The Chief Justice Pakistan’s (CJP) Karachi visit was punctuated with directions to the provincial government to complete unfinished transit projects in the city. Massive infrastructural improvements such as the components of the Karachi Mass Transit Plan and the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) stand unfinished even though three years have gone by since these projects were initiated. Some, such as the Orange and Green Metro Bus Line have been completed according to the government, but for inscrutable reasons, have not been made operational as of yet.

The Supreme Court has now directed provincial authorities to make all three routes functional in the next year. A deadline from the courts might just be the push that is needed for the Sindh government to finally get inter-city rail travel up and running. A project like KCR, which is older than other inter-city projects such as the metro bus and orange line in Lahore and the metro bus in Islamabad, should not be delayed for an indefinite period.

Karachi is our biggest metropolitan city, and its transportation needs are quite naturally much more extensive and yet, the government has not sought to provide any such service to the public. A functional metro system will ease commuting for commercial and private purposes, improving economic outlook and the standard of living in Karachi through one infrastructural improvement. And unlike the massive road plans we are used to seeing from governments all over Pakistan, a public transport system stands to be utilised by all, not just those that can afford to buy their own vehicles.

Exactly why the projects in Karachi are limbo is also something the Sindh government must answer for. The court has been exceedingly patient with the provincial administration, and time is now running out for them to deliver. The Orange and Green lines are only the beginning, three more lines have to be constructed after this, not to mention KCR and how the government plans to make it operational as well. The work is piling up; provincial authorities must work harder.