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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Better Pakistan | Pakistan Motorways Project

Better Pakistan | Pakistan Motorways Project 


The prodigious 333 km long Pakistan Motorway (PM) M2 is a unique project of its kind in South Asia. It is a six lane road that is linked with major and minor cities through interchanges and do not pass through or across any city. This project has been successfully tested for the landing of fighter aircraft of PAF. This project has a unique history which is joyful to read and for the first time i am presenting on social media, the news clips from 90s to recall the glorious work by PMLN. The present worth of M2 is PKR 272 Billion 

When was the idea of motorway presented ?

For some people it was duirng the first tenure of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif when the work was started. This is correct but it wasn't the first time PM Nawaz Sharif had this idea in his mind. In an interview with renowned interviewer Suhail Warriach, for his book "غدار کون ؟" aka "The traitor within?" Mian Nawaz Sharif revealed that it was during his tenure as CM Punjab during 1988-90 when he decided to have a motorway linking the cities of Punjab. But we don't had enough budgets to go for this project, he said.

What was the plan ?

The actual plan of motorway after it was approved from the federal cabinet was to connect the newly liberated central Asian states with warm waters of Arabian Sea. The plan was not only to make Pakistan a trade route for central Asia but also to boost up the economic activities by establishing industrial zones along side the motorways. The plan was to build 9 MWs that connects all the major cities of Pakistan. The details of these 9 MWs is also given on the website of National Highway Authority (NHA) and Wikipedia and is reproduced here for reference.

M-1 Motorway

Pakistan's third motorway, the 155 km 6-lane M-1, linking Peshawar with the federal capital, Islamabad, has been operational since 30 October 2007.

M-2 Motorway

Pakistan's first motorway, the 367 km 6-lane M-2, connecting the cities of Islamabad and Lahore, was constructed by South Korea's Daewoo Corporation and was inaugurated in November 1997 and was the first motorway to be built in South Asia.

M-3 Motorway

The plan to construct Pakistan's second motorway, the 54 km 4-lane M-3, linking the Pindi Bhattian Junction on the M-2 with Faisalabad was finalized in 1996 with an estimated cost of Rs. 8 billion. Initially, it was planned to have 6-lanes, however, due to the shortage of funds, it was decided reduce the number of lanes to 4 with an option to upgrade it to 6-lanes in future. Construction of the M-3 began in May 2002 and it was completed ahead of schedule in September 2003 at a cost of Rs 5.3 billion. It was inaugurated and opened for traffic on 2 October 2003. Two bridges, one over a railway track and the second on a canal, were constructed on the motorway, while two interchanges near Sahianwala and Faisalabad were constructed in the second phase.

M-4 Motorway

Construction of Pakistan's fourth motorway, the 233 km 4-lane M-4, began on 19 August 2009. Once completed, it will link Multan with the M-3 Motorway at Faisalabad.

M-5 Motorway

The M-5 is a planned 4 lane motorway that will link Multan with Dera Ghazi Khan. It will be constructed after the completion of the M-4 Motorway.

M-6 Motorway

The M-6 is a planned 4 lane motorway that will link Dera Ghazi Khan with Ratodero. It will be constructed after the completion of the M-5 Motorway.

M-8 Motorway

The 892 km 4-lane M-8 is under-construction in Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Initially, it will have 2 lanes with a further 2 lanes planned. The 4 lane motorway will be upgradable to 6 lanes. Once completed it will directly link the port city of Gwadar with the rest of Pakistan's motorway network at Ratodero where it will link up with the M-6 Dera Ghazi Khan-Ratodero Motorway.

M-9 Motorway

The current 4-lane Hyderabad-Karachi "Super Highway" is in the process of being upgraded into a 6-lane access-controlled motorway, designated the "M-9". Expression of Interest (EOI) were invited by the National Highway Authority (NHA) in May 2011. The NHA awarded the Rs. 24.93 billion contract to the Malaysian construction company, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, on Built Operate Transfer (BOT) basis in January 2012. The proposed 136-km long motorway will be completed in three years. The M-9 Motorway will have 7 interchanges, 2 service areas at the midway points and 16 toll plazas on entry and exit points.

The story of M2

M2 is the first of the 9 MWs that was constructed during the 90s. The foundation stone of this project worth PKR 34 Billion, was laid by then PM Mian Nawaz Sharif on January 11,1992. It starts near Faizpur Khurd on Lahore Shiekhopora road and ends at a village Hatian on Peshawar road near Islamabad. It was decided  through a transparent bidding process that DAEWOO a Korean company will construct this 6 lane road. The contract was later amended twice by the PPP govt. during 1993-96. They delayed the schedule to open M2 for traffic on December 1994. The country chief of DAEWOO Pakistan expressed his feelings on this unprofessional ethics of PPP govt. while addressing a press conference. That news clip is regenerated here for ready reference [The Nation, Nov 26,1997].




Despite of the difficulties posed, the PMLN managed to finished the project that has 6 lane and 32 meters wide highway. It has three major bridges, four over head railway crossings, 44 bridges over canals, streams and flood ways. Initially, when it was inaugurated it had 22 flyovers, six interchanges, 313 concrete box culverts for minor distributions, subways, cattle creeps and water drainage and 260 pipe culverts for canal irrigated areas. The original project of M2 had six service stations (three on each side) including world class road side services and facilities like restaurants, police posts, medical and emergency centers, pay phone and mosque. The project also had initially 9 toll plazas with 72 toll gates on the road. The speed limit was not more than 120 km/hr and not less than 100 km/hr. M2 also has side shoulders every 4 km for parking of vehicles which breakdown during journey.
A news advertisement on the occasion of M2 inauguration shows some interesting facts. According to this advertisement by DAEWOO some 8000 people in various capacities worked directly for the construction of M2 during its 6 year time. Some 20 local contractors are not counted in it. The amount people involved indirectly are multiples of 8000. 


The PM formally inaugurated the M2 at Janjrial near Rawalpindi. Mian Nawaz Sharif later told some historical facts to Saleem Safi that were presented in his column published in Daily Jang dated 10th April, 2012.

The obvious advantages 

A very interesting report published in local newspaper before the inauguration of M2 tells us some superb facts. It should be kept in mind that the comparison with GT Road was made according to the traffic flow statistics and road condition in 1997.  Following facts were given in that report.
  • While travelling from Lahore to Pindi , an average car requires to make about 1000 gear changes with the resultant wear and tear of the engine, tyre and other parts, while for a large and heavier vehicles, this number is about 2000.
  • The average time needed by a car to cover the 290 km distance is about six and a half hours.
  • On MW it is possible to cover a distance of 339 km in three and a half hours.
  • No more than five or six gear changes.
  • 20 percent less fuel resulting in massive savings.
  • The establishment of Motorway Police department provided job opportunities for hundreds of educated youth of Pakistan.
  • The service areas also opened horizons for small business opportunities.

Advertisements before M2 inauguration 

Since for the first time a speedy highway with 5 lanes was build in Pakistan, it was necessary to train and educate people about the rules & regulations and road safety on M2. A series of advertisements were thus carried out in local print media. Besides these advertisements a separate department of Pakistan Motorways Police was established. This department is now known as National Highway and Motorways Police (NH&MP). 







~Hadeed Ahmed Sher

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