Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has announced an increase of Rs. 5 billion in the budget of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) from July 1st and added that this funds like a tree for hard working and deserving student under whole shadow they are materializing their dreams. He said that with the addition of Rs. 5 billion, the total volume of endowment fund would increase to Rs. 23 billion. He was addressing an awareness programme about Punjab Educational Endowment Fund at University of Sargodha today.
He said that the opponents have made up a habit to unnecessarily criticize the public friendly initiatives of present government. The prosperous Pakistan is unacceptable to them. While the opponents would criticize, we will continue to serve the public. He termed as baseless and concocted the allegation of Imran Khan about an offer of Rs. 10 billion as bribe in the panama case, allegedly made by him. He said that just like the Supreme Court of Pakistan daily heard the panama case, I earnestly appeal the court in which this cases to be filed; it should be heard on daily basis so that the facts should come out. He announced that if this allegation is proved, then he will leave the politics, for the rest of the life, along with begging pardon from the nation. But if Imran Khan is proved untrue, then it would be his discretion to leave the politics. However, Imran Khan would be termed as proficient liar as well as the chief of the liars, in his dictionary.
He announced to move court against the baseless allegation of offer of Niazi Sahib about presenting bribe worth Rs. 10 billion. Niazi Sahib has said the names of relatives would be disclosed in case of moving court. Niazi sahib should listen to it; I shall move court at every cost. If an allegation of receiving even a penny in bribe is proved, then I shall leave politics once and for all. Chief Minister said that PEEF is a sacred mission which has been benefiting lakhs of scholars who would help make the country great in the comity of nations. Free education, health and provision of residential facilities are the responsibility of every genuine welfare state. And, we are following the policies of making this country a welfare state. PEEF is a milestone beginning of this welfare state concept, and it is a unique project for which, even the budget of the whole of the country is insufficient. He invited the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to spend the colossal budget of his country on the education, instead of using it for destruction of the region, and advised that PEEF like projects should be initiated there, so that the poverty and ignorance could be eradicated from the region. He said that access to equal opportunities of development is the right of every Pakistani, and enquired why the opponents are opposing this equitable development. He said that Metro train project would be initiated in every district because quality and respectable transport is the right of every citizen. He said that the lack of financial resources would not hinder the children of the nation. He made the vice chairman PEEF to promise that the total number of beneficiaries of PEEF would be increased to 3.5 lakh, from the next year, by increasing the PEEF budget.
He given a task to the vice chancellor of the University of Sargodha to include his university in top three universities of the country, and said that funds to the tune of billions of rupees would be given to the university. He also announced to constitute a committee for the quarterly development of the university, and said that on the recommendation of the committee, funds would be released to the university after every three months in proportionate with its development. He announced to set up basic health unit in the village of PEEF scholar Dr. Muhammad Sabtain, and directed Muhammad Sabtain to inspect patients on every holiday at this health unit.
Chief Minister said that Punjab Educational Endowment Fund is the pioneering fund of Pakistan as well as the largest educational fund of the South Asia. Under this fund, educational stipends worth Rs. 11.5 billion have been distributed in the deserving and brilliant students of poor families. The total number of PEEF scholars has arisen to 1 lakh and 98 thousand, and the PEEF scholars are playing their role in the development of the country in shape of doctors, engineers, scientists, bankers and professors. Chief Minister announced an increase of Rs. 5billion in this educational fund from the next financial year and said that now the volume of this fund would be increased to Rs. 23billion. This would help to provide stipends to lakhs of more brilliant and deserving students. I have a desire to spend the whole of provincial budget for this educational fund so that the number of PEEF scholars could be increased from 2 lakh to 20 lakhs, and the revolution of education could be materialized. The idea of setting up Punjab Educational Endowment Fund came into my mind during exile days, while studying the educational system of Saudi Arabia and the UK. While I was in Saudi Arabia, my Saudi driver told me that the educational expenses of his four kids are borne out by the Saudi government, along with monthly stipend of 200 Riyal for other expenses.
Similarly, when I went to New York for the treatment of a fatal disease and then went to London, where I had an opportunity of studying British Educational system. The educational expenses are borne out by the state in Britain. After watching the educational system of Saudi Arabia and the Britain, I had thought that we should also provide educational opportunities to our children living in different areas of the country as these children are not less in talent than the children of any other country including Saudi Arabia and the UK. It is impossible that the children of the nation remain deprived of the education due to lack of resources. When we came to the country in 2007 after exile, and the people of Punjab given us an opportunity to serve them under the leadership of PML(N) leader Nawaz Sharif, I held the first meeting about this educational fund and established Punjab Educational Endowment Fund in the province. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has also taught that all the people are equal and everybody should have equal rights.
