JHANG, Feb 2: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has formally announced the upgradation of Chiniot tehsil as the 36th district of the province at an impressive ceremony held on the lawns of Chenab College in Chiniot on Monday.
Addressing the gathering, the chief minister said the upgradation of Chiniot to the status of district would go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the masses by providing a solution to their problems on their doorstep.
The new district comprises Chiniot, Bhwana and Laliyan tehsils. A formal notification is awaited.
The chief minister said if serving the poor people or providing cheaper bread and free health facilities to the downtrodden of society was a crime, he would continue committing this for the rest of his life.
The chief minister announced a Rs500 million grant to establish infrastructure of the new district. Several traders, industrialists and other philanthropists belonging to Chiniot also announced billions of rupees for the construction of district complex and other facilities.
Earlier, when the chief minister flew to Chiniot, he was received at the helipad by PPP MNA Syed Inayat Ali Shah and PML-N MPA Masood Ali Lali. Senior Minister Raja Riaz, Law Minister Rana Sannaullah, Revenue Minister Haji Muhammad Ishaq, PPP MPA Syed Hasan Murtaza and PML-N MPA Maulana Ilyas Ahmad Chinioti accompanied the chief minister.
However, PPP district president Qazi Ali Husain, who is also a former MPA, and PPP office-bearers from Chiniot and Jhang were conspicuous by their absence.
A PPP source later told Dawn that Qazi Husain had advised the office-bearers and workers to refrain from attending the chief minister’s function.
Meanwhile, according to a handout issued later, Sharif said all available resources would be utilised for the welfare and betterment of the masses and every sacrifice would be made for the solidarity and survival of the country.
He said Gen Musharaf would be held accountable for what he called “Shahadat” (razing) of Lal Masjid and massacre of innocent people.
He said his government was actively engaged in curbing criminals involved in heinous crimes.
He said he had suspended the entire staff of Chak Jhumra police station in Faisalabad for patronising criminals. He said he held open courts on every Thursday where oppressed people from far-flung areas, including Rahim Yar Khan, Kot Addu, Chowk Azam and DG Khan, come to get their grievances redressed.
Sharif said millions of people of Punjab were benefiting from the welfare measures of the coalition government and sasti roti programme was for the benefit of the poor and labourers of this province and not for the people of any other country.
He said remnants of a dictator could not provide justice to widows, orphans, the poor and the oppressed, and his government would leave no stone unturned to serve the humanity and provide them justice without any fear or favour.
In his address of welcome, MPA Maulana Ilyas Chinioti demanded establishing two more high schools for boys and girls in Chiniot, launching postgraduate classes in local colleges, constructing a bridge over Nullah Harsa Sheikh and intensifying the campaign against criminals.
MPA Hasan Murtaza demanded setting up of a press club and a lawyers’ colony, repairing and reconstructing the remaining portion of Aminpur Pango Road, upgrading basic health centres in Chak 237 Jandarana and Rajowa and upgrading boys and girls high schools of Rajowa.