M-2 Motorway – A triumph of Nawaz Sharif

  • Motorway M-2 was one of the first freeways (free of stop signal) built during the (1990-1993) rule of Nawaz Sharif. It has been touted as the brain child of a businessman from Lahore and one of the major achievements of ex-prime minister.

    I assume a mega project such as M-2 is done after a deep feasibility study. I have traveled on M-2 (and lately on M-Faisalabad) several times since mid-90s. There used to be a very little traffic on M-2 then. I do not see a significant improvement in the amount of traffic today. Many applauded this project in the beginning and expected a boom in industrial growth in the M-2 corridor (Many industrialists belong to the area close to M-2). But no significant event has occurred since last 20 year.

    What happened? Was this project just another me-too (Hum bhi kisi say kum nahiN) attainments for the bragging of Sharif brothers?

  • @Khan......must we be as rigid and blind as not to accept & appreciate a good deed if we see one?

  • I travelled on M2 in Jul , 2011 and it was almost empty. Less than 5 vehicles per kilometers. It was total waste of resources.

    Had motorway to be built , first priority should have been m9 .i.e. Khi / hyd which bears the 80% of heavy load.

  • Khan, You questioned sanity behind one of the two major achievements that "sharifs from lahor" dont get tired of mentioning.

  • The lack of nooners' participation in this thread indicates that my premise about the planning, execution of Sharif rule is correct.

  • The M-2 is not just one road that connects Islamabad to Lahore. It is supposed to be a part of a larger framework of controlled access highways. Ideally, Nawaz Sharif wanted this network to span Afghanistan via Kabul and to Central Asia.

    The domestic (in conjunction with National Highway) plan was to connect Peshawar all the way to Gwadar and Karachi. Only then the overall plan could have come to fruition, but for that Gwadar port development should have begun in the 90's but it didn't as NS governments were both ended early so much of the momentum of planning and development was dissipated.

    One should always look at the bigger picture. Nawaz Sharif is human, and has his flaws but also has his strengths. One has to realize that two broken and disturbing tenures are not sufficient to bring an entire plan of development and invigoration of the country's business cycle to fruition. Only then can long term employment opportunities be created.

    A country's problems cannot be solved in their entirety in two years of broken tenures. We the people also need to be patient. Maybe we the common man demand quick fixes and when they do happen (such as the yellow cab scheme) we criticize that as failed. We should also look at the political circumstances in which these governments come and weigh everything in context of that.

    To conclude, by itself the Motorway M-2 is just good but conjoined to a completed Motorway network and development plan it can be used to yield the desired results, in shaa Allah.

  • Regressor

    Quite agree to your larger prespective but

    when there is one thing planning and priorities. if it was a network of roads , it should have been built from one-end to the other starting from the most over-loaded segment first. At the same time , when money was being lavishily spent on central punjab m2 , the main artery which is still bearing the whole load n-5 was in pathetic condition and indus highway which has curtailed khi-pesh distance from 1702 km to 1350 km was waiting due to lack of funds.

    Publics funds can be used to build Taj Mehal as well as Grand Trunk Road. Its very easy to determine which was most appropriate use of those funds.

  • Our country needs network of motorways (rather freeways) throughout the country not just between Pindi and Lahore. It was great idea of NS Govt to build this motorway but I would still say most pressing problems our public need to see resolved are:

    24/7 power supply

    then supply of clean drinking water

    then adequate public medical services

    Improved public schooling

    Huge military spending is sheer waste of money. Laptop schemes and building big motorways should be regarded as icing on the cake.

  • @Sharif Aadmi

    I agree with you on proper rehabilitation of the N-5. Lets not forget that after the NHA was conceived in 1991, work was done on the augmentation of the N-5 into a four lane highway in the mid-90s. Its not easy to have Daewoo E&C transform the entire road into a freeway considering its the primary trade route between Rawalpindi and Lahore with a bulk of the traffic between them.

    Furthermore, for traveling all the way from Peshawar to Karachi or Gwadar the route of the Motorway system is better as its closer to Faisalabad and Multan from Pindi Bhattian onwards than it would be from somewhere like Gujrat. Its also easier to access places like D.I.Khan, Mianwali and Central Punjab. One must not forget how the road transportation industry has benefited from the Motorways in terms of people running their business and creating jobs for people like drivers, crew, and conductors etc.

    I personally feel that if new regular roads are built between cities such as Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot and other like them, then the N-5 can be rehabilitated or even upgraded in parts when the traffic on its different segments is reduced.

  • Regressor,

    For your kind memory , Indus highway was the alternate route for n-5 which was concieved way back in 60's and has reduced the distance between khi-pew by around 350 kms.

    M2 on its own increased the distance between lhr-isb by around 70 km's because of its politically motivated alignment.

