Multan: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday requested Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to ensure the presence of officials at the south Punjab secretariat and designate an institution to investigate their conduct.
Addressing a ceremony in Multan to energise the Nishtar Hospital through solar power, Qureshi asked Buzdar to “silently give the duty to a responsible institution to come and investigate the appointments you have made in the south Punjab secretariat, whether Bahawalpur’s or Multan’s, […] and how many of those officers are consistently serving their time in Multan and Bahawalpur, how many days they are physically present in the cities and aware of [the affairs of] the cities.”
The minister said that the presence of the officers and their authorisation to address issues of local people were required if the prime minister and chief minister believed in the policy of devolution of power and setting up secretariats and appointing officers.
“If they are not present here and they are not authorised [to make decisions] then how will people’s problems be solved? This is something to ponder upon. I will request the representatives of south Punjab to think on this issue and pay attention to it.”
The foreign minister expressed his support and well wishes for Chief Minister Buzdar’s tenure.
“We are not among the elements that will conspire and pull [your] legs. We want to see you strong and successful,” Qureshi said, stressing, however, that the issues he was highlighting were problems related to the masses and not someone’s personal issue.
Qureshi also questioned how much of the Rs4 billion grant which had been set aside for the south Punjab secretariat had actually been spent with 11 months of the current financial year having passed. “This is an innocent question and this region wants answers for it,” he said.
The foreign minister during today’s ceremony also provided various updates on the progress of development and infrastructure projects in Multan. He said Pakistan’s focus had shifted from thermal to renewable energy and elaborated on the potential and benefits of hydel and solar energy.
“Pakistan has the capacity to generate 50,000 megawatts of electricity,” he said of the country’s hydroelectricity potential.