LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday underscored the need for addressing the root cause of extremism for its elimination.

Talking to Scottish Parliamentarian Hanzala Malik, the chief minister said scourge of extremism had severely affected Pakistan whereof it had been stuck up in a whirlpool situation.

“More than 40,000 Pakistanis have laid down lives in the war against terrorism and need of the hour is that the international community acknowledge them to realise how deeply the evil has wounded us and how many problems and challenges the country is facing on account of it,” he added.

The chief minister exchanged views with the guest on various matters of mutual interest and said fundamental causes needed to be looked into for uprooting extremism. He said factors like unemployment, economic deprivation and injustice pushed the people to extremism.

Shahbaz said the Punjab government was against any such foreign aid which negatively impacts Pakistan’s dignity and sovereignty. He said his recent visit to Turkey, Germany and Britain remained highly successful and foreign investors had expressed their interest in investment in Punjab.

Scottish Parliamentarian Hanzala Malik appreciated the policies of the Punjab government and said Shahbaz had laid network of development projects throughout the province.

Also, Shahbaz on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to accelerate rehabilitation of the flood affectees of South Punjab by adopting every possible measure.

Presiding over a meeting to take stock of the rehabilitation activities carried out for flood affectees in South Punjab, the chief minister promised to provide the affected people with tents, quilts, and blankets before the onset of winter season while seeking expeditious work on their rehabilitation.

He also directed the irrigation department to chalk out long term planning for minimising damages caused by floods and torrential rains. Shahbaz said the Punjab government would not leave alone flood affectees of Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan districts, and all out efforts would be made to compensate them for the damages caused to their houses and crops, from flood and rains.

He directed that the survey of damages should be transparent and to estimate the damage caused to canals, drains, and irrigation system accurate every necessary step should be taken on emergency basis.

Also, addressing a special meeting on dengue on Tuesday, Shahbaz Sharif said that those who waged a successful crusade against dengue were national heroes and would be rewarded. He said success had been achieved in the war against dengue by the grace of Allah Almighty; and efforts of people of all segments of the society.