LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has pledged to continue with his efforts for a better Pakistan.

“I will spare no effort for the enrolment of every child in school, elimination of poverty, unemployment and ignorance as well as rooting out corruption, injustice and loot and plunder.” the chief minister said while addressing a Pakistan Day function at Aiwane Iqbal yesterday.

He said that every segment of the society needs to put up efforts for accomplishing this difficult task. In the light of Pakistan Resolution, the principles of hard work, honesty and commitment will have to be adopted, the Chief Minister said.

Former president Rafique Tarar, Justice (r) Mehboob Ahmed, Provincial Ministers Rana Mashhood Ahmed, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, legislators, Consuls General of America, Iran and China, workers of Pakistan Movement, intellectuals, columnists, religious scholars, vice chancellors of universities, boy and girl students and a large number of people from all walks of life were present on the occasion.

Shehbaz said that such an Islamic welfare state is to be established in accordance with the vision of the founders of the country.

He said that there is a need to learn from the past mistakes and move forward. He said though it is a challenging task but can be accomplished through reviving the spirit of Pakistan Resolution and the struggle for independence.

He said though Pakistan has become a nuclear power and its defence is invincible but is has not been able to become a strong economic force. He said history of the world is witness to the fact that no nation, which begged from others, has been able to progress and prosper.

He said that China, Europe, America and other Islamic countries have achieved progress and prosperity only through honesty, hard work and commitment.

The Chief Minister said on the historic day of March 23, it is his promise to the nation that economic and social justice will be ensured.

Addressing the youth present in the function, the Chief Minister said that they are guarantee to a bright future of Pakistan. He said that present government has served the people selflessly during last seven and a half years and this journey of public services will continue in future as well.

Shehbaz said that he will quit politics if corruption of even a single penny is proved against him in any of his tenures.

Referring to Bab-e-Pakistan project, the Chief Minister said that planning for this project was made under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before the imposition of martial law on October 12, 1999.

He said when the PML-N government again came to power in 2008, it was revealed that Pervaiz Elahi government planned to waste Rs 90 crore of the nation on import of costly marble from Italy for the project. He said that as he could not see wastage of the funds of poor people therefore, he decided to stop this programme and stressed that marble available at local level should be used instead of its import from Italy.

He said he put a cross on the file of import of marble from Italy and announced that he will prefer to die than waste 90 crore rupees of the poor nation. Shehbaz said it was injustice that funds were wasted on import of expensive marble in such a country the people of which were deprived of even basic necessities like electricity, potable water and healthcare. He said that during the period of dictatorship, contract was awarded for the project without tendering and Rs 50 crore was misappropriated.

He said that he could not tolerate this as it tantamount to injustice to the martyrs of Pakistan Movement.

The Chief Minister said that the present government has promoted corruption free culture in the province and all projects are being completed in a transparent manner. Senior journalist Mujeebur Shami also spoke.

At the end of the ceremony, CM Shehbaz awarded gold medals to workers of Pakistan Movement. Rafique Tarar and Justice (r) Mehboob Ahmed gave a shield to the Chief Minister on behalf of the workers of Pakistan Movement.