Mass Transit Development

For over the past 10 years, every city administration for Karachi has been talking about implementing the Mass Transit Plan. The KMTP in fact. As part of this plan, revival of the KCR (Karachi Circular Railway) was a key component on which work has been going on for an equal number of years.

Aside from the City Governments’ latest obsession with the Elevated Expressway, nothing has been so far on this front. Unconfirmed reports suggest that a contract for the Elevated expressway is finalized.

Lahore on the other hand, started planning later, and has executed a contract in this regarded already.

Kudos to the leadership here.

21 Comments so far

  1. mansoor (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 4:45 pm

    with so much money in the hands of the transport mafia, why would they let *anything* else interfere?

    apparently, who cares what happens to the city and its citizens, “abhe bhee tou chal raha hai na kaam, aagay bhee chalta rahay ga” is the slogan of these people!

    i say shoot em all on sight! idiots each and everyone of them!

  2. MB (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 4:45 pm

    I had to do a detail post on this but anyways, thanks for highlighting an important issue.

    So many times ( and once again now) i have emphasized that these fancy ideas our CDGK is running after wont do any good to this city.

    If it is serious it needs to do something about public transport because you cannot widen the land, damn it. You need to manipulate it only. This doesn’t get into their heads. Even if you keep on building those fancy projects a time will come when you will start getting stuck in jams over the flyovers and EE’s.

  3. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

    Instead of building flyovers and underpasses develop a central traffic monitoring system along with enforcing strict traffic laws. This is the quick and easiest solution without disturbing citizens.

    Lahore is competing with Delhi Metro.

  4. zee (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

    OF COURSE this had to happen. Lahore ALWAYS comes FIRST. Why wouldn’t they put lahore first? This project is costing an arm and leg. Somewhere around $4.3BILLION. Lahore pays taxes, lahories work so much harder than us Karachites, The ones who haven’t seen lahore, haven’t even been born. I mean, c’mmooonnn.. it had to happen. Even here in Karachi, we have got people who say that now business is in Lahore. Ain’t I right Mr. Adnan Siddiqi?

    Karachi? Mass Transit? Who the heck cares? Bring on LAHORE first with it’s so called “over crowded streets and roads” and then maybe we can imagine of investing BILLIONS of dollars in a project that Karachi’s EMPTY ROADS so not deserve!

  5. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on July 16th, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

    Traffic Mafia has GOT to go.
    They are too old fashioned and need to be rehabilitate.
    CDGK needs to travel to the developing countries not to copy them but to get the ideas.
    (think out of the box)
    Mullahs need to travel as well and instead of calling them “kafirs” see other nations in a positive way.
    Little mullahs need to be an exchange students as well.
    Thank you and drive thru

  6. Rukun (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 12:56 am

    @ ZEE : dude karachi generates in the most tax revenue in the country. its just MQM, they will kill khi eventually

  7. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 12:59 am

    Karachi has remained a centre of commerce and has been expanding for decades. And as, it WAS planned as a Mega-city, Karachi’s roads, though now congested, were built to carry traffic load ten-times as those in Lahore.

    Lahore, on the other hand, has been experiencing exponential growth only for the last ten years and if some major roads had not been rebuilt by the previous and current Governments, it would have totally become a clogged city.

    And, with the rate it is increasing in size, Lahore ‘needed’ a mass-transit system as much as Karachi does.

    The only difference is that we have been fortunate in having rulers, who despite being corrupt and exploiters, have atleast given something back to this city. Nawaz Sharif remodelled almost all major roads and constructed the Motorway to Islamabad. And, we now have Pakistan’s first Government operated free emergency service, Rescue 1122 that practically reaches any spot in a city of more than 8 million within ten minutes (There’s no doubt on that). Then there is all new Traffic Police who have been successful in achieving the impossible. Believe it or not, people on Lahore’s roads are finally following traffic rules and strict enforcement of traffic laws is ensured.

    And, now, we are going to have LRMT built by 2011. It may be delayed but it IS going to be completed. There definitely are some issues in which Lahore has been much fortunate as compared to Karachi or even Islamabad.

