LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that friendly relations between Pakistan and Britain are deep-rooted and Britain is a big trade partner of Pakistan.

Talking to a delegation led by Mayor of British city Waltham Forest, Nadeem Ali during a meeting here, the chief minister said that British cooperation in training of Punjab police on modern lines and development of education, health and other sectors was commendable.

Provincial Minister for Environment Col(r) Shuja Khanzada was also present on the occasion. Trade relations between Pakistan and Britain, development projects and matters of mutual interest were discussed in the meeting.

Shahbaz said the skills development programme were running successfully with the cooperation of Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) and thousands of youth had been trained in different skills so far under this programme. He said a large number of Pakistanis were living in Britain and playing an active role in its development.

The chief minister said that Punjab government was implementing a massive programme of progress and prosperity of the people and provision of basic amenities to the masses while reforms had been introduced for the improvement of education, health and social sectors. He said a modern forensic lab had been set up for eliminating crime and improving the system of investigation.

Shahbaz said development of a skilled workforce to meet market needs was a big challenge and Punjab government was implementing a comprehensive strategy for this purpose and the scope of Punjab Skills Development Programme started in four districts of south Punjab in collaboration with DFID had been expanded to 18 districts of the province.

The chief minister further said that Punjab government was spending billions of rupees on the provision of speedy, comfortable and economical transport facilities to the people and about 1.75 lakh citizens were benefitting from metro bus service in Lahore daily. He said work on Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus project had also been started and will be completed in 10 months.

Shahbaz said planning was being made for launching metro bus service in Faisalabad and Multan as well. He said granting of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by European Union was a big success which was not only resulting in creation of new job opportunities in Pakistan but its textile exports to European countries were also increasing substantially.

He said government would fully benefit from the golden opportunity of GSP Plus facility and implementation of all conventions up to European standards would be ensured so that maximum Pakistani products could gain access to European markets. He said increase in the export of textile and garments would enhance the volume of trade between Pakistan and European countries due to which Pakistan’s industry would progress and its economy would strengthen.

Mayor of Waltham Forest, Nadeem Ali while paying tributes to public service activities of Punjab chief minister said Punjab had made unprecedented progress under his leadership. He said progress and development made in Punjab especially Lahore was surprising. He said metro bus service was a splendid public welfare project.

Nadeem said completion of a big project of international standard like metro bus in a very short period was a big achievement of Shahbaz and a glorious example of utilization of public funds on the welfare of the masses.