LAHORE               -        Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Saturday called on Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and discussed with him a host of issues including the setting up of secretariat in Southern Punjab.

The issues relating to current political situation and steps taken to deal with coronavirus were also discussed during the meeting.

The chief minister told Shah Mahmood that that the posts for Additional Chief Secretary and Additional IG for South Punjab Secretariat had been approved and notification had also been issued in this regard. Add. Chief Secretary and Additional IG will be posted in Bahawalpur and Multan, he said, adding that Southern Punjab Secretariat will be functional soon. He said people of Southern Punjab will not have to travel to Lahore for the solution of their issues. He said that government was giving back the right to the people of South Punjab which were robbed by the former rulers and for many years they just entertained them merely with hollow slogans. He said that the former rulers used the funds taken in the name of development of South Punjab in their constituencies, whereas, PTI government had closed the chapter of unfair distribution of development funds.

The government, he said, was fulfilling its promises made with the people of South Punjab and keeping its focus on the development of the backward areas. He said 35% development funds have been allocated for South Punjab. The budget allocated for the Southern Punjab cannot be utilized for any other purpose. The funds of Southern Punjab will only be spent on development and prosperity of the people of southern Punjab, he assured the foreign minister.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the establishment of the Southern Punjab Secretariat will provide relief to the people of that area. The establishment of the Secretariat would solve the problems of the people at the grass root level besides bringing improvement in the governance.

The two leaders also strongly condemned the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir and the unprovoked firing by the Indian Army on the Line of Control. Foreign minister said that India wanted to push the region into the war by levelling baseless allegations. He said attacks on civil areas were highly commendable and a clear violation of international laws. “India is escalating tension with cowardice activates. India is bewildered by committing inhumane activities in occupied Kashmir”, he said.

He said that confused India wanted to destroy peace in the region. He hoped the struggle of Kashmiri jawans against India in occupied Kashmir will become successful. Kashmir and Pakistan are essential for each other, he said, adding that the Indian government had made a new history of brutality by inflicting extreme cruelties on the innocent Kashmiris.

Usman Buzdar said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the federal government had presented an excellent, balanced and people-friendly budget, in difficult times. He also congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Minister Hamad Azhar and his team. He said that opposition should avoid criticism for the sake of criticism on Tax-Free Budget. He further maintained that the priorities have been rightly set in the budget and best budget has been presented in the present circumstances. The budget does not put additional burden on the poor and underprivileged segment of the society.