  8. d0ct0r (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 1:16 am

    problem is that our city’s god father Altaf bai lives in North London.. whereas in lahore every one can criticize and tear apart any leader be it Shahbaz sharif or Pervaiz Ellahi if the work is not being done properly.. general public voice is heard by decision makers.. whereas here karachiites can’t raise any voice on any issue.. stupid projects and elevated expressways are just shoved down without any consensus … if ever our city’s godfather choose to live in North Karachi instead of north london then things might get better otherwise things look bleak at the moment…

  9. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 2:15 am

    Lahore, proudly, witnessed the power of citizen activism when widening of canal was put on a halt when various citizen forums, individuals, and NGOs strongly protested against it. There were public demonstrations, discussions on harmful environmental implications of the project.

    Similarly, when the Government tried to remove all the bridges along the canal, students of Punjab Unversity protested against it as the measure would have cut the vital link between the university New Campus and stident hostels. Eventually, two underpasses were built across the canal at two major points to ease students’ concerns.

    And, these are just a few examples!

  10. Kashif (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 2:25 am

    @Zee: Very true. I say why we don’t make Hyderabad the capital of Sindh?

  11. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 5:35 am

    Competition between the cities is a healthy process as long as the resources are fairly distributed considering the population and the need. One should nt have one city develop and leave the other behind.There is no issue in the world that cannot be resolved peacefully and thats why the education is so important.

  12. zee (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 7:02 am

    HASAN MUBARAK: Spare me with your stupid reasons of why Lahore needed MASS TRANSIT more than Karachi. There is no way you can justify this act. Oh no wait, you CAN… how? because all the country fu****ers live in Punjab so they HAVE to invest there! Who the heck cares abt urdu speaking or even non urdu speaking Karachites!?

  13. JayJay (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 8:42 am

    It is the Punjab Givernment, not the Federal Government, who has negotiated the credit from ADB directly. Tax-payers of the Punjab will be repaying this debt, not the people from the rest of country. A chief minister in the Punjab is judged by its legacy of development in Lahore. While a chief minister of Sindh is the CM for the rural areas only. Rather than blaiming the CM of the Punjab for taking this initiative, the people of Karachi need to press their own government for development projects. Karachi’s Nazim seems sincere in developing the city. I hope he comes up with a mass transit project.

  14. Inspirex (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 10:48 am

    @Zee: Please. This project is being funded by the respective provincial and city governements. It does not even need an approval from the parliament, hence its illogical to cry favouritism.

    The reason I made this post was to point out the inefficiency of our local governemnets in not anticipating needs and planning accordingly.

    Just an example: I live near Rashid Minhas road and when I moved there about 3 years ago, there were no traffic issues. Now, there are traffic jams that last till 10 in the night. The road right from Johar more was driveable earlier, now it doesnt exist.

    Chundrigar road faces massive jams everyday and was the same case even before it went under “renovation”. There are numerous such examples.

    My friends, Lahore anticipated the need, and went ahead. Our city government is sleeping, even though the need here is now higher than even.

  15. Nabeel (unregistered) on July 17th, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    @ Inspirex

    The traffic situation has worsened because of the flood of vehicles on the street and the ongoing road development. The banks gave away credit nearly free and the masses took the bait. The road development will take time (and no small amount of frustration) but I guess it will in the end help us.

    for now i hate hasan square! :P

    the ‘traffic mafia’, as far as i am concerned,is doing a great job.most of this city’s commuters would have been lost without the buses! and i mean that both literally and figuratively.but they will have to go if a mass transit system is to be installed.

    our city government is proposing new ways to clog up the roads (MORE buses,MORE vehicles) instead of freeing them up for private transport by REMOVING the buses.

    think of karachi with a subway.


  16. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 12:49 am

    @JayJay & Inspirex: I would have put forward the same arguments. Thanks!

  17. bluemax (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

    For all those who think that “Tax-payers of the Punjab will be repaying this debt, not the people from the rest of country.” kindly remember that various taxes (such as sales tax) are collected by federal government and are distributed back to the provinces through the NFC award. Guess who contributes the most and who gets it back.

