The interim Punjab cabinet this week approved a hefty increase in the fee for a learners’ driving license, boosting it from the existing Rs. 60 to Rs. 1,000, with effect from Jan. 1.
Chaired by caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, the cabinet meeting also announced that it was increasing license fees for all categories of vehicles. “Residents of the U.S., Canada, and other countries can obtain a license online by paying $100,” it added in a statement.
Apprising the public of the decision, Lahore Chief Traffic Officer Mustansir Feroze, in a video posted on X, urged eligible citizens to secure learners’ licenses at the earliest, warning that they had less than a month to avail the existing Rs. 60 fee before the increase comes into effect.
Separately, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has questioned the caretaker government’s authority to impose an increase to the fee for a learners’ driving license. While hearing a petition challenging police including the names of underage drivers in the criminal record, Justice Ali Zia Bajwa urged government lawyers to assist the court on what would happen if a legal challenge were posed to the fee increase.
During the hearing, the CTO maintained the increase was justified as it had been stagnant for several years and merited reconsideration. He also informed the court that since authorities initiated a crackdown on unlicensed drivers—on directions of the LHC in a separate case—1.4 million learner permits and 73,000 regular driving licenses had been issued. He also said that cases had been registered against more than 7,000 underage drivers, and 16,000 individuals driving without a valid license.
The judge then directed the CTO to examine whether underage drivers could be released on personal surety by the SHO concerned instead of presenting them before magistrates.
Other cabinet decisions
The interim provincial cabinet also endorsed a transparent lottery system for allocating 344,000 acres of government land to landless farmers in Cholistan on subsidized rates. It further approved a transfer policy for MBBS and BDS students in government medical and dental colleges, restricting such transfers to those from high-grade merit to low-grade institutions. It also decided to entrust the management of prison hospitals to the health department and approved a healthcare system for prisoners.
The caretakers approved funds to double the number of nursing students and establish a management committee for the Institute of Public Health, Lahore. It also renewed an agreement between the specialized healthcare and medical education department and the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Health Trust for the operation of regional blood centers in Multan and Bahawalpur.
The interim cabinet also agreed to elevate the Children’s Hospital, Faisalabad to the status of a medical institute under the Punjab Medical and Health Institutions Act, 2003. It endorsed policy frameworks for the selection of vice chancellors at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Lahore and Bahawalpur, along with the appointment of prosecutors from the public prosecution department to the FIA on deputation basis.
Under the Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985, Bagh-e-Jinnah was granted special status, and its administrative affairs were entrusted to the Punjab Walled Cities and Heritage Areas Authority. Similarly, the Chiniot Umar Mahal was also placed under the authority’s management.
The caretakers approved the revision of shooting licenses and fees under Punjab Wildlife Rules, 1974 and approved establishment of a Pothohar campus of the University of Punjab in Gujar Khan. It further endorsed an agreement with the National Highways and Motorway Police for the exchange of motor vehicle registration information.