Chief Justice of Pakistan gives 6 months deadline to the Sindh Government
KARACHI - Sindh’s government’s rampant negligence towards infrastructure problems of Karachi and the persisting state of disrepair in various parts of the city drew Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed’s ire here on Friday.
The CJP’s remarks came as a Supreme Court bench heard the case regarding revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) at its Karachi registry. Justice Gulzar Ahmed presided over the bench.
The advocate general Sindh, the attorney general, the chief secretary Sindh and the railways secretary, among others, were present for the hearing. During the proceedings, the advocate general presented a copy of the Karachi Master Plan for the court’s review.
Sindh AG informed the court that Green Line Bus Rapid Transit project and Orange Line have been completed, while remaining projects are under construction. “The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are providing funding for these projects,” he stated before the court.
“The work should reflect the plans and maps you have handed over to us,” the chief justice said as it was clear he was not satisfied with the project’s scope. “This isn’t a forward-looking transport plan. Seemingly, you just wanted to spend money, distribute funds,” the chief justice remarked.
“We should shut these projects down if that is so,” the advocate general made an offer reacting to which the CJP said, “It doesn’t seem like you understand what we’re saying.”
The officials, defending the time it took to complete the project, told the court that work on the Green Line had kicked off three years ago, highlighting that the project stretched from Surjani Town to Numaish.
“You could have laid roads over all of Asia in three years,” Justice Gulzar retorted and asked, “You had the money and the people: why wasn’t the project wrapped up within a year?”
Speaking about the Orange Line project, the advocate general promised that the service would be made operational by next year. “Why not next month?” the chief justice asked. “It seems as if you do not pay the contractors. Go to Nazimabad, it seems like no work is being done [on the project] there,” he said.
“The parties [responsible for the project] keep changing all the time. You keep showing us these wonderful visions of the future and have turned the lives [of people living in those areas] into a living hell meanwhile,” Justice Gulzar said. “You’re fiddling as people die.”
“The Qingqi [rickshaws] have started running on the streets again. They’ll turn all your transport projects to dust,” he noted. “There’s hundreds of thousands of motorcycles on the streets.”
“University Road is a big joke; Shaheed-e-Millat Road used to be a sight once upon a time.”
“We are working. The Green Line and the Orange Line will be made operational soon,” the AG Sindh promised and claimed the Red Line will be made operational by August 14.
“And what about the Blue and Purple Lines?” asked the chief justice as the AG responded by saying, “We are not working on those at the moment.” The CJP said, “It seemed you all do not work till someone stands bearing a stick over your head. Please work for the country.”