Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar
By Muhammad Shoaib Qadeer
Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar is among one of the few Pakistanis who thought of the common man and strove for their welfare. His services, especially those for the provision of safe & clean water, are outstanding and almost impossible to deny. Back in 1952, it was in this very month of August that this patriotic Pakistani was born in Lyallpur, the city now known as Faisalabad. He decided to move to Scotland in the mid 1970s and succeeded in the Scottish wholesale sector after arriving there. He entered British politics in the early 1980s and was sworn in as Britain’s first Muslim MP and Scotland’s first ethnic minority MP. He decided to come back to Pakistan in 2013 where he pursued his political career and continued his welfare projects in order to benefit the people of Pakistan. He raised his voice for human rights on various platforms and in recognition of his services to humanity he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of the West of Scotland on 10th July 2014.
He is well known in the political sphere. While Pakistan was under martial law, he became a member of the Labour Party and councillor in the large and well-known city of Glasgow which is a great honour as he was elected due to his public service to people at the grassroot level. He remained a councillor from 1992 to 1995 and the honour of being elected a member of the executive committee of the Labour party was also conferred upon Chaudhry Sarwar from 1994 to 1997. He was the first non-white Muslim and ethnic minority executive member.
Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar’s hard work bore fruit when his son Anas Sarwar was elected as a representative of the Scottish Labour Party. In a speech after his election, Anas said: “I want to say directly to the people of Scotland, I know Labour has a lot of work to do to win back your trust. Because if we’re brutally honest, you haven’t had the Scottish Labour party you deserve. With rising injustice, inequality and division, I’m sorry things didn’t get much better. I will work day and night to change them, so that we can build the country that we all need.” This speech shows the weight of his words and his sympathy with the public.
After coming back to Pakistan, Chaudhry Sarwar became governor in the previous government but the politics at play were against his principles. However, he remained steadfast and preferring his principles over his office, he resigned. This is the reason why he is still in office today. He is also a literary man and his services in the field of literature cannot be denied. He played a very important role in making literary references of underprivileged regions credible. During his previous tenure as governor, he often organised literary gatherings in the governor’s house. Once you meet him, you will become his fan after the first meeting. He is a decent and pure man who is well mannered.
Governor Punjab Mohammad Sarwar also launched a community safety training book for Punjab Boy Scouts Association (PBSA) at
Punjab House to deal with emergencies more efficiently and diligently. Boy scouts are being linked to the rescue service so they can learn community safety training. The training program will be expanded to Punjab level later. Training of volunteers has already started and the main theme of starting this rescue scout training is development of healthy, safe and resilient communities in Pakistan. As the governor of Punjab, Mohammad Sarwar visited European countries four times and successfully campaigned for GSP Plus status for Pakistan. For this purpose he met more than 30 members of the European Parliament and at his request, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, paid his first visit to Pakistan. The acquisition of GSP Plus status increased Pakistan’s exports by 65% and brought benefits of 15 billion dollars.
Humanity makes man great, not any position. This is the motto of Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar. I recall that when the Hazara community was protesting, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar arrived at the protest and expressed unity with them. Whether it’s distributing rations to 2 million families in coordination with charitable organisations during the Corona epidemic, having a Corona Wall constructed in Governor House to honour those doctors who laid down their lives on the frontlines in the fight against Covid-19, giving speeches as the governor in the universities of Punjab about the appointment of Vice-Chancellors in accordance with merit or bringing forth the Punjab Regulation Act to regularise the contracted employees of Gujrat Universities; Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar is always at the forefront leading all these efforts.
His education friendly initiatives have brightened the future of many poor students. In his capacity as Chancellor, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar formulated policies to ensure merit in public and private universities of Punjab. He made the study of the Quran and its translation mandatory in the universities of Punjab. In June 2020, after consulting with the Vice-Chancellors to the best of his ability, Governor Mohammad Sarwar in his capacity as Chancellor issued a notification requiring all students (except non-Muslims) to study the Holy Quran with translation. He launched the largest scholarship program in the last 72 years for students from Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA. Under this program, 3200 students from Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA will be given 100% scholarships while 16,852 students will be given 50% scholarships. Students from these areas will not be expelled from universities due to non-payment of fees.
In the first phase, the Punjab government has allocated Rs. 20 million for this scholarship program, which will be increased to Rs. 80 million in the next four years. This scholarship program will enable 20,052 students from remote areas of Pakistan to pursue higher studies in any government university in Punjab. Governor Mohammad Sarwar announced complete annual scholarships for 1000 FATA students in various universities by 2027. He also announced the establishment of a sub-campus of Punjab University in FATA and a sub-campus of Government College University in Gilgit.
Pakistan is an agricultural country and farmers play an important role in the Pakistani economy. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, in his capacity as the head of the Punjab Agriculture Committee, has launched a campaign to promote cotton cultivation in South Punjab in collaboration with the concerned departments of the federal and provincial governments. To provide immediate relief to problems faced by farmers, the committee comprises farmers’ representatives as well as key position holders. In addition to providing farmers with quality seeds and pesticides, subsidies were also given to cotton growers. The committee is providing facilities to farmers by incorporating modern technology and methods in the field of agriculture.
As Governor of Punjab, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar signed three ordinances:
- An ordinance for the establishment of a commission to regularise illegal housing schemes. (April 09, 2021)
- An ordinance for the establishment of trading courts in Punjab. (April 12, 2021)
- An ordinance to amend the Lahore Development Authority Act, 1975. (April 13, 2021)
The Governor of Punjab is known as a friendly and humane governor. Chaudhry Sarwar himself has stated in his speeches that the criteria for the success of any person is not wealth, position and power but service to humanity. Not only in words but also in deeds, he has proven that he believes in the service of humanity. Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, as an active participant helping to bring about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of change, believes in creating worthy institutions. He wants to make Aab-e-Pak Authority an institution that the people can be proud of.
Under the patronage of Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority is quickly working to provide clean drinking water to almost 70 million people in 36 districts of Punjab. The foundation of the first water project by Aab-e-Pak Authority has been laid in Chak Jhumra which will provide clean drinking water to more than 57,000 people in 16 villages.