LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Friday peace and prosperity could not be achieved without eradication of extremism and militancy.

Talking to German media representatives in Berlin on Friday, Shahbaz said Pakistan was determined to get rid of these menaces. “Pakistan has paid a heavy price in the war against terrorism and more than 40,000 Pakistanis have laid down their lives besides incurring huge financial losses. The world, particularly the West, must acknowledge these sacrifices and sufferings,” he maintained.

The chief minister said no other country had been affected as much by the war against terrorism as Pakistan and the time had come to adopt a new way of thinking for playing a meaningful role in countering terrorism. “A terrorist is just a terrorist, without any religion, caste, colour or creed. Those who play with innocent lives do not belong to any religion,” he emphasised.

Shahbaz maintained that there was no difference between terrorism and drone attacks, because “both are spilling the blood of innocent people.” He said drone attacks were serving no purpose; rather they had become a source of increasing anti-American sentiments in the area. He also urged friendly countries to help Pakistan in stopping the drone attacks.

Shahbaz said the existing situation in Pakistan was being not fully realised and unnecessary demands were being made from Pakistan. He said the role of Germany for the promotion of peace in South Asia was immensely important and called on the German government to play its effective role in peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan after foreign armies leave the country. The Punjab chief minister said Pakistan considered peace in Afghanistan in the best interest of the two countries.

The chief minister said conducive atmosphere for investment had been created by the Punjab government and all necessary facilities were being provided to foreign investors under one roof. He called on German companies to benefit from the vast investment opportunities in Pakistan, especially in Punjab.

The chief minister said reconciliation between Pakistan and India would also benefit the economy of the two countries. “Pakistan and India have no other option but to initiate mutual commerce and trade. Moreover, the western countries could use Punjab as their base for commerce and trade with India,” he concluded.

Later on Friday, Shahbaz reached back London after a two-day visit to Germany. Lord Nazir Ahmed and a large number of PML-N workers received the chief minister at the airport.