Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister, Najam Sethi presided over a meeting of caretaker provincial cabinet at Chief Minister’s Secretariat, here today.
Provincial Ministers, Chief Secretary Punjab, IG Police, Secretary Home, Secretary Law, Secretary Finance, other provincial secretaries and concerned authorities were present. The cabinet expressed its concern over unscheduled loadshedding in the province and demanded its immediate end.
It was further observed that immediate measures are needed to control the existing situation. The Punjab Cabinet also demanded that a meeting of the Council of Common Interests should be convened immediately while federal government should reduce loadshedding on urgent basis. It was also decided in the meeting that due to existing energy crisis, two weekly holidays would be observed in the province while provincial government will also take important steps for energy conservation.
Addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Najam Sethi said that the rights of the people will be safeguarded and he and his team will soon meet the caretaker Prime Minister on the important issue of loadshedding and submit solid proposals to the caretaker federal government for reduction in loadshedding. He said that Punjab government is fully aware of the problems of the masses due to loadshedding in the province and it has been decided to talk to the federal government in this regard. He also made an appeal to the people to refrain from protest over loadshedding. He said that public property is an asset of the nation and it should not be damaged. He said that no one would be allowed to take the law into his hands under the garb of protest nor blocking of highways will be permitted as it results in problems for the people. He made an appeal to the people to support the measures of the government for energy conservation. Najam Sethi further said that all out steps would be taken to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections and such an atmosphere will be provided as would enable the voters to exercise their right of franchise in a free and fair manner. He said that an affective security plan has been evolved for the peaceful and transparent holding of elections. He said that the implementation of the code of conduct devised by the Election Commission will be ensured and all out assistance will be extended to Election Commission for the holding of peaceful, fair and free elections. He said that ban on display of fire arms will be strictly implemented in the province. Najam Sethi further said that training of police officials to be assigned election duties be ensured and workshops and seminars should be arranged for this purpose. He said that in order to check the possible incident of terrorism, Anti-Terrorism Department and Special Branch should be fully mobilized. He said that sensitive police stations have been identified where special security arrangements will be made.
Home Minister, Secretary Home and IG Police briefed the cabinet regarding security measures for general elections and the steps taken for improving law and order in the province. IG Police Punjab informed about the crime situation and the measures taken for controlling lawlessness in the province. The cabinet also reviewed in detail the situation arising out of loadshedding in the province.