Caretaker government stepping into unchartered territory

Various developmental projects are being carried out on an urgent basis as incumbent setup nears end

Muhammad Ilyas August 04, 2023
Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi presides over the first Provincial Cabinet meeting at CM Office. PHOTO: Radio Pakistan


Despite having exceeded its constitutional term limit and not having any domain to take actions which elected officials do, the caretaker government in Punjab is moving briskly to finish scores of projects before its time is up.

The caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi led Punjab cabinet is reportedly reviewing progress on all the developmental projects it started and the incomplete projects it inherited from the elected government, on a daily basis, so that these can be completed in a timely manner.

Amongst these projects are: the Nawaz Sharif Interchange Programme, Akbar Chowk Flyover, Expansion projects of Samanabad Underpass, Daata Darbar and Bibi Pak Daman Mazar, Signal Free Corridor Project from Gulberg (Centre Point) to Walton Road (Defence Mor), Bedian Road Roundabout Underpass Project and Lahore Ring Road Southern Loop (SL3) Project from Raiwind Road to Multan Road.

Moreover, there are plans to expand Jinnah Hospital’s emergency and trauma department, and establish a cardiac unit. Furthermore, a 200-bed mother and child hospital in Attock will be built and Bahawalnagar and Layyah will get general hospitals. With such a high number of projects ongoing, sources within the government are unsure if the caretaker setup will be able to complete them within its tenure.

However, caretaker Minister for Information, Amir Mir, while talking to The Express Tribune, was optimistic about the development projects being completed on time.

“Many of these projects had been postponed for many years and the caretaker government took the initiative to complete them as they would benefit the people,” said Mir, further adding that work on all projects was being done on an urgent basis. “We are confident that these projects will be completed by the time general elections take place in October or November.” Mir further said that this was the first time a caretaker government had prioritised finishing development work for the welfare of the people.

While it remains to be seen how far the projects will go in promoting the welfare of the populace of Punjab,

Advocate Mansoor Kamboh, was of the view that the caretaker government has no mandate to carry out development projects or allocate funding to new projects. “The constitution is quite clear that the sole responsibility of a caretaker government is to conduct free and fair elections. The Mohsin Naqvi led government has clearly overstepped its mandate,” remarked Kamboh, adding that no law empowered the caretaker government to invest in development projects even if they were for the welfare of the people.

“Whatever developmental activities the caretaker setup has engaged in or will engage in are unconstitutional,” said Kamboh while talking to The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2023.


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