Home Lightbox Elahi to the Rescue (1122)

Elahi to the Rescue (1122)

The incumbent chief minister has quietly been working to deliver on the aspirations of the people of Punjab

by Enem Ali Abbas

Punjab C.M. Parvez Elahi launches Rescue 1122 services in all tehsils of the province

Recently, a fire broke out at a commercial building in Lahore. The unfortunate incident occurred at the office of a close friend, who relayed that the prompt response of rescue services helped prevent massive damages to property and human lives. In a matter of minutes, multiple fire hydrants reached the site; even the owner of the building took more time than the firefighters to reach it. This is one of the many initiatives that incumbent Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi launched during his previous tenure in power. This rescue system has been saving lives every minute of the day since its inception and its efforts have been endorsed not only by the people, but also the political leadership of the country. Resultantly, the scope of Rescue 1122’s services has been expanded and replicated in other provinces.

Last week, the Punjab chief minister provided Rescue 1122 new machinery and equipment to tackle emergency situations during floods, earthquake and other calamities or incidents. The list includes 9 water rescue units; 2 sky-lift vehicles; 6 earthquake and disaster search rescue vans; 36 hydraulic combi tools; 36 self-contained breathing apparatus; 36 hydraulic concrete chain-saws; 6 life locators; 6 pneumatic lifting bags; 6 chipping hammers; 6 acoustic listening devices; and 6 fiber optic cameras with communication devices. Furthermore, he has formally launched rescue services in all tehsils of Punjab and handed over 74 new ambulances to divisional emergency officers.

Another major initiative of Elahi was the “Parha Likha Punjab” scheme, which analysts had eagerly been awaiting to see come under his magic wand ever since he took oath of oath last month. Fortunately, he has already delivered by announcing free education till graduation, one of many firsts to come. These are the kind of reforms and policy decisions that we need in addition to routine flag hoisting every Independence Day, August 14. It would not be an exaggeration to claim that this announcement of the chief minister is among the biggest of the century for Punjab, but it is just the start. The government must now also work on improving the quality of higher education to bridge the student-industry gap. Raja Yassir Humayun Sarfraz, the incumbent provincial minister for higher education, has delivered substantially on “access to higher education” by extending the network of universities across Punjab and, during his earlier tenure, had already introduced initiatives to improve quality of higher education.

For those of us who have been feeling hopeless because of the recent political chaos, the efforts underway in Punjab are like a breath of fresh air. Credit goes to Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal for being unbiased, neutral and professional, and to the Punjab chief minister for giving due respect to the bureaucracy. This is one of the many reasons that the bureaucracy is proactively contributing towards the public welfare in this government.

The field force of the chief minister is also taking right and wise decisions. For instance, Shahid Farid was recently posted as Deputy Commissioner of Narowal and sought to make the district free of polythene bags as a key initiative. He made it his Diamond Jubilee Independence Day Resolution to put an end to the use of plastic bags in his jurisdiction. Undoubtedly, if the Punjab chief minister succeeds in boosting the morale of bureaucracy and the field force, ceteris paribus (all else unchanged), his governance model would be restored to its ideal point in the coming year. However, the secret to this recipe is “ceteris paribus.”

Abbas is a freelance journalist and project director of Voice of Punjab. He has served as media adviser to the World Bank and UNICEF-funded Tourism and Healthcare projects in Punjab. He tweets @EAAgop

Related Articles

Leave a Comment