LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need for forging unity to cope with the challenges being faced by the country.

“Celebrating the 70th Independence Day with zeal and fervour, we all must rise above politics” he said while talking to the media at the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Lahore Fort Monday.

The chief minister also stressed the need for political stability. “Pakistan is a nuclear power with ability to crush the enemy. But we should also take stock of our past and see why the country is still political and economically weak. We must work jointly to make Pakistan prosperous,” he observed.

He paid tribute to the Pakistan Movement veterans and called for following in the footsteps of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. He also paid homage to the martyrs of war on terror.

Shehbaz Sharif on this occasion also came down hard on political opponents as he accused them of committing corruption using political influence.

 “There are people who got their loans written-off though political influence. There are people whose corruption scandals are known to everybody. Such people have their assets abroad”, he said, adding that corruption would be curbed at all costs. He said Pakistan was established to give equal opportunities to everyone. 

Lord Mayor Col(r) Mubashar Javed presented the welcome address. The diplomats of China, Turkey, Iran and the US, provincial ministers, chief secretary and senior civil and military officers were also present.

After the event, Shehbaz paid a surprised visit to Manawan Hospital and had a round of all the units. The 100-bed hospital is newly-constructed on a 49-kanal of land. 

“Modern medical facilities have been provided. The hospital is a gift for the people living in the border area,” he said and directed the administration o to make it a model for other hospitals.

He said Punjab had the credit of setting the trend of international standard hospitals for the poor. He said Recep Tayyip Hospital in Muzzafargarh, Burns Unit in Multan and Shehbaz Sharif Hospital in Lahore were a few examples where best medical facilities were available.  He said provision of medical facilities to the poor was his mission and he will continue with it.

Health Week message

Also, in his Health Week message, the chief minister said that his government had increased the health budge to bring in betterment.

“The improvement in health sector and provision of best facilities are the priorities of the government. Billions of rupees have been spent for the purpose,” he said, adding that considerable improvement in the health sector had been witnessed due to result-oriented measures of the Punjab government. He said he was personally monitoring the health programmes across Punjab. 

He said blood screening and vaccination camps will be set up at THQs and DHQs this week and free medical check-up of pregnant women and vaccination will be provided to the children. He said free tests of hepatitis, aids, malaria and tuberculosis will be carried out.