The Chief Minister’s obsession with the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project seems to be spinning out of control. There remain no bounds to his resolve to see his pet project through, and his latest outburst just shows the lengths he is willing to take to justify the poor decision-making surrounding the OLMT. His emotions run from defensive to emotional, as in the latest bid to convince the masses of the benefits of the metro he, ironically, turns on the “elite” who are criticising the public welfare project while spending their vacation in Europe and have never travelled with the common man.

The conversation has shifted to the “rights of the common man” and how those elements trying to crush the dreams of poor people will face the wrath of the CM. Isn’t taking away the benefits accrued from the hundred year old trees - being felled all over the city, recently many near Zaman Park – the right of the common man? Should their health suffer due to the aggravating air pollution in the concrete metropolis because they cannot afford to travel in VIP luxury cars? Is it fair to pay a measly compensation to relocate from their decades old homes, on the whim of the ever-insistent CM?

The CM should think twice before lobbying for the rights of the poor. He is the definition of the elite he is instigating against, considering his family has amassed billions of Pakistan’s wealth in Panama. The OLMT has been forced upon the people of Lahore, so he would be none the wiser than to insist upon the civil society to accept his autocratic decisions, and that too whole-heartedly. If this government is truly a democratic one then it must prove to the voters that decisions that affect the environment and welfare of the people are carried out with consultation with all the concerned and affected parties.