LAHORE: If the 1934 Police Act is taken as a benchmark, the Punjab police need another 20,000 officials to meet the law and order requirements in the province, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat told the provincial assembly.
Responding to questions about the home department, he said according to the Act, a policeman is required for every 450 people. According to those calculations, 20,000 more people are required in the province and the government is in the process of recruiting them.
The house was also told that currently the Child Protection and Welfare Bureaus (CPWBs) were working in eight (Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Multan, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan) districts and the government has plans to extend them to 13 more (Kasur, Gujrat, Hafizabad, Chakwal, Jehlum, Vehari, Mianwali, Bhakkar, Pakpattan, Rajanpur, Layyah, Jhang and Muzaffargarh) districts in the first phase of expansion. Budgetary allocations have already been made in the current fiscal.
In the second phase, Attock, Chiniot, Khanewal, Khushab, Lodhran, Mandi Bahaudin, Narowal, Nankana Sahib, Okara, Shekhupura, Toba Tek Singh and Bahawalnagar would be included in the tally. All these districts have been made part of the annual development programme (ADP) and sent to the planning and development department. Construction would start as soon as money starts flowing, he said.
Law minister concedes that kite-flying ban being violated; CPWBs in 13 districts in phase-I
The minster also conceded that kite-flying ban was still being violated in different parts of the city despite police forming raiding parties and combing areas in the precincts of all 83 police stations in Lahore. However, the police are chasing violators and regularly booking them for violations.
The house also passed the University of Chakwal bill and triggered an interesting debate when Waris Kahloon of the Opposition wondered what was the government doing for the poor in this rush hour of university making. “Once a college is converted into a university, the college, which is upgraded, fades into a university and a new fee structure – highly expensive – is implemented, which the poor cannot afford. The poor is educated at government fee in these colleges, which is far less than the university. Those cheap sources of education suddenly disappear, leaving the poor high and dry.”
Both the chair and minister (Yasir Humayun) agreed to the contention of Waris Kahloon. “This is a genuine concern that needs to be taken care of,” Pervaiz Elahi, occupying the rostrum, asked the treasury side.
The minister for higher education also conceded the point and offered an explanation: “The Punjab government is bringing about legislation converting all those feeding colleges into, what it calls, “constituent” institutions – separating them from the universities. These colleges would also be working under the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and maintain their old fee structure so that the poor is not deprived of its due,” he assured.
The Opposition accepted the ministerial assurance and withdrew its two proposed amendments in the bill, clearing way for the unanimous passage of it. It completed the agenda for the day and the house was adjourned for Tuesday afternoon.
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019