By Saba Yousaf
The tenure of this government is coming to an end and all the political parties have started to play the blame game/leg pulling. People like Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talks about cleanliness hazards in other parts of the country ignoring how the garbage heaps are creating health hazards for people in Sindh. Imran Khan talks about load shedding while his own contribution towards KP has only been 72 MW during these five years. These big fishes have now targeted the southern part of Punjab by conveniently forgetting their own performance during these five year. Part of the reason why south Punjab is being targeted is Punjab is the biggest province of Pakistan and can ensure a safe future for these political parties.
Due to all the hassle going on these days that particularly targets South part of Punjab, and because I wasn’t able to travel myself to these parts, I did a little research and would like to share the projects initiated and completed.
South Punjab constitutes about 32 per cent population in Punjab and 36 per cent of the total budget has been allocated to this part. The major initiatives include Khwaja Farid University of Engineering and Information Technology, Sheikh Zayed Medical Complex, RYK; a medical college in Bahawalnagar; thalassemia unit and bone marrow transplant centre and heart diseases and heart surgery units in Bahawal Victoria Hospital; upgradation of district hospitals in Multan, Vehari, DG Khan and Muzaffargarh, establishment of a veterinary university in Bahawalpur, metro bus service and a children hospital in Multan, solar park in Bahawalpur, renovation and restoration of Sulemanki Barrage and Pakpattan Canal, dual carriageway from Bahawalpur to Hasilpur, chairlift and water supply scheme in Fort Munro, establishment of sub-campus of Faisalabad Agriculture University in Burewala, Daanish schools in Fort Munro and Taunsa and a special package for Jampur and Cholistan.
Numerous other projects have been completed and some are underway including Khadim-e-Punjab SaafPani Programme , Dualization of KhanewalLodhran Road, Establishment of Safe Cities at Multan and Bahawalpur, Khadim-e-Punjab Rural Roads Programme, Revamping of all DHQ Hospitals / THQ Hospitals, Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme, Establishment of Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan (Phase II), establishment of Government Shehbaz Sharif District Headquarters Hospital, Establishment of Khawaja Farid University of Engineering and Information Technology (UEIT) R.Y. Khan, Expansion of CPE Institute of Cardiology, Multan (Construction of New OPD & Inpatient Block)
“Punjab is reforming its schools at a pace rarely seen anywhere in the world,” The Economist stated in a report. “The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) oversees some of the largest school-privatisation and school-voucher programmes in the world. It has a seat with the ministers and administrators at Mr Sharif’s quarterly meetings. The Punjab government no longer opens new schools; all growth is via these privately operated schools. Schools overseen by PEF now teach more than 3m children (an additional 11m or so remain in ordinary government-run schools),” it adds. Punjab Daanish School System is working for under privileged children, first batch of students got admissions in top universities like LUMS, FAST, GIKI, COMSAT, PU.
Khadim-e-Punjab’s Zewar-e-Taleem Programme provides monthly financial assistance in 16 low-literacy districts. Rs 1000 monthly stipend for 495,000 female students has been awarded under the Program so far, around 87,000 students had been enrolled in government schools at brick kilns in all 36 districts of Punjab, through Khidmat Cards, a sum of Rs2,000 once and Rs1,000 every month apart from bearing the expense of uniform, books and stationary have been given to the Brick Kilns families. Solar panels to be installed under Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme297,000 solar lamps were distributed among 297,000 students and more than 20,000 schools, in first phase 10,000 schools of South Punjab are being switched to solar power.
Self-Employment Scheme through which interest-free loans up to Rs.50,000/- are being provided to unemployed youth of Punjab. Punjab Rural Support Pogram is currently operating in 28 districts of Punjab and is managing Basic Health Units (BHUs) of 12 districts of Punjab. Over Rs.16.3 billion have been distributed to over 867,000 families in Punjab.
Khadim-e-aala Rural Road Program started with the amount of 150 billion rupees to improve the transportation. This project is to be completed in three years. In 2017, Rs15 billion are spent on the construction of 2,000 Km long roads across the province.
From health to education, to infrastructure, to cleanliness I was surprised to see the projects list. And it was a bit long to cover here. And to keep it real, I contacted a mutual friend from Rajanpur to say something about the initiatives. She expressed satisfaction over the performance of the current government. So the real question here is, whom should we trust? The real people and the tangible stuff that you can see for your own or the things that media and politicians are telling us?
By Saba Yousaf