The Punjab Educational Endowment Fund was established to remove the educational disparity where the children of the elite were getting education in leading institutions of the world, while the intelligent child of the poor was deprived of education. Economic disparity is against Islamic teachings. He said that we came back to Pakistan in 2007 after exile and the PML(N) government set up this unique fund under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif.
Government gives Rs. 2billion to this fund every year. Due to it, the volume of this fund has increased to Rs. 17.5billion; and Rs. 5billion will be given from the next year which would increase the total volume to Rs. 23billion. I would request the head of this educational fund, Dr. Amjad Saqib to increase the number of PEEF scholars to 3.5lakh in the next year. He said that PEEF is not only benefitting the intelligent children of the Punjab but the national unity has been strengthened by including children of all the federating units in this program. This fund is not only the biggest educational fund of Pakistan but there is no such educational fund in the whole of South Asia including India. I would dare challenge Narendra Modi to set up a similar educational fund in India. Such a wonderful educational fund is unavailable in the whole of India including in the own state of Modi.
He said that political opponents who criticize that Shehbaz Sharif only builds roads, bridges and metro buses, it’s my reply to them that all these projects are for the welfare of the common man, and the common man has been given facilities due to it. The metro bus in Multan is providing subsidized, secure and comfortable travel facilities, the time is not far when the metro bus will also run in Sargodha, and the people would reach to their destinations in a respectable manner. And, this time is quite nearer. Pakistan could not be called a country of Iqbal and Quaid when the children of president, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Ministers and the elite travel in chauffer driven limousines and study in the elite institutions of the world, while the children of great Pakistanis earning ‘rizq e halal’ with their hard work remain deprived of basic facilities.
He said that merit rules in Punjab; and like all other programs, merit is supreme is the launch of this educational fund. All the stipends are released purely on merit. Chief Minister, any minister or assembly member cannot recommend anybody. This stipend is given purely on the basis of hard work of the children. The children getting education on this stipend would brought laurels home and the world will also recognize us.
Chief Minister, in his address, asked the VC University of Sargodha Dr. Ishtiaq and other faculty members, that if you make this university the 3rd largest university of Pakistan, then all the resources would be given to you. Vice Chairman PEEF Dr. Amjad Saqib said that talented but deserving students are selected for the scholarship through the record of educational boards, while quota is reserved for orphan kids; class four government employees, minorities and special children.
He said merit based scholarships are given to other provinces, Azad Kashmir, FATA, Gilgit Baltistan, Islamabad and Punjab Board of Technical Educational. He said that funds are released for postgraduate children to study in leading universities as well as to degree level educational institutions. He explained the objectives of scholarship, and said that it helps in materializing dreams of talented but poor students. He said that more than 50,000 students have been benefitted from PEEF during 2016-2017. He said that students of divisional headquarters as well as studying in boarding houses of district Sialkot have been given 10% additional allowance.
He said that PEEF is a sacred beginning. If this step would have been taken 50 years earlier, then, the country would have been shining like a star on the map of the world. He said that pure thinking and feeling for the nation attracts the leaders towards hope and justice in time of poverty and deprivation. He said that this program is devoid of nepotism and personal liking and disliking. He said that this transparent program is like a thick tree for every deserving student. He said that bright PEEF scholars are doing PhD in more than 300 leading institutions in Pakistan and abroad.
Now, every child will materialize his dream through PEEF. He said that no complaint has arisen about this program since beginning till date, which is a proof of its transparency. VC UOS Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad highlighted the role of university and said that more than 200 PEEF scholars are studying in the university through a PEEF fund worth Rs. 25crore.
Different PEEF scholars shared their experiences of success through the PEEF program as now they are serving Pakistan. They said that they achieved success through PEEF and thanked the Chief Minister Punjab for this wonderful program. Parents of the children paid tributes to Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif for this sacred cause. Federal and provincial ministers, Pir Amin-ul-Hasnat, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Malik Asif Bha, secretary Higher Education, Vice Chairman PEEF Amjad Saqib, parliamentarians, professors, high ranking officers, students, PEEF scholars and their parents attended the ceremony.
Chief Minister inaugurated fountain house in Sargodha and inspected different departments. Chief Minister met with patients and children in the fountain house and given gifts and sweets to the children. He said that the treatment of psychiatric patients should be done properly as they deserve our full attention. Punjab government has fully supported such institutions and will continue to do so. He said that serving such patients, who are considered as burden by their own families, is a great virtue.
Chief Minister expressed his satisfaction on the presence of educational, training and residential facilities for psychiatric patients in the fountain house and said that credit goes to Dr. Amjad Saqib and his team, who are serving the ailing humanity day and night. Chief Minister assured the construction of separate ward for women through support of Punjab government in the fountain house. Chief Minister was told that this fountain house was set up in 2015 at an area of 54 kanal, where 50 patients are getting education and training facilities. Dr. Amjad briefed the Chief Minister Punjab about different department and performance of the intuition.