LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is hopeful that the talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan would yield positive results. “I hope that the decision taken on the basis of national thinking and collective wisdom would yield positive results”, the CM told a visiting parliamentary delegation from FATA that called on him here on Sunday.

The delegation comprised Members National Assembly Alhaj Shahji Gul Afridi, Sajid Hussain Toori, Syed Ghazi Gulab Jamal, Bilal Rehman, Bismillah Khan and Nasir Khan Afridi.

Shahbaz said that in order to restore peace in the country, the government, with the consultation of all stake-holders, had given another chance to dialogue to come to an amicable settlement. He said that extremism along with energy crisis had caused a huge loss to the country’s economy. He said that the aim of rapid progress of the country could not be realised without overcoming these problems, and the government was making sincere efforts for coping with such challenges and issues.

The chief minister further stated that solid measures were being taken for steering the country out of crises, and effective economic policies were being implemented for revival of national economy. He said that a comprehensive strategy had also been adopted for the promotion of economic and trade activities.

He said in order to overcome energy shortage, various agreements had been signed with several local and foreign companies for investment in power sector, and special incentives are being offered for this purpose. He said that work was being carried out speedily on coal fired electricity projects. He said that Chinese companies were expressing interest in investment in coal-based energy projects and initially two power plants will be operated with imported coal whereas local coal would later be used for electricity generation projects. He said that government was also working on the projects of generation of power from hydel, thermal and other low-cost resources.

 He said in addition to setting up new power projects, the government had also taken effective measures for checking theft of electricity and vigorous action had been taken against electricity and gas thieves. He said that the elements involved in pilferage of electricity and gas deserve no leniency and should be exposed at every level.

Referring to the measures taken for promotion of economic and trade activities in the province, the chief minister said that new industrial estates were being established in the province while rapid progress was being made towards setting up industrial estates in Rahim Yar Khan and Khushab.

He said that Pakistan’s garments and textile exports would substantially increase while new job opportunities would also be created as a result of granting of GSP Plus status to the country.

The delegation members appreciated the governments’ decision of holding dialogue with the TTP for ensuring peace in the country. They said that Punjab had made unprecedented progress under the leadership of Shahbaz Sharif who is serving the masses in the real sense.