LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday if initiating public welfare projects was a sin, he would commit this sin again and again.

Distributing prizes among position-holder students in Marticulation from all over the country at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Shahbaz said those criticising the projects aimed at the welfare of masses did not want the poor to avail better facilities of life.

“The Punjab government has promoted transparency in the province,” claimed Shahbaz, adding that it is using those resources for the betterment of the poor masses that earlier used to be lost in corruption.

The chief minister said the new generation was a precious asset of the country and the goal of national progress and prosperity could only be achieved by equipping it with modern education, while the menace of extremism and terrorism could also be countered in an effective manner. He further said Pakistan could be transformed in accordance with the ideals of its founding fathers by adopting the golden principles of honesty, trust and hard work.

“Every Muslim is ready to sacrifice his life for upholding the sanctity of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and no Muslim could tolerate blasphemy against Him. The Muslims all over the world are protesting against the sacrilege against the Holy Prophet and peaceful protest is their right,” said Shahbaz, adding the voice of protest should be raised in such a peaceful manner that the world could testify to our discipline and restraint.

Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan; Senator Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa; Provincial Ministers Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Haji Ehsan-ud-Din Qureshi, Iqbal Channar and Malik Nadeem Kamran; Advisor Zaeem Hussain Qadri; MPAs; vice chancellors; principals; intellectuals; columnists; teachers; parents; and students were present in large numbers on this occasion.

Prizes worth Rs55 million were distributed among boy and girl position-holder students from all over the country. Congratulating the students winning top positions in the Matriculation examination, the chief minister said the Punjab government was arranging such ceremonies in honour of position-holder students for the past four years in which students from all the four provinces as well as the Federal Board, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan also participate and are rewarded for their hard work.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that “we are in state of war against dengue and there is no room for laxity in coping with this deadly virus.” He said because of recent rains, there is a greater need for the people and government machinery to play a vigorous role in the fight against dengue.

Shahbaz said like September 2, anti-dengue day will again be observed on September 23 with zeal and determination. He said spray and fogging should continue at sensitive places while the process of checking and eradication of dengue larvae at junkyards, graveyards, factories, workshops, tyre-shops and nurseries should be expedited. Taking notice of non-payment of salaries to some members of the staff engaged in anti-dengue campaign, the chief minister ordered immediate payment of salaries.

Also, Shahbaz Sharif has expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the loss of precious lives as a result of bomb explosions in Karachi on Tuesday. In a condolence message, the chief minister prayed that may Allah Almighty rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant strength and courage to the members of bereaved families to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude.