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A high level delegation of European Union calls on CM Punjab

CM PunjabLahore: A high level delegation of European Union led by Director Development & Economic Cooperation Marc Vanheukelen met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, here today.

The Chief Minister, while talking to the members of the European Union delegation, expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the death of foreign diplomats in Naltar tragedy. Matters regarding implementation of various conventions relating to GSP Plus status were discussed in the meeting.

The Chief Minister said that he was deeply shocked and grieved over the death of two ambassadors and wives of two other ambassadors in the helicopter crash in Naltar. He said that Punjab government and the Pakistani nation equally share the grief of the bereaved families. He said that awarding of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by the European Union is a good omen and is resulting in strengthening of Pakistan’s economy. He said that European Union countries have extended all out help in the granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan. He said that effective measures are being taken for fully benefiting from GSP Plus status and a cabinet committee has been constituted for the implementation of the conventions with regard to GSP Plus.

The Chief Minister said that Labour Department has been given the task of elimination of child labour from brick kilns within six months and Provincial Labour Minister and the concerned department will have to work round the clock for this purpose. He said that necessary legislation has also been undertaken for the empowerment of women and minorities. He said that women are being given interest-free soft loans on priority basis for providing them job opportunities while 50 thousand vehicles are being given to the youth including women under Self-Employment Scheme.

He said that thousands of boy and girl students are benefiting from the biggest educational fund set up in the history of Pakistan and scholarships are also being given to the talented boy and girl students of other federating units of Pakistan along with Punjab from the income of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said that more than one lakh boy and girl students will be studying in local and foreign educational institutions with the help of this fund by the end of current financial year.

Shahbaz Sharif further said that scholarships are being given to the students from the educational fund purely on the basis of talent and merit. He further said that special attention is also being paid to producing skilled workforce according to the market needs and the scope of Skills Development Programme started from South Punjab is being extended to all districts of the province. He said that provision of resources for imparting skills to the youth is a useful investment. He said that the ongoing Skills development Programme being implemented with the collaboration of British Department for International Development (DFID) is yielding positive results.

The Chief Minister further said that schools reforms roadmap is also continuing successfully with the cooperation of DFID while it is also cooperating in health sector. He said that steps have also been taken for socio-economic empowerment of women. He said that government is working on various projects of power generation through traditional and alternative sources for overcoming shortage of energy.

Members of the European Union delegation said that the steps taken in Punjab with regard to GSP Plus status are encouraging and Punjab government is showing an excellent performance under the leadership of Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. Acting head of European Union in Pakistan Stefano Gatto and other senior officials were included in the delegation.

Provincial Ministers Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Ch. Muhammad Shafiq, Advisor Ijaz Nabi, Member Provincial Assembly Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha and concerned secretaries were also present on the occasion.

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