LAHORE - Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has criticised the sit-in policy of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and said it has hampered Pakistan’s journey to progress and delayed development projects.

Talking to the media during his visit to the site of the Liver and Kidney Transplant Institute here on Saturday, Shehbaz blamed the PTI for delay in completion of the Orange Line Metro Train project and said the opposition party took the issue to the court of law. “Imran Niazi does not want people of Punjab to avail the best travel and health facilities. That is why he is trying to throw spanner in the wheel in every development project in Punjab,” the chief minister said, adding the rich in the PTI were enjoying facilities but they were denying the poor travel and other facilities, which were their legitimate right.

“They don’t care about mass transit projects, as they travel in their Pajeros,” he said referring to rich leaders of the PTI. He said the PTI would be held accountable in the court of people and God for putting hurdles in the way of projects in Punjab. He said it was a pity that the PTI chairman had been very vocal against the metro bus project in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan, but he was now trying to have the same transport service for people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where his party was in power. “Don’t criticise the Punjab transport system if you are going to emulate the same,” he advised Khan.

Earlier in the day, Shehbaz visited the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute, which is currently under construction. He said the first phase of the hospital would be completed by December 25, adding that the 360-bed hospital would be fully operational by next year. “This is a project being funded through public-private partnership,” he said, adding that patients at the hospital would be treated free of cost. Currently, the government is looking for qualified doctors from across the globe for the hospital, he added.

TERRORIST ATTACK

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has condemned the terrorist incident at the Peshawar Agriculture Directorate. He expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of lives of innocent people. He conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the early recovery of the injured persons.

The chief minister praised quick and successful operation by security forces and said timely action by the security forces defeated hidden motives of terrorists. He said cruel enemy had once again attacked innocent and defenceless people but quick response by brave security forces foiled their nefarious designs and saved many innocent lives. He said the entire nation shared the grief of the bereaved families. He said terrorists were enemies of Pakistan and the nation was united to eliminate them.

KATAS RAJ TEMPLES

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Saturday reviewed measures taken for restoration of Katas Raj Temples and natural environment in the Salt Range, during a distance meeting via video link. The meeting discussed implementation of the ban on installation of new cement plants and other industries in the area.

Addressing the meeting, Shehbaz said the Punjab government had declared the Salt Range a negative area therefore there would be restriction on installation of new cement plants or industries. Similarly, there would be a ban on expansion of the existing cement plants, he said.

He said an inquiry was being conducted into the expansion of existing cement plants and in this regard the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team would finalise an inquiry report soon. More measures will be taken in the light of suggestions of this inquiry, he said.

The chief minister said the current provincial government of Punjab had not allowed any expansion at cement plants; the expansion was allowed by previous governments. He directed the authorities to take measures for restoration of Katas Raj Temples. He said protection of holy sites of minorities in Pakistan was government’s responsibility and this responsibility would be discharged efficiently. He said work should be started immediately for water level in the pond and draft of the Ground Water Act should be finalised within four weeks. He said nobody would be allowed illegal work in the area and the commissioner of Rawalpindi should visit the area personally and review the situation.

SPECIAL PERSONS DAY

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in his message on World Special Persons Day on Saturday that Islam gives respect to special persons and urges Muslims to look after them. He said “it is our moral, social and religious obligation at individual and collective levels to make efforts for welfare of special persons”. He said the main objective of this day was to create awareness about social and economic rights of special persons and make efforts to convert them into beneficial persons of the society.

He said special persons were dealing with problems with dignity and courage. He said “we should also spare some time from our busy lives for welfare of special persons”.

He said efforts to give special persons equal opportunities for progress in all fields of society had been accelerated. He said special persons could be made productive citizens through training and skill development and treatment given to special persons reflected moral and social values of society. He said the Punjab government was working on a comprehensive programme for welfare of special persons.

MILAD CELEBRATIONS

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif arranged an Eid Miladun Nabi ceremony at Jati Umra and Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif at his Model Town residence on Friday.

Jati Umra residence of the Sharifs was tastefully decorated on this occasion and renowned na’at khwan and religious scholars refreshed the faith of the participants. At the end of the ceremony, food was served to participants. Nawaz Sharif was also present on the occasion.

A similar ceremony was organised at the Model Town residence of the chief minister that was attended by Shehbaz, federal and provincial ministers, parliamentarians, lord mayor and deputy mayor of Lahore, local government office-bearers, leaders and workers of the PML-N, religious leaders and people belonging to various walks of life.

Recitation of verses from Holy Quran and na’at were recited by renowned na’at khwan on the occasion. Prayers for the progress and solidarity of the country were also offered.

PRAISE FOR POLICE

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has praised the police, administration and law enforcement agencies for making foolproof security arrangements across the province on Eid Miladun Nabi.

He said by the grace of Allah Almighty efforts of security institutions proved fruitful and Eid Miladun Nabi celebrations were held peacefully. He said he also congratulated the provincial cabinet committee for peace and law enforcement institutions. He said elected representatives, local government office-bearers and administration acted very effectively and religious leaders played their role in ensuring peace during Eid Miladun Nabi celebrations.

He said he was thankful to all concerned departments, institutions and personalities for peaceful celebrations.