LAHORE: PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif continues to chair administrative meetings alongside his daughter, Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, despite criticism.

On Monday, Mr Sharif co-chaired a meeting to review issues faced by the province’s agriculture sector.

Since the Feb 8 general elections, the PML-N sup­reme leader has generally kept a low profile. How­ever, in the few public app­e­arances since, he has been seen chairing or co-chairing with his daughter administrative meetings of the Punjab government.

This has led to questions, as Mr Sharif holds no official position in either the provincial or federal government and is officially only a member of the National Assembly.

Addressing the meeting on Monday, the PML-N supreme leader said the lack of availability of quality seeds even after decades is “a matter of grave concern”.

He called for “effective steps” to save 37 million acres feet (MAF) of water from being wasted during agricultural activities in the province.

He emphasised the need to use modern irrigation methods to save water. The meeting was told that 1.7 MAF of water could be saved by paving 7,300 water courses across Punjab.

The meeting also discussed necessary measures to increase the rate of farm mechanisation from 35 to 60 per cent in Punjab.

It also discussed the disbursement of Rs150bn loan to farmers for Rabi and Kharif crops. Mr Sharif issued directions to formulate simple eligibility criteria for the farmers to secure loans.

CM Maryam also approved a research endowment fund worth Rs500m in the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute in Faisalabad. The meeting also decided to amend the Fertiliser and Pesticide Act.

Provincial ministers Marri­yum Aurangzeb, Azma Zahid Bukhari and Ashiq Hussain Kirmani; PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid and other officials attended the meeting.

Separately on Monday, CM Maryam chaired a joint meeting of the parliamentary parties of PML-N, PPP and PML-Q to discuss the strategy for Senate elections.

PPP parliamentary party leader Ali Haider Gilani assured the CM of his party’s support for PML-N candidates Bushra Butt and Anusha Rahman, who are contesting on women’s seats.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2024

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