LAHORE: The Punjab chief minister has appointed a person who is not even a matriculate as his special assistant on education, while the incumbent’s only credentials are his being the father-in-law of a Pakistan Muslim League-Q unification bloc MPA and a former Pakistan Muslim League-N loyalist.
Khizar Hayat Hiraj, a former MPA elected on the PML-N ticket in 1997 from Khanewal, and the father-in-law of a PML-Q unification bloc MPA Amir Hayat Hiraj, has been appointed as a special assistant of the Punjab chief minister on education.
Sources stated the decision was taken to reward the Hiraj family for their loyalty to the PML-N. The family has been standing by the party since 2008 after parting ways with the PML-Q on whose ticket Amir Hayat Hiraj got elected in the last general elections.
While the provincial government claims making efforts to attain high standards in the field of education, the appointment of Khizar Hiraj has come as a shocking surprise for most of the PML-N members. Amir Hiraj got elected from PP-216 with a very close margin of less than 200 votes against a PML-N candidate Shahzad Khakwani. The election results clearly showed that the PML-N was itself in a strong position and there was not any need to accommodate a Q-Leaguer against the wishes of the local PML-N workers.
Insiders said most of the party members were unhappy with the decision, as dozens of highly educated MPAs were ignored for the slot and the party selected a person who was not only an under-matriculate but also remained a Q-Leaguer in the post-October 12, 1999 scenario when the party was in a severe crisis.
Already, the Shahbaz government has been under immense criticism from the opposition in and outside the Punjab Assembly for non-allocation of sufficient funds for the education sector during the past four years.
Talking to The News, Khizar Hayat Hiraj defended his appointment as a special assistant on education. Though he admitted he was not even a matriculate, yet he stated that he had a clean record as a former MPA and as a politician from Khanewal.
He said he was back in the PML-N now and was working as a special assistant on education, but neither he was drawing any salary nor seeking any perks from the government. “I will work to eliminate corruption and I have taken this decision keeping in view the honour of my family,” said Khizar Hiraj .