LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that 59 thousand scholarships have been given to the poor but talented students under the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said that 1,900 brilliant male and female students of Balochistan were getting higher education through this fund besides those belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Sindh, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Fata. He was presiding over a meeting of Board of Directors of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF), on Wednesday. Vice Chairman PEEF Dr. Amjad Saqib, MPA Bushra Anjum Butt, Justice (R) Aamir Raza Khan, Secretary Finance, Secretary Higher Education, CEO PEEF Kamran Shams and concerned officials were present on the occasion. Balochistan Local Govt Minister Sardar Mustafa Khan Tareen and 15 PEEF scholars, who completed their education through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, especially attended the meeting which took a number of important decisions regarding expansion of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that the DFID UK was also providing Rs. 1.60 billion in recognition of the services of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He was of view that provision of resources for the education and training of youth was a useful investment. He said that thousands of poorest talented male and female students were getting their education through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund.The chief minister further said that country could not be put on the road to progress by promoting education and steering it out of crisis and problems. He said that education was an effective weapon for overcoming problems like extremism and poverty. He said that the developed nations have achieved the goals of progress only through promotion of education. Shahbaz said that under Educational Fund, all scholarships were being given to the poorest but brilliant male and female students only on merit basis. He said that not a single scholarship was provided without merit and ability. He said that as a result of this welfare and revolutionary programme of Punjab government, no student could be deprived of higher education due to non-availability of resources. Shahbaz Sharif said that a transparent procedure had been adopted for providing educational scholarships. He said that like other programmes of Punjab government, this programme was also a shining example of transparency and free from ‘safarish’. He said that two billion rupees were being added in Punjab Educational Endowment Fund every year and the volume of this fund would reach 20 billion rupees during next five years. The CM said that thousands of poorest but talented students all over the country, completing their education under this fund, will play their due role in the development and prosperity of the country and the nation. Shahbaz Sharif directed that a piece of land should immediately be provided for establishing permanent office of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. While appreciating the performance of Board of Directors of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, Shahbaz Sharif said that the Board had played a commendable role for providing scholarships to the intelligent students.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 30-Jan-2014 here.