LAHORE - Punjab Governor Malik Mohammad Rafique Rajwana derives most of his powers from the party leadership, and he feels greatly obliged for this favour done to a political worker like him from south Punjab.

Despite occupying a ceremonial office, he makes best use of his constitutional powers as Chancellor of the public sector universities and the chief Ombudsman in Punjab. In his capacity as the final arbiter on public complaints against government departments, he sets aside rules when it comes to providing relief to the least privileged.

Previously, a practicing lawyer, a lawmaker and an additional session judge, Mr Rajwana believes that rules are made for benefit of the citizens and not to put them in trouble.

“When I feel that rules are becoming a hurdle in provision of justice to the people, I don’t hesitate to bend them”, he says.

“My staff often puts up files with notes that some particular case had become time-barred and hence should be rejected. But I go through merits of the case and apply my judicial mind to do justice with the complainant”, the governor said as he sat across the dining table with a select group of journalists at the Governor House here yesterday.

Before this interaction, he chaired a meeting on law and order with IGP, Home Secretary and other senior officials in attendance. He directed the officers to ensure security of official buildings especially the educational institutions in the wake of recent threats from the terrorists.

Usually the chief minister chairs such meetings and it is very rare that top babus would come to the governor house to brief the governor on security issues. But this is indicative of the confidence the chief executive poses in the governor.

Previously a governor resigned complaining that he had now powers to bring about any significant change in the lives of people he was supposed to serve as governor.

Rafique Rajwana said he was assisting Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to implement projects in health and education sectors. “I have ears of the chief minister who gives importance to my advice. I derive my powers mainly from top party leadership as I enjoy their confidence and they value my advice”, he averred.

Interestingly, it is article 105 of the Constitution which determines powers of the governor vis-à-vis the chief minister. It says that governor of a province would act on ‘advice’ of the chief minister in discharge of his official duties.

But in the present case, the situation seems to be other way round. If the governor is to be believed, the chief minister is also taking advice from the governor in certain matters.

On development of south Punjab, Rajwana said that chief minister had announced ‘South Punjab Empowerment Package’ a year back to end the sense of deprivation in the area. The governor said he was heading a sub-committee to ensure implementation on different projects initiated under this program.

“My appointment as governor itself speaks volumes about the importance the PML-N leadership attaches to south Punjab” he affirmed.

Asked about the controversy involving sacking of Aitcheson College Principal and the subsequent situation arising out of court orders, the governor said it had nothing to do with the admission of scions of political families.

The governor was asked this question because he heads the all-powerful Board of Governors (BoG) of the Aitcheson College which sacked its Principal last month. He maintained that BoG removed the Principal on administrative grounds because there were several complaints against him. “In fact, he had not been able to run the college affairs in an effective manner”, he concluded.