LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that prosperity of the country depends upon prosperity of all the four provinces as well as Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

He said that joys and sorrows of the people are common. The country can be put on the road to progress and transformed into an Islamic welfare state in the real sense only through promotion of national solidarity and an atmosphere of unity and brotherhood, he stressed.

The CM said that loot and corruption is rampant in the country and corruption is the root cause of poverty. He said that there is a need to root out corruption and utilise all resources on the welfare and betterment of the masses. While new elections are the solution to all the problems of the country, Shahbaz declared.

He said that immediate steps are needed to remove the sense of deprivation of Balochistan and there is a need to move in this direction with commitment, tolerance and sincerity.

He was talking to a 45-member delegation of print and electronic media of Sindh led by President Sukkur Press Club Lala Asad Pathan which met him here Friday.

Replying to a question about the situation in Balochistan, the CM said that the rights of Balochistan should be upheld and the solution of the problems of Balochi people should be found through mutual consultation. He said that the President of Pakistan is also a Baloch and it would have been much better if he had come out of Presidency and met the Baloch leaders and won their hearts by resolving their problems.

It is the responsibility of national leadership to address the misgivings and reservations of the Balochi youth, he maintained. In reply to another question about water and energy crisis, he said that had Pervez Musharraf completed Bhasha Dam during his tenure, 4000 megawatt electricity would have been available. He said that billions of rupees are being spent on the import of fuel and rental power projects while cheap electricity could be produced with coal. Had planning been made for the generation of power from coal, the country would not have been plunged into darkness, he deplored.

He said that the historic Water Apportionment Accord was signed during the Prime Ministership of Nawaz Sharif in 1991 which no one has challenged so far and the same spirit should be shown on water issue. Replying to a question about Kerry-Lugar Bill and foreign assistance, Shahbaz Sharif said that no nation can achieve prosperity with the charity from Aghyaar (foreigners) and there is need to renounce such charities for making progress. He said that Punjab government has given up such assistance of Aghyaar which undermines national dignity and honour.

Responding to a question about new elections, the CM said that the demand for new election is the constitutional, political, legal and democratic right of all political parties and solution to all the issues lies in fresh elections.

President Press Club Lala Asad Pathan said that due to the measures taken by the CM for the welfare of the masses, Punjab has become a role model for the whole country.