LAHORE - PML-N President and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that development in southern Punjab has always been his priority and his government spent huge funds in the underdeveloped area.

As a result, he said, people of southern Punjab were enjoying today facilities that they had been craving for the last 70 years.

The chief minister, who could not fly to Bahawalpur due to poor weather conditions, addressed the workers’ convention through video link from Lahore. He told people of southern Punjab that he wanted to see them, but he could not due to poor weather conditions. He however said that he would visit southern Punjab soon and discuss with the locals restoration of Bahawalpur province.

The chief minister said that southern Punjab had always been given priority in terms of health, education, infrastructure, transport and other facilities. “The people of Bahawalpur have honoured the PML-N with their trust and their love and affection towards the party is unprecedented. This love and affection is not one-way; the PML-N leadership also loves people of Bahawalpur,” he said. He said the Punjab government had spent Rs70 billion on development in Bahawalpur district in nine years. He said that around Rs50 billion had been spent on development in Bahawalpur district during the last five years.

Shehbaz said that people of Bahawalpur had played their role in creation of Pakistan and then national development. He said the PML-N government had moved the country towards stability and Pakistan was successfully moving from chaos to peace, poverty to prosperity and darkness to light. The PML-N government has sincerely strived for national development and prosperity, he said.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain called on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Monday and shared views on different matters of mutual interest, including political issues and public welfare projects.

Shehbaz said the government had given priority to public welfare, but its political opponents wasted their time in name calling. The number of development projects completed by the incumbent government of the PML-N is matchless, he said. “Our opponents have set records of lies and we have made new records of development projects,” he said.

The chief minister said that PML-N was the most popular and largest political party today due to its service to the public and its opponents had realised that they wasted people’s time in other provinces. “Our government has always succeeded and we shall go to people with our heads high in the next general elections,” he said. He said that people would hold accountable those who looted national resources and impeded the journey of development. Those who ignored people in their provinces will be hiding their faces in the next general elections, he said. One political party ruined Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the other played havoc with Sindh, he said.

Shehbaz said that due to ruthless plunder of national resources by corrupt rulers of the past the country plunged into the abyss of poverty, unemployment and ignorance. “These are the people who have pushed the country to darkness. They filled their pockets instead of utilizing resources for public welfare projects. Had these people not looted national resources, the country would have not faced problems to such an extent. The PML-N has promoted the culture of transparency, quality and merit. We believe that merit is the only ladder to development and success and the government has taken practical steps for collective wellbeing and prosperity of people,” he said.

Separately, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the law enforcement agencies to ensure tight security throughout the province.

The chief minister presided over a high-level meeting, which reviewed the overall situation of security in the province and issued necessary instructions to officials to beef up security. The high officials should personally monitor the security arrangements regularly, he said. He made it clear that laxity would not be tolerated with regard to security arrangements and added that concerned agencies should perform their duties diligently.

Adviser Rana Maqbool Ahmad, chief secretary, ACS, Punjab Police inspector general and other officials attended the meeting.