LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has underscored the need for unity to face the challenges and make the country strong through economic progress.

He was addressing at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the sub campus of the Air University in Panj Faiz area of Multan on Wednesday. Air Chief Marshal Sohial Aman was also present.

“We must act in unison and rising above politics on the question of development of the country and empowerment of the youth to raise them as future leader in every field of our national life,” the CM held.

The chief minister said the youth, as vital national asset, need to be made doctors, engineers, scientists, and experts in various field through quality education and proper guidance so that they are groomed to serve the country as per the ideas of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.

He said in order to ensure education, health, jobs to the youth, defence and for economic development of the country we all must act rising above politics. He said we need to end difference in important sectors so that Pakistan moves forward. We should show complete unity to get our objectives.

The chief minister on the occasion announced that this year 125,000 laptops will be distributed in the youth on merit and the programme will be launched this month. He said the Punjab government has included students from other provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the laptop distribution.

He said those called the Metro bus project ‘jangla bus service’ are now launching such projects in their province. We should leave aside political stunts for the benefit of the country, he said adding, politics can be done in other sectors and not on the development and vital interests of the country which all have protect through unity and commitment.

CM Shehbaz Sharif said as we are dealing with the menace of terrorism taking it as a challenge, the same way we should accept the challenge of providing quality education to the youth. He said the challenge of terrorism can be met only by means of a strong economy for which billions of dollars CPEC project has a big role to play.

He regretted that many countries including China, had less per capita income against Pakistan till 1970 but they have gone miles ahead now and China stands at the top of them all only by virtue of strong economy which comes through quality education, hard work and honesty. He said we need to adopt science and technology because without it we cannot face challenges of the present time. He said due to CPEC countless opportunities of knowledge based economy will create and we need to get benefit from these opportunities and give modern education to our youth.

The chief minister said the Punjab government has saved billions of rupees by introducing IT in various departments where IT monitoring system and transparency have been ensured. He said the IT university in Rahimyar Khan is in the final stage of completion. He said the Punjab Education Endowment Fund is the largest education scholarship of South Asia and the volume of this fund has increased to Rs 20 billion and lakhs of students have got benefit from it.

Shehbaz Sharif said the sub campus of the Air University will provide education opportunities to the students of the South Punjab and the Punjab government will provide assistance for the establishment of the university. He said sub campus of the Air University, may also be linked with the metro bus.

Addressing the ceremony, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Zaman said education is not the name of getting degrees, but what matters is the spirit to take the country forward. He said education should create positive results in the society.

He said we have paid heavy price in the fight against terrorism and now we have to make our economy strong.

Addressing the ceremony Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Mukhatar Ahmed said higher education institutions are increasing in Pakistan and so far 184 universities have been established in public and private sectors. He said HEC is proving scholarships to thousands of students to get higher education in foreign counties and the ranking of our universities has improved the world over.

VC Air University Vice Marshal (R) Faiz Ameer said the campus of the Air University in Multan was established in 2011 which has progressed very fast.

Shehbaz Sharif laid the foundation stone by unveiling the plaque. The air chief marshal presented a souvenir to the chief minister.