The PML-N has initiated yet another multibillion dollar mega-project, the first city train line in the country, and it comes as no surprise that the new Orange Line Metro project will be made in Lahore. The $1.6 billion railway line is going to stretch across 27 kilometers, supposedly with a daily capacity of 250,000 passengers, and is going to be the first of four inter-connected routes that will cover the entire city. The government’s commitment to make life easier for the ‘common man’ is commendable, but this altruistic instinct would be better utilized if it extended to other areas of the country as well.

There is no denying that Pakistan is in desperate need of an overhaul of its infrastructure. But with very limited resources, and the majority of its surface area lying undeveloped, focusing solely on Lahore makes no sense. Transport is not Pakistan’s biggest problem, and even if it was, the Orange Metro Line is as relevant to solving the problem of transportation as the laptop scheme is to overcoming the challenges in education. $1.6 billion is no small sum, and sinking all of it one project is impractical in a country that is riddled with issues.

The metro bus projects around various cities, new bridges that have changed the landscape of Lahore, and now, the Orange Line Metro depict PML-N’s take on development and progress. Human development and improving the quality of life of the general public is never a priority for the PML-N, and instead, grand schemes that have little practical value get precedence. The rationale behind this is simple; all of these structures act as tangible reminders of the work the party has done when the next elections take place. Unless the government stops assessing progress through a skewed lens that only takes shiny structures into account, actual human development that improves the quality of life for the people might never take place.