Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has convened another highl level meeting in his private estate Jati Umra, with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif, minister of state for water and power Abid Sher Ali, Maryam Nawaz, Capt. Safdar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Information and Law Minister Pervez Rasheed, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq.
The Prime Minister starts on an angry note: “Have you all heard this latest madness?
“On. November 20, I mean November 20, 2015, the Lahore High Court ordered a stay on a section of the Orange Line Metro Train Project after hearing a petition filed by the residents of Kapoorthala House and others situated in the locality. You old know that this where we take the Line close to Old Anarkali.
“First, they said a major portion of the old heritage of the city, including General Post Office and some part of Shalamar Gardens and Chauburji were being damaged to accommodate the project.
“Chauburji!!! What is it in Chauburhi? If people are so fond of seeing four minarets in one place, they can go visit Hyderbad in India and see the Chaar Minar! I have seeing photos of it, looks so similar!
“Now they have added attacks on the acquisition process itself, alleging it to be unlawful and in violation of fundamental rights protected in the Constitution.
“Pervez Sahib, our Law Minister, knows the Land Acquisition Act was adopted in 1894 during the British period, and after more than 100 years in 2015, it is being called against the Constitution of Pakistan!
“Before that quote unquote civil society activists, individuals and rights groups were saying that Orange Line project directly flouts Section 22 of the Antiquities Act 1975 and Punjab Special Premises Preservation Ordinance 1985 by passing along historical and internationally recognized heritage sites ─ Chauburji, General Post Office (GPO) and the Shalamar Gardens. They want us to either change the route or construct stretches at a distance of 200-feet from these monuments or use tunnel technology to keep the entire 27.1km track underground.
“Making underground system? Do they understand the technology, the cost?
“UNESCO or the UN cannot do anything in Kashmir or Palestine but they are also jumping on our Orange Line. They sought details from the Punjab government on the project, particularly the elevated stretch passing along Shalamar Gardens, which is on the list of world heritage sites along with the Lahore Fort.
“Not only that but a UNESCO team visited the Shalamar Gardens and observed the ongoing civil works being carried out in the area. The Punjab government has expressed willingness to take UNESCO and civil society on board regarding the project. We told them that we have no objection if UNESCO wants the project details and desires to assist us through its experts in resolving the issue of the elevated train track route along the Shalamar Gardens.
“Now these pesky Kapoorthala House people! Chaudhury Nisar Sahib you need to investigate if these are not Imran Khan people involved in the conspiracy against our successful political strategy of projects like our Orange Line. We all know that every transport project we do only adds to our strength in elected bodies. How many can we count, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, now two rounds of local bodies!
“What is past, past, past? Museums, old buildings? And how many tourists are visiting Pakistan any way? Will the number of tourists transfer into votes?
“Now here is an absolute gem that someone forwarded me from the Wall Street Journal. Mark Parker, CEO and president of Nike, that when someone asked why his company office campus doesn’t have a fancy museum devoted to Nike’s history. Parker says that’s because of something that Steve Jobs once told him when he was visiting Apple and noticed they didn’t have a museum. “What I got back was, ‘Well, we are more focused on the future,’ ” Parker says. “Past is past.”
The Prime Minister pauses and restarts, “They say preserve the past! Past? Then will say preserve the past of Sharif Family, with all the defaulted bank loans, underhand licenses, permits, and tax schemes. This is also past. The past does not fit in with a successful family. Listen to Steve Jobs!
“Indeed this is the mark of successful people. I will remind our remind people about it, and I ask our leadership to repeat this message non-stop. We cannot stop with the Orange Line. We have to have more transport project before the 2018 elections – old buildings or not!
“We CANNOT allow this conspiracy to work. God willing, Nawaz Sharif’s name will go in Guinness Book of World Records about being so many time Prime Minister.”