Under the stewardship of President Musharraf a long-term perspective has been developed for economic progress

KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
July 17 - 23, 2006

There is a dire need to maintain stability and economic continuity in Pakistan under President Parvez Musharraf and any disruption at this moment will upset this process and momentum achieved by the present government.

This is how Governor Punjab Lt General (Retd) Khalid Maqbool summed up the present situation in the country in a rambling chat with me at the Governor House on Friday. The Governor who has been at the helm of his crucial assignment for over five years said ours was a nation in transition. He traced the history of the present regime since President Musharraf took over the country which was then in a shambles.

He said under the stewardship of President Musharraf a long-term perspective has been developed for economic progress concentrating on basic issues and harnessing of human resources and facilities for common man.

It had also moved to evolve and correct direction of many old and outdated policies especially focusing on the important foreign affairs to make it more pragmatic.

The Governor felt that all the recent efforts of the opposition are far removed from the real issues. The talk of protests, demonstrations and confrontation are the things which would fail to touch the sentiments of common man, and would thus fail to arouse them.

The government, he said, was not unduly concerned about these confrontational designs, which would all die out as people are bound to reject it.

Asked about the role of Punjab during his long tenure of well over 5 years the genial and dynamic governor declared: "It showcases the success of the present government in every respect."

He described the performance of the province as a role model for achieving all round progress and perfect harmony at all tiers, including provincial and district government levels.

He said for example the case of electricity losses of WAPDA, at 10-15 percent, are the lowest in Punjab as against 35-45 percent in other provinces. The same goes to WAPDA revenue recovery, which was over 100 percent as against less than 70 percent in other provinces.

He said the Punjab has made some landmark reforms in many spheres notably education, health, and agriculture and its performance is quite visible for all to see its singular success under a motivated and committed provincial leadership.

The Governor has broken fresh ground with his proactive style to be on the move all over the province including remote areas and runs an open house at the Governor House.

His efforts for the socio-economic uplift and promotion of sports, culture and community welfare make him unique.

He has certainly created a new precedent in this regard as one rarely finds an example among his predecessors in the past who were in popular parlance called 'Lat Sahib' and hardly seen among the public.

Governor Punjab summed up his conversation pleading for maintaining the stability and economic continuity of the present system.

He says the country is still far away to achieve some of its goals to complete its vital projects in energy, gas and the necessary infrastructure in many other spheres, which warrant continuity.