Roads that dis­con­nect

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

So much of her­itage is as­so­ci­ated with the area and the scene has al­ready changed quite dras­ti­cally es­pe­cially for those who are still un­de­cided about em­brac­ing the cur­rent de­vel­op­ment model un­con­di­tion­ally. The al­ter­na­tive — some­thing less pro­trud­ing and less offensive, has gone undis­cussed. Lahore has moved on.

The per­sonal long­ing for what is and what ought to be, has to fi­nally and al­ways give way to the dom­i­nant needs of oth­ers, of the ma­jor­ity and be­fore that, the needs of those who de­cide on ev­ery­one’s be­half.

The 18-me­tre long MBS ve­hi­cles that are be­ing made some­where in China are not run on sen­ti­ment but needs. They are not to be blamed for the emo­tional sideshows or for block­ing the way for dis­cus­sions on all other top­ics in Lahore right now. And ac­ri­mo­niously or in ad­mi­ra­tion, it is im­pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate the Turk­ish bus from its fa­mously de­ter­mined Pak­istani pi­lot and the pub­lic ex­am­i­na­tion sched­uled in the com­ing months.

If it is a dis­as­ter, Shah­baz Sharif’s op­po­nents have been un­able to cash in on it, not at least in pro­por­tion to the size and scale of the project. If this is the Taj ded­i­cated to a king’s love for his peo­ple, the div­i­dends are yet to show and the pub­lic is yet to re­cip­ro­cate. Some scep­ti­cism ac­com­pa­nied the Shar­i­fian Mo­tor­way some 15 years ago but the Mo­tor­way was more hailed than de­cried be­fore it ac­tu­ally con­nected Lahore with Is­lam­abad. There were a few cries about its costs and criticism of its mak­ers’ skewed de­vel­op­men­tal pri­or­i­ties but in the end the ar­gu­ment was clinched rather eas­ily in favour of the new prod­uct and its creators.

The MBS has gen­er­ated a greater prosand-cons de­bate in Lahore. This is per­haps be­cause it is a big project un­fold­ing right in the mid­dle of a bustling ur­ban cen­tre that in­volves plenty of break­ing be­fore mak­ing.

More im­por­tantly, not ev­ery­one has been as stuck in the old as our adamant, ar­bi­trary de­vel­op­ers. These are def­i­nitely times where the talk about pri­or­i­ties has be­come much more se­ri­ous and more in­formed than it was 15 years ago — which is a credit to the peo­ple.

The peo­ple have moved much faster than their rulers over these last few years. They are de­mand­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion, a right to de­bate over what they want and how much tax money they want to be spent on what.

Con­se­quently, as load­shed­ding re­turns to Pun­jab big time and win­ters and gas short­ages arrive, con­ver­sa­tions these days are gen­er­ally nar­rowed down to how the MBS money could have been spent on buy­ing Pun­jab the en­ergy it is in des­per­ate need of. On the other hand, on an of­fi­cial level, no pol­icy ex­ists and no de­sire has been

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