The Punjab government spends its budget on the people, while the Federation spends its budget on the friends and luxuries of the leaders, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday.
The chief minister was addressing the inauguration ceremony of an engineering and agricultural university in Multan. This was his fourth visit to the city since he took charge. Later, he also inaugurated the High Court Road, completed at a cost of Rs100 million.
Addressing the gathering at the inauguration, the chief minister announced that 50 buses will soon be plied across the city only for students who would be issued them green cards for concessional fares.
Besides announcing five dialysis machines for the kidney centre at Nishtar Hospital, the chief minster announced Rs876 million for the Shah Abbas Square flyover project, Rs94 million for Government Degree College for Women, and Rs4.5 billion for a major road project and a sports complex with a hockey and football stadium.
Talking about the recent blast at a fireworks warehouse in Multan, he said he had ordered a probe in the incident. He said the investigation would be kept secret and no politician would be informed about any operation against fireworks manufacturers and sellers.
He praised the Multan police force for arresting 30 alleged members of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in the last three months and for foiling more than 50 terrorism attempts.
On energy crises
The chief minister said the nation was not a victim of loadshedding, but of corruption and bad governance.
He said had even half of the money wasted in corruption in the last four years been spent on the welfare of the people, Pakistan would have been a prosperous and developed country without any loadshedding.
“Even if half of the Rs100 billion, what the Centre claims to have invested in Multan, had been given to me, I would have turned the city into gold,” he said.
He said there would have been a different picture of the city’s roads, sewerage system, education system and health facilities. With the available sources, he said, he had tried his level best to change Punjab. Out of the total Rs100 billion given by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for the development of Multan, Sharif said Rs35 billion went back into Gilani’s pockets due to corruption.
“We have tried not to deprive other provinces of their resources, but the federation has always treated Punjab as a step child,” he said.
He said had the Punjab not sacrificed Rs11 billion in the National Finance Commission Award (NFC Award), there would have been no agreement on the award.
Talking about the energy crisis, he said the Punjab government had taken maximum steps to counter the problem.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.