LAHORE   - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has approved a Minority Development Fund (MDF) 2013-14 according to which Rs 10 million will be allocated to each of the seven minority MPAs, equivalent to the amount allocated to the MPAs elected on general seats, under the Punjab Development Programme MPA Package 2013-14.

The chief minister desired that each minority MPA should identify the schemes out of this allocated amount of Rs.10 million, in view of the official guidelines, while the scheme would be executed by the concerned DCOs. As regards the remaining amount of Rs.130 million, development schemes, having significant impact, should be identified by the district administration in consultation with the minority MNAs /MPAs in the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Sheikhupura, having total allocation of Rs.50 million, Rs.30 million, Rs.20 million, Rs.15 million and Rs.15 millions respectively. The chief minister further directed that the development schemes should be identified in the most impoverished areas of minorities, having a gestation period of 2 to 3 years, with a view to bringing those areas at par with the rest of the respective city in the long run. It may be mentioned that these schemes would be titled as ‘Chief Minister’s Special Package for Minorities’ and the allocations for these schemes will be protected in future ADPs to have schemes of bigger scale and size, while an allocation of Rs.130 million for the current financial year will be considered as token allocation for requisite purpose.

Meanwhile, addressing an annual function of the Harvard Business School Club at Jillani Park, here on Saturday, the chief minister said that Pakistan was passing through a critical juncture of the history and facing challenges like energy crisis, extremism, corruption, poverty and unemployment.

Chief executives and professionals of various business organizations attended the function. President Harvard Business School Club, Umar Saeed gave a briefing about the business and social activities of the club.

He said country could be brought out of quagmire of problems through collective wisdom. Shahbaz said Pakistan could be made economically strong by acting upon the principles of hard work, honesty and determination.

The chief minister said that PML-N leadership was determined to steer the county out of crisis and make it economically strong. He said Pakistan could achieve the goals of rapid development through solid industrial and economic policies. He said Pakistan was rich in mineral resources and had great brains. He stressed the need for utilizing these resources sincerely for the rapid development of the country and the nation. He said unfortunately, Pakistan was facing a number of internal problems these days in which terrorism and extremism were the biggest ones. The chief minister said that Pakistan had sacrificed more than 50,000 precious human lives in the war against terror so far. He said the nation will have to unite by setting aside petty differences for overcoming this problem. He said present government was endeavoring for coping with these challenges with the cooperation of friendly countries and China was on the top of the list which helped them in every hour of trial.

He said, “China gave us great gifts like Shahra-e-Resham, Heavy Mechanical Complex and Chashma Nuclear Power Plant”. He said the trade of China with Pakistan was only seven billion dollars annually whereas with India it was 75 billion dollars and it was demand of the friendship that the trade volume between Pakistan and China should be enhanced. He said despite border and political disputes, China had made investment in the projects of generating 20,000 megawatt electricity from coal and he had personally witnessed it during his recent visit to India. He said that it was a matter of pondering for all. Shahbaz said, “We have to reform ourselves and no one from outside will come for our help.” The chief minister said it was lamentable that the Muslim is cutting the throat of the Muslim. The CM said it was high time that this negative approach should be ended forever. He said hardworking nations had made progress in the world whereas poor and weak nations had to take dictation everywhere. He expressed the hope that Pakistan would certainly achieve a dignified status in the comity of nations.

Promotion of coop between Pakistan-Qatar discussed

Meanwhile, Chairman Board of Directors of Doha Group of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Falah Bin Jassim Jabr Al Thani along with his delegation called on Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, here on Saturday. Sheikh Mohammad Al Thani, Mubarak-ul-Nasir, Member National Assembly Aamir Magsi and Muhammad Saeed Mehdi were also present on the occasion. Promotion of cooperation in energy and other sectors was discussed during the meeting. Doha Group of Qatar evinced keen interest in the promotion of cooperation in energy and other sectors in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz said deep brotherly relations existed between Pakistan and Qatar. He said Qatar had international repute in the exports of oil particularly LNG. The chief minister said that Pakistan was facing energy crisis and government will welcome investment by Doha Group in energy sector. He said that facilities were being provided to the foreign investors for investment in energy sector on priority basis. Shahbaz also hosted a luncheon in the honor of the delegation of Doha Group.