On Sunday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar addressed a ceremony in Karachi at the Governor House. The minister said at the occasion that Karachi had been deprived of its rights despite generating resources for the entire country.
The comments came while the minister was attending the handing over of 50 fire tenders and two water bowsers to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). Also attending the event was the Governor of Sindh, Imran Ismail. The fire tenders had arrived in Karachi last month to boost the city’s fire emergency system.
Asad Umar commented that the Federal Government was spearheading many development projects in the city, going beyond its constitutional responsibility towards the city and fulfilling its “personal responsibility”. The minister said Karachi was the city which provided many resources to the rest of the country but “it has not been given its rights.”
“The Centre has stepped forward and is trying to address Karachi’s legitimate complaints and grievances,” Umar said. He further added that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Governor Sindh, both had taken a personal interest in solving the issues faced by the city. “He (prime minister) calls meetings, demands timelines and pressures all of us that we live up to the expectations of the people of Karachi for development projects.”
Informing the attendees about the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), Asad Umar commented that work had started on the prototype for a bus which “will be completed by next month (March)”.
“We hope to start delivery of buses in the month of June,” said Umar, adding that the target was to have the Green Line operational by the months of July and August. “For the first time in the history of Karachi and Pakistan, there will be a modern transport system running in this city.”
The previous PML-N government was the first to announce the Green Line project in 2014. The project was formally inaugurated in 2016 by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who at the time had said: “it will be more beautiful than the Lahore metro bus.”
Components of the project include 22 bus stations, escalators and elevators, a bus depot at Surjani Town and a command and control centre in Saddar. The project was expected to be complete by December 2017 but was then delayed to April 2018. The project has been hit by repeated delays, while the Supreme Court expressed its resentment over the inordinate delays in completion of transport-related projects in Karachi in March 2020.
Last month, Umar had given a new timeline for the project and said it would be operational later in the year.