BAHAWALPUR-Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif yesterday declared that the government deems education as the only way towards speedy development and that’s why has taken revolutionary steps for the promotion of quality education.

“The Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF) has laid the foundation for quality education and has opened doors of higher education for the children belonging lower and poor strata of society.”

Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif expressed the views while addressing cheques distribution ceremony of the Punjab Education Endowment Fund here at Islamia University Bahawalpur, Baghdadul Jadeed Campus on Friday.

The chief minister recalled that he got the idea about setting up such a fund during his days in exile in Jeddah. “I saw three children of Ahmad Named, a Saudi driver, were getting higher education in King Abdullah University with full scholarships granted by the Saudi government and made up my mind that if God willing, whenever I got an opportunity, I will establish such a fund to ensure higher education to the talented students belonging to lower income class,” he recounted vividly.

“Had such an educational fund been established 70 years ago, not a sing child of Pakistan would have been deprived of education today and everyone would have been able to play due role in the national development,” Shehbaz Sharif pointed out, adding that it would have been the ideal situation for the country and would have “shut the mouths of those demanding Pakistan to do more.”

Throwing light on the current scenario prevailed in the country, Shehbaz Sharif regretted that the rich has made opportunities for their children to get higher education through fraud or bribery while children of the poor are deprived of even basic education. The Punjab government, he said, has taken a step towards bridging this gap, getting wider and wider, with each passing day between the poor and the rich by initiating the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. The Punjab CM claimed that the government, through PEEF, has made a secure investment to the tune of Rs17 billion in the future of 200,000 students so far since inception of the fund. “The project, started with Rs2 billion seven years ago, now has grown to Rs17 billion,” he shared, posing a question that if Pakistan is to be made a great country in the world, this fund must be increased to Rs1,700 billion.

Sharing another incident, Shehbaz Sharif informed that in Great Britain, a hair dresser’s girl who made it to the Cambridge University on full scholarship strengthened his conviction that if Saudi Arabia and the UK can get their youth educated solely based on merit, why not Pakistan gets started such kind of system for it youth.

He lamented that for the past 70 years, the rich is feeding the poor for its own benefits and as a result majority of the Pakistani nation is grown poor, deprived and unemployed, which in fact is the biggest crime ever. He added that he does not accept this system and motivated himself to introduce the nation to the bright educated future and Punjab Education Endowment Fund is proof of this vision according to which hundreds of thousand students are mastering in the fields of Engineering, Computer Science, Medicine and Modern Education.

The chief minister went on to say that the UK’s social welfare system is based on Islamic teachings and collective social and economic justice. “We have deviated from Islam due to which we have utterly failed to establish an Islamic welfare state, despite lapse 70,” he compared, adding that the country could not become the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam or Dr Allama Iqbal until each child does not have education and other basic facilities which are available to the rich.

Shehbaz Sharif reiterated the government claim that by the end of 2018, there would be no darkness in the country and power loadshedding would be eliminated from the country.