By Hamza Ameer
Lahore, Oct 26 (IANS) The Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT), Pakistan’s first intercity bullet train service was inaugurated on Sunday in Lahore in two separate ceremonies done by the government and the opposition party as both parties laid claims on its ownership.
The opposition party Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) did a first inaugural ceremony at Anarkali station in Lahore, where a large number of party members and supporters were present to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister of Punjab province Usman Buzdar also inaugurated the project in a separate ceremony as both parties claimed ownership of the project.
“Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) is a culmination of Pakistan-China friendship that began with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” he said.
“It is the first transport project under CPEC and a gift to the people of Lahore. Punjab government welcomes all development project that may accompany the joint venture,” Buzdar added.
While the ruling provincial government led ceremony put feathers on their shoulders for successful completion of OLMT; opposition party PML-N claimed that the former chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif was the founder of OLMT project.
Khawaja Saad Rafique, former Railway Minister and senior leader of PML-N questioned the ruling government over the delay in the completion of the OLMT, which he said has caused the national exchequer billions of rupees.
“PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) has taken a deliberate stay order on the project to stop Shehbaz Sharif from inaugurating it,” claimed PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar.
The federal government was quick to respond to the opposition’s claims as Shibli Faraz, federal minister for information and broadcasting said “CPEC was the project of people of Pakistan and not of any specific party”.
“PML-N’s NAB (National Accountability Bureau) victims were actually celebrating the plundering of national exchequer and public resources on the self-proclaimed inauguration of the orange train. It was the people who had to bear the burden of expensive project,” he said.
As per official details of OLMT, at least 26 stations and tracks spanning over 27.12 km have been setup. At least 250,000 commuters will be travelling daily on the country’s first electricity-run public transport.