The special monitoring committee constituted by the Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif to ensure effective implementation of Punjab Marriage Function Ordinance 2016 at all levels met today under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Shamail Ahmad Khawaja, at Civil Secretariat Lahore. The Chief Minster has assigned the special committee task to formulate institutional mechanism for enforcement of this ordinance in full swing. Commissioner Lahore Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Secretary Local Government Muhammad Aslam Kamboh, Additional Secretary S&GAD Ashiq Hussain Aulakh, SP Security Ibadat Nissar, Deputy Secretary (Judicial) Home Department Bilal Ilyas, ADC Lahore Ms. Sundas Arshad, Monitoring Officer (Regulations) Syed Ali Abbas, ACCP to Commissioner Lahore Aslam Shahid and Director Law Salahuddin participated.
The meeting decided to constitute a sub-committee comprising Commissioner Lahore Division Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Special Secretary Local Government Punjab Shahid Nasr Raja and SP Security Ibadat Nissar which will analyze the data of complaints regarding violations of Punjab Marriage Function Ordinance 2016 and will fix responsibility and identify those government functionaries who failed to control various violations of Marriage Function Ordinance 2016 and will recommend action against such officials on case to case basis. The meeting decided that such sub-committees will also be constituted at other divisional headquarters of the province so that consistent action and legal enquiries against the violators and implementers of Punjab Marriage Function Ordinance be streamlined in letter and spirit. Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Shamail Ahmad Khawaja directed on this occasion that there should be no discrimination between ordinary people and the residents of posh areas in this regard. The ACS Punjab has also directed that the Police should prefer to apprehend owners of marriage halls and catering managers on account of violations like over timings, the aerial firing, violations regarding sound system beyond the limit and serving more than one dish which is prohibited in the Law.
Punjab Government is committed to speedy & effective implementation of the National Action Plan, said Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, Spokesperson & Adviser to Chief Minister Punjab on Information & Culture while speaking at PILDAT’s Public Forum on Implementation of NAP.
Appreciating PILDAT’s role as to monitor implementation of NAP from citizens’ perspective, Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan said that the Punjab Government remains committed not just to effective implementation of NAP but also reporting on its progress which led to the Government sharing data with PILDAT on the status of implementation in the first two years. He stressed on the difficult nature of modern day terrorism and held that the Punjab Government is making strides particularly in the area of forensics and surveillance. He also brought attention to the Punjab Safe Cities Authority and highlighted its role in increasing the Government’s power of surveillance. He expressed his confidence in the fight against terrorism with the launch of Operation Radd-ul-Fassad and said that intelligence sharing at the provincial level has increased since. However, Mr. Khan was of the view that revamping of the criminal justice system would take at least ten years with sustained and concerted effort.
Members of PILDAT’s Steering Committee on the Implementation of National Action Plan, Dr. Noel Israel Khokar, Mr. Tasneem Noorani, Mr. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, and Lt. Gen. Retd. Moinuddin Haider, also spoke on the occasion. Dr. Noel Israel Khokhar, Executive Dean Forman Christian College, thanked the Punjab Government for willingly sharing data with PILDAT and candidly participating in discussions on implementation progress of NAP. He explained that PILDAT’s Monitor on Implementation of NAP to Counter Terrorism was a citizens’ initiative to help Federal and Provincial Governments in assessing their performance. The PILDAT’s Monitor on Implementation of NAP should therefore be taken by Governments as indicator of where the pace of progress requires improvement. Dr. Khokhar also highlighted that tangible progress on NAP would only be visible if uniform progress is achieved on all 20-NAP Points across Federal and Provincial Governments. Mr. Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shami, senior analyst and Editor-in-Chief Daily Pakistan, said that PILDAT’s Monitor on Implementation of National Action Plan has made work easy for the Governments, Legislatures and Citizens to review progress on a crucial roadmap. He believed reforms in criminal justice system to be most crucial element in success of NAP. He also said that a clear strategy should be adopted in dealing with members of organizations that are proscribed.
Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority Act and the Punjab Women Protection Authority Act Passed by the Punjab Assembly.
