Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) has emerged as the largest free education-provider in the province as 67 percent of its partner schools are situated in the south. Similarly, 69 percent of the student-beneficiaries belong to the southern part of the province. Due to it, great achievement has been made in eradicating illiteracy and ignorance in the far-flung and remote hinterlands, where it is quite difficult for the low-income families to arrange education for their children for want of resources.
Chairman PEF Engr. Qamar-ul-Islam Raja said this while addressing the first day of 3-Day District Coordination Meeting at Jinnah Auditorium, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan on Saturday. 1047 school partners from Bahawalpur, Lodhran, Rahim Yar Khan and Khanewal attended the meeting. He said that promotion of education in the low-income families is our priority agenda. It is important that our school partners are playing an important role in promotion of education in disfranchised sections of the societies; it is our sovereign commitment to help promote quality education in the partner schools through useful interventions. Efficient use of IT has also been made. He commended the fact that students have shown great interest in benefiting from PEF sponsored educational programmes as the total number of beneficiaries has surpassed two million. He observed that promotion of education should be treated as national agenda, and all segments of the society should supplement this program, so that all the children should be in schools by the year 2018.
MD PEF Tariq Mehmood said that different initiatives have been introduced to improve the educational standards of the partner schools. It has helped the students to study free of cost and excel in life with self-confidence and courage. He told that a comprehensive policy mechanism will be devised for up-gradation of partner schools having sufficient facilities and meeting the program criterion. It would help the students, including the girls, to continue their education, he added. He further said that governmental instructions with regard to adoption of anti-dengue measures and schools’ security should be implemented in letter and spirit. The meeting was also addressed by different programme directors.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif presided over a high level meeting here today which considered various proposals for the reorganization and modernization of Institute of Public Health and Directorate General Health Services. The Chief Minister granted approval to the proposal of establishment of a consolidated and autonomous Public Health Agency. Addressing the meeting, Shehbaz Sharif said that the role of Institute of Public Health and Directorate General Health Services is of vital importance for the provision of quality health facilities to the masses. Therefore, he said, reforms in both these institutions are the need of the hour. He said that research and collection of information with regard to diseases is the basic responsibility of Institute of Public Health while it also provides technical assistance to the government in this regard. Giving approval to the proposal of establishing Punjab Public Health Agency, the Chief Minister said that it will be completely autonomous and run on the pattern of Punjab Forensic Science Agency. He directed that the proposed plan should be speedily implemented. He said that both institutions have not discharged their responsibilities with regard to provision of better health facilities to the citizens efficiently, therefore, there is a need to introduce reforms of basic nature in these institutions for making further progress. He said that all out resources will be made available for the improvement of healthcare system. Shehbaz Sharif said that the performance of Institute of Public Health and Directorate General Health Services is not satisfactory. He said that funds are a trust of the nation and their wastage will not be tolerated. He said that benefits of resources of billions of rupees provided for improvement of health services should reach the common man and all out measures will be taken for extending quality health facilities to the masses. Shehbaz Sharif also issued instructions for setting up a steering committee and project management unit for reforms in these institutions. The Chief Minister will be the head of the Steering Committee whereas Parliamentary Secretary on Health Kh. Imran Nazir will be the head of Project Management Unit. Provincial Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Advisor on Health Kh. Salman Rafique, head of DFID Punjab Ben French, British public health expert John Forde, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Kh. Imran Nazir, Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, concerned officials besides secretaries of the concerned departments attended the meeting.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has congratulated Pakistani players on winning World Junior Squash Championship. He said that Pakistani players have displayed excellent game in the final and defeated seven times champion Egypt. He said that success of Pakistan is the result of hard work of the players. Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the management and squash players on winning final.
Overseas Pakistanis also expressed views during function of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab at Chief Minister’s Office whose grievances the commission had addressed. A retired police officer Hussain Sheikh living in Hong Kong told that he purchased land but those who were paid for the land escaped. When he came to know about setting up of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab, he submitted an application to the commission. The police arrested the concerned persons within two days and his money was returned. He thanked Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. A person Ali Haider Malik living in Chicago, America said that his father was residing in Sheikhupura. He said a fraud was committed with him and he came to Pakistan a number of times but he returned to America without resolution of his problem. Then he decided not to go to Pakistan. But, when overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab was set up, he submitted an application and he received back his one crore twenty seven lakh rupees within thirty days. He further said that now, he has decided not to go to America and live in Pakistan. Ali Haider informed that he paid not a single penny for the recovery of such a huge amount. Only, presented sweets and Ghulab Jaman, he added. He thanked Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. A woman living in Saudi Arabia said that she purchased a house in a housing society nine years ago but despite full payment, she was not given the possession of the house. She said that he telephoned Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab and the commission solved her problem within three months and now she has shifted to her house. She said Mian Sahib Tussi Great O. She said that she got her house on old rate and did not pay even a rupee as bribe. She thanked Shehbaz Sharif.
