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Today's Paper | April 21, 2024

Published 26 Feb, 2024 05:54pm

Notable promises newly elected Punjab CM Maryam Nawaz made in her victory speech

PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz made history on Monday after being elected the first female chief minister of Pakistan from Punjab. Maryam — who made her parliamentary debut this year after winning the Feb 8 polls from PP-159 — achieved a landslide victory against the opposition’s Rana Aftab Ahmad, securing all of the 220 votes.

In a lengthy victory speech, Maryam noted that there were many expectations from her and vowed to go “above and beyond”. She further said that her party had developed an “extensive and comprehensive” agenda for the province, which would be implemented from today.

Dawn.com takes a look at some of the many promises Maryam made in her victory speech.

Transforming Punjab into an ‘economic hub’

Maryam said that she plans to transform Punjab into an “economic hub” by creating an enabling environment for businessmen.

She said the government’s job was to create policies, incentivise businessmen, and to remove bureaucratic hurdles and “red-tapism”.

She said that the businesses being run by the provincial government should be converted into a public-private partnership.

“My job is to make policies in Punjab, to provide an enabling environment, and to regulate — we will do this but at the same time we will facilitate the business community so that they invest and economic revival begins,” she said.

Improving lives of the youth

Maryam also said that her mission included making the lives of the province’s youth easier. She said she had extensive plans and programmes to cater to “all kinds of youth”.

“If any child wants to study on merit and they do not have the means, the Punjab government will provide funds for them,” she said. She highlighted that the Punjab Education Endowment Fund would be revived and taken forward.

Furthermore, she added that the government would decide the criteria for sponsoring the education of gifted boys and girls, who were capable of getting into Ivy league schools and other renowned universities but were unable to go due to financial restraints.

Maryam also said that she would revive the youth loan programme that was launched by her father Nawaz Sharif, which also included schemes for providing interest-free loans, skills training and devices such as laptops and tablets.

She further said that there were several government internship programmes currently underway but they were not paid. “So I have told the institutions to increase the internship programmes and to make them paid so that the intern is paid a minimum of Rs25,000,” she said.

Terming information technology startups “low-hanging” fruit, she promised to provide the youth with the resources to start their own businesses. “For startups, we will also set up incubators and will do hand-holding and ensure that they reach their end goal,” she said.

Maryam said that a plan had also been formulated to give students electric motorbikes. She said that she would continue to interact with the youth and her doors would always be open for them.

School transport system for Punjab; centres for differently-abled children

Maryam also announced that she would introduce a school transport system in Punjab. She said that she would also focus on developing the curriculums of government schools.

“It is my dream, as a mother, that no child should be out of school due to a lack of finances, that they get the best education,” Maryam said.

“I am working on a model for a private-public partnership to incentivise education,” she said.

Talking about differently-abled children, she said that state-of-the-art education centres would be established in each district.

Punjab’s ‘first air ambulance’; free medicines

Maryam said that her first priority was to ensure the presence of capable doctors as well as equipment at basic health units, rural health centres and tehsil headquarter hospitals.

She asserted that she wanted each district of the province to have a “state-of-the-art hospital”, so that patients would not have to travel extensively for medical treatment.

“After five years when I leave the government, I want that there is no district which does not have a state-of-the-art hospital,” she said, vowing to achieve this within five years.

“Free medicines will be provided at every government hospital across the province from today onwards,” she said.

Maryam also stated that Punjab’s first air ambulance would be announced within the next 12 weeks to improve healthcare for the people living in mountainous and hilly areas.

She also said that she had directed Rescue 1122 to begin a “motorised ambulance service”. Maryam said that she would also introduce an “effective health care” for the province.

Dedicated helpline for women; daycare centres at workplaces

Maryam emphasised that the safety of women in the province was her first priority. “Therefore, I am announcing a dedicated helpline for women,” she said.

Mariam asserted that she wanted to create a better, safer Punjab for women, adding that it was her responsibility to provide women with a safe and secure environment.

She added that she would work on creating “respectable” working women hostels. “As a mother, I understand that working women worry about their children,” she said, stating that she “will work to create daycare centres at every workplace”.

“Harassing any woman is Maryam Nawaz’s red line,” she affirmed. Maryam lauded Gulberg Circle ASP Shehr Bano for protecting the life of a girl wearing a dress with Arabic calligraphy from an attack by a charged mob in Lahore yesterday.

“To empower women financially, socially and professionally, Maryam Nawaz is willing to work 24/7,” she said.

Package for transgender community

Furthermore, she said she had a special package in the works for the transgender community to bring them into mainstream society.

She said it was her responsibility to protect marginalised communities — including women and minorities — and change “societal attitudes” towards them.

She said minorities were the “crowning glory” of the country. She said she dreamed of a Punjab where any minority did not have to spend “the night in fear.”

Digital Punjab

Maryam said that it was now “high time” to focus on “digital Punjab”. She said it was her plan to create at least five digital cities by the end of her tenure.

She also said she had given someone the responsibility of bringing “tech giants” to the country. “Whatever incentive they require, the resources they need, the government of Punjab will provide […] we will ask them to come and open their offices in Punjab,” she said.

Maryam also pledged to provide free WiFi in major cities of Punjab. She said that a pilot project would soon be launched in Lahore. She asserted that she would also revive e-libraries in the province.

She said that it was the Punjab’s government responsibility to facilitate each and every young person interested in artificial intelligence and machine-learning to enhance their skills.

Safe City projects in major cities

Maryam said that a “safe” Punjab was her dream. She noted that the Safe City project was introduced in Lahore, adding that it could also help in improving the traffic system.

“In the first phase, we are introducing Safe City projects in 18 cities. At the end of five years, then each district will have an extensive Safe City project,” she said.

She asserted that this would improve the crime rate in the province. She said that she would also introduce women police stations. She said that she would also have “zero tolerance” for police high-handedness.

Commenting on the incident in Taxila, where a police officer slapped an elderly lady, she said that she would order and investigation.

She further said that she would work on improving the police’s response time.

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