No immediate plan to expand Punjab cabinet: says CM

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi on Monday said that there was no immediate plan to expand the provincial cabinet and he wanted to keep it as small as possible.

Responding to queries during a meeting with journalists at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat here, he said he did not find it necessary to add to the current size of the provincial cabinet while appointment of a minority representative may be considered if more people were inducted in future.

The Caretaker Chief Minister had invited journalists to listen to their advice and know about the problems faced by them.

On neutrality and clash of interest, the media magnate said he he had taken oath of neutrality and would conduct elections in the province within 15 days once the Election Commission announced the schedule.

He further clarified he had disassociated himself from his media houses before he took oath of the office, adding, he had instructed the Directorate General Public Relations (DGPR) Punjab to stop government advertisements to Channel C 42 before he took oath of the office. He said all arrears of the media houses had been paid by the caretaker Punjab government.

On development projects, Mohsin Naqvi said the caretaker government could not start any new development projects, adding that only near completion development projects of the previous governments would be completed without discrimination.
On Afghan citizens, the Caretaker Chief Minister dispelled the impression that Punjab had offered to accommodate Afghan citizens, adding that the government was looking for the Afghan nationals who had been staying in the country despite visa expiry.

On protest call by the flour mills, he said basic task of his government was to avert any flour crisis in the province and apprehend the black marketers. The government supplied wheat to the flour mills at 64 rupees per kilogram while it was being sold at 135 rupees in the market, the Chief Minister said, adding, the government wanted to ensure its sale at 64 rupees per kg. On law-breakers, the Chief Minister said the law would take its course against anyone who violated law.

About the elections in Punjab, the Caretaker Chief Minister reassured that he would conduct the elections as per the schedule announced by the ECP and there would be no delay.

When asked about health facilities, the CM said his caretaker set-up had taken special measures to ensure timely treatment to cardiac patients while efforts were underway to provide immediate care to the brain haemorrhage patients in the province.

To a query, the Chief Minister stressed the need for a code of conduct by the social media journalists, adding that they must not forget how much loss an authentic news-item may cause to a person’s reputation. Chief Minister Punjab Syed Mohsin Naqvi, to different queries by the journalists, said that the government would do its best to fulfill demands of the journalists regarding Journalists Housing Society Phase II in Lahore and other provinces.

The Chief Minister also listened to the suggestions of the journalists regarding better administration and public service.

Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir and Provincial Secretary Information Ali Nawaz Awan were also present on the occasion. (APP)