LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that young generation is guarantee to a bright future of Pakistan, adding that provision of resources for equipping the youth with modern knowledge is a useful investment and the government would provide all out funds for this purpose. Addressing first batch of 66 students selected for two-year Chinese language course on Wednesday, he said that the government has made a programme to send 500 youth to China for learning Chinese language. “First batch of 66 students will leave for China today (Thursday). China has become the second biggest economic power of the world and has proved its mettle across nations,” he added.Shahbaz said that political, diplomatic and economic importance of China is there for everyone to see, adding that learning Chinese language is the need of the hour. No doubt, he said, this programme would increase the friendship, economic cooperation and relations between the two countries. Chinese Consul General Yu Boren, additional chief secretary, Higher Education secretary, vice chancellors and other officers concerned were present on the occasion. The chief minister told the students that they are the ambassadors of the country and they have to earn a good name through hard work, discipline, punctuality and high character in order to enhance the value of the green passport. He said that the students not only have to learn Chinese language during two years’ course but also get knowledge about history and culture of China. He assured that all out resources would be utilised for the bright future of the country and the nation.“Youth are equipped with courage and knowledge and they have to make their country prosperous. Punjab government will bear all the expenditure in this regard,” he said, adding that those who would show outstanding performance in the course would be provided with jobs in universities and colleges. He said that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and a number of other countries are also friends of Pakistan but Pak-China friendship is unprecedented, adding that friendship and economic cooperation with China is important in many respects.Shahbaz said that judges, generals, policymakers, judiciary, traders and all segments of society would have to play due role in the uplift of the country. Referring to merit policy of Punjab government, Shahbaz said that culture of merit and transparency has been promoted in the province during the last eight years. He said all recruitments in education, police and other departments have been made on merit. Besides, selection of girl and boy students visiting China has also been made on merit. He said that merit is only way to development of the country therefore, merit has been promoted at every level.Replying to the questions of students, the chief minister said that Pakistan is more for the poor than for the rich, adding that Pakistan would become the country of Quaid and Iqbal only when the gulf between the rich and poor is eliminated. If we ensure merit, the disappointment of common man will change into hope and he will consider Pakistan as his country and the confidence of the youth will be restored,” he added. Chinese Consul General Yu Boren said that it was an honour for him to participate in the ceremony. He said China and Pakistan are good neighbours, friends, partners and brothers and the friendship between both the countries is strengthening with the passage of time. He said that role of the chief minister is commendable for enhancing Pak-China friendship and economic cooperation.The Chinese consul general would remain in contact with the university in Beijing and extend all out facilities to the students participating in the course in Chinese language. The chief minister also gave laptops to the students going to China.