The other day the University of the Punjab held a special function in honour of the position holders in the year 2009 BA/BSc Examinations. A similar tribute was paid last year to those who achieved excellence at their graduation. CM Shahbaz Sharif found time to personally greet the position holders last year and again this year. Since promotion of the cause of education is my passion and I am deeply indebted to Mian Sahib for his gracious inauguration of Ibn-e-Sina Education Movement and Monthly Qindeel-e-Nau. During his first tenure in 1997, I availed the opportunity to congratulate him for launching a salient revolution in every sector with focus on education, as key to Pakistan's future progress. "Permit me," I told him that he "was ushering in the dawn of a new Renaissance in the largest province of Pakistan." Shahbaz smiled and said: "This is only the beginning. I am depending on the new generation to bring about the renaissance that you are talking about. Wait till the students and teachers that we have sent abroad to drink deep at the fountains of modern science and technology and when the talented young girls that we honoured today, take their place after the training in various important seats of the civil society, the renaissance you talked about, shall not be too difficult to achieve." In a flash I remembered that over Rs 14 crore were allocated by the Punjab government for debating and essay writing competitions in various boys and girls schools and colleges in the province. It was good to notice great enthusiasm in such competitions. This is a big change. I thought of talented students' educational tours and trips of entertainment to places like the Salt Range, Texala and even enjoying the hospitality of CM House in Murree. I believe that the upgradation of all schools in the Model villages, to be set up across the Punjab, with better salaries for teachers and free compulsory education for all up to Metric, is a goal which will change the face of our country. The recruitment of thousands of new teachers, purely on merit and introduction of computer training in all government schools, is a big change. Is it not? In a meeting of the council of National Affairs on Friday, we had my friend Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib of Akhuwat as our guest of the evening. He is looking after the education endowment fund set up by the Punjab Government with initial amount of Rs 2 billion for the promotion of education in all its numerous sectors under a dedicated Board of Directors. I have no doubt the accumulated effect of all the endeavours initiated so far will certainly help the dawn of modern, democratic welfare state according to the vision of Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam. As I was writing the concluding lines of this column my telephone rang. Saeed Akhter an old friend from GC Lahore was on the line from Germany. He was thrilled over a team of our 20 talented students currently touring various universities including Heidelberg University where Iqbal once studied and a street is named after him. Saeed said the Pakistani students' team has left for UK after a long overdue visit of very positive nature of mutual benefit at the international level. What a coincidence that this weekend has marked our PM's meeting with his Indian counterpart in Egypt, President Zardari's meeting with Nawaz Sharif after eight months at Raiwind and the Supreme Court judgement acquitting Nawaz Sharif of the hijacking charges, clearing the way for his return to electoral politics. All these events point towards a united effort to meet the challenges facing the country today. Needless to say that the pivotal role of Punjab cannot be over emphasised. The writer is the president of the Pakistan National Forum