APP92-11 LAHORE: January 11 – Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif addressing awareness ceremony of Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF). APP

LAHORE, Jan 11 (APP): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said more than 175,000 less-privileged but talented students from all over the country were being equipped with education through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF), the biggest ever initiative in the history of Pakistan and South Asia.
“Scholarships of Rs 7.5 billion have so far been distributed on merit
through Rs 17.5 billion Educational Endowment Fund,” he said, adding had such an educational fund been set up 70 years ago, no child would have remained deprived of education and billions of youth would have been playing their due role in national development.
He expressed these views while addressing PEEF ceremony at Aiwan-i-Iqbal, here.
The Chief Minister said Punjab Educational Endowment Fund had dismissed the perception that higher and quality education was the right of elites. Provision of opportunities to deserving and brilliant students of not only Punjab but of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, Sindh, KPK and Baluchistan was promoting national unity and solidarity
as well, he added.
He said, “The Punjab government is well aware of the fact that the fate
of this nation lies in the hands of its educated youth so it is paving the way to make its youth productive.”
He expressed his anguish over the heinous acts of previous leaderships
who plundered national assets and resources mercilessly and left educational institutions, hospitals and other departments in vulnerable condition and this plague of their corruption had erupted into poverty and extremism. He said their government had continued work on
development projects through all thick and thin such as the obstacles created by so-called change mongers in shape of sit-ins and lock down.
During 2014, he recalled when Pakistan started its way forward and
making progress, unnecessary sit-ins tried to halt the system and resulting a setback in economy and he was afraid that if they might have succeeded in their lockdown plan, the CPEC project would have stopped. “Pakistan is making progress under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,” he mentioned. He said time was not far when the darkness would be removed from the country and a new era of progress and prosperity would usher in Pakistan.
The Chief Minister said setting up PEEF and aiding capable students was
a mere trial to satisfy soul of founder of this country who always stressed upon education of youth more than anything. He said PEEF was an institute which hunted for talent and figures out deserving students by itself saving students being bothered about all the
Earlier, he said, “Access to higher and quality education was only
possible for cream of the crop but we have provided the deserving with their right and set up the biggest Educational Endowment Fund in the world for intelligent students of poor families to get education in local and foreign prestigious educational institutions.”
Shehbaz Sharif said ill-fated woman of Kasur whose only crime was her
poverty left this world at Jinnah Hospital, unattended from four hospitals however situation would have been quite different if she was related to any dignitary. He said at a time, Pakistanis could visit Britain and Germany without any visa but now green passport had no respect.
He said Pakistan was created under the dynamic leadership of  Quaid-e-Azam for ensuring justice and equal opportunities were available to all for moving forward and Pakistan became a great country from Casablanca to Kuala Lumpur. He said, “There is no dearth of talent in the country, Pakistanis are talented and hard working and we can achieve a respectable place in the comity of nations only through hard work and honesty.”
He said Neelam Jhelum Hydel Power Project had been ruined and the past rulers looted national wealth mercilessly. He said that 980-Megawatt Neelam Jhelum Project was started in 2002 by the then dictator Gen. Musharraf and this project was still incomplete.
Vice Chairman PEFF Dr. Amjad Saqib while addressing the gathering said PEEF was providing scholarships to deserving children of the nation for education. He highlighted in detail the aims and objectives of PEEF.
PEEF Scholars appreciated educational programme like Punjab Educational  Endowment Fund and said this programme was helping the children of poor families to get higher education.
They paid tributes to Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on launching this fund.
Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, Provincial Ministers Syed Raza Ali Gillani, Rana Mashood, Vice Chancellors, Professors, PEEF scholars, Educationists, Columnists, teachers and parents attended the ceremony.