LAHORE - British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond met Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif yesterday and shared views with him on the matters of mutual interest, promotion of trade and economic cooperation, health, skill development and security affairs.

The British Minister on the occasion also expressed satisfaction over the development programmes initiated in education, health and other social sectors with the financial assistance of the UK government.

The chief minister told the UK Minister about the level, standard and quantum of work being done to upgrade education, health and skill development sectors in Punjab with the collaboration of Department of International Development (DFID) UK.

He informed the guest about the improvement brought about in these sectors. He said Punjab government is making investment for providing technical training to the youth and empowering them so that they could not only stand on their own feet but also play due role in strengthening economy.

The chief minister said Pakistan highly values its ties with Britain that have received new boost since the PML-N came to power. Shehbaz Sharif said understanding the importance of women’s role in the national development the government has taken historic steps for their empowerment as well as to protect their rights in general. Referring to the measures taken for coping with terrorism and extremism, the Chief Minister said that besides solid steps, necessary legislation has been made for eliminating trends of extremism from the society.

He said that terrorism is a common problem of international community and this challenge can be overcome through collective efforts.

He said that Pakistani nation, political and military leadership are on one page for eliminating terrorism and marching forward on the mission of constituting a society based on tolerance and forbearance according to the vision of Quaid-e-Azam. Shehbaz Sharif said the funds provided by the UK department to Punjab social sectors development, have been spent most transparently.

British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said that under the leadership of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, extraordinary work is being carried out in education, health and other sectors.

Philip Hammond said that he is happy to see the proper utilisation of British taxpayers’ money in Punjab. He said that Punjab is marching forward to right direction in development field and he is going back with a good message from Pakistan.

Adviser to Prime Minister Tariq Fatmi, Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah, Ayesha Ghous Pasha, Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Home and besides senior officials, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew were also present on the occasion.