LAHORE -  Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the need for joint efforts to cope with challenges confronting the country.

“We all should collectively move forward to save the country from beggary. Despite being a nuclear power, Pakistan has to seek aid. We should get rid of this beggary,” he said while talking to a delegation of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS).

APNS President Sarmad Ali led the delegation, including Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Hameed Haroon, Rameeza Majid Nizami, Umer Mujeeb Shami, Mehtab Khan, Munir Jillani and Waseem Ahmed.

During the meeting, problems plaguing the newspapers industry and the prevalent situation in the country came under discussion. The CM assured the visiting delegates of his all-out support to solve their problems.

Shehbaz said: “Martial law was promulgated in Pakistan four times and political governments ruled the country in between, but the political governments usually remained weak. “If the military regimes badly failed, the political governments failed too and therefore people have had their reservations about these governments. We have to ponder over the reasons why a critical situation arises every four or five years in Pakistan.”

He went on to say: “The state of Pakistan is comprised of federating units and if the federating units are developed collectively, it will progress in the real sense. Pakistan was not made to plunder and loot its people. The collective agenda of all of us should be to honestly serve people and the political leadership should follow the motto of public service. We all should move forward and sacrifice to save the country from beggary, defeat and deprivation.”

He took a swipe at PTI Chairman Imran Khan for taking people to the streets, saying that critics of Lahore Metro Bus were toeing the same line in KP.

“Imran Niazi is a master of U-turns and has wasted precious time of the nation as his politics revolves around falsehood and such politics causes damage to national development.”

He stressed the need for responsible journalism, saying, “The role of the media is pivotal in raising public awareness; however, some news channels are playing their part irresponsibly and such an irresponsible attitude is not helpful for the public.”

The CM said that a TV channel levelled baseless allegations of sending money to China and defamed the country, which is deplorable. He said the gap between people and leadership can be plugged through public service. People can only be served through hard work, honesty and trust.

He went hard on past rulers over rampant corruption. He said corruption scandals surfaced in the past and record was dumped in the offices of NAB. Public money was looted in different projects like Nandipur, Neelam-Jhelum, NICL, Ogra and rental power projects.

“The corrupt were favoured during the tenure of Musharraf. The new generation wants accountability of these corruption cases. It is regrettable that lust for power, corruption and nepotism have taken roots in the society and one feels proud of the money earned through corruption and illegal means.”

He said the army was the most organised institution and every organisation was duty-bound to take the country forward. He took a swipe at NAB for playing a partial role, saying: “Accountability must be across the broad. The file of the Nandipur Power Project has been pending for three years, costing Rs20 billion to the country.” He counted his government’s feats and mentioned Metro Bus, Orange Line, and Sahiwal Power Project as success story.