LAHORE - Former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday said future of Pakistan was bright and those who were spreading pessimism would bite the dust.

“The nation, which has produced a Nobel laureate and IT prodigies such as Arfa Karim, can compete with any nation in the world,” Shahbaz told a group of students from various public and private universities.

“By conducting nuclear tests and building a motorway and Metro Bus Service, we have proved that we are ready to rise to all the challenges,” he added. Shahbaz said that after he saw passion and enthusiasm of the youth in his election meetings, he was sure that PML-N would make it to the power on May 11. “By voting for the PML-N, youngsters have proved that they know the difference between good and bad,” Shahbaz said.

The CM-designate said that the PML-N government in Punjab arranged the biggest youth festival of the world which was attended by three million youngsters. Similarly, he added, 1.2 million athletes from across Punjab took part in a sports festival in Lahore. “We want other provinces to also arrange similar activities so that more and more youngsters get opportunity to show their talents,” he announced.

Shahbaz said that his government in Punjab had established 450 playgrounds for cricket, hockey and other sports. Other provinces should also take leads from Punjab and build such venues, he said.

Separately, PML-N women workers staged a demonstration outside the Sharif residence at Raiwind against dropping of the senior worker and former adviser to the CM Sughran Aysha out of the list of party candidates on the reserved seats.

The protesters intercepted the vehicle of CM-designate Shahbaz Sharif who stopped and heard the complaint of Sughran on the spot. Later Shahbaz Sharif called in a five-member delegation of the protesting workers and assured it to address the grievance.