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Air Officer Commanding Central Air Command Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Air Vice Marshal Irfan Ahmad called on Punjab Interim Chief Minister Dr Hasan Askari. Professional activities of PAF and matters of mutual of interest were discussed in the meeting held at the CM office. The interim chief minister conveyed his best wishes to Air Vice Marshal Irfan Ahmad for taking charge as the Air Officer Commanding Central Air Command PAF. He paid tribute to the PAF for excellent professional capabilities and protecting air space of Pakistan. He said PAF has excellent professional capabilities and it is considered to be among the best air forces of the world. He said PAF has glowing history of protecting air space of Pakistan with bravery and courage and the whole nation is proud of officers and troops of PAF who have rendered sacrifices for peace and defence of the country. He said PAF has marked a new history in the war against terrorism. The interim chief minister said apart from rendering excellent services for the defence of air space of the country, PAF is also playing wonderful role for the better of the society. He said PAF has rendered praiseworthy role in the sectors of education and health, and has always taken part in disaster management activities effectively. He said PAF has serve the nation by taking part in rescue operations during natural calamities.


Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Dr. Hasan Askari has said the youth can be mobilized towards economic empowerment through technical education and added that establishment of quality technical and engineering institutions in the province is imperative and German cooperation would be welcomed in this regard. He stated this while talking to German Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Martin Kobler at his office, here today. On the occasion, different matters of mutual interest were discussed. The German Ambassador congratulated Dr. Hasan Askari over becoming the Caretaker Chief Minister and expressed good wishes for him. Dr. Askari appreciated the German role in giving better access to Pakistan to European markets. He said a good number of German companies are working in Pakistan but there is a need to further enhance the trade volume between Pakistan and Germany. Punjab and the whole of Pakistan are fully safe and secure for foreign investments. He said youth is the 60 percent of the total population and they can be made economically self-reliant through market-based technical education and skills. Technical training of the youth is an important step towards building a stable Pakistan, he added. In fact, establishment of technical and engineering educational institutions in Punjab in collaboration with Germany is need of the hour.

The Caretaker Chief Minister said that Germany is leading the world in the field of technical and engineering education and its supremacy in these fields is a worth-following phenomenon. German technical and engineering institutes provide opportunities of quality research and education; he said and added that German technical collaboration in the field of skills development will be welcomed. Dr. Askari said that constitutional responsibilities will be performed within the framework of election commission. He said the police and other law enforcement agencies will perform security duties during the elections and added that provision of security and a peaceful atmosphere to the people is our strong commitment. We are giving special attention to the provision of necessary facilities to the polling stations to be set up in the schools and ongoing projects will be got completed in the province according to the given mandate. Dr. Askari said that he has been attached with the teaching profession for the last many decades and the post of the Caretaker Chief Minister is the best blend of theory and practical. The German Ambassador said that model of the caretaker government during the elections is not so common in the world though but meeting with the Caretaker Chief Minister is a matter of happiness. Your elevation as the Caretaker Chief Minister is a welcome step, he added. He said that Germany is ready to extend necessary cooperation to Pakistan in different sectors including technical and vocational trainings. German companies will also play their proactive role in CPEC related projects. Pakistan would emerge as a favorite country for trade due to the establishment of economic zones in CPEC. He made it clear that Pakistan’s negative image has been done away with in the world and it’s a peaceful and secure country. A lot of German companies are serving in Pakistan without any fear for the last many decades and social concepts about Pakistan are being rapidly changed in the German society, he added. He expressed the hope that he is fully confident about the holding of elections in Pakistan due to the arrangements made by the caretaker setup. Earlier, the Caretaker Chief Minister welcomed the German Ambassador to Chief Minister’s Office and appreciated his services for improving Pakistan-German relations.          


Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hasan Askari presided over the provincial cabinet meeting, here today at Chief Minister’s Office. The meeting gave approval to four month budget of the fiscal year 2018-19. The meeting gave approval to the proposal of ten percent increase in the salaries of government employees besides approving to review the house rent. The meeting also gave approval to ten percent increase in the pension of retired government employees. Caretaker government gave approval to the development budget for four month for the new fiscal year 2018-19. The meeting also approved the estimates of recurring expenditures of four month of the upcoming fiscal year.

Addressing the meeting, Dr. Askari said that caretaker government has presented four month budget for the year 2018-19 adding that this budget has been presented in accordance with the constitutional requirements. He said that government has made an effort to provide necessary relief to the people while remaining within the limited mandate and constitutional responsibilities. Funds for education, healthcare, agriculture and social sectors have been increased, he said. We have to serve the people of the province while remaining within the mandate, he further said. All the decisions are being made with the consultation of the cabinet and today’s budget has been approved with consensus. Performance of Punjab Revenue Authority was appreciated in the meeting. Earlier, Secretary Finance gave the briefing about the salient features of new fiscal year’s budget. Provincial ministers, chief secretary, inspector general of police and senior officials attended the meeting.


On the instructions of Caretaker   Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hassan Askari implementation on austerity policy has been started in the Chief Minister’s Office. Under this policy, 151 officers and other staff deputed in this office has been sent back to their respective departments while the services of 113 other officers and staff taken on loan basis from different departments have also been returned back. The Spokesman said that services of overall 264 officers and officials have been handed over to their concerned departments. The spokesman said that only those officers and officials have been retained in Chief Minister’s Office which are necessary for discharging the official affairs of the caretaker government.  Necessary staff will continue to serve in the Chief Minister’s Office, concluded the spokesman.


Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hassan Askari has said that holding of free, fair and transparent elections is the top priority and provincial administration is fully active in this regard. No hurdle will be allowed in the electoral process by ensuring the implementation of code of conduct issued by Elections Commission of Pakistan. Caretaker government is determined and confident for the complete implementation of law by maintaining its complete impartiality. Clear instructions have been issued to the administration, police and law enforcement agencies for this purpose, he said. He said that caretaker government will come up to the expectations of the nation by discharging its obligations efficiently and in accordance with the given mandate.

He said a level playing field has been provided to the candidates of all the political parties as well as the independent contestants so that they could take part in the electoral process and the voters could chose their candidates in a free and fair atmosphere. He said arrangements are being completed for the peaceful holding of elections besides ensuring implementation of code of conduct in the districts. Provision of peaceful atmosphere to the voters for using their right of franchise is the basic responsibility of the government and every citizen will have to extend full cooperation to the government bodies, he added. He said that law and order will be fully upheld during the polling process and no one will be allowed to take law into own hands. He made it clear that supremacy of law would be ensured in case of any violation of electoral rules and regulations. He said that free and fair elections are the foremost condition of the sustainable democracy. Caretaker government is utilizing all possible resources for holding free, fair and transparent elections by fulfilling its responsibilities. He said that work is being done round-the-clock for making the electoral process transparent by adopting an effective monitoring system. He said that all constitutional measures would be adopted which are the foundations of peaceful and fair elections so that the people could get a chance to use their right of franchise in a free and fair atmosphere. Implementation on the devised mechanism will be ensured in all the circumstances to provide a peaceful atmosphere to the voters, concluded the Chief Minister.   

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