Sardar Muhammad Asif Nakai is a veteran politician who belongs to a renowned family of Sardars of Punjab. He is the son of Sardar Muhammad Arif Nakai, former CM of Punjab. He was born on August 28, 1960, at Kasur. He got his early education from Lahore. He graduated in 1983 from University of the Punjab, Lahore. He served as Nazim, Tehsil Council Pattoki during the year 2001-02.
He was elected on two National Assembly seats i.e. NA-141 & 142 in general elections 2002 and as Member, National Assembly during 2002-07, he functioned as Minister of State for Housing and Works. An agriculturist, who has been elected as Member, Provincial Assembly of Punjab in general elections 2008. He belongs to a renowned political family. For Bridge, we interviewed the Minister for Communication and Works Department Sardar Muhammad Asif Nakai.
Kartarpur Corridor Is One Of The Best Steps Taken By Our Government Which Has Made Sikhs All Over The World Happy
BRIDGE Team: What initiatives have you taken in the first 100 days of your ministry?
Asif Nakai: As we all know that corruption is very rampant in our society therefore after assuming the charge as a minister of communication and works I was determined to take all such initiatives which will not only help improve governance and functioning of the department but also to introduce such initiatives that ,may help eradicate corruption.
Keeping this in mind, communication and works department is going to introduce E-tendering system which will help eradicate corruption and other mal practices. From now onwards Tender documents will be available as well as submitted online and contracts will be given on merit. It is need of the hour to stop corruption at all levels and we introduced a special task force for this. Besides, computerized system has been introduced in the department to improve the quality of work. As long as I am the minister, I won’t let anyone corrupt this department. We are facing problems regarding payments and funds but InshAllah we will cater all these problems with the passage of time.
BRIDGE TEAM: You are a seasoned politician. You have worked with other Political Parties as well. Do you think that the political culture of Pakistan has changed after PTI came into government?
Asif Nakai: Yes, Pakistan has witnessed a different political culture after PTI elected into government. During previous government there was a one man show and the Chief Minister was keeping all the ministries to his chest and bureaucracy was not independent. Now, after the PTI government came into power the scenario has changed as no one interferes in the matters of other departments.
Punjab is famous for politics at the grass root level. People used to ask politicians for their support and assistance in matters related to police stations and lower courts. Now, we have made people realize that justice will be provided to every common man and politicians are accountable for their acts and deeds to the general public. Merit based democratic system is our goal. When we will be successful in achieving our goal, the positive image of Pakistan will spread and we would be able to hold our heads high in the International society as a fine democratic country.
BRIDGE TEAM: PPP and PML-N has stayed in politics for a long time. Do you think that PTI’s slogan of change will be completed and will other parties become a hurdle in the way?
Asif Nakai: N-league, PPP and the military has ruled Pakistan for many years. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a third political party has come into power. The main stream parties cannot digest this fact. Former politicians have cruelly robbed the country in one way or another.
When such people will be held accountable they will make hue and cry. It is the blessing that the incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan has a pure intentions and he is loyal to the country. We all should endeavor to materialize his vision for new Pakistan so that our future generations may spend their lives in a better way.
BRIDGE TEAM: Which fields do you think require more attention from the government?
Asif Nakai: Education, Health and Employment are the prime responsibility of the state. Unfortunately here in Pakistan every government failed to provide these basic rights to its citizens. However, Prime Minister Imran Khan has a clear vision to provide these fundamental rights to the citizen of Pakistan and for that the government is working on it.
We have announced 10 million jobs for the youngsters which will help cater problems related to unemployment.
We are going to introduce health insurance cards and doing our best to provide best health facilities in the country. In the education sector, we are going to introduce such reforms that will help increase literacy rate in the country.
BRIDGE TEAM: Opposition claims that construction of 5 million houses is not practical. What do you say?
Asif Nakai:We all are well aware that opposition is bound to do negative propaganda against the ruling government. Imran Khan will fulfill his promise and that day is no far when 5 million houses will be provided to the citizens. Locations for the houses have already been identified and strategy has been planned. Nothing can be achieved in one day. Everything requires time therefore we request the opposition to give us fair time so we may deliver our promise. In Zia’s regime houses were built in far away places which were of no use to the citizens. We have to be careful in this regard as well and make this project a success story.
BRIDGE TEAM: What is your opinion on the Kartarpur Corridor?
Asif Nakai: Kartarpur corridor is one of the best steps taken by our government which has made Sikhs all over the world happy. My friends from the Sikh community residing in India have thanked me personally. All over the world, states have progressed by resolving their differences. Similarly, Pakistan and India should resolve their mutual disputes and work towards the progress and prosperity of the region. God has showered this region with numerous blessings. Countries can progress by taking advantage from these natural resources. Once upon a time, I remember a lot of tourists used to visit Lahore but now it is not the case. I am hopeful that such hey days will come back soon.
BRIDGE TEAM: As a politician, what are your views on Basant festival?
Asif Nakai: Festivals are a part of our culture and we should promote and celebrate all our festivals controlled way. Basant is a colorful festival on which people used to wear new clothes and meet each other but some people have ruined it by their negative approach. The government will take proper precautionary measures and ensure safety of the citizens in order to celebrate it in the country.
BRIDGE TEAM: What else would you have been if not a politician?
Asif Nakai:I was in government service before coming into politics. When my father passed away in 2000, I came into politics. You can say if I had not been a politician I would have continued my job.
BRIDGE TEAM: What is the difference between a leader and a politician?
Asif Nakai:A leader is someone who talks about his people. A politician often talks about his personal gains. My father always talked about people and lived among them. We never campaigned for elections and yet always succeeded from our constituency. It was only due to the love we gave and time we spent among our local people.
BRIDGE TEAM: How do you spend your leisure time?
Asif Nakai:I barely get any leisure time. We are always occupied with work or meeting people. If I am in Lahore, I am in my office by 10 and my entire day is spent listening to the problems of people and handling departmental affairs. On weekends, I visit my hometown where people used to visit me since morning. We have to be a part of their happiness and sadness. Even in our free time we are busy serving the nation.
BRIDGE TEAM: Tell us something that you want to do for your constituency?
Asif Nakai:I wish to make a state-of- the-art hospital in my hometown with all the latest technology and trained doctors. I want to provide people with best health care facilities. Many accidents take place on that part of Multan road which is within my constituency. The death rate in these accidents is high due to unavailability of hospital and first aid service in that area. So, a modern well-equipped hospital is my top priority. Besides, I want to make a huge park in my area for families to enjoy. There are a few recreational activities or places in our area
where people can go and spend some good time. I have talked to CM about this and he has given his consent in this regard.
BRIDGE TEAM: Any message for the readers?
Asif Nakai:People need to trust Imran Khan and give him some time to prove himself as a good leader of Pakistan. When we came to power, Pakistan was facing an immense financial problem. Punjab alone is facing a deficit of 120 billion rupees. It is not that easy to overcome such kind of burden overnight. Imran Khan has given us direction and InshAllah, that day is not far when Pakistan will start making progress by leaps and bounds. Pakistan Zindabad!