Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that the volume of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) has reached Rs.10 billion which is increased by two billion rupees every year. He said had this programme been started 65 years ago, its volume would have reached RS.130 billion today which would have been helpful for the education of lakhs of talented and deserving students. He said that PEEF have provided educational scholarships to more than forty thousand male and female students during the last five years as a result of which they are studying in prestigious local and foreign universities.
He expressed these views while addressing an impressive ceremony held in connection with completion of five years of PEEF which was attended by Lashkri Raeesani of PPP and his delegation who recently joined PML-N, Senior Advisor Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Special Assistant Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Advisor to CM Zakia Shahnawaz, vice Chairman PEEF Dr. Amjad Saqib besides assembly members, vice chancellors, teachers, intellectuals, and a large number of students.
Addressing the ceremony, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government fought anti-dengue war successfully in Punjab, established Daanish schools in the far flung areas, provided interest-free loans to the unemployed youth enabling them to share the burden of their families and provided training opportunities to graduates in various institutions under internship programme. He said our vision is that education is the right of everyone and not only the elite. He said that education is free in England and Europe where children of labourers and ministers study together.
He said that undoubtedly Britain and Sweden have adopted practical model of Misaq-e-Madana but unfortunately, educational, health and other facilities are equal to nothing in Pakistan and added that at present lakhs of girls and boys are deprived of educational and health facilities. He said that if we did not ensure provision of basic facilities to common man then God bless us. He said that Punjab government has executed all its programmes in a transparent manner on merit and claimed that transparency and merit has been given preference in the programmes of Punjab. He said that Britain and Europe are not 100% corruption free but there exist an effective check and balance system.
He said that Punjab government has taken every possible step for the elimination of corruption but we have to face difficulties from the center. He said that on this historical occasion, he does not want to political point scoring but he is confident that the splendid journey of PEEF will continue forever and expressed firm belief that no force could be able to end this programme. He said that time will come when this fund will reach Rs.100 billion and lakhs of deserving, talented male and female students will continue their educational journey. He said that education is the basic right of every child and it is the responsibility of the state to ensure provision of quality education and it is our mission. He expressed the hope that Pakistan will become a great country despite difficulties.
The Chief Minister congratulated Vice Chairman PEEF Dr. Amjas Saqib and his entire team on furthering this programme successfully. The Chief Minister also presented a souvenir to Dr. Amjad Saqib. Dr. Amjad Saqib on this occasion said it is vision of Punjab Chief Minister that no talented student be deprived of education and this fund has become the largest scholarship fund in the history of the country out of which scholarships are also being provided to the students of other provinces including Balochistan. He said that earlier, 400 scholarships were being awarded to male and female Balochi students and this number has now been increased to 600.