LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that prosperity of provinces is essential for strengthening of federation. He said there was a need for bringing the provinces closer and removing misunderstandings and to pay special attention to those areas, which have been neglected in the past. He was talking to Chief Minister Balochistan Nawab Aslam Raisani who called on him here on Sunday. Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmad, Minister for Finance Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, Finance Minister Balochistan, Mir Asim Kurd, Minister for Communication Mir Sadiq Imrani, Minister for Minorities Affairs, Muslim League leader from Balochistan Sardar Yaqub Nasir and senior officers were also present on the occasion. The CM said Pakistan was passing through a critical phase and it was the collective responsibility to steer the country out of present crisis. He said anti-Pakistan forces were bent upon weakening the country and there was need for unity for foiling their nefarious designs. He said foreign powers were responsible for worsening of situation in Balochistan. He said there was an important responsibility on the Chief Minister Balochistan to play a historic role for improvement of the situation in the province. He said Balochistan was the largest province of the country and it should be granted its due rights, as strength of the provinces was the strength of the federation. He said after other provinces, Punjab would now have the honour to host National Finance Commission and it was the desire of the government and people of Punjab that an amicable decision should be taken with regard to NFC Award. He said the existing scenario of the country demanded national solidarity for the solution of the problems. He said Punjab would play an important role in NFC Award and it was already supporting the stance of Balochistan. Chief Minister Balochistan Nawaz Aslam Raisani said rights of the provinces would have to be safeguarded and the mistakes of the past should be rectified. He said Chief Minister Punjab was playing an important role for the strengthening of federation and promotion of national unity. He said setting up of a hospital in Balochistan at a cost of Rs2 billion was a proof of the love of Shahbaz Sharif with Balochistan. He said increase in the number of seats for Baloch students in educational institutions in Punjab would not only bring the provinces closer but would also promote self-confidence in the students of Balochistan. Muslim League leader Sardar Yaqub Nasir said the steps taken by Shahbaz Sharif in Balochistan would promote national solidarity. Minister for Finance and Minister for Minorities Affairs Balochistan paid tributes to Chief Minister Punjab for his love for Balochistan and solution of its problems and said he had proved to be the elder brother in the real sense. Later, Chief Minister Punjab hosted a luncheon in honour of the guests. Provincial ministers, members national and provincial assemblies and senior officers also participated.