FAISALABAD: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has criticised the federal government and blamed it for corruption in the country.
Without naming President Asif Ali Zardari, Sharif said on Sunday the man occupying the highest place in Islamabad was responsible for taking the country to the verge of collapse. He was speaking at a public gathering after reviewing an Ashiana Housing Society project in Faisalabad.
Sharif said Army should be called in to assist civilian administration only with relief work following natural disasters. There was no need for Army’s assistance with any other matter, he added.
(Read: Unchecked lawlessness - ‘Parliamentarians should debate Karachi situation’)
He said all of his meetings with Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani were on record and that he had never met the latter in secret. “I have only met General Kiyani to discuss matters of national interest,” Sharif said. He said his party was opposed to army’s intervention in politics.
To a question about his use of an army helicopter, Sharif said the chief minister’s helicopter had been sent to Russia for repairs and that he was using the military helicopter under a stopgap arrangement.
Sharif referred to an article he had written for Saturday edition of some newspapers and said that he had sought to expose corruption and poor governance under the PPP government.
He said the gulf between the privileged and deprived class in the country had expanded to unprecedented levels. He added the country had so far been ruled by an elite consisting of army generals, judges and politicians. The nexus, he said, had deprived the majority of the country’s population of basic services such as education, healthcare and affordable housing.
He said his government treated the poor as priority in use of development funds.
Earlier, Sharif reviewed the site for an Ashiyana Housing Scheme near Makkoanna on Jaranwala Road. He said 28,000 houses would be constructed under the scheme. These houses, he said, would be allotted to deserving people by balloting.
He directed DCO Nasim Sadiq and Punjab Land Development Company chief executive officer Dr Arshad to shortlist the construction contractors in a transparent process.
Sharif said he would personally monitor the balloting and allocation of houses to the deserving. He said that Ashiyana Housing Schemes were under construction in eight major cities in the province.
About Daanish Schools, Sharif said the project was meant to provide quality education to the poor and the underprivileged at par with those available at elite schools such as Aitchison College.
He also announced the construction of an underpass at Abdullahpur Crossing to solve traffic problems.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2011.