Here’s what is happening across the border: In a week of many firsts, Punjab University gets first woman V-C in 136 years, and an open court in Peshawar for the Sikhs.
Pakistan’s historic Rs 1.03 trillion budget allocation
The federal government has unveiled an unprecedented Rs 1.03 trillion budget allocation for the Public Sector Distribution System (PSDS) in the next fiscal year, the Express Tribune reported.
A major chunk of the money, approximately 62 per cent, will be spent on infrastructure under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
This is about Rs 29 billion higher than the allocation in the outgoing fiscal year and about 17.4 per cent of it will have to be funded by taking Rs 180.3 billion worth of foreign loans.
However, other sectors like health, science, and social initiatives have taken a huge hit due to the heavy allocation on PSDS.
The new budget has also abolished the PM’s ‘Energy for All and Clean Drinking Water’ initiatives and the Special Federal Development Programme.
Tourism is up by 300 per cent
A report published by the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has claimed that a reduction in extremism has led to a 300 per cent increase in tourism in the country.
According to the report, 1.75 million tourists visited Pakistan in 2017 alone. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) expects that this increase in tourism will generate $36.1 billion worth of revenue in the coming decade.
Business trips have also increased across the country.
The report gives credit to the internet popularising different tourist locations, as well as the government’s initiatives for the rise in tourism.
Open court in Peshawar
In yet another first, an open court was held in a gurudwara in Peshawar so that the Sikh community could put forth its grievances.
After a school in the Sikh community recently witnessed gun violence, locals told Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Dr Imran Hamid, who was present at the hearing, that they needed increased security in the region.
Further, the community spoke about the pushback they were facing from local administration in obtaining basic facilities like national identity cards and health insurance schemes.
The members also stressed that the Sikh Marriage Bill should be passed in the assembly.
Promising to address their grievances soon, the deputy commissioner formed a five-member community comprising district administration officials and Sikh community members.
First female Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University
The prestigious Punjab University in Lahore got its first female Vice-Chancellor (V-C) after 136 years, the Pakistan Daily reported.
Nasira Jabeen’s appointment was made by the search committee, on the directives of the Punjab Higher Education Department.
The acting V-C, Zakria Zakar was asked to step down on 21 April by the Chief Justice who was hearing a suo motu case regarding the handing over of the college’s 80-kanals land to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) for a grid-station.