LAHORE  -   Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, whose PML-Q is a coalition partner with the PTI, has advised the government to prepare short, medium and long term action plans for the solution of people’s problems.

In an exclusive interview with the Nawa-i-Waqt yesterday, he also underlined the need for a better homework and teamwork by the ruling coalition. Good working relationship between the partners was need of the hour, he held.

Expressing good wishes both for Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, he prayed for the success of the two.

Though a staunch rival of the Sharifs and their party, Pervaiz Elahi supported the idea of better medical facilities on humanitarian grounds for former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and other prisoners.

The former premier has already been shifted from the Kot Lakhpat jail to the Services Hospital where tests are being conducted to determine the ailments he is suffering from.

Elaborating on his suggestion of drawing up short, medium and long term action plans, the Speaker pointed out that during his tenure as Punjab chief minister (2002-2007) he had also given Vision 2020.

Answering a question, he said the PML-Q had joined hands with the PTI to translate people’s wishes into reality.

Replying to another question, he said the government should establish contacts with all countries to invite them to invest in Pakistan.

He said the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (on Feb 19) would be very important for Pakistan as KSA had stood by Pakistan in all difficult situations, including floods, sanctions that were imposed after the 1998 nuclear explosions and devastative earthquake of 2008. The leadership and people of Saudi Arabia love Pakistan, he asserted.

About the legislative business in the Punjab Assembly, the Speaker said no weak legislation would be carried out there. He said Domestic Workers Bill was sent back recently for the very same reason.

The relevant authorities would deal with the legal complications and rectify its flaws. The basic purpose of legislation, he said, was to give relief to people.

In response to another question, the PA speaker said the decision about the standing committees had been taken in consultation with the opposition.

The foremost objective of the Punjab Assembly was to enact quality legislation, regardless of the number of bills.

Pervaiz Elahi recalled the projects launched during the PML-Q government and said even Prime Minister Imran Khan and rivals had appreciated them many a time.

He said, as a chief minister, he constructed 32,000 kilometres of metalled roads and introduced free education up to matriculation for the children of the poor people.

Also, he recalled, revolutionary steps had been taken in the health sector, 1122 rescue service and a system of traffic wardens and patrolling posts were also introduced during that period.

Pervaiz Elahi also mentioned the establishment of consumer courts, reforms in the irrigation system, establishment of IT centres and introduction of computerised number plates for vehicles during his CM stint.

He was critical of the policies pursued by Mian Shehbaz Sharif as the chief executive of Punjab, saying people were paying the price thereof.

The wheat stocked in godowns is infesting and the government is paying the banks heavy interests. He called for relief to farmers.

Pervaiz Elahi also recalled his contribution to the raise in Punjab’s GDP.

Answering a question the Speaker said the new Punjab Assembly building would be completed in about six months after which the entire business would be shifted there.

The existing building is about a century old.

The new building would have the capacity to accommodate 500 legislators. The meetings of the standing committees would also be held there.

He held Mian Shehbaz Sharif responsible for the delay in the completion of this building. Had he not stopped work on the project, it would have been completed by now, the Speaker said.

The delay caused by the former chief minister had escalated the cost of the project.

Pervaiz Elahi said assembly buildings in other provinces had already been completed and modern systems were at work there.