LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the future of Pakistan depends upon its youth and present government’s youth policy would change the destiny of the nation.

Presiding over a meeting on Sunday, he said Punjab government had started revolutionary programmes for the empowerment of the youth and billions of rupees had been provided for this purpose.

Provincial Minister for Education and Sports Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Member National Assembly Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Secretary Information, Director General Sports and other concerned officers attended the meeting.

The chief minister said that more than fifty thousand poor but talented male and female students were studying at local and foreign educational institutions with the help of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund.

Shahbaz  said that two lakh laptops worth more than eight billion rupees were distributed among talented students on merit basis during the last tenure of the government and a similar programme had been evolved this year.

He said that first Information Technology University of the country, e-learning programme, IT labs and other such steps were helping in polishing the talent of the young generation. Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab Youth Festival had become a movement and the youth had brought honour to the country by setting world record of forming the biggest human flag.

The chief minister appreciated Provincial Minister for Education and Sports Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, Director General Sports Board Usman Anwer and talented youth who had set world record of human flag and said that they have brought fame to the country through their discipline and hard work. The Chief Minister said that despite heavy rain, the youth displayed a national spirit and proved that they can achieve any objective. He said that Pakistan is a lucky country as its sixty percent population comprise youth between the age from 15 to 30 years. He said that youth were a precious asset and the goal of national development and prosperity could be achieved through their empowerment. He said that Punjab government was spending huge resources on the empowerment of young generation and imparting them modern knowledge and skills. He said that provision of resources to the youth was the guarantee to a glorious future of the country.

Shahbaz Sharif further said that Punjab government had taken revolutionary measures for the empowerment of the youths during the last five years and huge funds have been spent on their welfare. He said that Punjab Educational Endowment Fund was an exemplary programme of Punjab government and helping a large number of students facing economic problems pursue their studies. He said that a sum of two billion rupees was being allocated for Punjab Educational Endowment Fund each year and the total volume of the fund has exceeded the figure of ten billion rupees while it will reach an amount of Rs.20 billion during next five years due to which lakhs of talented students of poor families would be able to continue their educational process.

The chief minister further said that an internship programme had been started for the educated youth under which a monthly stipend of Rs.12 thousand was being given to them while they were also being imparted training at private organizations. He said that Youth Festival was helping Pakistani youth display their talent and such programmes would continue in future as well. He said that he is confident that Pakistani youth will set more world record during Youth Festival 2014.

The chief minister further said that the strategy adopted for the empowerment and self-reliance of youth will yield positive results and the destiny of the country will be changed.

He said that the progrmames initiated by Punjab government for the uplift of the youth were yielding encouraging results.