PUNJAB’S ROLE IN ECONOMIC TURNOUT

 Pakistan is endowed with enormous natural resources including minerals; and if these minerals are explored and utilized properly, the country can become one of the developed countries of the world. It is due to the interaction of Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif with Chinese government and entrepreneurs that Metallurgical Corporation of China has been able to discover major reserves of iron ore of approximately 500 million tons in Chiniot. The Chinese company was given the exploration rights in a transparent manner, unlike the deals done by the previous governments. The company has also expressed interest in setting up a steel mill on the site. The extracted iron has been tested in Swiss and Canadian laboratories, who have found 60-65 percent of it to be high grade. It is, indeed, Allah’s blessing in the form of reward for unrelenting efforts of Shahbaz Sharif.

Addressing a function on the occasion of discovery of reserves of iron ore and copper in Chiniot-Rajwa, Shahbaz Sharif said: “These reserves would change the destiny of the nation; eliminate poverty and unemployment from the country; break the begging bowl and Pakistan would achieve a respectable place in the comity of nations.” He said that these reserves are not only for the ten crore people of Punjab but also the property of 18 crore people of Pakistan. Of course, exploration of the Iron ore and copper and establishment of steel mill will provide job opportunities to the people of Chiniot, as they have the first right over these resources. PML-N government is striving for sustainable economic growth, which is linked to political stability. And it is political stability that motivates the investors and attracts investment, which helps in generating revenues.

The government can then invest in human and physical infrastructure development. It goes without saying that first and foremost challenge is the mobilization of local resources including local investment to overcome the challenge of low investment. Only when local investors feel safe and confident, foreign investment will come. There is no denying that economic situation has improved since PML-N government is at the helm, and Punjab CM’s performance is exceptionally good. Of course, Shahbaz Sharif has been working day in and day out to serve the people of Punjab. Even his opponents acknowledge him as a good administrator, as he has proved his mettle not only during his first stint as a chief minister of Punjab in 1990s but also after assuming his office second time as CM after February 2008 elections.

In his third stint, he does not seem to be relenting in his efforts, as that he does not want to live on his past performance. Which is why, he is keeping a vigilant eye on the performance of all the departments to solve the problems of the people and ensure good governance. He has undertaken reforms in police, health, livestock and other departments to ensure good governance in the Punjab province. Not only in Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif is revered but also abroad. During his visit to China immediately after assuming office as CM, he had impressed Chinese investors who promised to invest in Punjab in various projects. His interaction with German and Turkish leadership has also produced prodigious results. For the convenience of public, he had planned a number of projects for infrastructure development.

This included construction of an elevated expressway, Ring Road and mass transit system in the provincial metropolis to cope up with the traffic problems. Most of these projects have been completed or are in their completion phases; and Punjab government has started similar projects in other cities of Punjab. Mian Shahbaz Sharif seems to have a lot more political acumen and the vision as compared with other leaders of the PML-N, and for that matter even the leaders of other parties. It will not be wrong to say that PML-N got heavy mandate in 1997 elections, and once again in 2013 elections because of his track record in development of Punjab province, and of course good governance. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are striving to break the begging bowl.

They are aware that the nation cannot progress so long as our country depends on the handouts from international lenders and donors. The policies of international lenders have strangulated the capacity of the ordinary citizen to live a life of dignity and honour. This is the reason that Sharifs are committed to restoring Pakistan’s political and economic sovereignty and self-reliance. They are trying to forge unity between the federating units. The government is trying to establish such society which will be based on human values and which could put the country on the road to progress and prosperity.

Anusha Ramzi

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