Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan and Iran enjoy a strong bond of love and affection. He said Iran is a sincere and reliable friend of Pakistan, while there is a need for further promoting economic, trade and industrial ties between the two countries. He said Muhammad Nawaz Sharif played a very important role as prime minister in strengthening relations with Iran. He said that time has come for Pakistan and Iran to move forward together in economic, trade, industrial and agriculture sectors. He said Iran is an important country of the region and has to play an active role in establishment of peace in the region.
He expressed these views while talking to Advisor to Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Akbar Walaiti who met the Chief Minister accompanied by a 14-member delegation at Model Town, today. Matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations were discussed in the meeting. Senior Advisor Senator Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Provincial Minister for Law Rana Sana Ullah Khan, Special Assistant Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Chairman Planning & Development, Chief Executive Officer Punjab Investment Board and Iranian Consul General Muhammad Hussain Bani Asadi were also present. Talking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that role of Ali Akbar Walaiti as Iranian foreign minister has been laudable in bringing the Islamic countries closer besides strengthening Pak-Iran relations. He said the offer of Iran to provide assistance to Pakistan to overcome energy crisis is a good omen. He said had federal government seriously worked on energy crisis, Pakistan would not have been facing darkness. He said due to loadshedding, industrial and agricultural sectors of Pakistan are getting negatively impacted. He said the federal government has not adopted any concrete policy during five years to overcome energy shortage. He said combating energy crisis is a big challenge while Punjab being a big province, is being more impacted by the loadshedding. He said Punjab government has made planning to overcome energy crisis through its own resources, whereas work on various development projects for generation of energy from water, coal and solar power is being carried out expeditiously. He said Punjab government has initiated a unique and revolutionary Ujala programme to provide relief to the students facing loadshedding, under which brilliant students studying at government educational institutions are being given free of cost solar panels. He said the talented students would be enabled through solar panels to continue their academic activities during loadshedding, along with keeping their houses bright. He said Punjab government is spending a hefty amount of two billion 50 crore rupees on Ujala programme under which more than two lakh solar panels would be distributed among students purely on merit. He said a modern slaughter house has been established in Lahore, with the cooperation of Iran, which will increase the export of Halal meat in accordance with hygienic principles, while Punjab government would also set up modern slaughter houses in other cities of Punjab. He said Punjab government has expeditiously completed metro bus project to provide modern and affordable traveling facilities to the common man which is being inaugurated on February 10. He said this project is not only for Lahore but for whole Pakistan and would bring about revolutionary changes in transport sector.
Talking on the occasion, Advisor to Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Akbar Walaiti said that the relations between Pakistan and Iran were extremely strong during the rule of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who played an important role in cementing mutual ties. He said the management and efforts of Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for the welfare, progress and development of the people are highly laudable. He prayed that whole Pakistan should progress as people of Punjab have progressed under Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. He said Punjab is the heart of Pakistan, which is progressing under the leadership of Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. He said gas pipeline agreement is an important development, through which the ties between both the countries will be further strengthened. Ali Akbar Walaiti stressed the need for further promoting Pakistan- Iran relations in economic, trade, industrial and agriculture sectors. He invited President Pakistan Muslim League-N Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif to visit Iran. The Chief Minister said that he considered Iran as his second home and he would soon visit Tehran. During the meeting, Fateha was also offered by Ali Akbar Walaiti and members of the delegation over the demise of younger brother of Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Muhammad Abbas Sharif.