LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that he will stick to his stance on the proposed Bahawalpur and South Punjab provinces.

“The PML-N took practical step on the issue of new provinces by tabling resolutions on the subject. The PML-N government increased development budget for southern Punjab to 42 percent and this is much higher than the ratio of the population. Transparent elections are not possible without providing a level playing field to every party. Pakistan can be put on the path of development through transparent elections,” the chief minister said while talking to office-bearers of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and members of its Executive Council.

Shehbaz said he was working day and night for development and progress in the country. “I did not care about my health and ignore warnings of my personal physician. Due to old medical history, I am forced to take medical opinion from UK-based doctors. Efforts are being made to build state-of-the-art government hospitals. To provide medical facilities in remote areas, a medical unit of 54 motorbikes has been established. Visit hospitals of Layyah and Bhakkar and they look like hospitals of Europe,” he said.

The chief minister said that filter clinics have been set up for treatment and prevention of hepatitis. “For the treatment of kidney and liver, PKLI Hospital has been established in Lahore and at this national institution kidney transplant will be carried out. Every human effort has been made to serve the public,” he said.

Shehbaz says that PTI Chairman Imran Khan fabricates lies as stories are told in Qissa Khawani Bazaar. The chief minister said that a fraud of 70 billion rupees has been averted in the clean drinking water project and a case has been sent to the Anti-Corruption Department. An FIR has been registered. Where was NAB at that time? I feel pain because clean drinking water has not been so far provided to every household in Punjab. Every corrupt person and looter of national resources should be taken to the task. The services of PML-N government have become part of the history and our services will be written in the history in golden words.

He said by 2013 loadshedding had badly damaged the national economy and the business activity in Punjab was in bad shape. “Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif approved energy projects on my advice despite the opposition of the cabinet. By the grace of Allah Almighty we have been successful in overcoming energy crisis. Just imagine what the situation would have been if energy projects have not been established in Punjab. Fourth energy power plant installed in Punjab from its own resources will start production this year,” he said.

Answering a question, the chief minister said two power plants of 300 megawatt each have not been functional in Karachi so far due to bad intentions and electricity is being obtained from Wapda. “I raised objections in this regard at the meeting of the Council of Common Interests but the PPP government paid no attention. With the support of Chinese investors, Sahiwal project has been completed before the deadline to overcome loadshedding. CPEC is a unique gift. To overcome the damage caused by sit-in and politics of overthrowing government, efforts are being made day and night to complete development projects. A solar power plant is being installed in Punjab and wind power project in Jhang,” he said.

Shehbaz said that power projects of 5000MW had been set up in Punjab at the cost of billions of rupees. “Electricity generated by Punjab is being provided to every part of Pakistan,” he said.

He said he was very upset to see the situation in Karachi during his visit. “We used to visit Karachi in 60s and I had deep love for Karachi which is still alive. Karachi has become a heap of garbage and a city of broken roads and there is no drinking water. When I visited Peshawar I thought I will see billions of trees there, power production units, and people benefiting from the metro service, but I did not find anything like this. To make Pakistan the country dreamed by Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal, we need to end provincialism and differences over development and progress in all federating units.”