Statement by Mr. Salman Sufi (Director General-Strategic Reforms Unit, Chief Minister’s Office): “The Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit has worked tirelessly in collaboration with the Local Government & Community Development Department and the Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal Department to introduce legislations to cater to crucial issues including lack of inclusive and sacred burial spaces, facilitation of grieving families, land encroachments, the protection of women and prevention of Violence Against Women. We have created history by getting two ground-breaking legislations passed in one day.” The Chief Minister’s Strategic Reform Unit’s Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority Bill 2017 and the Punjab Women Protection Bill 2017 were laid in the Punjab Assembly session today, on the 24th of May 2017 and were subsequently passed after a thorough reading and deliberation by the Assembly members. The Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority Bill 2017 was promulgated on the 11th of April 2017 by the Governor Punjab. The Bill was then approved by the Standing Committee on Local Government and Community Development on the 4th of May 2017. As per the Act, the Punjab Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority will construct, maintain and monitor standardized inclusive graveyards. The Authority is further to work in consultation with the concerned local governments to carry out its functions. The Shehr-e-Khamoshan Authority will ensure the delivery of services including prayer services, ghusl, mortuary, hearse services as well as services of cremation and burial services for Non-Muslim communities in separate cemeteries. Similarly, the Punjab Women Protection Authority Bill 2017 was also promulgated on the 11th of April 2017 by the Governor Punjab. The Bill was then approved by the Standing Committee on Social Welfare and Bait-ul-Maal Department on the 16th May 2017. The Punjab Women Protection Authority will construct, maintain, monitor and operate Violence Against Women Centres for women survivors of violence, the first of which has been operational in Multan since the 25th of March, 2017. These one-stop shop justice delivery centers are to provide services including medico-legal, forensics, police, prosecution, mediation and psychological aid and rehabilitation. As per the Act, the Women Protection Authority will have adequate female representation in its main structure. The amendments proposed by the opposition were adequately addressed and defended by the Minister Human Rights, Mr. Tahir Khalil Sindhu. Both the authorities will have a semi-autonomous, technocratic setup to insure an effective implementation of their functions. They act as a promise by the Chief Minister of Punjab to the citizens that they shall not be left unheard and their needs will be held in the highest regard.
Punjab Minister for Primary & Secondary Health Khawaja Imran Nazir has said that government is running a comprehensive programme of prevention of diseases on which billions of rupees are being spent. He said that Chief Minister’s commitment is to make Punjab a hepatitis free province and whole team of Health Department is working to materialize this target. For this purpose hepatitis screening and vaccination week is being observed in Punjab from 22nd to 27th May during which free test facility and vaccination would be provided to common man.
He expressed these views while inaugurating hepatitis screening week at DHQ Hospital Kasur, today. Besides, officers of district administration, CEO Health Kasur Dr. Abdul Majeed, MS Dr. Javed Iqbal and workers of PML-N also present on this occasion. Kh. Imran Nazir said that hepatitis screening week is being observed on the direction of Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif to create awareness among the people to prevent them from the disease. He said that Blood Transfusion Authority has also been activated to check the blood born diseases, moreover, proper disposal of hospital’s waste, awareness among the barbers and dentists is also being created to sensitize them regarding sterilization of instruments. He said that vaccination and treatment of hepatitis both are very costly, therefore, government decided to celebrate hepatitis week to provide free access to health facilities to the common man. He directed the officers of the department to create maximum awareness among the people and facilitate them for the vaccination. Moreover, Minister Health Kh. Imran Nazir also visited the DHQ Hospital. He went to different wards, medicine store, emergency, outdoor, record room etc. Kh. Imran Nazir inquired after the health of the patients and asked about the treatment facilities being extended to them.
Punjab Minister for Higher Education Syed Raza Ali Gillani has said that the Government of Punjab extends all possible cooperation to the Chinese Higher Education department and pledges to assist in all fields of development in higher education sector. The minister was addressing to the MoU Signing ceremony between Punjab Higher Education Commission and Culture & Education Department of Chinese Overseas Exchange Association. The Chairperson PHEC Prof. Dr. Nizamuddin and Director Culture & Education Department Mr. Lei Zhengang were the signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding. While talking on the occasion the Minister said that this MoU is an example of our enhanced cooperation with the Chinese, as envisioned by worthy Chief Minister of the Punjab. He added that more of such programs between Punjab and China are being crafted out and “feel free to discuss any program of mutual cooperation, Government of Punjab will support you completely”. The Chief Minister of Punjab has recently paid visit to China where he signed various MoUs to achieve the common goals in mere time and to strengthen our relations, the Minister added.
The Chairperson PHEC Prof. Dr. Nizamuddin in his address said that the MoU will serve as a link between the Punjab Higher Education Commission and the Chinese Education & Culture Department and would help in sending our students to China for studies. This will provide us a chance to cultivate the benefits of the Chinese experience and skills, he added. He said that the academic collaboration with the Chinese Overseas Exchange Association would further help us in launching new collaborative programs regarding Chinese language culture and education. Dr. Nizam added that the students will be sent to china for learning Chinese language in October this year.
Mr. LEI Zhengang, Director of Culture and Education Department COEA, said that the joint collaboration would help promote the culture and strengthen our friendship. The MoU will serve our vision of one belt, one road. He said that the two parties will carry out cooperation in the form of exchange of students and teachers for various language and culture programs. The joint venture was signed under the auspices of Chinese Consulate at Lahore. The MoU signing ceremony held at PHEC Secretariat Arfa Software Technology Park Lahore here today. Vice Chancellors of University of Punjab, Government College University Lahore, University of Central Punjab, University of Education and Chinese Deputy Counsel General Lahore Mr. Wang Daxue were also present at the ceremony.