Punjab government to crack down on sale of free laptops

Published: April 5, 2012

Lahore police ordered to keep an eye at markets dealing with laptops. PHOTO: LAHORE.OLX.COM

LAHORE: The Punjab government has ordered different market unions to take concrete measures to stop the sale of laptops in open markets by the beneficiary students of Punjab chief minister’s Youth Initiative program.

It was earlier reported that the free laptops given to students as part of the youth program by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif were being sold online as well as at Hafeez Centre in Lahore.

As a step to control the act, the Lahore police have been deployed in the markets known for the resale of free laptops. Hafeez Center, the biggest market for laptops in Lahore is also being monitored by the police.

Shopkeepers said that the police often follow the person who enters the market with a laptop of any brand.

A shopkeeper at Hafeez Center, dealing with laptop accessories, told The Express Tribune that he had been strictly told by the market president not to buy any laptop of the scheme in any case, and anyone found doing so would be dealt strictly with by the union and even an FIR might be registered against the shopkeeper.

“Since the intimation, no one is ready to purchase those laptops. However, students come here regularly for Windows installation as the laptops are given with Linux based operating system by default, which is not common here and no one knows how to operate the system with Linux,” he said.

He admitted that few free laptops were being purchased by different shopkeepers but the exchange happened in the very initial days and no one is ready to purchase the laptop now.

Police teams, he said, are visiting the market regularly to find any student or shopkeeper involved in the act. This has added fear and a wave of frustration among the shopkeepers as police teams often interrogate even if any student comes to reinstall Windows in their laptops, he said.

President of Hafeez Center Shahid Bhatti however showed his ignorance of any such order issued by the Punjab government or any other department. He said that out of the 140 shops in Hafeez center that deal in laptops, no one was reported to be involved in such activity.

He further said that several students visit the center daily to install Windows operating system and they often ask for the price of the laptop, but not a single laptop provided by the Punjab government has been purchased till date.

Punjab government spokesperson Senator Pervaiz Rasheed told The Express Tribune, “We have heard such news regarding the resale of laptops in different markets, however we haven’t receive any complaint through our own sources.”

Rasheed said he believes that students will never sell their laptop which was given to them in their honour.

“We also condemn such news in which this perception is being imaged that the Punjab government is trying to prove the students as thieves. The students have signed an affidavit of not selling the laptops in the open market, and we believe they will fulfill the commitment,” he added.

Rasheed, however, said that despite all such assurances, anyone who is found selling or purchasing the laptop of the scheme anywhere will be preceded in accordance with the law.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Apr 5, 2012 - 6:52PM

    Crack down! Hahahaha, i like free entertainment provided by our politicians

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  • salman
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Are the police going to be deployed on the internet as well? What about if someone sells thier laptop to a friend? I don’t believe for one second that they can effectively ensure people don’t sell them on….How will they monitor it?

    This Laptop iniative has turned into a laptop fiasco…just like most scams, sorry, I mean schemes by PML-N.

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  • Apr 5, 2012 - 8:24PM

    Lmao !!
    This scheme has turned into a nightmare.

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  • Saad Iqbal
    Apr 5, 2012 - 8:37PM

    One should realise what the present situation in the country is. Imagine a household in sheer economic depression where even running a monthly budget is not possible. Tell me what would be the option of a family member in such a financial situation and a shiny laptop sitting in their home. This is a slap on the face on these families by policy makers in Punjab Govt. Althu i strongly disagree with Benazir Income Support Fund (teaching how to catch a fish is better than feeding them fish), but at least (if corruption is taken out) it still helps the Purchasing power of a family, and is much better than this laptop distribution fiasco.

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  • Sherry
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:10PM

    :) sheer waste of money. instead of providing free laptops, punjab govt should have used the money for opening a technology centre like place in the province for these students. wonder y our governments don’t think??? what are sooooooo many advisors for??

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  • Amjad
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:31PM

    @Pakistan politics: Western countries cannot stop corruption and cheating among students, so will they stop this practice in Pakistan? In Canada many students falsify applications for university loans and grants claiming they are poor and instead use the ill gotten money for cars and personal items. This is bad for taxpayers when this money is only supposed to be used for studies at university or college.

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  • CK
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:45PM

    Enjoy with Shahbaz Sharif, Vote for Imran Khan

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  • Tariq
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:14AM

    All the free laptops have Linux OS? LOL. This is what happens when daggas meet technology. So now all students are running around getting Windows os and MS Office installed on their systems to make the laptops useful. Sharif clan’s trail of farce continues!

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  • Apr 6, 2012 - 6:49AM

    Instead of creating employment opportunities our rulers are looking for cheap projection. They are diverting public funds towards useless schemes. These rulers have are behaving like Mughal emperors and have no sense and no visionRecommend

  • OldPak
    Apr 6, 2012 - 9:29AM

    This “laptop scheme” reminds me of late Shah Iran’s Grand Plan of building cities with new construction & free allotment of houses for poor. Sadly without solid provision of infrastructure & governance which shocked the leaders when they found later__ the occupant of new houses were actually the rich locals who bought the houses from the poor who needed money and were happy with their life the way they were living already. No wonder such ideas always happen to leaders who are not properly advised by the properly educated & qualified advisers. I see there are tons of them here in ET’s blog of readers’ “advisory” responses here, ha ha!

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  • Usman
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:12PM

    Some people are terribly un-informed about Linux. Linux is just as useful and in many cases more useful than windows with microsoft office. It is sad that in the Land of Muslims, people are resorting to software piracy rather than use free software such as Linux and Libre Office (instead of MS Office).. Pakistan should have the biggest base of Linux and Libre Office users but it does not as we would rather use illegal copies of microsoft software then spend some time learning about the free alternatives !!! There are good alternatives for most windows popular programs (e,g. Gimp for adobe photoshop, Libre Office for MS Office, Xournal & Occular for PDF support and annotating, Mendeley and Zotero for research citation management, R and Rstudio for statistical analysis). Also “Wine” can run many windows programs in Linux that may not have a replacement.. Pakistanis please joint he open-source movement and give up software piracy..

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  • Wasif Hasan
    May 6, 2012 - 1:55AM

    @Tariq:
    On what basis you claim that installing Windows would make Laptops useful. Windwos is more of a headache in my experience. Laptops came with Ubuntu OS which is quite user-friendly and I have been running it for 3 years without even a problem. I installed it 3 years back and its still running today as it ran 3 years back.

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  • Wasif Hasan
    May 6, 2012 - 1:59AM

    @Usman:
    I totally agree with you. It’s morally and ethically wrong to use pirated softwares. We should pay for the softwre and if we cannot pay then we should spend some time learning the open source alternatives and its not even hard to learn. With Ubuntu OS, the learning curve has dropped steadily.
    I have been running mostly Ubuntu OS, Fedora and OpenSuse for like 3 years and never had a problem. Infact when i bought a new laptop, the first thing I did was to remove windows 7 and install Ubuntu. I don’t use windows anymore and I really feel free now.

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