ISLAMABAD: Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar Chaudhary, who completed a year in office on Tuesday, reiterated his resolve to work for providing quality education in the province and provide clean drinking water to at least one million people by the year end. Muhammad Sarwar is the first Muslim and Pakistani in the history of British parliament, who had taken the oath of allegiance on the Holy Quran as member of parliament. He has the honour of being the first British Muslim to be elected to the House of Commons.
The governor, in an interview with APP, said he quit the British Parliament and returned to Pakistan to serve his motherland.He said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had reposed confidence in him and he would continue to work as governor in the larger national interest. He would not yield to any pressure and keep national interests supreme even at the cost of governorship, he added.
He said that education was the only way to alleviate poverty. Providing quality education to the youth in Punjab was his main objective.
There were some five million non school going children in the province,who would be enrolled in a phased programme. He, however, vowed that there would be compromise on quality and merit.
He said soon after taking over as governor, he established a trust for providing clean drinking water to the people of Punjab. Under the trust, filtration plants were set up in villages and cities,50 per cent of their cost was borne by the the locals (beneficiaries)and 50 per cent by UK based donors. All material used for setting up these plants was imported from the UK. Some one million people in the province would benefit from these filtration plants by the year end, he added.
The governor stressed the need to strengthen all national institutions. In developed countries, the institutions were more stronger than the governments. Here in Pakistan, he said, theinstitutions must deliver, without any fear and there should be check and balance to monitor their performance.
He said it was his earnest desire to convert the Governor House into the “House of People”. Some 4,000 special children had visited the historic premises during his one year in office. People from all strata of society, including politicians from both sides of the aisle, were welcome to visit the Governor House, he added.
He said getting GSP plus status for Pakistan from the European Union was one of his main contributions as governor to strengthen the national economy. About support for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan, Sarwar said that Punjab government had sent hundreds of truck-loads of relief goods for the IDPs, while more consignments of water coolers, mosquito nets and essential utensils would be despatched soon.
About the current political situation, the governor said that all poltical parties should work out solution of issues being faced by the country. Talks were the only way out while strikes, protests, marches, sit-ins and confrontation would only hamper progress and development process in the country.
He cited the example of the United States, which despite being a super power, could not achieve its goals in Afghanistan through the use of force for years and had to initiate dialogue for a political settlement.
To a question regarding killing of innocent unarmed people of Palestine by Israel, he said it was a matter of great concern for the whole Muslim Ummah and stressed for unity in order to thwart the nefarious designs of anti-Muslim forces.