The government is investing in the education sector to secure the country’s future, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Friday.

He was addressing students who had secured more than 500 marks in the 9th class exams and the students given foreign scholarships.

“Fifty students are travelling abroad for undertaking PhD studies in some of the best universities of the world. We are also sending 130 students to China for learning the Chinese language,” he said.

The CM said that the scholarships had been granted on merit. “These students will return to Pakistan and will play an active role in the progress and prosperity of the country,” he said.

The chief minister congratulated the students going abroad for PhD and learning the Chinese language. He also distributed laptops among them.

He said that the function had been arranged to honour hardworking students.

“The government will send 500 boys and girls to China on its expense for learning the Chinese language. The first batch of 66 students is already learning the Chinese language in Beijing. Another 130 students will soon leave for China for this purpose,” he said.

“The cost of these students’ travel and studies is being shouldered by the Punjab government. It is a useful investment for securing a bright future for the nation. The boys and girls will return to Pakistan after learning the Chinese language. They will serve as a bridge between the two countries. In this way, the ties between Beijing and Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Karachi will grow stronger,” the CM said.

“These talented students will help promote the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” the chief minister said.

“A neighboring country is lobbying against this project. There is collusion between India and some other countries against the CPEC as they feel threatened by this project. Pakistan will move ahead of India economically as a result of CPEC,” he said.

He said that the CPEC was a gift from the Chinese government for Pakistan. “The pace at which CPEC projects are being implemented is unprecedented. A solar power project in Bahawalpur has been completed. Similarly, work is underway on a 1,320 megawatts coal power project in Sahiwal. This project will be completed in 2017. CPEC projects will help eliminate loadshedding from the country,” he said. The CM said that the Orange Line Metro Train Project was being completed transparently. “The Chinese leadership and the government have complete confidence in its transparency. That is why the Chinese government has given billions of rupees for this project,” he said.

The CM said that despite various challenges, the project would be completed on time. “It will bring a revolutionary change in public transport. An appeal is being filed in the Supreme Court against the stay order given against construction work at some of the project sites. Meanwhile, work continues round the clock at other sites. The project will be completed on time,” he said.

Chinese Consul General Yu Boren, Ministers Zakia Shahnawaz, Rana Mashhood Ahmad and parents of the students were present.

The chief minister thanked the Chinese consul general for extending cooperation in the issuances of visas to students.