The PTI government initiated the BRT metro bus system in Peshawar amid intense controversy at the end of its previous tenure in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The mega-project has been mired with irregularities and with no completion date insight it has become an embarrassment for the party.
The matter over the delay in completion and alleged financial embezzlement has now reached the Supreme Court. In the latest development, the top court has barred the FIA from probing the matter and sought details of the total cost as well as the details regarding the completion of the project.
The FIA has instead been directed to conduct an inquiry into different aspects such as the initial cost and date for the completion of the project. Even the apex court has questioned whether there is a date for the completion. The KP government has now given the new deadline as July 31 of this year.
The FIA had started a probe into alleged irregularities in the BRT Peshawar project last year. This perturbed the KP government which approached the top court to halt further inquiry. In November 2019, the Peshawar High Court had directed FIA to probe the project and take action if anyone was found involved in any irregularities.
The matter dates back even further to 2018 when NAB was conducting an inquiry that failed to see the light of day. The anti-graft watchdog said the cost of the project ballooned to Rs117 billion but has shown an inability to conduct inquiries when the court issues a stay order.
The PTI government has maintained that there are no irregularities even if there are structural and design flaws in the project. This raises a grave question: why then is the provincial government so concerned about state institutions probing into the matter? The PTI has long claimed that they are corruption-free ever since it came to power but the denial may tarnish the party’s reputation.
The Peshawar metro bus has missed several completion deadlines and the people of the city have borne the brunt due to traffic disruptions. The Peshawar metro bus was supposed to be the flagship project but the delay in completion has raised doubts over the PTI’s performance and competence.
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