Lahore (Web Desk/Agencies): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said that the nation can overcome "difficult times" with the collective efforts, sacrifices and hard work.
Addressing a stone laying ceremony of Bab-e-Pakistan and the expansion and infrastructure upgradation of Walton Road, the premier said that all segments of the society, including the elite class, would have to come forward and support the nation with generosity, adding that there was no other way to reach to destination except adherence to these qualities.
"We have once again gathered at the historic place for which millions of migrating Muslims from the sub-continent had offered historic sacrifices, and strived under the great leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, for the creation of a separate homeland, PM Shehbaz said, adding that
He said that the migrants, on their way to the newly created homeland, came across worst kind of carnage, with thousands of children and women braving the onslaught.
Federal Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi, parliamentarians and officials were present during the ceremony.
Referring to the Walton road, the prime minister said it was the place where thousands of migrants from India took refuge and the locals supported them which renewed the precedent of Ansar-e-Madina.
The unique precedent would always be remembered, he added.
He observed that the Muslims migrated to a newly created country to get rid of the foreign rulers and with desire to establish a society in which merit, justice and equality would prevail.
Recalling the journey of the Bab-e-Pakistan project, the prime minister said Nawaz Sharif laid its foundation stone in 1991 and then in 1997 when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) came to power and work on the project was expedited.
He regretted that the project hit snags during 2008 when its contract was awarded during the rule of late Musharraf.
The premier said that Around Rs1 billion was buried in its ruins. The contractor was a fraud and lacked experience who wanted to import granite from Italy at a cost of worth Rs900 million, he added.
The prime minister opined that it would be a shame for a poor country like Pakistan, where the basic necessities of life like health and education were scant, to use costly imported tiles for the construction of the historic monument.
With import of tiles, what message they had to give to the outer world! he said, adding that he refused to allow import of such material. The contract was awarded to a person without bidding.
The prime minister further said that with such a display of callousness, billions of the country were wasted.
PM Shehbaz said that such cases also raised questions about the performance of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that targeted the innocent people, but did not summon the people who are responsible for delaying this important project for so long.
"It was the double standards that had caused harm to Pakistan. The rule of ‘might is right’ must be buried forever by the 220 million people of the country," PM Shehbaz said, adding the country could not move ahead on the path of progress and prosperity unless they collectively resist these tendencies.
The prime minister said that Bab-e-Pakistan should be a place for the young generations and the visitors to get themselves aware of the history of Pakistan.
PM Shehbaz urged caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi to support the project. He said that the delay in the project was 20-25 years long and that everyone involved in the project should play their role to complete it collectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique said they had gathered at a historical place where the people of the sub-continent had resolved for creation of a new homeland.
The minister said that all the development projects across the country had been initiated and accomplished during the PML-N governments.
He praised the Central Business District Development Authority (CBDA) CBDA for the launch of different projects and observed that with the completion of work, Walton road would also see a vital change.
Earlier, Central Business District Development Authority (CBDA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Imran Nadeem presented an overview of the projects.