    Again, if motorway was to be built at all at that time or even know , it should be built on most congested segment of traffic not in someone's desired area.

  • @Sharif Aadmi,

    Motorway decreased the ground travel time between Islamabad - Faisalabad from 7 hours to just 3 hours. As a result, PIA direct route between these cities was cancelled.

    Lahore is a dead-end of Motorway and its extension towards rest of Pakistan is through Faisalabad, which is the reason of longer Lahore route.

    Faisalabad and its surrounding area is the industrial hub of Pakistan and this motorway route is the most optimized for Gawadar and Karachi ports.

  • rasheed

    U r very right about lhr-fsd route but then why m2 is so empty ?

    I have visited fsd only once in my life and that was in 93/94 and it took me only 2.5 hrs via sheikhpura.

  • @Sharif Aadmi,

    I am not sure how you reached Faisalabad from Islamabad in 2.5 hours.

    This is google route I just calculated via Sheikhupura and it comes to 5 hours 13 minutes without considering any broken roads that we used to have at per-historic times before motorway.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    I am from Faisalabad and I used to travel frequently between Islamabad and Faisalabad and it used to take me 6-7 hours on bus with extremely bumpy and tiring rides. It takes now 3.5 hours on Daewoo bus with a stopover at Bhera.

    Now regarding why M2 is very empty, I am not sure what do you mean by empty. I travel frequently and it sometimes take up to one hour on weekends at just Islamabad toll-plaza due to amount of traffic entering Islamabad.

  • rasheed,

    sorry for not being clear, i was speaking of lhr-fsd time not isb-fsd.

    As i said in my first msg, i travlled on motorway in July , 2011 in the afternoor , starting at about 4pm from lahore and it was less than 5 vehicles per kilometer.

    If someone can get the revenue collected on motorway figures, that would make my point more clear .

  • As i said in my first msg, i travlled on motorway in July , 2011 in the afternoor , starting at about 4pm from lahore and it was less than 5 vehicles per kilometer.

    Dual-Carriage way to Faisalabad from Lahore was recently revamped and people prefer this way (mind you the toll is more than motorway 4 toll plaza and 5th being constructed).

    I use M3 a lot when traveling at night, it is the safest way back to Lahore if you get late in evening or weather conditions are rainy etc...

    Eitherway, M3 would reach it full potential when other Motorways such as M4, M5 to Multan would be functional.

    M2 is such a blessing that you cannot imagine not having it. Perhaps you don't travel on it much. I go to Sargodha a lot and M2 is the safest, quickest way. I used to think M2 was a waste of money but it's the best project in Pakistan and well planned in advance I believe. Recently they are building 6/8 more toll plazas at Ravi as the exit load on weekend is too much and it took ages to go out from the toll plaza.

    Plus M2 was a strategic need push as well. Historic road was only way linking Islo to Lahore border before M2 project and during 1965/1971 wars there was a real threat that Indian air planes will destroy key bridges on GT Road and it would cut the immediate supply and link from Islamabad to East border. Our first defense line if Lahore falls to India is Faisalabad, Nankana, Jaranwala and it needs consistent & multiple supply lines.

  • again a very well argued thread on behalf of projects started by NS and company whereas clear proff of ilzami's mindset of getting " keerey nikalna" from everything done by pmln.

  • binary zero


    Eitherway, M3 would reach it full potential when other Motorways such as M4, M5 to Multan would be functional.


    M2 was inaugrated in 1997 and its 15 years since it was completed. Even today its not feasible enconmically based on tolls and maintaince cost it incurrs. When m4 & m5 will be functional , its a long way to go.

    My question is pretty simple , which is the busiest road / highway in Pakistan ? Answere is straight forward , its khi-hyd super highway which bears all the load going abroad or going upcountry via kpt or bin qasim . If GOP had money to built an alternate route , it was the most appropriate segment which could have met its cost by now easily.

    NS alligned the motorway as per his electoral vote bank touching kot-momin (where he contested in 88 & 90) and Chakri of Ch.Nisar resulting in sheer waste of resources. This proejct was intially given to Daewoo at around 23B Rs and when completed ,its totall cost was around 80B , Daewoo's investement to be returned in 10 yeras.

  • @@Sharif Aadmi,

    It's your opinion but I and thousands of people who's travel (or are enjoying the benefit of M1/M2/M3 in one way or the other) think otherwise. It was and is still the well thought project.

  • BZ

    "It was and is still the well thought project. "

    And still economically un-feasible. ::)

    I appreciate & respect your point of view but when discussing national issues we should look beyound our personal benefit.

  • Sorry to say but I am a big advocate of independent Greater Punjab - old Pakistan is long gone; hence my bias.