LAHORE – Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the youth can change course of history and destiny of the nation by equipping themselves with the latest knowledge.

“We will have to evolve a roadmap in the light of ideals of Quaid-e-Azam and Allam Iqbal to move forward and put the country on the road to progress and prosperity”, Shahbaz Sharif said while addressing 12th annual convocation of Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) on Monday.

Appreciating the AIMC for its role in promotion of medical education, Shahbaz Sharif stressed graduates to utilise all energy for mitigating the sufferings of ailing humanity. He said the graduates have got fruit of their hard work and now they should serve the ailing humanity with commitment and zeal. He said Pakistan was achieved after a great struggle and supreme sacrifices under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam. He lamented that despite passage of 64 years, dream of Iqbal and Quaid had yet to be materialised.

He said Pakistan was facing problems like corruption, energy, terrorism, bad governance, poverty and price-hike and there was of hard work and continuous struggle to steer the country out of prevailing crises. He said there was no dearth of resources as the country possessed fertile lands, rivers and best brains.

“We have nuclear bomb in one hand and begging bowl in the other and both of these cannot go together. No nation can prosper with the charity which is proved by the fact that after receiving aid of billions of dollars, the condition of Pakistan has still not improved. We will have to denounce foreign aid and rely on our own resources and will have to change the situation through a collective wisdom, hard work and untiring efforts”, the chief minister held.

Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan was facing threat to its survival and sovereignty and there was need to save and then reconstruct the country. He said Punjab government denounced such foreign aid which compromised sovereignty and still welfare programmes like Daanish Schools, projects of infrastructure, educational fund, public transport and distribution of laptops were continuing successfully.

The chief minister said he could not participate in the ceremony of distribution of laptops among talented girl and boy students. He said laptops were fruit of hard work of brilliant students and it was hoped that they would utilise these for research work. He said the students should equip themselves with the latest knowledge and serve the country.

AIMC Principal Prof Javed Akram highlighted the academic and research activities of the institution. He said the chief minister was a visionary leader and engaged in public service round-the-clock. He said Shahbaz Sharif stood with the calamity-hit people in every hour of trial including flood, dengue, earthquake or any other natural disaster.

While highlighting the educational activities in the institution, he said that doctors, completing their education from AIMC, were rendering services throughout the world. He said it was the first institution where screening of newborn had been started and the solid waste management system of the hospital was also commendable.

Earlier, the chief minister gave away medals to the graduates showing excellent performance in the examinations. Shahbaz Sharif was given Shaheen Award on this occasion.

Later, the Chief Minister visited Jinnah Hospital and inaugurated newly-constructed Umar Critical Care Unit and inspected its different sections. He also listened to the complaints of attendants of patients and issued on the spot orders to the hospital administration.

Advisor on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique, Provincial Agriculture Minister Ahmed Ali Aulakh, Indonesian Ambassador Mr Ishaq, Iranian Consul General Bani Asadi, Members National and Provincial Assembly, President Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Sibtain-ul-Hassan, Vice Chancellor University of Health Sciences Prof I A Naveed, Vice Chancellors, prominent personalities belonging to different walks of life and a large number of students were present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said in order to enable the youth to fully benefit from the 21st century’s intellectual, scientific and technological innovations, the education system needs to be upgraded to the international standard.

He was addressing a conference on the topic of establishment of district education authorities at Directorate of Staff Development (DSD) on Monday.

He said in order to achieve mastery over modern knowledge and technology, there was need to provide necessary academic facilities in schools and transform them into centres of knowledge and wisdom so that the students after completing their education could explore new horizons.

In view of these objectives, he said, it had been decided to set up education and health authorities at the district level for providing modern education and health facilities to the common man at the district level. He said that the bill for the establishment of district authorities will be passed this year.

The CM said establishment of district education authorities would prove to be a milestone in raising the standard of education in the province. He said the authorities would also help in removing the shortage of teachers at the district level, controlling absenteeism and substantial improvement in the academic facilities in educational institutions.

“It is not possible to improve the condition of more than 60,000 public sector schools in 36 districts of the province and the participation of all stakeholders needs to be ensured to improve the education and health sectors,” Shahbaz Sharif held.

The CM further said the bill for the setting up of district education authorities was passed on July 10, 1999 and had the authorities been established at that time, much progress would have been made in education sector.

MNA and the head of Institutional Reforms Group Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the aims and objectives of the conference.

Senior Advisor Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Provincial Minister for Education Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, among other participated in the conference arranged by Institutional Reforms Group.