In the next and upcoming phase, the Punjab government will begin delivering on its promises, Chief Minister Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar told in an exclusive sit-down.
Till now, the provincial government, said the chief minister, was tied up with formulating policies and settling down into its new role.
“I don’t interfere”
The chief minister told the host that he is a “positive man” and concerns himself solely with his work. “I don’t interfere in anyone else’s job nor do I allow anyone else to poke their nose in mine,” Buzdar said smiling.
Addressing the recent rumors of his removal, he said that those spreading such news wanted to destabilize the province and the country. Buzdar said that he had the full trust of Prime Minister Imran Khan, which some people did not like at all.
Talking about the tourism sector, he said that tourism was a subject very close to Prime Minister Khan’s heart.
Punjab, he added, is going to become the tourism hub of Pakistan with its historical sites, deserts, mountains, rivers and villages. “We have a lot which we will promote,” the chief minister explained, “In the near future, you will be able to see the tourism projects we are working on.”
Elaborating on his point, he said that rest houses across Punjab have reopened and can now be booked online. Separately, double-decker buses have been rolled out in Rawalpindi, and will soon be plying the roads in Bahawalpur as well.
Ravi River Front project
Commenting on the newly-launched Ravi River Front project, he said that the project had been conceived much earlier but it was so huge that no previous government ever dared to build it.
The Ravi River project would be a game changer for Lahore, Punjab and the entire country, the chief minister told the host. He said the project will address several issues such as the falling level of underground water and the disappearing green pockets in the province.
Buzdar also promised to bring the project to fruition within his tenure.
Once construction begins, the project will consume 90% to 95% indigenous material that will boost 40 local industries including the construction industry, he added.
Orange Line Metro Train
The much-delayed Orange Line Metro Train in Lahore is expected to be up and running before the end of this year, Buzdar announced, adding that the test-run of the project has already been completed, but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transfers and postings
Replying to a question regarding the high-level transfers and postings, including that of Inspector General and chief secretary, Buzdar defended the ruling party and said that since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has come to power in Punjab, after a 35-year rule by a single party, it has had to face a slew of challenges.
“Transfers and postings is an executive issue,” he said.
Replying to a question regarding him giving undue advantage to those in his close circles, the chief minister said merit is the only criteria, adding: “We haven’t done anything beyond the law and will never allow anyone else to do so.”
The chief minister also praised the provincial information minister Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan for boldly defending the government of Punjab.
Wasim Akram Plus or Sher Shah Suri?
When he was asked if he considered himself like Wasim Akram or Sher Shah Suri, he said people could see for themselves what he was.