LAHORE – Makhdoom Syed Ahmad Mehmood was sworn in as the new Punjab governor at a ceremony held in Lahore on Tuesday.
Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umer Atta Bandial administered the oath to Mehmood in the simple but dignified ceremony held in the gardens of the Governor’s House. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif‚ senior government officials and political personalities of the province attended the oath-taking ceremony.
Pakistan People’s Party leaders Raja Riaz, Manzoor Watto and other political leaders were also present.
Mehmood resigned as the PML-Functional Punjab president after he was offered the coveted post by President Asif Zardari on Thursday.
Soon after Mehmood accepted the offer, PML-F chief Pir Pagara disassociated himself and his party from the development and said the decision to accept the offer was Mehmood’s alone.
Talking to reporters after being sworn in as the governor, Mehmood said the first thing on his agenda was working for the prosperity of the people.
“Considering the financial crisis prevailing in the province, I have decided not to draw any salary or any other benefits,” he said.
He said he would try his level best to promote democracy and run other affairs amicably across the province.
Mehmood urged the provincial government to pay maximum attention to the provision of education, healthcare and other facilities to the people.He said he would keep giving advice to the provincial government on how it could facilitate the masses in a better way. Mehmood’s said his appointment was not a result of backdoor diplomacy or understanding.
The governor stressed the need for developing understanding between the government and the opposition in the larger interest of the country.
He said it was only due to the efforts and struggle of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that the Pakistanis got their identity.
He also paid tribute to the political vision of Benazir Bhutto and greeted the Christian community on Christmas.
Mehmood said leaders of all Houses and opposition leaders should pay attention towards forming caretaker setup. He said he had good relations with the Punjab government and hoped to continue with it.
The governor said the Punjab Assembly had unanimously demanded the restoration of Bahawalpur province and a commission should be constituted for carving out other provinces.
The Punjab government had its own priorities and “I wish it the very best”, he added. Mehmood said he had a lot of respect for Dr Tahirul Qadri, but Qadri should not put his followers on trial with his tough agenda. The governor thanked President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for reposing confidence in him for the slot.