LAHORE - British High Commissioner Philip Barton called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, yesterday and shared views on the matter of mutual interest, promotion of bilateral relations and increase in cooperation in different sectors.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister highlighted ‘best friendly’ and trade relations between Pakistan and Britain and said Pakistan attaches high importance to its ties with Britain.

He said that British cooperation in education, health, skill development, law & order and other sectors is laudable. He said that the collaboration between Punjab and Britain in various sectors is increasing and his recent visit to UK was the most successful tour of his political career.

He said that ongoing programmes in education, health and skill development sectors are being successfully implemented in Punjab with the cooperation of British Department for International Development (DFID).

Emphasising the need for further promotion of trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Britain, the chief minister said that it is essential to take continuous steps in this regard by both the countries. He said that trends of extremism and terrorism can be overcome through education. Therefore, he said, Punjab government is paying special attention to development of education sector.

He said that Punjab government wants to further expand the scope of cooperation with the regard to development of social sectors with Britain. Shahbaz Sharif said that speedy follow up is being made on the important matters agreed during the meetings with British officials during his visit to Britain.

He said that Punjab government is spending every penny with honesty. Referring to National Action Plan against terrorism, Shahbaz Sharif said that all political parties displayed exemplary unity and consensus over this plan and the measures taken under National Action Plan are yielding positive results. He said that the whole Pakistani nation, political and military leadership is united to root out terrorism. The Chief Minister said that more than 50,000 Pakistanis have sacrificed their lives in the war against terrorism and these include officers and jawans of Pak-Army, police and common citizens.

He said that the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism are unprecedented. He said that the war against terrorism is aimed at survival of future generations and it has to be won at any cost. He said that there is no room for extremism in Pakistan. Shahbaz Sharif said that setting up of a peaceful society based on tolerance and restraint is the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the mission of present government.

He said that transparency of the present government has been acknowledge in recent report of Transparency International released from Berlin and Pakistan is at the best position in the international index in this report in its history which is a proof of transparent policies of the government. He further said that the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made tremendous progress in different sectors during last two and a half years and much progress has been made for elimination of terrorism and extremism besides resolving energy crisis.

He said that Pakistan today is more safe, peaceful and developed compared to 2013. The chief minister said that British High Commissioner Philip Barton has played an important role for further strengthening relations between Pakistan and Britain and his services in this regard are commendable.

He expressed good wishes for Philip Barton. Speaking on the occasion, Philip Barton said that Punjab government led by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has ensured proper utilization of money of British tax payers.

He said that strong partnership exist between Punjab and Britain. He said that Shehbaz Sharif has taken worth emulating public welfare steps in Punjab. He assured that cooperation in various sectors will be continued with Pakistan.