From Abid Usman
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Thursday said that he would stay on the post of CM “as long as God wills it” and vowed to continue working for the welfare and well-being of the people of the province “without wasting any moment”. Hamza’s comments come as his future as the chief minister is in question with the Supreme Court’s verdict, which ruled that the votes of defecting lawmakers will not be counted on the presidential reference on Article 63-A. Some 25 dissident PTI lawmakers’ votes were instrumental in Hamza being election as CM. At a press conference here, he recalled that from the day he was appointed the chief executive of Punjab, numerous hurdles and roadblocks were created for him by the PTI.
“The way these people are creating problems in Punjab, whether it is the former governor [Omar Sarfraz Cheema] or the president [Arif Alvi] … The way they are spreading propaganda among the public. I have decided not to waste a second in making things easier for the people,” Hamza promised.
Referring to former prime minister Imran Khan, he said that no matter how many obstacles he creates in the way, “I won’t let anything hinder my resolve in working for the people of Punjab”.
The chief minister lamented that during the PTI government, Punjab “suffered an immense shortage of wheat”. “The province that gave wheat to other provinces was reeling from a shortage and even though the former government was aware about it, it decided to export wheat.
“People had to stand in queues and wait for hours. And when they became most vulnerable, they (PTI) decided to import wheat expensive dollars,” Hamza alleged.
“But I want to tell you today that the government of Punjab is standing with its people,” he pledged, announcing a relief package for the province in which the price of a 10kg bag of wheat flour, which earlier cost Rs650, has been reduced to Rs490.
“In 36 districts of Punjab, people will be able to buy flour at this price,” the CM said. “We are giving a relief of Rs160 under the Rs200 billion subsidy for the province.”