23 June, 2021

The Road To Populism

Amidst the political turmoil, Sharif flags off his pet project

The Road To Populism

THE irony was not lost on anyone. Battling for the survival of his government, a combative Nawaz Sharif  coolly went ahead and inaugurated his pet project, the first section of the motorway from Islamabad to Lahore. And in the process, he used the occasion to garner support for himself and castigate the 'conspirators' who, he claimed, were trying to destabilise his government and unseat him.

Though it was overshadowed by the political developments in Islamabad, the inauguration was an elaborate affair under intense media glare. Built at a cost of $1 billion, the 334-km, six-lane motorway was initiated during Sharif's first term. It had a chequered beginning, because soon after, Sharif was removed from office and the government which succeeded him reduced it to a four-lane motorway. Subsequently, however, it was restored to its original six-lane specifications. It is the first such motorway in South Asia and would considerably cut down travel time between Islamabad and Lahore to about three hours.

The Lahore-Islamabad section is the...

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