LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that the provincial government had always given priority to southern Punjab in health, education, infrastructure, transport and other sectors. Addressed a workers convention in Bahawalpur through videolink from Lahore, the chief minister said the Punjab government had spent a huge amount of Rs70 billion for the development of the district in the past nine years.”Around Rs50 billion was spent for the development and prosperity of the Bahawalpur district during the past five years alone,” he said. The chief minister apologised to the participants of the event for being unable to visit Bahawalpur owing to the inclement weather and said that despite repeated attempts, the pilots refused to fly to Bahawalpur in such weather conditions.”By the grace of Allah Almighty, I will be there soon to personally meet you and to discuss all matters in detail. You will also be consulted with regard to the restoration of Bahawalpur province,” he said. Shehbaz said that the people of Bahawalpur had played an unforgettable role in the creation of Pakistan and had proactively performed their duties in economic activities to boost the national development process.”The PML-N government has driven the country towards stability and Pakistan is successfully moving from instability to peace, poverty to prosperity and from darkness to illumination,” he said, adding that the government had sincerely strived for national development. The chief minister said the people of Bahawalpur had honoured the PML-N with their trust and affection. He said the love and affection were not one-way as the PML-N leadership also loved the people of Bahawalpur. The chief minister said that he was thankful to office bearers and party workers who had organized such a wonderful convention at Bahawalpur. The convention was attended by Senator Saud Majeed, Federal Minister Baleeghur Rehman, provincial ministers Malik Iqbal Channar, Chaudhry Shafiq, Chaudhry Naeem Bhaba, several parliamentarians and a large number of office-bearers as well as workers of the PML-N. Separately, the chief minister directed the officials concerned to improve and personally monitor the security situation across the province. While presiding over a high-level meeting to review the security arrangements in Punjab, he made it clear that no leniency of any kind in terms of security arrangements would be tolerated, adding that the agencies concerned should perform their duties diligently. The meeting was attended by Advisor Rana Maqbool Ahmad, chief secretary, additional chief secretary, inspector general of police and other officials concerned. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain called on Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Different matters of mutual interest including political issues and public welfare projects came under discussion during the meeting. Shehbaz Sharif said the PML-N government gave priority to the welfare of the people while its political opponents wasted their time in political name-calling. The number of development projects completed during the current tenure of PML-N is a new record, he said. “The opponents have set records of telling lies while we made new records of development projects. Our development schemes are a shining example of transparency and quality. People will always remember the politics of public service rendered by PML-N government,” he added. The chief minister said general elections were just around the corner and people will hold accountable those who looted the national resources and impeded the journey of development. “Those who ignored the people in their provinces will be hiding their faces in the general elections. One political party has ruined the KP while the other has wreaked havoc in province of Sindh. People gave them the mandate to serve country but they disrespected it,” he added. Published in Daily Times, April 17th 2018.