Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that by laying the foundation stone of Iran Pakistan gas pipeline project when the federal government was taking its last breath, Zardari has shown worst dishonesty to the country and deceived the nation. He said that people want to know why Zardari gang did not accept the offer of this project by the brotherly Islamic country five years ago. He said that in fact, starting Pak-Iran gas pipeline project in the final hours of the government is an attempt to bolster the image of Peoples Party and create complications for the future government.
He said that had Zardari any sympathy for the people or interest in the progress and prosperity of the country, he would have started this project when Iran had made the offer. He said that had Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project been started four years ago, natural gas would have been available in every nook and corner of the country and the national economy would not have been in such a pathetic condition nor industries would have been shut down nor the people would have lost their livelihood. He said that Zardari is a kind of person who left Pakistani brethren and sisters unattended in the hours of distress during the worst floods and went off on a pleasure trip to Paris and other European countries. Shahbaz Sharif said that he had made an appeal to Zardari in front of TV cameras from Jinnah Barrage Mianwali not to leave the inundated nation alone but he disregarded his request and proceeded on a tour of foreign countries for his personal enjoyments. He said that Pakistan Muslim League-N has nominated the best and most credible names for caretaker setup at the federal and Punjab level and the whole nation unanimously approves these personalities. He said that had People Party made better nomination, PML-N leadership would definitely have considered those names.
He was addressing columnists, TV anchors, intellectuals and journalists in Model town today. Senator Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, former members of Punjab Cabinet, advisors, special assistants, Chairman Planning & Development, Provincial secretaries and other government officers were present. Talking to media, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government of Pakistan Muslim League-N has served the people honestly and selflessly during the last five years and dissolved the provincial assembly 20 days before the constitutional tenure of the provincial government was over so that general elections could be held on the same day. He said that Allah Almighty be praised for having given him opportunity to serve the people for five years. He said that his record of public service is before the masses and they will give their decision in general elections on May 11. He said that PML-N leadership has utilized resources for the benefit of masses despite tremendous opposition of the federal government and difficulties. He said that Punjab government surrendered eleven billion rupees from its share for the unanimous approval of NFC Award.
He said that the federal government gave billions of rupees to other provinces in addition to their share under NFC Award but Punjab raised no objection. He said that despite this Punjab government has completed record development projects in education, health, agriculture and other sectors of social development during the last five years. He said that terrorism is a big challenge which has shaken the foundations of the country. He said that security is a federal subject whereas maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of provincial government. He said it is lamentable that former federal government has extended no cooperation to Punjab government for coping with the challenge of terrorism. He said that former Interior Minister Rehman Malik had promised to give scanners imported from China to Punjab government two and a half years ago but not a single scanner has so far been received by the Punjab.
Referring to the energy crisis, he said that Nandi Pur and Chichoki Maliyan power projects became a victim of greed and corruption of former rulers and the machinery of these projects is rusting at Karachi Port. He said that Chinese company which was supposed to set up these projects has gone back while sixty billion rupees have so far been spent. He said that inefficient former rulers remained engaged in corruption and loot and did not allow these projects to be implemented. He said that if these projects are started today an additional sum of twenty five billion rupees will be required and the projects will be completed within two years.
Referring to the resources spent on the development of South Punjab, the Chief Minister said that only Rs. 52 billion were spent on the uplift of this region during the five years tenure of Ch. Pervaiz Elahi whereas the Punjab government of PML-N has utilized a sum of Rs. 290 billion on the progress of these areas. He said that Daanish Schools have also been established in this region. He said that the look of Bahawalpur city has been changed and a modern 410-bed hospital has been set up there at a cost of 2.75 billion rupees. Similarly, he said that a medical college has also been established. He said that new sewer lines have been laid in Dera Ghazi Khan and roads and other projects worth billions of rupees have been executed in the area while Ghazi University and medical college have also been set up. He said that a project of new industrial estate has been started in Vehari while a kidney centre has been constructed in Multan at a cost of 1.5 billion rupees. He said that a new hospital has been built in Lodhran while campuses of agriculture and engineering university have been set up in Multan, Layyah and Borewala. He said that dictator Musharraf who gave the idea of so-called enlightenment and raised the slogan of Pakistan First by raising his fist stopped free dialysis facility for the common man in hospitals which was resumed by the PML-N government after coming into power. He said that Musharraf did not think of returning to Pakistan for four years in spite of the fact that there was no hindrance but now when he is returning he will face strong opposition from the people. He said that free medicines worth 25 billion rupees have been provided to the deserving patients in the hospitals of Punjab during the last five years. He said that a lot is still to be done to bring a change in Thana and Kutchery culture.
He said that land record computerization project is being implemented expeditiously and has been completed in two districts while rapid progress is being made on this project in 33 Tehsils. He hoped that documents relating to their property will be available to citizens in all districts by 2014 without any delay or offering bribe. He said land record computerization programme is continuing with the cooperation of World Bank which has expressed its satisfaction over the pace of its implementation. He said citizens will now be rid of exploitation by Patwari and Tehsildar. In reply to a question, the Chief Minister said that a committee headed by Kh. Asif was working for one and half years for the regularization of services of one lakh employees in the province. He said that a decision was made to regularize these employees in the light of recommendations of the committee in accordance with rules and regulations.
However, if someone has taken this matter to Supreme Court, the decision of the judiciary will be accepted. In response to another question, he said that a letter was sent to the opposition leader regarding the caretaker setup in Punjab and his letter has also been received. He said that PML-N nominated the best and most honest persons for the office of caretaker Chief Minister but Peoples Party proposed the name of Hafeez Akhtar Randhawa who was not ready to vacate his official residence despite the fact that the period of his entitlement was over.
He said that Justice (Retd.) Zahid Hussain took oath under PCO and such names are not acceptable at all. He said if PPP has any better name than Justice (Retd.) Amir Raza Khan and Kh. Zaheer it should bring forward and it is his promise that he will accept these names without wasting even a single moment. Replying to another question regarding awarding of party tickets to defaulters, he said that those who have got their loans written off on political basis are criminals and should not be forgiven. He said that PML-N is taking an oath from its candidates that they will meet the conditions laid down by the Election Commission. Replying to another question, he said that when Ch. Pervaiz Elahi left the government, there were fourteen billion rupees in the national exchequer while today there are twenty six billion rupees. The Chief Minister thanked media for providing guidance to him during the last five years and said that he has taken even the occasional criticism of media against his government with an open heart. He said that his government has not reacted even to the unjustified criticism of the media on some occasions. He said that his political opponents have been leveling allegations of expenditure of seventy to ninety billion rupees on the public welfare project of metro bus but when Transparency International asked Ch. Pervaiz Elahi, Imran Khan and Qamar Zaman Kaira to provide evidence they failed to do so. He said that besides metro bus project, Transparency International also declared Ujala program and laptops scheme as transparent. He said that people are witness to the success of metro bus project who travel on metro buses in large numbers. He said that though Baray Khan Sahib talk about change but it will be brought about by the masses through their votes in general elections. He said that Peoples Party will be wiped out in the general elections as it has pushed the people against the wall. He said that he is thankful to President Pakistan Muslim League-N Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for providing guidance to him and extending unconditional cooperation. He said that he is also grateful to former provincial ministers, advisors, special assistants and assembly members for cooperating with him. The Chief Minister also expressed gratitude to the government officers and his personal staff for their cooperation.