Criticism and the government of Punjab have held hands in every situation come what may. Being blamed for not setting priorities right and investing in projects that are not important has always been the stance of opposition parties. The funniest thing is that whatever these parties criticize Punjab government for, they themselves start implementing it in their own jurisdiction. This gets me in two minds, either these parties lack imagination and creativity in terms of development or they internally believe that Punjab is the actual province to follow and its CM is the actual person who should lead the state affairs because in broader perspective if we observe, all the other provinces are doing what Punjab primarily initiated.
Punjab government and CM Shehbaz have been criticized on almost every project they initiated. Opposition parties and media engineered criticism in order to hamper their performance but the government stood steadfast. The biggest blame on the government was on spending huge sums on projects which according to them were useless and were just a waste of money. Making roads, improving public transport and spending on the infrastructure were the major criticisms held on the sitting government. An argument on the basis of such criticism arises that aren’t these factors important for provincial or national development? Infrastructure and transport is the core of growth and on the bases of this structural development, Lahore and Punjab as a whole are appreciated internationally.
Coming to the other aspects of development and growth, the time has proved every other criticism baseless since the UNDP report on human development in Pakistan has surfaced. Punjab by far is the only province of Pakistan that has worked the most on the development of human capital and the statistics prove that the government has kept the development of human capital and utilization of human resource its first priority and every other project was incorporated for its facilitation.
According to the stats revealed in the UNDP report, Punjab has a convincing lead in every department over every province of Pakistan having highest Human Development Index (HDI) points by 0.732 followed by Sindh 0.640, KP 0.628 and Baluchistan 0.421.
In the health department, the rate of immunization in Punjab is 89 percent, 90 percent females and 89 percent males are vaccinated and immunized with diseases considered contagious or infectious. Clean drinking water, better sewerage, adequate medical care in terms of DHQ’S & BHU’s and having the largest fleet of ambulances has improved health standards big time. Like health, Punjab also leads in the education department as well having youth literacy rate of 73.6 percent followed by Sindh with 67.7 percent, KP 63.5 percent and Baluchistan with 50 percent. The expected education years in Punjab is 10.1 years which is the highest amongst all the provinces. There is a significant improvement in the labor force participation rate in Punjab which in the past five years has reached up to 56 percent.
According to the report of UNDP Pakistan has only 6 highly developed districts out of which 4 are from Punjab which is a massive achievement on the part of Punjab Government and 19 districts of Punjab are categorized in high medium development bracket.
These stats stand out Punjab in every aspect and as CM Shehbaz says “ We always focus and develop for the people, it might not look important when it is being done but in hindsight, the benefit is always of the masses, facilities are for the people, people are not for facilities.”