CM is ‘centre of power’ in Punjab: Minister

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Salim Ahmed

An 85-member delegation of 20th National Security Workshop comprising parliamentarians, senior civil and military officers and members of civil society visited 90-Shahrah Quaid-e-Azam here on Friday.
Representing the Chief Minister Punjab, Provincial Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Hamayun and Chief Secretary Punjab Yousaf Naseem Khokhar welcomed the delegates. The delegation led by Director General Institute of Strategic Studies and Research Analysis National Defence University, Maj Gen Muhammad Samrez Salik was given briefing on development projects, education reforms and use of IT for good governance in Punjab.
Speaking on the occasion, Provincial Minister Raja Yasir Hamayun said that provision of quality education did not remain a priority of previous governments but it is now on top of agenda of the present government. He mentioned that steps are being taken to give Urdu status of educational language at federal level and a strategy would be devise after taking into consideration all aspects.
a question, he said that the Chief Minister is ‘centre of power’ in Punjab and all other persons and departments are assisting him. The powers of chief minister are being discussed in media due to one-man show in the past.
Every person is working within his domain, he added.
About performance of police, he mentioned that police reforms are imperative. Steps are being taken to empower SHOs and introduce a system of checks and balances. He said that subjects of general education would be made part of four year degree programme to keep students aware of basic knowledge.
Secretary Punjab Yousaf Naseem Khokhar told the participants that previous governments did not do justice regarding distribution of resources among different areas in the province. He said that there is need to focus on deprived and neglected areas of Punjab and for this purpose a comprehensive programme is being implemented, adding that a change would be visible within two to three years.
He opined that innovation is a must to run the system successfully and changes are being made in bureaucracy to bring improvement. The affairs of province are being run in accordance with the Constitution and rules of business.
He said that the government is taking measures to bring police reforms and improve governance and taskforces are working to achieve this target at provincial and federal levels.
In response to a query about mega projects in the province, the Chief Secretary said that due to lack of planning and haste cost of some projects has increased manifold. The cost of Orange Line Train project has reached Rs 250 billion and the train is expected to run on trial basis by June 30 next year. It is necessary that people should get benefits of such a mega project involving huge investment. Mega projects could be made successful only with proper planning, he maintained.
Chairman Planning and Development Habib ur Rehman Gilani informed the participants that Rs 10 billion would be spent on deserving students through Punjab Education Foundation. He said that work is underway to set up research centres and community colleges to improve standard of education. Five mega projects are being executed in the province under CPEC. Taskforce would present its recommendations for creation of South Punjab province and 30 percent of budget would be spent through village councils after new local government system, he added.
In his concluding remarks, Director General Institute of Strategic Studies and Research Analysis National Defence University, Maj Gen Samrez Salik said that education system is not providing quality education; there is a need to introduce critical thinking in education system. He remarked: “We are dominated by anger and ego. People do not dare to question political and religious leaders.
The state needs to control mafias.” He said that financially strong provinces should help provinces that are less resourceful. Right use of funds could be done by investing in deprived and neglected areas.

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