LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that successful test run of first metro train in the city is a milestone and credit of introducing such a wonderful train service goes to the PML-N government.

He said the PML-N made the promise of best transport services to the masses and now it is fulfilling that promise by providing them modern transport facility of metro train. “An international mass transit system has been given practical shape in Punjab. After introducing metro bus service in Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi-Islamabad, orange line metro train is another revolutionary initiative in the transport sector,” the chief minister said while talking to party parliamentarians who called on him here yesterday.

“Orange line metro train will cover a distance of 27 kilometers in 45 minutes and people from all walks of life would benefit from this project. Within the next few years, the number of passengers of metro train will reach 500000 a day,” he said.

The chief minister said that due to delaying tactics of Niazi Sahib, orange line metro train project was delayed for 22 months. “Had Niazi not created hindrance in this project, thousands of passengers would have been using this train today,” he said. He said that people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces were facing problems due to the outdated transport systems in their provinces but Asif Ali Zardari and Niazi were simply unable to start such beneficial projects there. He said he would launch such projects all over the country if his party is elected to power in the next general elections.

He said the Punjab government has promoted merit, transparency and honesty in every sector and projects have been completed despite hurdles. He said that U-turn Khan has put the development journey of the country at risk. He said the sit-in group hatched a conspiracy and compromised interests of 220 million people of Pakistan. By the grace of God, he said, these conspiracies were failed. On the other side, he said, corruption records were set in institutions and projects during the previous tenures. He said the present government set new records of transparency, quality and speed. He said that five years of PML-N government were a story of determination and honesty.

Elected representatives congratulated the chief minister on successful test run of the orange line metro train and said that measures taken by the Punjab government for welfare of public were unprecedented. They said that orange line metro train was a wonderful project for the common man and this reflected development vision of Shehbaz Sharif.

Earlier, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the departments and officials concerned to ensure availability of food items to people at subsidised rates in Ramazan and take stern action against profiteers. Issuing directions to the provincial cabinet committee on price control, the chief minister called for measures to keep prices of essential food items under control. He said it was the responsibility of relevant departments as well as the administration to ensure ample availability of food items in the market. Therefore, he said, they should proactively work to provide relief to the masses. He said that eatables should be made available at fixed rates and their prompt supply to markets should be ensured.

He said that a crackdown should be launched on profiteers. He ordered indiscriminate action against people selling eatables at exorbitant rates and made it clear that public interest was supreme.

 The elements looting the public deserve no leniency and the alliance of hoarders and profiteers will not be allowed to exploit people, he said. He said traders will not be allowed to increase rates of essential items. He said the Punjab government had given a historic Ramazan package worth billions of rupees for providing relief to the masses and every penny of this package should benefit people. He said elected representatives, field administration and price control committees should work proactively to help the masses to benefit from this package.

Also, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif paid rich tributes to bravery and courage of Colonel Sohail Abid who was martyred during an operation against terrorists in Kuli Almas area of Balochistan. He also prayed for early recovery of the injured officials.

He extended his heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family and said that Colonel Sohail Abid sacrificed his life for future of the nation and his great sacrifice will never be forgotten. He said the purpose for which Colonel Sohail Abid sacrificed his life was mission of the whole nation and brave sons like him were national heroes. Armed forces of Pakistan, police, security agencies and ordinary citizens have rendered invaluable sacrifices in the war against terrorism and their sacrifices will not be wasted, he added.

Condemning the Israeli actions in Palestine, Shehbaz Sharif, who is also president of the ruling PML-N, said that Israeli army was committing worst cruelty and barbarity against unarmed Palestinians and grossly violating human rights.

Pakistan strongly condemns Israeli brutality, he said. There is no justification for cruelties against Palestinians and the international community should move forward to stop the Israeli barbarism.

In his message issued on the Palestine Solidarity Day, the chief minister reiterated Pakistan’s complete solidarity with the Palestinians. He said the Pakistani government as well as people assures Palestinians that cooperation will be continued to them at every level.

Shehbaz said that Pakistani people were angry at relocation of US Embassy to occupied Bait-ul-Muqaddas. Due to this, he said, religious sentiments of Muslims were hurt. This step has also weakened the peace efforts, he concluded.