Batting for peace, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said India and Pakistan should jointly combat hunger and poverty rather than fighting each other.
On his first visit to Pakistan, Kumar said he would always measure his visit this country in terms of the enormous love he has received from the people.
"The amount of love I have received from the people here can't be artificial. In Lahore, I don't feel I am in an alien land," Kumar said while addressing a gathering at the Government College University here.
"It's a good beginning as earlier parliament delegations only came to the national capitals. We have a similar history and we must move forward. Instead of fighting with each other, we should jointly fight hunger and poverty," he said.
Kumar, unlike Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, preferred to make his speech in Hindi.
He said it was an honour for him to address the old students of the GCU, which was the embodiment of Lahore.
Highlighting different measures his government adopted to improve law and order, education, healthcare and agriculture in Bihar, Kumar said the dropout rate had been reduced to two per cent from 12.5 per cent in 2005.
Enhancing enrolment in schools should not be the only target, he said.
"In 2007, there were not many girl students in Bihar's schools when he introduced a cycle scheme. Instead of providing them with bicycles, we gave them cash to buy one of their own choice and today the number of school-going girls has swelled to 650,000," he said.
Kumar said that in the past, hardly one or two patients visited state-run health centres every day because of the lack of facilities.
"Then we started providing free medicines and now 8,000 to 9,000 people visit a health centre in a month," he said.
The Bihar government believed in making every segment of society, be it the Scheduled Castes or marginalised or minority communities, part of its progressive approach and the end objective is improving the standard of living.
To stop urbanisation, the government laid emphasis on the agriculture sector, he said.
Kumar emphasised that good governance is key to bringing about a change.
"When I came to power, I was asked what would be my first three priorities. I said governance, governance and governance. I said I had to only focus on this."
He also spoke about the importance of establishing rule of law with impartiality.
"Rule of law is the most important thing. The people had fear but criminals didn't have any fear as they got away with their crimes. Then we ensured submission of challans in court on time and improved the prosecution system. That led to the conviction of 74,000 criminals," he said.
Kumar received appreciation from the audience, which clapped for half-a-minute after his speech.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif livened up the proceedings by reciting couplets by Allama
Iqbal. He said both countries should work together for the welfare of the
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