Prime Minister Imran Khan will open the trial phase of the much-awaited Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service in Karachi today (Friday), five years after its launch.
The bus service will comprise 80 hybrid buses that will ply a route of 22 kilometres from Surjani to the Municipal Park near Jama Cloth market with, 23 stations.
The prime minister will arrive in Karachi in the afternoon on a one-day visit.
A delegation of businessmen will also call on him at the Governor House. The officials of the PTI Sindh region will also call on the premier.
PM Khan will leave for Islamabad after the project’s inauguration.
THE PROJECT: The Green Line Bus project was announced by the PML-N’s in July 2014. On February 26, 2016, the foundation stone of the 17.8 km long track from Surjani to Guru Mandir was laid.
Modern lifts and automatic ticketing systems will facilitate passengers on every bus station. All details about the arrival and departure of buses will be available on digital screens installed on bus stations.
Each bus will have a capacity of 200 to 250 passengers while the fare is expected to be between Rs20 and Rs50. The buses will have a complete system from USB ports to wheelchairs.
In the second phase of the project, buses will run to the Tower. Under the Green Line Bus project, a two-storey underpass is being constructed at Guru Mandir and Numaish Chowrangi, where not only buses will run on international standards, but accommodation will also be provided.
A control room with at least 900 cameras has also been set up for monitoring of the Green Line bus project and security of passengers to meet the requirements of modern times.
AHSAN IQBAL MANHANDLED: Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that party workers had been “tortured” by security personnel and subjected to “state-sponsored violence” in Karachi’s Nazimabad No 7 — where he had arrived to perform a symbolic inauguration of the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit project — terming the incident “condemnable”.
Iqbal, along with PML-N workers and other party leaders, including Muhammad Zubair, Miftah Ismail, Kheal Das Kohistani, Nehal Hashmi, Sorath Thebo and Ali Akbar Gujjar, had reached the site of the project for a symbolic inauguration, just a day before Prime Minister Imran’s formal inauguration.
The situation escalated when Iqbal was stopped from moving further after his arrival at the site. He, however, raised his hand at the spot he was standing as a gesture to signify that he had performed the symbolic inauguration.
A melee was witnessed at the site as PML-N workers and leaders were stopped from going towards the pedestrian bridge built as part of the project, and a video of the incident shows Rangers personnel stopping them from moving forward.
PML-N Karachi chapter general secretary Nasiruddin Mehmood claimed that PML-N workers also faced hindrances when they had tried to visit the project’s site on Wednesday night.
According to him, private guards did not allow them to reach the site, and when they visited it again on Thursday morning, they were stopped by Rangers and police.
Mehmood said when they told law enforcers that they were there only for the symbolic inauguration of the project, security personnel said they had been asked by the federal government to stop them.
“When they [PML-N workers] were pushed back, they went and stood at some distance,” he said, adding that after Iqbal reached the site in the afternoon, he was also stopped by paramilitary personnel.
Mehmood estimated that around 200 to 250 PML-N workers were present on the occasion and they were “pushed back and baton-charged”.
“Ahsan Iqbal was beaten with sticks twice and a leader from the party’s women wing, Perveen Bashir, suffered bruises on her finger when she was hit,” he said, adding that party leader Sorath Thebo also fell down amid the ruckus and suffered injuries.
“We were peacefully demonstrating and did not want to challenge the writ of the state and yet, we were subjected to [authorities’] high-handedness,” he said.
SHEHBAZ SHARIF CONDEMNS INCIDENT: PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the incident and demanded an investigation into the matter and action against those responsible.
In a statement, he alleged that “Rangers used force against PML-N leaders and workers on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan”.
“Ahsan Iqbal and PML-N workers being subjected to baton-charge, torture and ill-treatment is condemnable and unfortunate,” he said. “Political workers being tortured is unacceptable.”