A Christian community delegation led by the Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Ejaz Alam called on Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office and thanked him for the welfare of the minority communities. The government has taken unprecedented steps for the welfare of religious minorities; they said and appreciated the government’s sustained efforts to protect their rights. The government has taken the lead in the welfare of minority communities, they added. Talking on the occasion, CM Usman Buzdar said a special commission was being constituted for the protection of the rights of minorities. The formulation of the minority rights commission has been drafted, he explained. The government has made a five times increase in minorities’ budget in the current financial year. In the current financial year, Rs 2.5 billion has been earmarked for the welfare of minority communities, he added. The recruitment process has started for the vacancies under the 5 per cent job quota for minorities and 100 per cent implementation would be ensured. For the first time in the history of Punjab, a 2 per cent special quota has been fixed for students of minority communities in higher education institutions to help them to continue their studies? Meanwhile, Youhaha Abad in Lahore and Warispura in Faisalabad have been declared as model minority areas. Similarly, a Hindu temple has been restored in the Bhong area of Rahim Yar Khan and every effort will be made to protect the rights of the religious minorities, added Usman Buzdar. He said the role of minorities in the development of Pakistan cannot be ignored. The Constitution of Pakistan protects the rights of minorities as they enjoy equal rights, he concluded. SACM Hasaan Khawar and Secretary Human Rights and Minorities Affairs department were also present. The delegation included Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Mahinder Pall Singh, Haroon Gill MPA, Youdester Chauhan, Bishop Azad Marshall, Archbishop Sebastian Francis, Dr Majid Abe, head of Salvation Army in Lahore, Chairperson Minority Advisory Council Punjab Ms Jacqueline Tressler, Vice Chairman Minority Advisory Council Punjab Robinson Aziz Francis, Bishop Wilson John Gill and others. CM holds meeting to review progress on prison reforms package: Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar chaired a meeting at his office to review progress on the prison reforms package on Tuesday and directed to expedite the implementation as no attention was paid in past to providing facilities to prisoners. The meeting was attended by Prisons Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan, SACM Hasaan Khawar, chief secretary, ACS (Home) and administrative secretaries. The CM directed to start the recruitment process against vacant posts in jails without delay while ensuring merit in toto. Similarly, medical officers should be recruited for jails hospitals without delay. The MOs would be given a separate cadre besides the provision of special allowance, he added. A stepmotherly treatment was meted out with the captives in past but the PTI-led government has given them rights and approved Rs.500 million to provide a balanced diet to them, he noted. Similarly, the jail foundation’s funds should be utilized for the welfare of the detainees and availability of items be ensured at canteens at fixed rates, he added. The CM instructed the participants to devise a feasible mechanism for providing necessary legal aid to inmates of minor penalties for giving relief to them. Alongside, construction of new barracks in jails be expedited and installation of water geysers be completed early, he further said and recommended to increase the telephone calls’ duration for prisoners. Similarly, he directed that prisoners should be given market-based rates for their work. A feasible strategy should be devised for arranging prisoners’ meetings with their relatives so that the complaints of extortion could be eradicated, he instructed. The CM emphasized that no complaint should arise with regard to the provision of necessary items to the detainees and made it clear that immediate action would be taken in case of any complaint of fleecing. While announcing to hold a fortnightly meeting to review progress, the CM disclosed that the draft of the Prison and Prisoner Act, 2021 would be presented before the cabinet for final approval soon. Similarly, the draft of Juvenile Justice System Rules, 2021 has also been devised; he said and concluded that a prison complex would also be built in Lahore. Provincial Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan appreciated steps taken for the welfare and protection of the rights of prisoners in the tenure of CM Usman Buzdar along with the welfare of the jail dept. officials. No such step was taken in the past, he maintained. The CM was briefed by IG Prisons that prisoners have been provided with the facility to watch eight to 40 channels through cable TV. The networking of cable TV has been completed in 29 jails along with the repair of 2889 washrooms and the construction of 250 new toilets in jails. Prisoners are also allowed to arrange pillows and mattresses from their homes and central jails in Mianwali, Faisalabad and DG Khan were being converted to solar energy. Rs. 150 million were earmarked for this purpose. Additional barracks were being constructed in nine jails and medical camps are held in every jail twice a month, he concluded. CM congratulates nation on successful missile test: Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has congratulated the nation over the successful test of Babar Cruise Missile 1-B and paid tributes to the scientists and engineers engaged with the project. The successful test-fire of the missile has further strengthened the defence of the country; he added and made it clear that Pakistan is a peaceful country that has the fullest capability to give a befitting reply to any aggression. CM condoles death of dr tahir shamsi: Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed a deep sense of sorrow and grief over the death of renowned haematologist Dr Tahir Shamsi. In his condolence message, the CM extended heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family and prayed to Allah Almighty to grant courage to them to bear the loss with equanimity. CM condoles death of religious scholar maulana yousuf islahi: Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed a deep sense of sorrow over the death of renowned religious scholar Maulana Yousuf Islahi. In his statement issued on Tuesday, the CM said that Maulana Yousuf Islahi had rendered significant services for the promotion of Islam and his contribution would be remembered for a long period. Usman Buzdar prayed that may Allah Almighty grant patience to the bereaved heirs to bear the loss with equanimity. CM condoles death of the mother of sapm malik amir dogar: Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed a deep sense of sorrow over the death of the mother of Malik Amir Dogar, SAPM and Chief Whip. In a statement, the CM extended sympathies to the bereaved heirs and prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace.