LAHORE: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar has reportedly told Prime Minister Imran Khan that more inroads have been made into the ranks of the PML-N MPAs and another batch of legislators may call upon Mr Khan at his Banigala residence in a week or so.
The governor broke the “good news” during a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, after the latter arrived in the city on Thursday.
The prime minister had entrusted Mr Sarwar with the task of winning over more ‘N’ MPAs, sources said.
Mr Sarwar, who had been in the PML-N, had played a pivotal role in creating a sort of ‘forward bloc’ comprising the party’s 15 members of the Punjab Assembly who had met Mr Khan at his Banigala residence. He had earlier sprung a surprise by winning his Senate seat from the province as a top scorer – when PML-N was ruling Punjab. After becoming governor, Mr Sarwar ensured that PTI candidate Waleed Iqbal should win the Senate seat relinquished by him.
Sources say the PTI is already making efforts to cause more defections to formally create a forward bloc in the PML-N, the major opposition party.
Governor Sarwar, who is also head of the Religious Tourism and Heritage Committee, apprised the prime minister of an “International Sikh Convention” to be held at the Governor House on August 31 – ahead of 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, requesting him to preside over the event. Sources claimed prime minister gave a nod in this regard.
He also informed the prime minister about his visit to Kartarpur Corridor and the issue of delay in payment for the land acquired for the project, saying it should be made at the earliest. The premier ordered early payment for the land, besides completion of the project well in time.
Mr Khan spent a busy day in Lahore as he held a one-on-one meeting with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. He also met representatives of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and chaired Punjab healthcare and medical education department’s progress review meetings.
Health Secretary Momin Agha briefed the prime minister about the initiatives taken to improve the health delivery system in the province.
The prime minister ordered judicious use of health budget and available resources and stressed the public hospitals governance be improved.
He said the Insaf Health Card’s scope should be extended to the underprivileged areas across the province. He also referred to KP government’s “achievements” in health sector, which he said helped the PTI earn a good reputation.
Special assistant to prime minister on information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid were also present.
Later, the chief minister presided over the progress review meetings of the industries and agriculture departments.
The meetings decided that special bazaars would be set up to promote indigenous industries in different cities and provide employment opportunities to the jobless youth.
The chief minister said the new industrial policy would prove a “game changer” for the industry and create jobs for more than 1.5 million skilled workers within the next few years. He said special economic zones would also help promote local industry.
He said a new technical syllabus was being introduced on the pattern of German and Swedish models under which students would provided online training in different industries after completing technical education.
Chairing an agriculture department meeting, Buzdar said the farmers would be educated about the latest innovations in the agriculture sector. He termed Agri Credit Card scheme as an innovative step of the PTI government and added that farmers would be directly paid the price of wheat, sugarcane and other crops, besides provision of agriculture services at subsidised rates.
Principal secretary to the chief minister, secretaries of industries, agriculture and information departments attended the meetings.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019