Public safety has emerged as an important function for governments across the world. It refers to the duty and function of the state to ensure the safety of its citizens, organizations and institutions against threats to their well-being as well as the traditional functions of law and order. With more than half the global population today living in urban areas, safe city is increasingly being considered essential in ensuring secure living and prosperity. Crime, violence and fear in cities pose significant challenges that must be met, as it is one of the basic principles of good governance aimed at reducing and preventing common problems of crime and insecurity. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif considers public safety of paramount importance, and he has taken the lead by inaugurating the Safe City Project (Punjab Police Integrated Command, Control and Communication Center) in Lahore to start with.

The Safe City Project has been completed in a record period of time with a cost of Rs12 billion. As much as 8,000 CCTVs have been installed under the project to make Lahore one of the safest cities in the world. Automatic system of identification of vehicles number plates, e-challan, red light monitoring as well as latest communication system have been put in place under this composite system. The Punjab Safe Cities Authority envisions secure, peaceful and prosperous cities of the Punjab. By incorporating modern technology and methods, it aims to redefine the capabilities of law enforcement agencies and help ensure public safety. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the Chief Minister said: “Safe City Project is a milestone initiative for transforming the centuries old archaic police system according to needs and equipments of the modern times and its importance is very vital in the everyday life of the citizens.”

This project has been fully operationalised in five of the six divisions in Lahore while the work is going on in full swing in the sixth division which will become fully operational by the end of current month. He expressed the satisfaction that due to the continued hard work of Punjab government, Safe City Authority, Chinese company and other line departments, this project has been completed. He also congratulated the heads of line departments and their team members. Due to the completion of this project, Lahore will be among the cities of the world where latest technology has been provided to protect the life and property of the citizens along with controlling the crime rate. Due to the Safe City Project, composite strategy would be adopted with regard to traffic management, dolphin and healthcare of the citizens and the city comprising more than 10 million people will become more peaceful.

Lahore being the sitting place for the provincial government, it was logical to start the project from the metropolis. In fact, planning work has been started to launch the safe city project in six other cities including Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Sargodha and Bahawalpur and this project will be completed speedily in these districts. During his address, Shehbaz Sharif dwelt at length on President Donald Trump’s remarks, and said that “the statement of the US President has shaken the conscience of the whole nation and we have been given an opportunity to make collective decisions by learning from the past mistakes. This way, nations move forward and achieve their destinations. The time has come that we should decide using our collective wisdom and move further.” He appreciated the efforts of whole team working on this project including cabinet committee on law and order.

One has to agree with Shehbaz Sharif when he said that the country cannot progress so long as it has to depend on the handouts and loans from international lenders and donors. He said that in early years flawed decisions were made that Pakistan had to depend on others and no effort was made to make it self-reliant. He did not talk about indulging in war or confrontation with the US but to work hard to get rid of the dependency syndrome. The goal of self-reliance does not in any way imply that Pakistan should isolate from global economy, but to work hard to get rid of dependency syndrome. “There are examples of defeated nations before us who were destroyed in wars but they achieved heights of development and progress by working day and night.” He said that “examples of Japan, Germany and China are before us”. “Depending on the national resources, we have installed electricity projects of thousands of megawatts under the leadership of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

He said that Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute is being completed with a cost of Rs20 billion while Safe City Project has been completed with an amount of Rs12 billion. “These resources have been provided by the Punjab government from its own kitty. Only thinking makes the human approach rich or poor. It is our strong conviction that if we decide to rely on our own resources, then Allah Almighty shall help us and if we work hard with full sincerity, then resources are arranged by Almighty Allah. The nations which were devoid of vision and national approach were unable to benefit from their rich natural resources. On the other side, the nations having no such support achieved success through their hard work. The examples of Japan and China are before us.” He said that the journey of development can be achieved only through hard work and the goal of self reliance can be achieved as well.