LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said the launching of the Punjab Youth Festival at union council level across the province is a welcome step that will not only help hunt young talent at local level but also promote healthy activities in an organised manner. Talking to a youth delegation on Sunday, the chief minister said by holding Punjab Youth Festival, PML-N government had arranged a platform for providing equal opportunities to the citizens for displaying their abilities. Besides sports, Punjab Youth Festival had been made more interesting and popular by including the competitions of extracurricular activities in this mega event, he added. “Such events are essential for the promotion of forbearance and tolerance as well as elimination of the menace of extremism from the society where citizens can display their abilities by ensuring their participation without any discrimination,” the chief minister said. Shahbaz Sharif said extremism and the trend of intolerance was a big hurdle in the progress and prosperity of the society. “The holding of Punjab Youth Festival will be helpful in discouraging negative trends,” he added.The chief minister said new generation was a ray of hope for the country which had to put the society on the right direction. “No doubt, the present system has become obsolete and without burying it, we, as a nation, cannot achieve the destination of development and prosperity. The dream of rapid development can only be realised by equipping the new generation with modern knowledge and technology,” he further maintained.Shahbaz Sharif said whatever resources be spent for the education and training of builders of the nation, were not enough. He stressed upon the youth to build such a Pakistan by burying the system polluted with corruption, plunder and kickbacks where honesty, trust and merit were upheld and no corrupt person could dare to loot the national resources. “Youth is the guarantee to bright future of Pakistan. Only those nations have made tremendous progress which equipped their young generation with latest knowledge and utilised all-out resources on them. Information technology has become an admitted fact and due to it, the world has become a global village so keeping in view its importance,” the chief minister held.Shahbaz Sharif said the Punjab government had taken revolutionary steps for promotion of information technology in the province and in the first phase, 125,000 laptops had been distributed among the talented students on merit basis in a transparent manner. He disclosed that Punjab government was also giving laptops to the special children during current financial year. The chief minister said other provinces were also following the programmes of PML-N government launched for the youth which reflected their confidence in the successful ongoing programmes of the Punjab government. “Not only cash prizes are being given to the talented students for their encouragement but they are also being sent abroad regularly on study tours of prestigious institutions. The establishment of IT University in the City is also a milestone for the promotion of IT,” he concluded. The youth, while paying tributes to the chief minister on this occasion, said Shahbaz Sharif had taken unprecedented steps for the uplift of education sector. They said for the first time, laptops had been distributed among the students on merit basis.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 27-Aug-2012 here.