Dashed dreams: Turkey was to sends old, left-hand drive buses for BRTS


The much-awaited gift of a 100 buses announced by the Mayor of Istanbul, Dr Kadir Tobpas, for the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) early this year, will only remain a dream, as the Punjab government found out that the buses are outdated and left-hand-drive, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Sources on good authority revealed that not only are the buses of the 1990 model, left-hand drive, but also that the Turkish government has asked the Punjab government to bear the alteration cost before bringing them here.
Dr Tobpas had announced a gift of 100 buses during a luncheon held by the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in honour of the Turkish delegation in March this year. The mayor had reportedly promised not only buses, but also after sales service and spare parts facility for the citizens of Lahore as well. The chief minister had arranged a series of functions to welcome the Turks, while ‘unprecedented’ protocol was extended by the Punjab government to the delegation. A round-about was also named after the mayor, arrangements for cultural festivals were made and an honorary degree was given to him.
A senior official, on conditions of anonymity, said, “The government had sent two senior officers to receive him [Tobpas] at the Karachi Airport followed by exemplary hospitality. The mayor was so overwhelmed that he held a meeting with his delegation and announced a gift of buses to return the hospitality.”
This was considered a high-time in friendly ties between the Punjab and Turkish governments while Lahore and Istanbul were declared twin cities. Another senior official who wishes to remain anonymous said that it was all fanfare which is over now. “They have demonstrated that there are no free lunches anywhere in the world. The governments responsible to the people cannot materialize such whimsical decisions and keep public interest in mind,” he said, adding that the government has now signed another pact with another private Turkish firm for buses for the BRTS. Higher-ups have kept mum over the issue after it transpired the buses are outdated and the Turks have asked them to bear the alteration cost for shifting them to right-hand transmission.
Talking to Pakistan Today, advisor to CM Khwaja Hassan said that the buses announced by Dr Tobpas were not meant for the BRTS. “The BRTS requires articulated buses which are purpose built,” he said. To a question, he said it is against the dignity of the government higher-ups to inquire of the Turkish government about a ‘gift’. The fact should be appreciated that our Turkish friends are bringing in foreign investment when none of our local businessmen showed any interest in the project.


  1. shahbaz sharif has had one too many belly dances and one too many glasses of arak. the people of punjab should make his bald A$$ pay for the lack of planning, corruption and lies perpetuated by his administration in the name of transparency and good governance. i wish he dies a slow slow painful death.

  2. I am a PTI supporter. Ref. this dashed dreams article, i think its more portraying a negative picture and even if its fact based, I personally disliked it. Its a GIFT by a brother Muslim country and one shouldn't post mortem such things on media. The warm welcome accorded by Punjab Govt was not to get these in return but to build a good relationship and its achieved. I feel both Pakistan and Turkey should continue to work n further strengthening the bond. This is badly required as our country's image in outside world is quite low. Nowadays, people are only giving crap or aid (under strict interest backed conditions) to Pakistan.

    Writer should be ashamed in blaming or pointing fingers at Shahbaz Shareef on this. We should be actually thankful to Turks as the buses were sent as a gift (free) bearing shipping expenses by them. Even if these are old, these are in running condition and still functional. The Govts. don't give obsolete things as gifts, so these will serve to our people for some time. And I believe these will be still better than the old 30-30 year old mini buses with broken glasses n doors excreting high amount of CO.2 (pollution). These have to be left handed as its the system of Istanbul.

    About extending a warm welcome to Turkish delegation, its okay and good to treat our guests with dignity and respect. This is what as Muslims we should be doing. So I think Shahbaz Shareef did it right as well as the act of Turkish mayor, within his capacity, to return the gesture, as best as he could. Niyyat ka haal to Allah swt jaantay hai.

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