The Punjab cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, on Monday approved a 30pc increase in the salaries of government employees. Punjab government is all set to table an Rs3.22 trillion budget for fiscal year 2022-23. During the cabinet meeting today, it was decided to follow the example of the federal government and merge all ad-hoc relief.
News of ban on co-education in BS (Hons) degree programs in private colleges in Punjab had been making rounds on social media. However, focal Person to Chief Minister (CM) Punjab on Digital Media, Azhar Mashwani, has termed the news completely fake. Mashwani shared screenshots of the reports which claimed that the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) has notified a ban on co-education and debunked them.
The government of Punjab has decided to shut down free WiFi facilities across the province owing to heavy annual payments to service providers. Reportedly, the free WiFi facility has cost the government an extra Rs. 195 million in federal payments while heavily denting the provincial exchequer. The project was initially suspended in 2019 due to the nonpayment of dues by the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
Punjab government has announced that it is imposing a ‘smart lockdown’, effective from midnight tonight till August 5, in an effort to curb spread of coronavirus during Eidul Azha. The step comes as Punjab reported zero deaths for the first time in two months. The official daily tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Punjab has remained below 500 over last week.
The chief of Punjab’s books and curriculum regulatory authority has denied allegations of inappropriate Twitter activity, calling it a “a social media hack”. Rai Manzoor Hussain Nasir was called out for hypocrisy over social media after he banned at least 100 books with blasphemous content, but was spotted ‘liking’ a porn video clip from his account on Twitter.
Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood has announced that all education institutions, including universities, will reopen from September 15 if health situation improves. The minister said that government will review its decision in first week of September to monitor the coronavirus situation by taking a look at the health indicators. All institutes, including private ones will have to follow government SOPs.
The government of Punjab has started closing quarantine centers across the province, including six in Lahore, following a change in the policy under which the suspected Covid-19 patients were earlier required to quarantine at these centres. Under the new policy, those arriving at Lahore and other airports from abroad are just being screened through thermal scanners rather than tested on the spot.
In order to educate the general public about Coronavirus, Governor Punjab has joined hands with famous TikTok stars in Pakistan. A number of famous TikTokers were invited to the Governor House, where they were guided about their role during the on-going pandemic. The Governor instructed the influencers to create awareness about the virus and its leading problems among the common people.
Punjab government has tightened the smart lockdown changing timings of all markets, shopping malls and shops in the province as the Eid holidays come to an end. Confectionery shops will be allowed to remain open from 9am to 7pm. From May 27, malls and markets will resume their previous timings of 9am to 5pm. Only medical stores will be allowed to remain open round the clock.
The Punjab Food Authority has seized thousands of tonnes of illegally stocked wheat across the province during a series of raids. The authority seized 10,000 wheat bags from Dera Ghazi Khan, 3,000 from Bahawalnagar and 2,000 bags from Layyah. A total of 20,000 bags were also impounded from a warehouse in Multan. All the warehouses where bags were found have been shut down and their owners have been arrested.