LAHORE - Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi has asked the civil servants to show loyalty to state instead of any political party.

Presiding over a high-level meeting at Chief Minister’s Office on Thursday, the Chief Minister also directed the finance department to immediately release the funds for schools to clear payments of salary.

CM Askari said that the interim government has prime obligation of ensuring free, fair and the transparent elections in the province while long term matters will be decided by the upcoming elected government.

He also took stock of the facilities at polling stations being set up in public schools for upcoming general elections and other allied arrangements.

The CM told the meeting said that fundamental responsibility of the caretaker setup is to hold free, fair and transparent elections and added that we have to fulfill our national obligation without any discrimination while the long-term planning would be the job of the next elected government. He said the nations that had provided abundant resources for health and education sectors have excelled. The Asian nations which were behind us have surpassed by utilizing sufficient funds on these sectors. He said that missing facilities will be provided as soon as possible in schools where polling stations will be setup. Provision of missing facilities within the stipulated period is our responsibility and it is also very important for the holding of free and fair elections. He directed that report should be presented by completing the necessary infrastructure of polling stations in the schools.

Askari also directed to immediately release the non-salary budget of schools education department and said that release of funds should be ensured at the earliest. He said that non-salary budget should also be released for salaries of part-time teachers working in double-shift schools. He said that salaries should be given to the teachers well in time and no delay should ever occur in this regard. He said that practical provision of facilities at polling stations to be setup in schools for general elections should be completed well in time at every cost. Necessary facilities for upcoming elections planned on July 25 this year should be ensured within the given framework, he added.

The Chief Minister maintained that civil servants should adopt positive approach and professional thinking and instead of aligning with any party, they should be loyal to the state. Provision of best of the best facilities to the people is the responsibility of every government, he added. He said that polling staff will have to perform their duties in a professional and impartial manner during the polling process and no complaint of any sort of political interference should ever arise. The holding of free, fair and transparent elections will be ensured at every cost, concluded the Chief Minister. Earlier, Secretary Schools Dr. Allah Bakhsh Malik gave a briefing regarding establishment of polling stations and posting of staff for the elections.

Provincial Caretaker Minister for Finance & Law Zia Haider Rizvi, Chairman P&D, Secretaries of Schools, Local Government and Finance departments and others attended the meeting.