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British Delegation call on Punjab Chief Minister

Lahore: A representative delegation led by Sir Malcolm Bruce, Chairman International Development Committee of House of Commons UK, called on Punjab Chief Minister, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif at Chief Minister’s Secretariat, here today. British High Commissioner, British Members Parliament, representatives of DFID, Senator Ishaq Dar, Education Minister Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman, Special Assistant Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Advisor Zakia Shahnawaz, Member Provincial Assembly Col. (Retd) Shuja Khanzada, former Member British Parliament Ch. Sarwar, Chairman P&D and other concerned officials were present on the occasion. Matters regarding promotion of bilateral relations and mutual interest were discussed in detail during the meeting.

Talking on the occasion, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that of education reforms programme is continuing successfully with the cooperation of DFID in Punjab. He said that DFID is also extending all out cooperation in on-going skill development programme in South Punjab. He said that opportunities are being provided to the resourceless persons to stand on their own feet by making them skilled. He said that transparency is the hall mark of the Punjab government and proper utilization of government resources has been ensured in Punjab. He said that every penny of the people is being spent honestly. The Chief Minister said that Daanish schools have been opened in districts of South Punjab which are playing an important role in eliminating trends of extremism. He said that poor and orphan children are given admission in the Daanish schools. He said that there are books in dirty hands instead of earth and a silent educational revolution is being brought. Shahbaz Sharif said that high standard education is being provided in Daanish schools. He said that the proper utilization of the amount received from the British government for the uplift of education sector has been ensured. The Chief Minister said that the country is facing serious challenges like terrorism, extremism, corruption and energy crisis and we cannot march forward without overcoming them. He said that Punjab government has set up IT labs in 4,300 high schools so that male and female students could fully benefit from modern technology. He said that education is the only way through which the mental abilities of the young generation can be brightened by its promotion and the menace of extremism can be eliminated. Shahbaz Sharif said that Transparency International has declared the Punjab as the best province of Pakistan. He said that we are first Pakistani then Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi and Pakhtoon. The Chief Minister said that like Punjab, transparency and merit should be promoted throughout the country. He said that Punjab government is completing splendid metro bus project through its own resources and with the cooperation of Turkey at a cost of Rs.30 billion within a shortest period of eleven months. He said that Pakistan gives great importance to its relations with Britain and during his recent visit to London, an agreement has also been made with Britain for capacity building of law enforcement agencies in Punjab.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan and India will have to live like good neighbors for the development and prosperity of the people of the region. He said that time of wars has passed which gave nothing except destruction, poverty and economic ruination. He said that peace is the only way through which goals of development can be achieved. The Chief Minister said that Pakistan and India will have to fight their war of economic and trade development jointly. He said that former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee came Lahore through bus diplomacy in the previous era of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the peace journey was started but a dictator sabotaged the peace efforts for his personal interests due to which the dream of peace could not be materialized. Shahbaz Sharif said that the relations between Pakistan and India are improving. He said that due to the recent visits of Chief Minister of Bihar Province and Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab to Lahore have paved the way for the promotion of peace between both the countries. He said that a delegation of Punjab is going to India this month where talks with regard to promotion of economic and trade activities will be further expanded. He said that Pakistan and India should resolve the Kashmir, water and other issues through meaningful dialogues. Shahbaz Sharif said that due to energy crisis, economy has paralyzed and irreparable loss is being caused to the agriculture, trade and industry. He said that people have lost their confidence in the institutions due to increasing corruption which is becoming the cause of increasing lawlessness. He said that collective efforts are needed for overcoming all these serious problems. Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan can achieve the goals of independence and development in a dignified manner by increasing its own resources. He said that we can join the ranks of developed nations by promoting austerity at every level and curtailing unnecessary expenditures. The Chief Minister said that despite severe opposition, Punjab government levied agriculture tax on landlords and “Jagirdars” in 1998. The Chief Minister, while giving proposal of preparing a national agenda for meeting the serious challenges being faced by the country, said that a unanimous course of action should be adopted by all political parties for the elimination of terrorism, corruption and loadshedding and such a national agenda should be evolved which could not be changed by any government. He said that this is the roadmap through which Pakistan can be made a welfare-oriented and developed state. The Chief Minister said that corruption has be eliminated in Punjab at every level and transparency is witnessed in every project during four and a half years. He said that Punjab government has recruited more than 70 thousand science and art teachers on merit. He said that Punjab government is making efforts for improving the living standard of the poor masses that is why we have imposed a ban on purchase of new vehicles for the Ministers and Secretaries for the last four and a half years and there is no permission for the renovation of government offices. He said that no new vehicle can be purchased without permission of austerity committee. Shahbaz Sharif said that promotion of education is essential for bringing positive changes in the society and there is also a need of changing socio-economic condition. He said that the people will elect honest and patriotic leadership in the coming elections which will put the country on the road to progress by steering it out of serious crisis. He said that the popularity of PML-N is increasing day by day due to its public welfare oriented projects and expressed the hope that PML-N will achieve a thumping majority throughout the country in the coming elections.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, Chairman International Development Committee of House of Commons UK said that Britain will further promote cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors. He said that Punjab Chief Minister is taking encouraging steps in the education sector and the steps taken by him for the promotion of education will definitely spread the knowledge in every nook and corner of the province. The Chief Minister also hosted a luncheon in honour of British Parliamentary delegation.

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