“Pakistan cannot be a nuclear power and a beggar state at the same time. No nation has prospered by relying on foreign aid,” said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday.
Sharif, who was addressing the 12th Convocation of Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) on Monday, asked the graduating doctors to do their best to uplift the nation. “Aid is like AIDS. AIDS first weakens the immune system, then cripples the system and ultimately pushes a patient into the valley of death; aid does much the same. We will have to give up our ‘begging bowl’ and rely on our own resources,” the chief minister said.
Shairf said neighboring countries like India and Bangladesh were doing better than Pakistan. “We need to understand that we have to protect this country first and then build it. Those who think we will first build Pakistan and then take steps to protect it are not right. Survival comes first, then stability and then the road to progress,” he added.
He said the problem of load shedding was as important as terrorism, unemployment and corruption. He said the country could progress only after acting upon the guidelines provided by Iqbal and Jinnah.
CM said that Pakistan was being embarrased by certain international powers just because it was unable to stand on its own feet. “Which country has progressed with aid, handouts, loans and bailouts? This has not happened and cannot happen. We need to understand this. In Punjab, we refused foreign aid last year and still launched several development projects.”
The chief minister said it was perfectly alright if students watched video films and songs in their leisure time on the laptops provided to them under the laptop scheme. He said he favoured a soft revolution rather than a bloody revolution which would create chaos and lead to anarchy. He asked the graduating doctors whether they could help eradicate corruption.
“I have never been scared about future of Pakistan but now I am. But I am optimistic that you can change the destiny of this country.”
As many as 210 students were awarded MBBS degrees at the convocation. Earlier, AIMC Principal Dr Javed Akram said the proposal for a College of Physiotherapy at AIMC had been pending for the last two years and demanded that work on it start soon.
The chief minister was also presented a sculpture of an eagle as a souvenir.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.