Pakistan cannot afford politics of protests, says Shahbaz

*Punjab chief minister says those engaged in protests are trying to hamper development process g Tough decisions made to uphold truth and justice

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan is passing through a critical phase and facing internal and external challenges. Therefore, he said, the country can neither afford protest politics nor it is justified at this stage. He said that the elements engaged in politics of agitation are trying to hamper the ongoing process of progress and development but 180 million patriotic and enlightened people of Pakistan will totally reject their politics of sabotage and chaos.
He expressed these views while talking to a delegation of Members of National and Provincial Assemblies, which met him on Sunday. The chief minister said that Pakistan Muslim League-N government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has worked day and night during the last one year to steer the country out of problems due to which national economy is improving. He said that rupee has appreciated 15 per cent against dollar while tax collection has also increased. 
He said that overall national production has enhanced, textile exports have increased by seven per cent while foreign exchange reserves have exceeded 14 billion dollars. The chief minister said that expeditious efforts are being made for resolving energy crisis and 1700 hundred megawatts of electricity have been added to national grid in a short period while work has been started on 19 projects of generation of 24870 megawatts electricity. He said that work has also been started on coal and solar power projects under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif first time in the history of Pakistan. Shahbaz Sharif said that China has announced an investment package of 32 billion dollars for energy, infrastructure and other sectors and due to solid and comprehensive measures taken by the government, the pace of progress and development has accelerated. 
He said that not even worst opponents have been able to accuse federal or Punjab government of corruption of even a single penny during the last one year and national resources are being spent on the welfare and betterment of the people. Shahbaz Sharif said that some political opponents of the government are making futile efforts to create confusion and chaos in the country through protest and agitation but 180 million people of Pakistan can differentiate between those who are serving them selflessly and who is engaged in politics of agitation. 
He said that patriotic and enlightened people of the country would never support such elements as are engaged in meaningless protest and agitation. The chief minister said that he is unable to understand why some elements are trying to hinder the process of national progress and prosperity through agitation and whose agenda they are trying to implement by hampering projects aimed at public welfare and uplift. He said that the demands of justice will be fulfilled at any cost regarding the loss of precious human lives in a clash with police in Lahore and those responsible for this tragic incident will not escape punishment. Shahbaz Sharif said that he fully realizes the sentiments of families of the deceased people as well as leaders and workers of Awami Tehreek. He said that he took emergent measures immediately after the sad incident and also made some tough decisions to uphold truth and justice. He said that the report of judicial commission will be implemented in letter and spirit and the guilty persons will not escape punishment. 
He said Shahbaz Sharif cannot tolerate that people are subjected to cruelty merely to remove barricades and is determined to provide justice to the affectees at any cost. He said that the case registered against the sons of Tahirul Qadri was withdrawn the same night. He said that as Khadim-e-Punjab his six years’ tenure is before the masses. Shahbaz Sharif said that he is the one who provided help to the victims of floods and other natural calamities everywhere in the province. 
He stood with the oppressed and spared no effort to take to task the oppressors and the powerful, under the law and constitution. He said his track record is witness to the fact that he has never compromised on principles and justice will also be ensured to the victims of Lahore tragedy. The chief minister said that he has already given orders for the arrest of those who opened fire on innocent people and all out measures are being taken to uphold justice. He said that he is answerable to Allah Almighty as well as 100 million people of Punjab and has stood by the weak against the powerful. He said that he would neither tolerate any hurdle in the provision of justice nor make any comprise in this regard. He said that he is ready to go to any extreme to ensure transparent and impartial inquiry. The chief minister said that he is Khadim of the people and is deeply aggrieved at the loss of precious human lives. He said that people of Punjab are like his family and he can fully realize the feelings of the bereaved families. 
He said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, federal and Punjab government as well as the whole nation share the grief of the families of the victims. Shahbaz Sharif said that the government has started exemplary programmes to resolve the problems of the poor masses and hampering this process is neither a service to the country nor a revolution. Why those who remained silent over the corruption of the last five years are now trying to hamper the process of national development and implementation of energy projects and what kind of service it is to the Pakistani nation, Shahbaz Sharif questioned. 

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