Shahbaz distributes Rs1b interest-free loan cheques

LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme is a revolutionary programme of poverty alleviation and controlling unemployment.

He said that interest-free loans of Rs17 billion had been distributed among 8.5 lakh families during the last few years and they had been able to stand on their feet. Similarly, he said, interest-free loans of one billion rupees had been given to 25,000 persons of the province Tuesday while similar loans worth Rs40 billion would be distributed among two million families during the next three years to make them self-reliant.

According to a handout, Shahbaz Sharif said that on the one hand, there are such great Pakistanis and the builders of the nation who are working hard to achieve the goal of national progress and prosperity while on the other hand, there are so-called elite who have usurped billions of rupees of the poor nation in the form of loans. He said that those who opposed to public welfare programme could do so but the government would continue to serve the masses.  He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the all-out effort would be made to eliminate poverty, ignorance and unemployment from the country. He said that Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme had taken the form of a movement and revolution and it was a splendid programme to minimise the gulf between the rich and the poor. He said that billions of rupees more would be provided for the betterment of those who were striving for progress and development of the country.

The chief minister expressed these views while addressing a ceremony regarding distribution of cheques of interest-free loans under Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme at Badshahi Mosque, here Tuesday. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the chief minister distributed cheques of interest-free loans.

Speaking on the occasion, Shahbaz Sharif said that such patriotic and great Pakistanis are present at the historical Badshahi Mosque as are working hard for the progress and prosperity of the country. He said that Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme had been launched for those who could start their own business and support their families instead of being a burden on the society. He said that great philosopher and poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal who gave the idea of Pakistan was buried near Badshahi Mosque and he believed in strong determination and continuous efforts.

He said that there is Minar-e-Pakistan in front of Badshahi Mosque where historic Pakistan Resolution was adopted under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for achieving a separate state where there was supremacy of justice and law and equal rights and opportunities of progress were available to all citizens. He said that though an independent country was achieved under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam but the objectives for which a long struggle was made have not been realised even after a passage of 68 years.

He said that if a strong resolve was made to transform Pakistan into a welfare state in the real sense in accordance with the ideas of Quaid and Iqbal and the principle of honesty and hard work was adopted, the goal of setting up a separate country could be achieved. He said that though it was difficult task but not impossible. He said that collective efforts were needed for national development and prosperity and it was the only way to move ahead.

He said that on the one hand, there were such elements as had looted the hard-earned money of the poor through getting their loans written of and as such destroyed national economy while on the other hand, there were such patriotic Pakistanis as had received interest-free small loans but were trying to strengthen the foundations of the country.

He said that rate of return of these loans is 99.99 percent and the whole nation salutes these patriotic Pakistanis. He said the Punjab government had started the scheme of provision of interest-free small loans a few years ago so that unemployed persons could set up their business and a revolving fund of one billion rupees was established under the name of Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme and it had now reached a sum of Rs5 billion. He said that interest-free loans of more than Rs.17.5 billion had been given so far from this revolving fund to 8.5 lakh families. He said that provision of interest-free loans was continuing with the cooperation of Akhuwat. He said that such welfare programmes would be continued for raising the living standard of the poor. He said that elimination of poverty was the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the government would continue its efforts for eliminating unemployment and poverty from the country.

Executive Director Akhuwat Organisation Dr Amjad Saqib highlighted the aims and objectives of Chief Minister’s Self-Employment Scheme. He said that interest-free loans were being given irrespective of any consideration of religion, sect, political affiliation, caste and creed. He said that provision of interest-free loans was the biggest programme of Qarz-e-Hasna in the world through which Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was giving hope to the people.

Prominent journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami congratulated Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Dr Amjad Saqib of Akhuwat on the occasion. He said that giving interest-free loans in mosque was a splendid tradition which should be promoted. He said that public welfare programme for the poor started under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif were proving very useful and a large number of people are benefiting from these programmes.

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