Former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana took oath as the 36th governor of Punjab on Sunday, vowing to strengthen the PML-N government at the federal and provincial levels.
Rajwana, who hails from Multan in southern Punjab, resigned from the office of Senate to assume the office of the governor.
“I am thankful to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who made a worker from south Punjab a governor of the country’s largest province,” Rajwana said in his maiden speech as the governor soon after he was sworn in.
Presided by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik, the oath-taking ceremony took place at the Governor House, and was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, among other leaders.
The newly appointed constitutional head promised to work for the betterment of the province at large, particularly for the welfare of the people of Punjab’s much neglected southern belt.
“My appointment is a clear proof of the fact that PM Nawaz and CM Shahbaz truly love the people of south Punjab. They are working day and night for the progress of the southern Punjab [like other parts of the country],” he stressed.
Rafique Rajwana pointed towards a few projects undertaken by the current government in the region as an indication of the government’s determination for progress.
“A lot of development projects are under way in south Punjab. PM has just inaugurated the first Solar Park in Bahawalpur and CM Shahbaz Sharif has approved to increase its area from 10,000 acres to 15,000 acres… A 30 kilometre-long metro bus track has also been approved [in Multan] for which 30 billion rupees will be spent. Every day 150,000 people will travel by this,” he said.
Governor Rajwana assured all other political parties that he would take them on board as per the constitutional obligation of the office of the governor.
“The doors of the Governor House will remain open for the people. I will serve the people of Punjab. The top priorities of our government include elimination of poverty, unemployment, terrorism, reduction in load-shedding and revolutionary reforms in health and education sector,” he maintained.
The newly-inducted governor said he would protect the rights of the minorities in light of the teachings of founding fathers of the country, Quaid-e-Azam Muhamamd Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif congratulated Rafiq Rajwana on assuming the office of governor Punjab and expressed his best wishes.
Earlier, before taking the oath, Rajawana held a meeting with CM Shahbaz and LHC CJ Manzoor Ahmad Malik. He also held a separate meeting with Senator Raja Zafarul Haq and Senator Zafar Iqbal Jhagra of the PML-N prior to the oath-taking.
The office of governor became vacant after Chaudhry Sarwar resigned from the post on January 29 after accusing the PML-N government of bad governance. Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal had been serving as acting governor since.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2015.