LAHORE - Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has launched “Khadim-e-Punjab Zewar-e-Taleem Programme” in 16 districts of southern Punjab under which Rs6 billion scholarships will be distributed every year among the girl students.

To make transparent the programme, which will benefit more than 460,000 girls, the students will be given scholarships through Khidmat cards. This scholarship is aimed at the ensuring school education of girls and is conditional to 80 per cent attendance. Each girl will be given five times increased scholarship - Rs1,000 - every month.

“I advise the girl students who will get the scholarship to move forward with energy and vigor, and break the status quo to change the destiny of the country. End the culture of plunder and threat; and you all should work as a movement and redesign the country as per guidelines and aspiration of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal,” the CM said in his address at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Wednesday.

READ MORE: The true north

“If the daughters of the nation will equipment themselves with education, they will not need jewelry of gold and silver. The glitter of wealth has made the aristocracy blind and they criticise the provision of billions of rupees for the girl students. If the criticism regarding the provision of education and medical aid for the 90 per cent population is continued, then the country will witness such a revolution that will destroy everything and nothing will survive,” Shehbaz highlighted.

He further stated that the criticism of scholarship for daughters of nation is injustice and cruelty. “I cannot be frightened with this criticism. Even the last moment of my life is dedicated to the public and suffering people. I want to provide Rs 60 billion instead of Rs6 billion for the education of the daughters of the nation,” the CM told the ceremony.

One of the girls, who received Khidmet Cards, told the ceremony that her father had passed away two years ago and they were leading a miserable life. Her orderal brought the CM to tears and he called Bushra of Okara on the stage. She was given a seat beside provincial education Minister Rana Mashhood.

Another girl, Haya Batool of Government Girls Model High School Okara, shared that her father served in Municipal Corporation and died due to cancer. One of her sisters got a solar panel under Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme while the other achieved a laptop. Haya lauded the CM for taking revolutionary steps in educational sector, saying his name will be written in golden letters in the history.

Tahira Yasmeen, mother of a girl student of Mustafaabad, Kasur, while obtaining Khidmat Card, said that her income is very low and it is difficult to meet the expenditure of her family.

However, she said her daughters are now studying in Government High Secondary School and she was thankful to the chief minister on increasing monthly scholarship from Rs200 to Rs1000.

Rabia, a student from Kasur, said “no daughter is poor for her father, all the daughters are rich for their fathers but the resources become a hurdle.” She added every student wants to get education in a good school.

Talking to a large gathering, the young girl said that she would not forget Shehbaz Sharif for this excellent work.

The CM, addressing the gathering, said 10 per cent aristocracy class has all resources, but 90 per cent common Pakistanis are without resources. “We have to establish a new city of happiness by ending this cruel economic system and all this is possible through education,” Shehbaz said, warning the aristocracy not to criticise the welfare projects for the common people otherwise everything will be destroyed in revolution.

He further said that he was confident that this moth-eaten system cannot run for the long time and a bright future will dawn on Pakistan soon and the country will make progress and there will be justice.

In his address, Punjab Primary and Secondary Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmed said the scholarship programme reflects the mindset of the chief minister to provide education to daughters and sons of the nation. He went on to say that the CM has added new chapter in the education reforms of the province.

Punjab Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said the provincial government has taken revolutionary steps for the education and empowerment of the women. More than 200 centers have been set up to distribute Khidamt cards while 108 mobile centers have also been set up, she added.

PEEF vice chairman Amjad Saqib, on the occasion, said this is revolutionary programme and the chief minister deserves praise for this step.

Besides the minister, chief secretary, lawmakers, teachers, parents and education experts were also present on the occasion.