LAHORE - Punjab government is sending 95 truckloads of relief items to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the people affected by Monday’s earthquake that claimed over 240 lives.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited Dostpura, Kasur yesterday and met the quake affected people. He has announced Rs0.5 million for the heirs of each victim in Punjab.

During his visit, the chief minister visited the house of Muhammad Ishaq who lost his life in roof collapse during the earthquake. Condoling with the bereaved family, he announced government job to Ishaq’s son. Shahbaz Sharif personally handed over a cheque of financial assistance to the family besides announcing financial help for the marriage of the victim’s daughters.

He assured them that they will not be left alone in the hour of need and the government will extend all-out help to them. Rehabilitation work will be carried out on priority basis, he added.

Later on, during a meeting in Lahore which reviewed the losses of recent earthquake, the chief minister said that the Punjab government will provide every kind of help to the people affected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “KP is the worst hit area by the quake and the Punjab government stands with the quake-affected people there,” he added.

After the top officials of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) briefed the meeting about the losses of life and property due to earthquake in Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif directed Health Secretary and DG Rescue-1122 to immediately reach KP.

He also ordered formation of a committee with regard to capacity-building and institutional mechanism of PDMA and Rescue-1122. The committee, headed by Chief Secretary, will present its recommendations within six weeks.

The CM directed the provincial ministers to reach out to the families of the victims in Punjab and also ensure that the injured are receiving proper medical treatment. He also ordered survey of the track of metro bus project in Rawalpindi-Islamabad.

Talking to a delegation of Pakistan Journalist Association UK (PJA), Shahbaz Sharif said the role of media to meet the present challenges has become more important after it hugely contributed to establishing and strengthening democracy in the past.

The delegation expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives in earthquake in Pakistan. The CM told the PJA delegation that the Punjab government is standing with the calamity-hit people of KP.

Talking about his own stronghold Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif said that special attention is being paid to uplift education, health and social sector in the province. Claiming that infrastructure has been improved in Punjab, the CM said that work has been started on 3600 megawatts gas-based power projects which are set up at half the rate compared to similar projects in the past. “A huge amount of Rs112 billion has been saved in these projects,” the CM told the delegation.

“Punjab government is addressing the problems of overseas Pakistanis problems through Overseas Pakistanis Commission; an independent, autonomous and constitutional institution,” he added.