LAHORE - The initial meeting of the Punjab government led by Caretaker Chief Minister Hasan Askari Rizvi was held at Chief Minister’s Office here on Monday.

Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed gave a detailed briefing about functions of 43 departments of the Punjab government and authority and scope of work of the caretaker government. Rizvi individually introduced every member of the caretaker cabinet and informed them about their responsibilities.

Introducing Caretaker Health Minister Dr Jawad Sajid, Rizvi said that he looks after matters pertaining to human hearts and he is quite serious in these matters. He said that “it is our desire he should further improve the standard of health facilities in accordance with the mandate so that relief could be provided to people and they pray for us”.

Caretaker Provincial Minister Zia Haider Rizvi proposed that the policy of receiving government dues with mutual willingness should be adopted by decreasing the volume of government expenditure. Ahmed Waqas Riaz expressed determination that such work would be done under Askari that future caretaker governments would quote its examples. Zafar Mahmood said that all-out support would be extended to and matters would be settled through open discussions in the cabinet. Provincial Minister Anjum Nisar stressed the need for expediting efforts for promotion of industrial activities in the province.

Caretaker Provincial Minister Shaukat Javed also assured his full cooperation. Talking to the cabinet meeting, Rizvi said “we will have to prove through our actions that we are nonpartisan”. Punjab Police Inspector General Arif Nawaz briefed the meeting about measures to be taken by the Punjab government for maintaining law and order on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Earlier, six ministers of the Punjab caretaker cabinet took oath of the office here on Monday. Punjab Governor Rafiq Rajwana administered oath to caretaker ministers Zafar Mehmood, Dr Jawad Sajid Khan, Shaukat Javed, Anjum Nisar, Zia Haider Rizvi and Ahmed Waqas Riaz.

Rizvi also attended the oath taking ceremony at Governor’s House. He congratulated the caretaker ministers. Speaking on the occasion, Rizvi said the caretaker set up in Punjab is totally apolitical and impartial and added that holding free and fair elections was prime responsibility of the caretaker government and it would be performed in the best manner. He said that elections in a peaceful manner will be ensured. In his message on the eve of World Day Against Child Labour, Rizvi said the day was meant to sensitise the general public about the impact of child labour on future of children.

Rizvi said “we have to make a commitment today to speed up efforts for elimination of child labour. Child labour is a serious socio-economic issue as well as criminal act under all global laws and many factors are involved in it,” he said. “All children are like glowing flowers and their protection is collective responsibility of all of us. Children are symbol of our future and giving attention to their education is responsibility of every citizen because they are collective social asset,” he said.

The caretaker chief minister said that child labour can be eliminated by working as a team and the society should play its due role side by side the government. In fact, this day requires that all segments of the society play their proactive role so that the country can be purged of child labour,” concluded the chief minister.

Earlier, a high-level meeting was held with Rizvi in the chair to discuss different matters pertaining to Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department.

Speaking on the occasion, the caretaker chief minister said that provision of healthcare facilities to people at their doorsteps was responsibility of the government and observed that marked improvement had been ensured in health units and tehsil and district headquarters hospitals. “This improvement is praiseworthy and I shall personally monitor the situation by conducting surprise checking of hospitals and health units,” he said. He said the healthcare system is important and best efforts will be made to improve quality of healthcare services within the mandate. He said the underlying principle of good governance is to provide relief to people and efforts will be made to provide relief to the masses within the legal framework.

Earlier, the secretary for primary and secondary healthcare gave a briefing about the department and said that attendance of doctors and other staff had been ensured along with provision of high-quality medicines and medical equipment. The chairman of P&D Department, chairman of the PITB, director general of Health Services and others attended the meeting.