Education Mission of Punjab Govt., Says Mowahid

Washington, DC: The focus of the Punjab Government is a drive towards progress and prosperity of the people and, to that end, the spread of education is vital for the overall development and public well-being.This was stated by Mowahid Hussain Shah, Minister/Special Assistant to Chief Minister, Punjab, during his presentations at various forums in Washington, and in an interview with APP Wednesday.

Mowahid said that society “pays lip service to learning,” and learned people are not given due social significance. “This gap was addressed when the Chief Minister, Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi convened a day-long conference on teachers’ dignity at the CM’s Secretariat in Lahore recently.” The day-long conference - the first of its kind - included teachers from rural areas, schools, colleges and universities, along with senior American educators and missionary teachers, as well as a representative mix from civil society.

The conference, Mr. Mowahid said, was a resounding success. “Education is our mission,” Mowahid emphasized. “We are trying to shift the ‘thana culture’ of the police to a public-service orientation.”

The Special Assistant said, the Punjab Cabinet has okayed the landmark Consumer Rights’ Protection Bill which gives consumers the right to return, refund, and replace shoddy products. An attorney-at-law by profession, Mowahid was entrusted by the Chief Minister for its drafting and deliberations. It took over one year and went through eight drafts, incorporating input from independent consumer activists.

In health care, he stated that public projects are coming up through a partnership between public and private sectors. “The spirit of philanthropy is flourishing wherein anonymous charitable donors have ensured that hospitals, for example, like Mayo Hospital and Fatima Memorial Hospital in Lahore, provide food free of charge to patients as well as fully-subsidized medicine and medical care to needy in-house and outpatients,” he added.

Furthermore there is a renewed spirit of pluralism, with minorities and women given hitherto unprecedented scope and space to realize opportunities and their potential. “It is unthinkable for a Pakistani politician to use vitriolic language against the Christian faith and other minorities as has been done unfortunately by mainstream figures in America against Islam,” he asserted.
One positive development, said Mowahid, has been in curbing the culture of revenge in Punjab, which had squandered energies which otherwise could have been directed toward development. For this, he said, credit had to be given to the Chief Minister “for fostering a climate of decency.”

During meetings with US opinion-makers, Mowahid warned that while the West celebrates the 15th anniversary of the coming down of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, it continues to erect mental barriers against Muslims. He emphasized that “extremism is a two-way street and the West has to be extra watchful of its own policies and politics that may inadvertently accelerate the spread of zealotry.”


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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