LAHORE: The Punjabis living in Balochistan must be protected from target killings though the Balochistan government is trying to check the trend, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said at a ceremony organised to honour Balochistan students studying in Punjab institutions on Wednesday.
Mr Raisani urged the students to serve the country with genuine degrees and not fake ones.
Mr Sharif said his Balochistan counterpart was trying to check the killings. He said excesses were committed against Baloch and the trial of killers of Nawab Akbar Bugti be made to heal their wounds.
He said the Punjab government had taken the initiative to send top position holders abroad from all provinces and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and that he was happy to hear that the Baloch students, who visited abroad and those studying in Punjab, considered Punjab their home.
He said Baloch students’ stay in Punjab would go a long way in developing unity and love among the people of both provinces.
“These Baloch students will become ambassadors of Punjab and serve as a bridge between the people living in both provinces,” he added.
The chief minister said Punjab had always tried to play its role in national issues, and added that he had mediated the NFC award. “This signing of the award was a slap on the face of the enemies of Pakistan,” he added.
The chief minister announced doubling scholarships for talented students from Balochistan under the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) scholarships as well as doubling seats from 104 to 208 in medical colleges for them.
He said the Punjab government had also earmarked Rs1 billion for a state-of-the-art cardiology centre in Balochistan.
He congratulated Mr Raisani on the discovery of gold mines worth $1 trillion in Balochistan, saying “these mines could help retire Pakistan’s $60 billion debt and the remaining income could change the fate of the whole country”.
He, however, said: “the first right of this treasure is of Baloch and they should use it for rectifying their longstanding problems and Punjab will look towards it afterwards”.
Mr Raisani said education was a weapon to protect people and the homeland. He thanked to Mr Sharif for offering scholarships and overseas tours to Balochistan students.
He stressed the students to serve their country “with genuine degrees and not fake ones”.
Balochistan Education Minister Tahir Mahmood Khan said though Balochistan had less resources from other provinces, but the massive development work done in the last two-and-a-half-years was unprecedented in the last 60 years.
He said Mr Raisani had allocated a maximum budget for education this year.
The minister said there were 10,442 primary schools in Balochistan, but only 860 schools accommodated those completing primary education and only 593 schools to accommodate middle school students.
Similarly, he said that there were only 110 colleges and just five universities in all across Balochistan.
The minister urged Mr Sharif to accommodate more Balochistan students in Punjab and also suggested that the Punjab government open sub-campuses of its top colleges and universities in Quetta.
Punjab Chief Minister Senior Adviser Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa said Baloch students should make friends in their colleges and strengthen their friendship as it would eventually help develop stronger bond between the two provinces.
Talib Husain, resident of Domki and studying in Class-VIII in Chanab College, Jhang, said that he would have not been able to get education, if he was not offered scholarship from Punjab. He said that he would not let this scholarship waste and bring laurels for Punjab and Balochistan.
Abida Kakar, a first year medical student, said she had topped in FSc in Balochistan and the Punjab government sent her on a study tour of five countries.
Sehrish Qalandri, an ICS student, said she had topped in arts group and was invited to visit educational institutions in Punjab. She said the visit had inculcated in her an urge that she should study hard and excel.
She said that no student would now stop education for want of financial resources. She said she had taken his message of love and peace to Balochistan. She also said that she would set up a ‘Sehrish Education Trust’ after completing her education.
Zahid Murree, a resident of Quetta and student of BBA (Honour) at COMSATS, said he was given scholarship by PEEF without applying for it.