She­hbaz sets new trend for oth­ers to fol­low


WHAT­EVER the crit­i­cism against Sharif fam­ily, the fact re­mains that She­hbaz as Pun­jab chief min­is­ter, has been a trend-set­ter and an ex­am­ple for oth­ers to em­u­late. Ig­nor­ing his ail­ment, and re­peated check-ups, the younger Sharif has proven him­self a real task mas­ter, re­mains in en­gaged in the devel­op­ment of his prov­ince, some­time 18 hours a day.

His ini­tia­tives to pro­vide the faster, com­fort­able metro bus ser­vice be­tween Rawalpindi and Is­lam­abad, drew an avalanche from un­char­i­ta­ble words , but he stood his ground, and fi­nally the Metro bus ser­vice has been a bless­ing for com­muters. Dur­ing my re­cent visit to Is­lam­abad and Rawalpindi, I my­self saw these buses as a real bless­ing for the peo­ple of twin cities. Heavy traf­fic jams, for a dis­tance of just 20 kilo­me­tres, was noth­ing short of a night­mare for those trav­el­ling be­tween the two towns.

These buses, are now found packed with pasen­gers. Peo­ple are happy, and those con­sid­er­ing it a waste of money, may still per­sist with their ar­gu­ments, but the end re­sults de­pict a dif­fer­ent story al­to­gether. Then the Or­gane Line train ser­vice be­tween Lahore and Is­lam­abad again blew up a storm, but Shah­bad re­mained stead­fast in his com­mit­ment, and this Is again a great fa­cil­ity for the peo­ple look­ing for shorter, com­fort­able trav­el­ling fa­cil­i­ties.

En­quiries dur­ing my stay in Lahore fur­nished enough ev­i­dence of Shah­baz do­ing much more than could be imag­ined eas­ily. He has been con­stantly on the move, hop­ping over from cities to cities, and towns to towns, and even shut­tling be­tween Lahore, and Biejing, Lahore and London and Lahore Ankara in Turkey in search of new in­vest­ments. He has suc­ceeded tremen­dously in shap­ing the des­tiny of his home prov­ince. Al­le­ga­tions that devel­op­ment re­mains con­cen­trated in Lahore, is again an ac­cu­sa­tion, for Mul­tan and Faisal­abad, too have de­vel­oped tremen­dously over the last few years.

Be­tween 2005 and 2010 Karachi , un­der Mustafa Ka­mal as City Nazim was lauded for a mas­sive up­lift of Karachi into a mod­ern city, with fly-overs, un­der-passes, bridges and road-re­design­ing for smoother traf­fic move­ment, Now that he is gone, all the good work done un­der his com­man­der, has been thrown to the winds. Thanks to the Peo­ples Party gov­ern­ment, which seems least both­ered about de­vel­op­ing Karachi or any other town in the south­ern prov­ince.

In fact the Qaim Ali Shah ad­min­is­tra­tion suf­fers from paral­y­sis. Karachi is semm­ling again with garbage dumps, and inat­ten­tion to the ex­pen­sive project al­ready in use. Re­pair and ren­o­va­tion could be seen nowhere now. In­sid­ers re­ports that Shah­baz hardly gets time for cabi­net meet­ings, and en­sure his pres­ence there through video con­fer­enc­ing, which shows the dy­namism in him.

Lahore now is a won­der city of Pak­istan. Fly overs and un­der presses and ma­jior thor­ough­fares criss-cross­ing into a fast net­work of mod­ern en­gi­neer­ing. Devel­op­ment has also been done in Khy­ber­pukhtoonkhawa. Po­lice re­forms, and reg­is­tra­tion of on­line FIRs or com­plaints against po­lice mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion has worked to great sat­is­fac­tion of peo­ple.

How­ever, Sindh has a case for its share promised by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment from the di­vidi­ble pool. Qaim Ali, or the Se­nior Sindh min­is­ter Nisar Khuhro ham­mer­ing the point re­peat­edly, but look dis­ap­pointed with the re­sponse from Is­lam­abad. Balochis­tan sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent, Cor­rup­tion scan­dal ha tar­nished its im­age. Rough es­ti­mates place the toll of il­lic­ity money and abuse of re­sources to the tune of a fab­u­lous Rs 315 Bil­lion. Com­pared to this Shah­baz has been ad­ver­tis­ing sav­ings of upto Rs 215 bil­lion in mega projects. If true, and cor­rectly au­dited this could be a real work.

The sum-up of the sit­u­a­tion makes it can­did that Pun­jab, and chief min­is­ter Shah­baz, stew­ard­ing it, have led the way for all other prov­inces to em­u­late their good work. Sindh is the worst, a clas­si­cal ex­am­ple of lethargy, in­ef­fi­ciency and in­com­pe­tence. They need to have a new chief ex­ec­u­tive who should be al­lowed to work un­der an atmp­shere free from po­lit­i­cal pres­sures from Zardari and his sis­ter Faryal. Bilawal has been fo­cus­ing on these is­sues, but finds him­self help­less to trans­late his de­sire into prac­ti­cal shapes be­cause of his far­ther and aun­tie.

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