LAHORE - Identifying a number of problems the PTI’s Punjab government has been encountering for the past one year of its incumbency, the provincial president of the ruling party foresees a much better situation in the times ahead because of the experience gained so far and the steps being contemplated for the future.

Ijaz Chaudhry said while talking to The Nation on Wednesday that the bureaucracy that his party had inherited was not cooperating with the government because of its strong affiliation with the previous rulers. Their fear for accountability was another factor behind their sluggish performance. Also, he said, the PTI leaders did not have the experience of statecraft because of which their performance was not as better as it should have been.

Price-hike, he said, was the most disturbing problem and he would not be satisfied unless the common man was given relief. In his opinion the government should give subsidy on flour, ghee and edible oil to share the burden of the poor.

The PTI leader said projects to be launched under Ehsas programme would bring qualitative improvement in the on-ground situation.

Ijaz Ch proposes subsidy on wheat flour, edible oil, ghee to help poor

Answering a question he said the Punjab government was setting up nine major hospitals in less developed areas of the province which would be completed in about 18 months. With their completion the burden on the Lahore hospitals would lessen and the overcrowding there would not be seen.

The PTI government, he said, was also determined to introduce uniform curriculum across the country and a transfer policy for teachers which would solve their problems. This would bring marked improvement in the education sector.

Asked what would be the PTI’s position in Punjab if, hypothetically speaking, the situation led to immediate elections, Ijaz Chaudhry referred to the recent Gallup poll according to which the PTI would retain its top position in the most populated province, to be followed by the PML-N and the PPP.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s performance in the United Nations General Assembly and the way he had argued Kashmiris case had taken the popularity graph of the PTI to new heights which would be seen in the times ahead.

He said those having a liking for Imran Khan would be the PTI’s allies in the next election and others would be in the opposition camp.

He insisted that the JUI-F of Maulana Fazlur Rehman could not be regarded as the third force, notwithstanding the public perception and the Maulana’s wheeling dealing with other parties.

Religious vote, he said, ranged between seven and eight percent of the total cake. However, he pointed out that the TLP emerged as a big party in the 2018 election. In his reckoning the religious vote would lose its impact if religious parties stood divided.

He indicated that the PTI would try to take religious parties along and the latter would also feel inclined to join hands with it because of its commitment to make Pakistan Madinah-like state.

He regretted that the religious parties did not have any agenda of their own that could attract voters.

About the priorities that in his opinion the Punjab government should focus in future, Ijaz Chaudhry said good governance, law and order and trust in bureaucracy should be the major considerations.

Then, he said, such crops should be promoted as could be exported. They include cotton, maize, oilseeds, fruits, livestock and dairy products.