LAHORE - PPP yesterday held a protest demonstration at Jain Mandir against the construction of the new orange line metro train.

The protest was led by the PPP's Secretary Information, Faisal Mir along with the President of Zone 154 Dr. Zarrar Yusaf. A large number of women and children from Kapoor Thala House also participated.

A huge hole dug for one of the foundations for the new train was re-filled by the protesting crowd. Women and children chanted the slogan "Marain Gay Mar Jain gay- apnay Ghar Bachain gay, Khoni Train Band Karo, Zalim-e-Ala Murda Bad, Orange Train Band Karo."

A large number of PML-N supporters, both female and male, announced that they have been supporting Nawaz Sharif all their lives but are making the decision today to join PPP because Nawaz Sharif is taking away both their homes and the futures of their children.

Addressing the protestors, Secretary Information PPP Lahore Faisal Mir said that a 20km long orange line train was planned in 2006 which was suppose to run underground to transport 380000 passengers daily. But the orange train being built now, planned by Shahbaz Sharif, will run above ground and transport only 25000 people daily. The homes of thousands of well-settled families and businesses will be destroyed, with citizens receiving no compensation. In addition, more than 25 historical sites will be affected.

Faisal Mir said that the Punjab Government was acting like the Israeli government by providing just two hours' notice and then showing up with police forces to demolish properties, leaving people on the streets. He said this was how Palestinians were being treated in Israel. PPP will not let Shahbaz Sharif turn Lahore into Israel and will stand with every victim of the construction of the orange line train.

He further said that only 2.2 percent of Lahorites and 0.2 percent of Punjab will be facilitated by this project.

Faisal demanded that the government should stop all construction related to the orange train project and call for a public review. As a democracy, every citizen affected by the project should be properly consulted so that residential areas and historical places are not negatively affected.

President of PPP Zone 154 Dr. Zarrar Yusaf said that a train of the same size was built in Rio De Janeiro in 2015 with a budget of 31 million dollars, whereas the same train system is being built by Shahbaz Sharif for 61 million dollars.

Dr. Zarrar Yusaf said that the Punjab Government was committing acts that violate constitutional rights as well as basic human rights.

He explained that Acquisition of Land Act 1884 was also being severely violated. According to the law, he added, if property is to be acquired for a public project, the owner of that property should be paid 25 percent more than the market value. He alleged that government was offering 75 percent less than the market value of these properties, and no money had exchanged hands yet in connection with acquisitions of land related to orange line train construction. “Empty promises are being made and if anyone resists the administration, they are threatened by police. Citizens are being deprived of their legal and constitutional rights”, Dr Zarrar said.

Dr. Zarrar Yusuf also demanded that the Chief Justice make sure that justice was not denied to the victims and that he should closely watch the legal proceedings being conducted in the Lahore High Court where numerous victims were given stay orders.