    I agree that provincial govt. and CDGK should have played a more proactive role for implementing Mass Transit.

  18. Concerned (unregistered) on July 18th, 2007 @ 5:49 pm


    Thank you for making tht point.

    Just to add to tht comment, if you have read the papers recently Sindh (incl khi) contributes nearly 60% to the federal kitty. And how much do we get back???? any guesses.

  19. JayJay (unregistered) on July 19th, 2007 @ 4:31 pm

    Concerned and Bluemax:
    Just want to refine the point you are making. It is not the citizens or Karachi or Sindh who pay the 60 percent to the federal revenue. True, the 60 percent of total revenue is generated from Sindh but it comes from custom duties levied at the ports and corporate taxes paid by large business houses. This 60 percent does not come from the pockets of the citizens of the city or the province.

    It should be noted that ports are a federal subject and so are custom duties and sales tax on imports and manufactured good. When it comes to per capita federal taxation, it is same and consistent across Pakistan. It means the government is not taxing individuals of one province more than others.

    Since major ports happen to be in Sindh, the good imported are taxed there, no matter if they are imported by a person in the Punjab, the Sindh or the NWFP. The import duties (and ST where applicable) are paid by the importer on the imported goods, not on his individual income.

    Similarly, since many of big business have their headquarters in Karachi (banks, industries, etc) – generating heavy employment there this way–, they naturally pay corporate taxes on their earning in Sindh, irrespective of the fact that they may have made their earnings mostly in the upcountry. Again, these taxes do not go out of the pockets of individuals living in a particular city or province but rather from the profits made by these enterprises selling their goods and services across the country. Since Sindh accounts for only one-quarter or so of the total population of the country, there is a good chance that the corporate profits (which are taxed in Sindh) are made selling products and service out of the province. IOW, a buyer, wherever they may be, is indirectly taxed for the products or services.

    The revenue thus generated is distributed among the provinces according to a set of criteria, which takes into account population and economic backwardness besides many other factors.

    Had it been that simple as you put it, Sindhi PMs and CMs (or MQM leadership) would have blocked the ports to twist the arm of the federal government long ago.

  20. Concerned (unregistered) on July 19th, 2007 @ 6:12 pm


    You are right to an extent but this tax also includes personal taxes paid to the CBR, not just customs and excise and corporate (which you have referred to).

    KHi being the largest city has the most number of employed ppl who are taxed. The tax on their salaries is then distributed using the basis of population. (not economic backwardness as suggested by Sindh and NWFP). The population of Punjab although more is not paying as much taxes as the employed ppl in Khi alone. A significant portion of the population in Punjab is still Haris who do not come under the tax net or they are smaller business men who are avoiding taxes.

    The part on the corporate taxes is similar to what you said and I can sort of agree to that. But would like to add that most corporates (banks and consumer products) make more money in khi then in Lahore (just comparing cities not provinces) so to use the basis of population for the NFC award is again wrong.

    it is not just abt the ports. Out of total tax revenue for the govt, 36% is income tax and only 15% is C&E.

    Also no one has ever taken interest in Sindh. and the uplift of the rural areas of Sindh. hyderabad itself is turning into a pile of rubbish. So who is to blame for that.

    If the NFC award was according to economic backwardness then Balochistan, NWFP and sindh would be first on the list.

  21. bluemax (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 3:48 am

    JayJay, you are partially right but have some outdated info. I’ll quote a news report … “The collection from customs duty used to account for 45 percent of total collection and 55 percent of indirect taxes in 1990-91. Its share has now been reduced to 17 percent and 25 percent, respectively.” Then, “The share of sales tax increased dramatically from 14.4 to 43 percent of total taxes and from 17.6 percent to 62.5 percent of indirect taxes during the same period.”. Also, “The basic philosophy of tax and tariff reforms has been to move away from investment and production-based taxes (indirect taxes) to income (direct taxes) and consumption (sales tax)-based taxes.” REF:

    You also forgot to mention that there are 9 dry ports outside Sindh which are used for custom clearance (and thus collecting custom and other duties).

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