South Punjab- Things not to be ignored

Written by The Frontier Post

Ali Sukhanver

Keeping in view the reality that comparatively smaller administrative units are always easier to handle with, the government of Pakistan has recently decided to approve a separate administrative secretariat for the people of the South Punjab. The South Punjab, though very fertile with reference to the dominating political figures, has always complained of being neglected and ignored. The people living in this region always desperately and disappointingly compare their comfort level with those of living in the Central Punjab and the Upper Punjab. It is also a bitter reality that the people of the South Punjab have to travel a long journey to reach Lahore, the provincial Capital, even for the solution of their very trivial type of official issues. It all costs them a lot in monetary terms also. Moreover, they have to spend rather waste a lot of their time in all such practices. The only reason behind government’s de-cision of establishing a se-parate secretariat for the South Punjab region is to make things easier for the people residing here.

Another important fact is that every day, a large number of government officials posted at cities like Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Multan have to travel to Lahore to attend different official meetings; in shape of their Daily Allowance (DA) and Travelling Allowance (TA) , the government has to bear a lot of financial burden. Now such officials won’t have to travel to the Provincial Secretariat Lahore; it would certainly save a lot of time of the people as well as reduce a lot of financial burden on the provincial budget too. Initially secretariats of 18 different departments have been set-up in Multan and Bahaw-alpur. Experts are of the opinion that this decision of the government would not only make things easier for the local people but also generate new economic activities in the region.

Establishment of no administrative unit could be successful unless the system of the revenue collection works properly. Just to improve the revenue collection system in the newly established administrative unit of the South Punjab, the senior member of the Board of Revenue Mr. Babar Hayat Tarar suggested and chalked out an immaculate type of revenue collection plan. Sardar Usman Buzdar, the Chief Minister of Punjab appr-oved that plan as a part of his Open Door Policy Vis-ion. According to this plan, all hidden and apparent hurdles in the way to revenue collection are being systematically removed. The provincial government has introduced the system of holding ‘Revenue Awa-mi Khidmat Khuli Kach-ehry’ on the first working day of every month. Accor-ding to this plan all divisional Revenue Officers, Deputy Commissioners and all the concerning staff with all necessary record would attend the said Khuli Kachehry and resolve all revenue issues of the public on the spot. Most of the revenue issues are usually directly linked with the sale, purchase and transfer of properties. 

Unfortunately it has ever been a culture of Pakistan that in such matters, the concerned official staff creates a lot of hurdles by using delaying tactics; usually all these hurdles and hindrances vanish away in a few moments by bribing the ‘hurdle-creators’. Such malpractices no doubt cause a severe loss to the government-treasury in form of theft and evasion of taxes levied upon.

Certainly when the funds which must go to the government-treasury, sneak into the pockets of the Land Revenue Staff, the system has to face a lot of financial loss ultimately causing damage to the whole economy of the country.

Just to counter these malpractices and just to put a check on the ‘underhand-understandings’ particularly in the new administrative unit of the South Punjab, the government of Punjab has recently posted a very experienced officer Javed Akhtar Mehmood as the Commissioner Multan division. This officer enjoys a very good reputation with reference to his specific-commanding skills even in very much troubled areas.

According to the details collected by different media-persons during the First Revenue Awami Khidmat Kachehry in Multan Division, total 1227 applications regarding revenue issues were submitted. Out of these 1227 issues 870 were decided then and there. The remaining 357 could not be settled down because of some missing documents. Surely millions of rupees would have been collected and deposited to the government treasury. The Commissioner Javed Akhtar Mehmood promised that the remaining 357 cases would also be decided in next few days. Same had been the situation of revenue collection in Bahawalpur also.

Though betterment in revenue collection in the newly established administrative unit would help the government in strengthening the system but above all is important the law and order and security situation too. Since the South Punjab is the connecting and conjoining area between the Central Punjab and the Sind province, it has ever been a favourite target for those who desire to disrupt the centuries’ long religious and sectarian peace and harmony among the people here. Conflicts and clashes on linguistic grounds have also been a very much desired objective for those who wish to please their masters outside the country. Moreover this region has a very sensitive military importance too. Some 62 Km away from Bahawalpur is the desert area of Khairpur Tamewali which is very close to the Indian border. This desert is used for military training purposes. There is a military airbase also which is used for training purposes not only for the Pakistan Air Force but also for the air forces of the countries which have friendly relations with Pakistan. These countries include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, China and Oman. In short the peaceful atmosphere of the newly established administrative unit of the South Punjab could be a target of the miscreants. The government and the law enforcement agencies will have to be more alert and vigilant in this regard. A more strong military intelligence network is also as important need of the time as important is the project of revenue collection.

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The Frontier Post