LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that those, who are hindering the process of national development and opposing the efforts of the government to overcome power outages, cannot be sincere to the nation. He said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) can be held accountable in general elections if its government failed to come up to the expectations of the people and also failed to overcome outages and bring the country out of the quagmire of problems it is presently in.
He also said that those, who are protesting against setting up of hospitals and Daanish schools for the poor and also against installing energy projects, should show mercy to the nation; otherwise, the people will be justified in saying that they (protesting politicians) have been involved in ball tampering and also in hampering the process of national progress and development.
He expressed these views while addressing a seminar on the role of journalism in stability of Pakistan organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) at Alhamra Hall on Sunday. Federal Port and Shipping Minister Kamran Michael, Balochistan Information Minister Abdul Rahim, Parliamentary Secretary on Information Rana Arshad, PFUJ President Rana Azeem and office-bearers and workers of journalist organisations attended the seminar.
“Khan Sahib, this is not cricket but politics, and ball tampering is not allowed,” Chief Minister Shahbaz said in apparent reference to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan’s candid confession to tampering balls during his cricketing career.
He said that he would leave politics forever if corruption of even a single penny was proved in execution of any development project launched by the PML-N government.
The chief minister said that he had always taken guidance from news and analyses broadcast and published by the electronic and print media and that constructive criticism based on truth was the best source of his information.
He said that the media had struggled a lot to achieve the right to freedom of expression and that it had won this war through rendering countless sacrifices.
He said that journalists had shed their sweat and blood and also faced economic sanctions in their struggle against tyranny. He said that no one could deprive the media of its freedom now.
He said that journalists were associated with a noble profession and that they could help change the destiny of the nation if they used the power of their pen for elimination of corruption, ignorance, nepotism and oppression from society.
He said that attack on anchorperson Hamid Mir was a tragic and extremely deplorable incident. He stressed the need to learn a lesson from such incidents and show tolerance and restraint in such a situation as its helps the nation move forward. He said that though the media had achieved freedom after making numerous sacrifices and had also emerged as a strong institution, its responsibilities had also increased manifold.
In an apparent reference to PTI Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, Chief Minister Shahbaz further said that a Maulana, who had entered into the field of politics for horse-trading, was trying to hinder the process of progress and development of Pakistan while enjoying pleasant weather in Canada. Similarly, he said, Khan Sahib was trying to show his sympathy to the poor while sitting in a palace.
About outages, he said that had the dictator, who had raised the hollow slogan of ‘Pakistan First’, completed Diamer Basha dam, there would have been no power shortage.
“Though the dictator took aid to the tune of billions of dollars from foreign countries, he utterly neglected the masses,” Shahbaz added.
He said that though dictators caused a huge loss to Pakistan during the last 68 years, some political governments also did not come up to the expectations of the people and did nothing for progress and prosperity of the country.
He lamented that full benefits were not taken from our friendship with China in the past and said that the volume of trade between China and India was $85 billion but that it was only $6 billion between Pakistan and China.
He said that China had set up coal power plant with generation capacity of 20,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity in India and that Pakistan was also eyeing benefiting from Chinese technology and power projects with equal generation capacity (20,000 MW) would be installed in Pakistan also.
He said that European countries have resolved their differences after centuries of bitterness; therefore, Pakistan and India should also address their mutual issues, such as Kashmir and water disputes, for the benefit of the two countries. He said that both India and Pakistan were facing identical problems like poverty and unemployment and that they would have to utilise their resources for the benefit of the masses instead of wasting them on preparations for war.
He expressed the hope that if Pakistan becomes prosperous, Kashmir will join it just like East Germany merged with the West Germany.
He said that Kalabagh dam was of vital importance with regard to economy of the country; however, work cannot be launched on this project without achieving a consensus among all of four provinces.
He called for adhering to principles of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal to attain progress and prosperity.
He directed the information secretary to consider the proposal to set up a research institute for journalists in Lahore. He said that he was also ready to double the endowment fund of Rs 70 million for journalists and directed the secretary to formulate recommendations for this purpose after consulting journalists.
PFUJ President Rana Azeem, former PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat, senior journalist Salman Ghani and office-bearers of journalist associations from other three provinces also spoke on the occasion.
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