Journalists’ endowment fund to be doubled, says Shahbaz
LAHORE: “Those hindering national development and opposing efforts to manage the electricity shortage are not sincere to the people of the country,” Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Sunday.
He was addressing a seminar on the role of journalism in the stability of Pakistan organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists at Alhamra Hall.
Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michael, Balochistan Minister for Information Abdul Rahim, Parliamentary Secretary on Information Rana Arshad and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists President Rana Azeem were also present.
Sharif said he wanted to double the Rs70-million endowment fund for journalists and had directed the information secretary to formulate recommendations for this purpose.
The chief minister said those protesting against hospitals and schools for the poor were complaining unnecessarily. He said the government had undertaken a number of projects to manage the energy crisis. He said he would quit politics if he was found guilty of corruption.
The chief minister said news and its analysis had been a valuable tool for politicians. He said media was the best resource on constructive criticism for the government.
Sharif said the journalists had struggled for freedom of expression and their sacrifices would not be forgotten. Journalists had been persecuted and had faced financial hardships during their struggle, he added.
The chief minister said no institution of the state could take away or restrict the media freedom. He said journalists helped discussions on national discourse and raised awareness on corruption, ignorance, nepotism and oppression.
He said though media freedom had increased, the freedom came with more responsibilities. “If politicians are sincere to the masses, they should give up their luxurious lifestyles and join the people,” he said.
He said the government was working on a massive power generation programme with Chinese cooperation. He said that the volume of trade between China and India was $85 billion but only $6 billion between Pakistan and China.
Sharif said China had set up a 20,000-megawatt coal-powered plant in India and Pakistan was now benefitting from the Chinese technology and power projects of 20,000 megawatts would be completed with Chinese cooperation.
He said India and Pakistan faced similar problems like poverty and unemployment and would have to utilise their resources for the benefit of the masses instead of wasting them on wars.
He said Kalabagh dam was of vital importance with regard to the national economy but work on the project could not be started without achieving consensus of all provinces.