LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar presided over a high-level meeting at his office here on Thursday that discussed steps to control prices of essential items.

The meeting decided to activate district price control committees after their reconstitution. Representatives of civil society will also be included in these committees. The chief minister said effective measures should be taken to stabilise the prices of essential items. He directed the officials to initiate a vigorous crackdown on the elements creating artificial price hike and submit a report to Chief Minister’s Office after taking action against hoarders and profiteers. The chief minister said that he would go to every extent to provide relief to the masses and added that increase in the prices of essential items would not be tolerated.

Buzdar said that people responsible for price hike would be taken to task. He asked deputy commissioners to keep a close eye on prices in their districts. “Performance of every district will be monitored with regard to price hike. Best performers will be rewarded and the ones showing poor performance will be held accountable,” he said. “Line departments should actively perform to control the prices. I belong to people of the province and they will not be left at the mercy of profiteers,” the chief minister said. He said that rate lists should be displayed at shops prominently and indiscriminate action should be initiated against the elements looting the masses.

The provincial finance minister; ACS (home); secretaries of food, industry, livestock and agriculture departments; spokesman for the chief minister; commissioner of Lahore Division and high ranking officers attended the meeting. Divisional commissioners and RPOs participated in the meeting through video link.

Separately, Buzdar said voting and right to franchise were considered fundamental rights in democratic countries.

In his message issued here yesterday, the chief minister said that role of voters was very pivotal in continuing the democratic process and the countries that give importance to voters’ opinion make progress. He said that democratic norms were part of PTI’s manifesto. The role of voters is very important in strengthening democracy in the country. The purpose of celebrating this day is to highlight the utility of vote, he said.

Earlier, Buzdar congratulated Pakistani bowler Yasir Shah for setting a new world record by obtaining fastest 200 wickets in Test cricket. In his message, the chief minister said that Yasir Shah had broken 82 years old record and brought laurels home. “He has written a new history and the nation is proud of him,” the chief minister said.

Also, members of the national and provincial assemblies from different districts called on the chief minister at his office. Talking to them, the chief minister said that an effective strategy had been developed to transfer the fruit of change to the grassroots. “Sincere efforts made for prosperity of the country and solution of public problems will yield positive results,” he said. He said that public service agenda was taken forward during the last three months and merit and good governance were promoted. Everything will be done purely on merit, he said.

Buzdar said that an effective system of check and balance was being developed to monitor performance of institutions. The goal of a new Pakistan will be achieved at every cost and Punjab will emerge as a role model with regard to its performance. He asked the public representatives to keep a close liaison with people and make every effort to solve their problems.

Those who called on the chief minister were National Assembly members Sanaullah Khan Mastikhel, Mehr Ghulam Muhammad Lali, Rahat Amanullah Bhatti and Gulraiz Afzal Gondal and MPAs Sardar Mir Badshah Qaiserani and Khurram Jahangir Wattoo.