LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said economic self-reliance is indispensible for national progress and development.

“Achievement of autarchy is difficult, but not impossible. The cooperation of international agencies is appreciable, but they will not come forward to help us financially every time. I can give you in writing with my blood that financial support from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank can never solve our problems.

The only way out is generating our own resources and getting rid of the begging bowl,” the chief minister said while speaking at the opening session of the two-day Punjab Human Development Forum 2018 held under the aegis of the Planning and Development Department at a hotel here on Tuesday.

The chief minister said Pakistan was not created to beg from others. “And if the country has to be taken forward, it must not have chaos. Joint efforts can change the course of history. To that end, we need to employ all our abilities,” he said.

Shehbaz said that Pakistan was facing numerous challenges and it was need of the hour that “we should work collectively so that every person can be empowered”. He vowed not to sit idle unless everyone is empowered and the nation is transformed. At that same time, he assured donor agencies of honest and fair use of funds for the public welfare. He said that cooperation of the donor agencies was highly appreciable.

He said that social disparity needed to be eliminated because the ultra rich enjoyed all facilities and the poor had to run from pillar to post to get even basic facilities. “This is the only way to stop a bloody revolution in the country -- ensuring judicious distribution of resources and bridging the gap between the rich and the poor,” the chief minister said, stressing the need for learning from the past mistakes and improving performance.

“This way, we can change a bloody revolution into a soft revolution. This is not Pakistan of the Quaid where the rich enjoys every facility and poor dies without treatment. Nobody can stop the bloody revolution if we do not improve the system,” the chief minister observed.

He said that purpose of establishment of Pakistan was enforcement of an equal system and for that purpose “our forefathers laid down their lives”. He said, “We should generate our resources for welfare projects and we should move towards self-reliance with the power of unity.” He said economic targets could not be achieved without developing the human resource because high-quality human resources played a pivotal role in overall socio-economic development of a country. “That is why the Punjab government has given importance to best development of human resources and practical steps have been taken to develop skilled workforce according to the industrial needs,” he said.

“Quality human resource is a prerequisite to materialise projects of public importance. Unluckily, the past governments continued the mantra of ‘all is well’ for 70 years without realising facts on the ground,” he siad.

Shehbaz said military dictator Pervez Musharraf deceived the nation by laying the foundation of Basha Dam project, as no spade work was ever done for this project.

There was no design, nor any land was procured, and even the projected was not accorded any approval, he said. “Along with this, resources were not allocated for the project. The past governments damaged confidence of the nation with their false claims. The incumbent government has made sincere efforts to rid the country of various problems and these efforts have proved fruitful.

Nowhere in the world energy projects have been completed with such a speed. Once terrorism and fanaticism posed a grave threat, but now peace has been restored in the country with the help of people, Pakistan Army, police and other law enforcement agencies,” he said.