LAHORE - Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said the nation needs to unite to cope with the challenges faced by the country.

“Nefarious designs of anti-social elements can be thwarted only through the force of unity, which is indispensible to take the country forward economically. As such, we all must set aside our internal disputes for the sake of unity,” the chief minister said while talking to a party delegation, which called on him on Monday.

Shehbaz said that Pakistan cannot tolerate politics of chaos in any condition. He said he has always termed the public service a noble cause and added that people of the province were selflessly served during the last four years.

Shehbaz said that solid strategy has been adopted for the speedy development of the province and added that transparency and merit policy has been promoted. He said that supremacy of merit has been ensured in every sector and zero-tolerance policy has been adopted against corruption. He said timely and qualitative completion of development projects has been ensured in the province. He said that development of less-developed areas is government’s priority. He said Khadim-e-Punjab Rural Roads Programme is a milestone initiative in the development process of rural areas, while transport and infrastructure development projects have been speedily completed. Similarly, he said, revolutionary steps have been taken for improvement in education and healthcare sectors and Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute will ensure provision of best healthcare facilities to the masses. The chief minister said that all resources are being utilized for public welfare and provision of basic facilities to people. He said the Punjab government has devised a comprehensive programme of cleanliness of villages like cities. “We have served people with full vigour and the same will continue in future as well,” he added.

Earlier, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing at the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad and greeted him on his arrival in Pakistan. He discussed with him promotion of bilateral relations and extension of mutual cooperation in different sectors, including CPEC project.

Talking to the chief minister, the Chinese ambassador said that Pak-China friendship and bilateral cooperation was expanding with the every passing day and commended role of Shehbaz Sharif in this regard. He said Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was a visionary leader and the title of ‘Punjab Speed’ was the result of his untiring efforts and extraordinary performance. He said the credit of beating the energy crisis through early completion of power projects goes to Shehbaz Sharif. He said that performance of the Punjab government reflects the public sentiments under the leadership of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and added that he has worked hard to promote Pak-China friendship and implement CPEC projects. His commitment and performance is unforgettable in this regard, he added. He said that Pakistan and China are trustworthy friends and CPEC is a reflection of development vision of the leadership of both the countries. This project has given new dimensions to Pak-China relations, he added. He said that economic development schemes are commendable and both countries will continue progress with this passion.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that Pak-China friendship is a glowing example of peace, love, cooperation and unwavering passion. The gigantic CPEC project has written a new history of economic development and other countries of the region will get benefit from this initiative. The CPEC has opened new avenues of development in Pakistan, he added. The chief minister said there is no example of speedy and transparent completion of schemes under CPEC in Pakistan. The CPEC project has given new heights to relations between the two countries. It is a gigantic project whose benefits have started to appear. He said that loadshedding has been eliminated in Pakistan due to completion of energy projects in a record period of time and pointed out that 1320-megawatt Sahiwal Coal Power Plant has been completed six months before time. He said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has given a wonderful vision of belt and road initiative. He said the journey of friendly relations between Pakistan and China spans six decades and now this friendship has become an example of its own. In fact, he said, the Pak-China friendship is touching new highs. He said that China has been standing by Pakistan like a solid rock on political and diplomatic fronts. During the tenure of the PML-N government, Pak-China relations expanded and strengthened as both the countries are conjoined twins in the immortal relations of mutual love and respect. China has proved itself a true friend of Pakistan by helping it in difficult situations and the Pakistani nation cannot return back this great benefaction. He said the whole nation is thankful to the Chinese leadership and people for their fullest support and investment and shall always remember this unique Chinese cooperation while the friendship will remain intact forever. He said that the immortal Pak-China friendship has entered a new phase of durable relations and people of Pakistan are proud of full confidence and economic cooperation of China. “It is hoped that your stay in Pakistan will further promote friendly relations and new opportunities of bilateral engagements will be developed,” he added.

The chief minister said that progress on joint ventures in different sectors is going on successfully due to high-level friendly relations and trade cooperation between the two countries. Due to this, various employment and business opportunities are being created. He also commended the investments made by heads of Chinese companies in Pakistan and trust of the leadership of People’s Republic China.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that International Volunteer Day provides a useful platform for saving human lives through effective, comprehensive and collective efforts during natural calamities.

In his message on International Volunteers Day, Shehbaz Sharif said that voluntary organizations and people working for people facing difficulties deserve accolades because helping people in need is a high example of human values.

He said volunteers working without any interest earn benefits of both the worlds. The volunteers move forward to help people in need without caring for their lives during natural calamities and disasters and work with zeal and passion, which is a high virtue.

Similarly, volunteers perform their duties by rising above the barriers of culture, language and territorial boundaries by serving the humanity with passion. That is why, the character of organizations and the people engaged in different types of voluntary assignments enjoy a unique and exemplary status in the society. He said that role of volunteer organizations during catastrophic situations like floods and earthquakes is very important and the losses can be controlled during such eventualities by giving professional training to volunteers. He said “we should also reiterate our commitment today that organizations and volunteers will be continuously encouraged by the society”.