Punjab Chief Minister and Chairman Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has said that lakhs of Pakistanis living abroad are ambassadors of their country and the efficiency of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab, set up for resolving their problems, is commendable. He said that there is a need to expand the good work started from Punjab to the whole country. He said that Overseas Pakistanis Commission is performing its responsibilities with commitment and hard work and if other institutions of the country also display the same spirit, the situation will change in weeks and not years and all challenges and problems being faced by the country will be overcome. The Chief Minister announced setting up of one-window station in those districts which have a large number of people living abroad. Desks of different institutions will be set up in one-widow stations and problems of Overseas Pakistanis will be resolved under one-roof. Shehbaz Sharif further said that all out resources will be provided for this purpose while High Court will be contacted to consider setting up of separate courts to deal with cases of Overseas Pakistanis.
He expressed these views while addressing a function in connection with the first anniversary of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab and Independence Day at Chief Minister Office, here today. Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah, Malik Nadeem Kamran, Ch. Sher Ali, Hameeda Waheed ud Din, Vice Chairman Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab Capt. (Retd.) Khalid Shaheen Butt, Commissioner Afzaal Bhatti, senior officers of Punjab government as well as a large number of Overseas Pakistanis were present. Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said that it is very important day as the first anniversary of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab, established for the benefit of Overseas Pakistanis who are playing a vital role in strengthening of national economy is being celebrated. He said that the nation celebrated its 70th Independence Day on August 14 with austerity. The Chief Minister welcomed Overseas Pakistanis who were present on the occasion and said that the function had been arranged to celebrate the first anniversary of such an institution which is working without any Safarish or corruption for redressing the grievances of Pakistanis living abroad. He said that Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab has provided relief to thousands of Overseas Pakistanis through addressing their complaints. He thanked the entire team of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab and other institutions of Punjab government cooperating in this regard. Shehbaz Sharif said that whether it is Britain, America, Norway or any other country, hundred percent elimination of corruption is not possible. However, he said, in those countries there is supremacy of law, which takes its course over any wrongdoing, and no one dares to interfere or use his influence. He said that Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab has also set a noble example by working on this pattern. The Chief Minister said that work is continuing speedily on 3600 megawatts gas-based power projects in Punjab and these projects are an example of standard and transparency. He said that eight years ago, Guddu gas power project of the same capacity was set up at nine lakh dollars per megawatt but today, under the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, similar gas power plants are being established at a cost of 4.5 lakh dollars per megawatt. He said that a huge sum of 120 billion rupees of the poor nation has been saved on these projects. He said Chairman American Energy Company during his visit to Pakistan informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that under his tenure such a high standard and transparency have been adopted in gas power plants that the countries of Middle East are also demanding gas power plants in their countries at the rates at par with Pakistan. The Chief Minister further said that work is being carried out speedily on gas power plants of 3600 megawatt being set up in Punjab and power production will start from March next year from the first phase of Bhikhi power plant started last year. He said that this is the way to change the destiny of the nation. He said that work is being carried out on energy projects as a team under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and it is a shining example of teamwork. He said that Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab has also set a high standard of teamwork. Shehbaz Sharif further said that Pakistan is facing a number of problems and there is a need to resolve them with collective efforts and wisdoms and put the country on the road to progress and prosperity. He said that although it is a difficult task but not impossible. He said that if the nation decides to change its destiny and adopt the principle of hard work, honesty and commitment, the desired objectives can be achieved. He said that had the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah lived for seven or eight years more, Pakistan would have been much ahead of India and would not have been facing the current problems. He said that unfortunately, Quaid-e-Azam left this world and the nation is still looking for a new Quaid. He said that those who serve the people with commitment and dedication are remembered by the masses. He said that speeches, slogans and poetry cannot change the destiny of a nation and practical efforts are needed to overcome challenges and problems. He said that by setting up Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab, a step has been taken in the right direction and there is a need to follow this model. He said that Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab will have to play its due role without being deterred by challenges and difficulties. The Chief Minister thanked Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Chief Secretary Punjab, Additional Chief Secretary, Vice Chairman Capt. (Retd.) Khalid Shaheen Butt, Commissioner Afzaal Bhatti and the entire team for their efforts with regard to establishment of the commission. He directed Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to contact High Court for setting up of separate courts for immediate decisions of the cases pertaining to overseas Pakistanis. The Chief Minister also expressed his pleasure over the views expressed by overseas Pakistanis whose grievances have been redressed. Vice Chairman Capt. Retd. Khalid Shaheen Butt in his speech said that the credit for setting up of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab goes to Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He said that merit and transparency is the motto of the institution. Commissioner Afzaal Bhatti informed about the performance of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab and said that it has received about four thousand complaints, out of which two thousand have been addressed. He said that the Commission is fully benefitting from information technology and its committees in various districts are working actively. He said that the measures being taken by Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab for resolving the problems of overseas Pakistanis are being appreciated all over Pakistan and full cooperation has been extended to Azad Kashmir government in response to its request for setting up such an institution. He said that overseas Pakistanis acknowledged the performance of this institution irrespective of their political affiliation. The Chief Minister, at the conclusion of the function, gave away shields and commendatory certificate to the members of Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab, officers of Provincial government and the heads of committees of five districts for their outstanding performance.