LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has said that poverty in Pakistan persists despite foreign assistance worth billions of dollars by foreign countries because the nation could not exploit its true potential and remained under-developed.

He was speaking at the Independence Day function organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). President LCCI Mian Muzaffar Ali, Senior Vice President Tahir Javaid Malik and Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh also spoke on the occasion.

Senior Political Assistant to the Chief Minister Pervaiz Malik, foreign diplomats and business elite including industrialists and traders of the city attended the function.

The CM said that after 62 years of independence it is time to assess as to how much we have fulfilled the aims and objectives of the founders of Pakistan. He said that there is no doubt that the country has been looted mercilessly in the past. Yet some sincere and dedicated efforts by the businessmen and traders played a vital role in strengthening its economy.

He said the country cannot progress without justice, fair practices and adherence to merit. He said the first hurdle in this regard has been overcome due to the splendid efforts of the lawyers and journalists who were instrumental in assuring the independence of judiciary. He said the remaining hurdles would be removed if we as a nation pledge to work with dedication and commitment in the best interest of our motherland.

“This country has adequate resources,” he said adding that what is needed to exploit the full potential of these resources is sincerity and good governance.

He said instead of depending on others we should show our determination to pull the poor out of poverty so that they also enjoy the fruits of prosperity that has been denied to them for 62 years.

He said there were a number of nations that have lesser resources but they attained progress and prosperity through sheer determination and dedication. He said Pakistan could attain its actual status among the comity of nations in 10-15 years if we remain focused on a fair and transparent approach. He said investment in education and health is the key to sustained and lasting growth.

Earlier, Muzaffar Ali assured the Punjab CM of the all out support of LCCI to achieve the social development targets of the Punjab government. He appealed to the CM to give importance to the poor masses who have been deprived of the fruits of freedom.

He urged his fellow businessmen to work honestly and donate generously to the cause of nation building. He said that all the big houses and luxurious lifestyle is because of Pakistan. He urged the CM to tax the lifestyle and the money so collected should only be spent for education, health and on the uplift of deprived ones.

We cannot start dreaming about an industrialised and a developed Pakistan without making sure that we have a secure, healthy, educated and a well-trained workforce. These are the pre-requisites that when not fulfilled has kept and will keep Pakistan from entering the league of prosperous nations. We need to provide all Pakistanis with security, affordable and quality health services and affordable and quality education. We need to make sure that we provide enough public and private investment funds to projects that are focused on attaining this long-term goal. We need to make sure that access to good health and good education is not a luxury anymore.

Source: Daily Times