In separate meeting, Pakistan’s prime minister says modernizing agriculture sector is among his government’s top priorities
The best way to improve the working of the Punjab police is by ending the practice of “political hiring,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday, adding this had adversely impacted people across Pakistan.
During a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Adviser to the P.M. on Accountability Shahzad Akbar to devise reforms in the provincial police, he said that any official that obstructed justice should be strictly punished.
All appointments in the province should be made on the basis of merit and performance, said the prime minister who had directly supported and praised the appointment of Umar Sheikh as Capital City Police Officer of Lahore in a bid to “fix” the issues facing his brother-in-law. The prime minister had gone so far as to remove an inspector general of police who had branded Sheikh insubordinate and demanded a probe into his illegal activities. Sheikh has since been removed—after months of praise from the prime minister and his adviser on accountability—over alleged corruption and insubordination.
“All appointments in the province should be made only on the basis of merit and performance,” said Khan, perhaps forgetting his own political interference, as he told Buzdar and Akbar that the Punjab police’s image needed to be improved and this would require hard work. “All resources should be utilized to ensure the safety of life and property of the people,” he added.
“In the past, political recruitments were made in the police at the expense of the people,” said Khan, claiming no one was above the law and police should not consider any political influence for recruitment. “Police officers should use latest technology to eliminate crime and inspectors-general of police should personally visit police stations,” he said.
The impact of appointing honest officers to key positions extends to grassroots, claimed the prime minister who personally and explicitly supported a cop that blamed the victim of a gang-rape for traveling late at night. “If the law catches big criminals, there will be a lesson for the petty ones,” he said, and ordered action against the land-grabbing mafia—a cause close to his heart, as his brother-in-law has claimed to have fallen prey to the same.
During the meeting, the prime minister also met Punjab IGP Inam Ghani and expressed satisfaction over his performance.
During his daylong visit to Lahore, the prime minister also chaired a meeting on Punjab province’s agriculture sector and stressed that modernizing it was his government’s top priority as 60 percent of the population was linked to it. He directed the provincial government to formulate a comprehensive action plan for the value chain of each agricultural product to improve quality of produce. He also directed greater focus on value addition in agricultural production, as well as solving problems related to food security.
Khan directed authorities concerned to operate agriculture related sectors, such as livestock, agricultural production and fisheries, in a “modern and corporate” way to ensure reforms.
Separately, the prime minister addressed the inaugural ceremony of the Labor Inspection Regime in Punjab and emphasized evolving a comprehensive and effective strategy to ensure protection of laborer rights and industrial development.
Khan said protection of labor rights should be ensured, stressing there would be no compromise in this regard. He said steps should be taken to prevent any persecution of laborers and promote ease of doing business nationwide. In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he said, protection of the country’s labor and promotion of its small and medium industries had become even more vital.