertaken.

The Prime Minister said that the Orange Line at Lahore, a gift from China to the citizens of Pakistan, was also delayed by the PTI lawyers on the ground of corruption but he was exonerated by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

He added that there would be no cost of metro bus tickets during the month of Ramadan. He also acknowledged the Chinese authorities for their cooperation in the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project in Karachi. This project is very vital for the people of Karachi.

Peshawar Mor to Islamabad Airport: PM orders inquiry into metro bus project delay

He said he went to National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) and requested them to recommend the KCR for Karachi. They were willing, but as the government was changed the rest is history. He requested the Chinese Embassy officials to recommend this project again.

Sharif also pointed out that in the past, debt servicing, defence and other expenses were being met from country’s own resources but after the PTI government now these expenses are being met by taking loans. This, he said is a serious situation.

He said that the cost of this project was Rs16 billion which has been reduced to Rs12 billion. The prime minister said that 10 percent interest on borrowing of Rs12 billion would be around Rs1.2 billion and on 5 percent, the interest payment would be Rs 0.66 billion.

He said that interest payment would be around Rs2.5 billion in three to four years at 5 percent and over Rs5 billion at 10 percent. Earlier, he said that China and Turkey’s contribution directly and indirectly to the great public transport system is being acknowledged by the people of the country.

He lauded China’s support for Pakistan at all international forums and for the economy. The CPEC is a game changer and will continue to be a game changer in the future, he added.

The prime minister also lauded president of Turkey and stated that one would learn how forefathers of Pakistan supported the war in Turkey under the leadership of the late Mustafa Kemal.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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