LAHORE - The last meeting of the caretaker provincial cabinet with Punjab Chief Minister Dr Hasan Askari in the chair here on Tuesday decided to celebrate the Independence Day with full zeal and fervour.

The main function of the Independence Day will be held at Hazuri Bagh in Lahore. Celebrations would also be held at division, district and tehsil level across the province. Public sector departments will also hold functions in connection with the Independence Day, the meeting decided.

The meeting decided to make foolproof security arrangements for protection of lives and properties of people on this occasion. The participants in the meeting directed the law enforcement agencies to initiate stern legal action against youngsters doing wheelies on Independence Day. The chief minister said that nobody will be allowed to take law into their own hands in the name of Independence Day and made it clear that legal action will be initiated against violators of the law.

The cabinet meeting decided to provide grant for payment of pending bills of United Christian Hospital Gulberg and the chief minister said that steps will be taken to help resolve the issue of UCH. The meeting accorded approval to a financial grant for treatment of a 15-year-old blood cancer patient. The Punjab government will give Rs1 million while caretaker ministers Sardar Tanvir Ilyas and Anjum Nisar will donate Rs1 million each from their own pockets.

Annual report for the year 2017 of the office of the provincial ombudsman was also presented to the participants in the meeting. The cabinet gave approval to form a search committee for appointment of vice chancellor of the University of Home Economics, Lahore.

The meeting extended vote of thanks to caretaker chief minister Dr Hasan Askari, provincial cabinet members, administration, police and line departments for making best arrangements for free, fair and transparent elections in the province. The chief minister also appreciated performance of provincial ministers, chief secretary, Punjab Police inspector general, district administration, army men, Rangers and other agencies for holding transparent elections. He said that ensuring peaceful atmosphere on the polling day is a national service, as it helped people use their right to vote in an independent manner. With the grace of Allah Almighty and efforts made by different departments, he said, the polling day remained peaceful.

He said that police and the administration performed their election duties in a professional manner. “I am thankful to the provincial ministers, chief secretary, IG of Punjab Police and officials of the relevant departments for their proactive cooperation. All the matters pertaining to the government were settled amicably due to the hard work of all of you and this shows that positive results are achieved when government officials work professionally and honestly. My experience of working with you has remained good and the whole team has fulfilled a national obligation with commitment and hard work.”

The members of the provincial cabinet paid tribute to the leadership vision and administrative abilities of Dr Askari and added that election has been held in a best manner and it would be remembered in history till lately. Provincial ministers, chief secretary, chairman of P&D, IG of Punjab Police and concerned high officials attended the meeting.

The last meeting of the provincial cabinet lasted for three hours. The meeting started with the recitation of Holy Quran. The chief minister gave his considered opinion after hearing opinion of concerned ministers and department briefings. After a detailed discussion on some agenda points, it was unanimously decided that the next government would decide about it because the mandate of the caretaker government is limited and it has ensured peaceful and transparent elections while remaining within its mandate. The cabinet members also paid tribute to Dr Askari for ensuring free, fair and impartial elections.