LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the country is facing serious challenges like terrorism, extremism, corruption and energy crisis and no progress can be achieved without their elimination.

Talking to a representative delegation led by Sir Malcolm Bruce, International Development Committee of House of Commons UK Chairman, on Monday, the chief minister said Pakistan and India would have to live like good neighbours for the development and prosperity of the region.

“Time of wars has passed which gives nothing except destruction, poverty and economic ruination. Peace is the only way through which goals of development can be achieved,” the chief minister held.

Shahbaz said Pakistan and India would have to fight their war of economic and trade development jointly. He said the relations between the two countries were improving.

Referring to the recent visit of Bihar Province Chief Minister and Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister to Lahore, he said it had paved the way for the promotion of peace between both the countries. He said a delegation of Punjab was going to India this month where talks with regard to promotion of economic and trade activities would be further expanded.  The chief minister said Pakistan and India should resolve the Kashmir, water and other issues through meaningful dialogues.

Shahbaz Sharif said due to energy crisis, economy had paralyzed and irreparable loss was being caused to the agriculture, trade and industry. He said people had lost their confidence in the institutions because of increasing corruption which was becoming the cause of increasing lawlessness.

He said collective efforts were needed for overcoming all these serious problems. He said Pakistan could achieve the goals of independence and development in a dignified manner by increasing its own resources.

“The education reforms programme in Punjab is continuing successfully with the cooperation of DFID, that is also extending all out cooperation in on-going skill development programme in South Punjab, to enable the less privileged persons to stand on their own feet by making them skill hands,” he held.

The chief minister said transparency was the hall mark of the Punjab government and every penny of the people was being spent honestly. He said Daanish Schools had been opened in districts of South Punjab which were playing an important role in eliminating trends of extremism.

“Quality education is being provided to the kids of lowest stratum in Daanish schools. Proper utilisation of the amount received from the British government for the uplift of education sector has been ensured,” he maintained.

He said the Punjab government was completing splendid metro bus project through its own resources and with the cooperation of Turkey at a cost of Rs30 billion within a shortest period of eleven months.

International Development Committee of House of Commons UK Chairman Sir Malcolm Bruce said the Britain would further promote cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors.  He said the 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 British High Commissioner, British Members Parliament, representatives of DFID, Senator Ishaq Dar and others were present on the occasion. Matters regarding promotion of bilateral relations and mutual interest were discussed in detail during the meeting.