BAHAWALPUR, April 3: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif says he is ready to lead a long march if necessitated to stop drone attacks on Pakistani territory.

At the inauguration of a Danish School branch in Chishtian, 110km from here, Mr Sharif said on Sunday that he condemned frequent drone attacks on Pakistani soil killing scores of people and urged the nation to forge unity on the issue.

He said presently such attacks targeted Bajaur and Waziristan agencies, but in the future such attacks could be directed to kill “us”.

“If a long march is needed to protest these attacks, I am ready to lead it,” he added.

Avoiding comments on US official Davis Raymond, the chief minister said that when he was in London in the second week of March, a drone attack in South Waziristan killed 52 “innocent members of a jirga”, who had assembled there only to distribute a mine lease money among a family.

The chief minister stressed the need to follow the teachings of the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal to root out militancy and terrorism from the country. He added until the militancy was eliminated, the poverty could not be eradicated and the gulf between the poor and the rich could not be bridged. He said economic disparities and injustice should be removed from society.

About of the Danish school system, which he called one of the best education systems of the country, Mr Sharif said more such schools would be established across the country. He announced that in the future deserving but talented children from other provinces and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Federally Administered Tribal Area would be given admission to Danish schools. He said the doors of Danish schools would remain close to the children of well-to-do people as the doors of elite schools like Atchison, Beacon House and LUMS were out of the reach of the poor and deprived children.

He said Danish schools were under construction in Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali, Attock and Rajanpur while seven other such schools would be set up in the far flung areas of Punjab in the next year. He said expenditures on the construction of these schools had been incurred from country's budget and not from any foreign grant. He said neither the rich people nor politicians ever spent their money on such institutions to help the deprived children. Instead, he said, foreign masters granted them funds with certain conditions. In the prevailing circumstances, he said, the Pakistani nation should rely on its own resources and efforts should be made for self-reliance which could only be achieved through sacrifices and continuous work.

Earlier, the schoolchildren presented a variety programme and a tableau, which was applauded by the audience. The chief minister also visited the school, which has been established over 500 acres costing over Rs630 million. According to Board of Governor Chairman Aamir Jan, the annual expenditure of the school will be Rs21 million. The chief minister has opened such Danish schools in Rahim Yar Khan and Hasilpur.