MULTAN-The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Punjab has decided to fully participate in upcoming local government elections as the Jamaat workers have been asked to get prepared for the polls. The decision was made during a meeting of all district Amirs of the JI held here with provincial deputy secretary general Rao Zafar Iqbal in the chair on Monday. It was decided during the meeting that the JI would be organised at street and mohallah level and Rabita Committees would be constituted for this purpose.

Speaking on the occasion, Rao Zafar Iqbal, Kh Ubaidur Rehman, Syed Javed Hussain Shah and others said that the government fled from local government elections due to the fear of humiliating defeat as it completely failed to deliver during its one year regime. They warned that the government committed violation of constitution by denying local government elections.

They pointed out that price hike and lawlessness made the lives of people highly miserable and the JI had launched a series of protest demonstrations, corner meetings and public gatherings   against government's failure to control corruption and unemployment. They lamented that the government did not deliver the benefits of decline in dollar price to the masses. They demanded the government to withdraw recent increase in the prices of electricity, gas and petroleum products.

Referring to South Punjab secretariat, they asked the government to take steps for constituting South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces in light of Punjab Assembly's resolution instead of giving lollypops to the people.  The speakers said that the protection of sanctity of national institutions was duty of every Pakistani but the JI would not tolerate curbs on freedom of press under the guise of any pretext. They pointed out that free media and judiciary played key role in development of any democratic society, adding that the judicial commission had been constituted to find the facts in Hamid Mir attack case and it should be given time to bring out the facts.

20 prisons being upgraded:The Punjab Govt has released funds worth Rs10 billion for up-gradation of 20 jails of the province. This was disclosed by Punjab Prisons Minister Ch Abdul Waheed while talking to the journalists. He added that the prisons in Punjab would be upgraded to international standards. Giving details, he said that over Rs132m would be spent on Okara Jail, Rs294m Pakpattan, Rs1,211m Lodhran, Rs1,103m Khanewal, Rs1,088m Rajanpur and Rs565m Layyah jail.

He said that high security risk jail Sahiwal would also get funds under the same scheme and it would be made a risk proof jail. He disclosed that different facilities like PCOs, hospitals, sports grounds and meeting sheds for prisoners would be set up inside the jails with the above mentioned grant.

The minister told the journalists that a training institute was being set up inside Sahiwal jail to impart latest training to the jails security personnel as the jails were overcrowded. He claimed that the torture culture had been abolished from Punjab jails and alternate strategies were being adopted to turn the prisoners into good citizens. "The inmates are given lectures and they are being convinced to become good humans," he added. He said that the jail staff had also been directed to give food to the prisoners well in time, behave with their relatives well and send them for court appearances in time.