MULTAN - Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Thursday announced that a 500-Kanal South Punjab Secretariat would be built on Matti Tal Road.

The chief minister made this announcement while chairing a meeting of provincial secretaries deployed in South Punjab here at Circuit House. The Secretariat in Multan will have the offices of law, home, housing and urban development, education, health, police, forest, fisheries and wildlife as well as agriculture departments.

The CM disclosed that the design for the secretariat had been approved and a five-storey building would be built for the secretariat. He further said the approval for Multan Gymkhana had also been given while Nishtar-11 project would be accomplished and made functional soon. 

He said that the secretariat would include offices, residences, CM office, Masjid and other facilities. Similarly, the proposed Gymkhana will offer indoor sports facilities, guest rooms, swimming pool, shooting club and riding club. He said that the first phase of Nishtar-11 would be completed at a cost of Rs5 billion and it would have 500-bed capacity.

The CM directed the secretaries to keep the doors of the secretariat open to the public. “Instead of sitting in your offices, go into field and resolve the problems being faced by the people,” he directed. He said that the responsibilities of the officers had increased manifolds and they would have to come up to the expectations of the masses. He warned that he had zero-tolerance against corruption and he would not make any compromise on transparency in discharge of official duties.

He said that the government had given full liberty to the officers and now it was their responsibility to serve the masses. He asked the secretaries and other officials to resolve the problems of people of South Punjab at local level to prevent them from travelling to Lahore.

Meanwhile, parliamentarians from South Punjab also called on the CM. While addressing them, Buzdar said that the implementation of recommendations made by the members of provincial and National Assemblies would be ensured. “Your (elected representatives) honour is my honour. All of your genuine projects will be accomplished on priority,” he assured them.

He alleged that the previous governments shifted the funds allocated for South Punjab to other areas as a result of which the people of this region faced sheer poverty and backwardness. He maintained that the previous rulers deceived the people of South Punjab in the name of development. “We’re going to return South Punjab’s right to make progress to its residents,” he added.

The CM also laid the foundation stone of new campus of University of Engineering and Technology near Lar. The new campus will be built on 10-Kanal area. He declared on this occasion that the Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit South Punjab to kick off secretariat projects in Multan and Bahawalpur.

The CM also laid foundation stones of projects of special wheelchair manufacturing plant and a brail publishing centre for visually impaired citizens. He launched revival programme for the centre to prevent violence against women.

Earlier, speaking at a lawyers’ convention at Circuit House, he said that the establishment of South Punjab Secretariat was first step towards the establishment of South Punjab province. He said that although the PTI government lacked two-thirds majority in the assemblies, it took steps towards establishing the province. He claimed that the government faced difficulties in establishing South Punjab secretariat and for the sake of this purpose amendments were made in the rules of business.

He disclosed that 16 secretaries had been deployed at the South Punjab secretariat while ring fencing had been done for the funds allocated for South Punjab to prevent any attempt for shifting them to any other area. He said that he was thankful to the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other members of the assemblies from Multan who always supported him in his initiatives for the development of Multan.

He said that Multan was a mega city and he was aware of the problems of this area. “No new hospital was built for decades despite manifolds increase in population. The PTI government has launched Nishtar-11 project keeping in view the needs of the people and it will be functional soon,” he added. He declared that the construction of dual-carriageway between Multan and Vehari would start soon and the project would be accomplished under public-private partnership. He said that the government had provided funds to restore women centre and now it would play role to prevent violence against women.

The CM announced to upgrade Government Emerson College into a University. He said that the district jail would be shifted out of city while grain market, timber market and iron market would also be shifted out of city in phases. “I have issued special instructions to the Commissioner Multan in this regard,” he added.

He said that the lawyers and the PTI had a very strong bond as the legal fraternity always supported PTI in its struggle for justice. He said that he was aware of the problems faced by the lawyers due to COVID-19 pandemic and therefore the government provided Rs. 120 million financial grant to the bar councils. He declared that the grant for the bars would be increased.  The CM announced to give 20-kanal land of Police Lines and another 6-Kanal in district courts to the lawyers. He said that the space for the lawyers was very limited at district courts and the allocation of land would resolve this problem. He said that the parking issue at Chowk Kachehri was very serious. “I announce a parking plaza near Kachehri to resolve this issue,” he declared. He also announced second phase of Journalist Colony in Multan besides handing over cheque worth Rs53.1 million to the MDA for development in phase one of journalist colony.

Earlier, the CM carried out a surprise visit of the town and expressed his displeasure on poor condition of sanitation and unlit streetlights. He suspended Deputy Manager of Multan Waste Management Company Usman Khursheed and In-charge of streetlights Muhammad Nafees. The concerned authorities also sought a written explanation from the Chief Executive of the waste management company in two days.

The CM said that the waste management company was responsible for the cleanliness of Multan and he would not tolerate negligence on part of company’s officers. The CM directed the Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue to hold an inquiry against the suspended Deputy Manager and present a report within two days. Similarly, the Chief Officer of Metropolitan Corporation will conduct inquiry against the In-charge of streetlights and present it to the CM office in two days. He also visited District Jail and suspended Superintendent Arshad Warraich for negligence and non-availability of necessary facilities in the jail. He paid visit to the Martyrs monument in the jail, laid floral wreath on it and planted a sapling in the jail.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Thursday said that no political party other than Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would honour its pledge of setting up South Punjab province.

“None other than PTI will establish South Punjab province. We had pledged and would honour it,” Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar stated this while addressing the ground breaking ceremony of South Punjab Civil Secretariat here at circuit house.