LAHORE - Dignitaries from China, Turkey and France called on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif yesterday and discussed the bilateral cooperation in various sectors.

The CM and a Chinese delegation, led by Vice Governor Shandong province Xia Geng, decided to form a combined working group to increase cooperation between Shandong and Punjab in different sectors.

During the meeting matters of mutual interest, promotion of Pak-China relations and increase in cooperation in different sectors were discussed on the occasion. The group will present proposals for promoting bilateral cooperation in energy, industrial parks and other sectors. It was further decided to increase cooperation in various sectors between Punjab and Shandong and agreements will be made for this purpose.

Welcoming the delegation, the CM said that there were unswerving relations between Pakistan and China and their friendship has stood the test of time.

Shehbaz Sharif further said that the Punjab government was implementing a comprehensive programme for the promotion of industrial sector. He said that work is being carried out on a big project of establishment of Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park and economic zones are also being established in the province.

“Shandong province can cooperate in these projects,” the CM said, adding that terrorism is a collective problem of the world and joint efforts are needed to root out this menace.

He also highlighted that Pakistan is determined to eliminate terrorism and a comprehensive strategy is being implemented for this purpose.

Vice Governor Shandong Xia Geng said that Pakistan is a close friend of China and the warm welcome extended to Chinese president during his visit to Pakistan was unprecedented. He said that CPEC will further promote bilateral cooperation in different sectors. Agreements will be signed for promoting cooperation between Punjab and Shandong, he added.

Director General Foreign Affairs Shandong, Chinese Consul General Yu Boren and senior officials of Shandong province participated in the meeting. Provincial Minister Malik Nadeem Kamran, Kh. Ahmad Hasaan, Chairman Planning & Development, secretaries concerned, Commissioner Lahore Division, Chairman Punjab Investment Board and authorities concerned were also present.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Grand Assembly Speaker Ismail Kharaman called on CM Shehbaz, and discussed the matters of mutual interest, promotion of Pak-Turk relations and increase in cooperation in different sectors were discussed on the occasion.

It was agreed in the meeting to take further steps for promotion of economic and trade relations between the two countries.

The CM warmly welcomed Ismail Kharaman and other members of Turkish delegation in Lahore. He said that there are historic and brotherly relations between Pakistan and Turkey and the people of the two countries consider the other country as their home.

Shehbaz Sharif further said that practical display of brotherhood and sincerity between Pakistan and Turkey is often witnessed. He further said that both Pakistan and Turkey are facing the menace of terrorism and terrorists are the common enemy of the world and collective efforts are needed to deal with them.

The Chief Minister thanked Turk National Police and Turk leadership for its cooperation in the development and training of Dolphin Force in Punjab.

The Turkish strongly condemned Gulshan Iqbal Park tragedy and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives. They also paid tributes to the supreme sacrifices of Pakistan against terrorism and appreciated the courage and bravery of the Pakistani nation.

Mr Kharaman said that people of Pakistan and Turkey are bound together in strong ties. He assured the CM that all out measures would be taken for promotion of cooperation with Punjab government.

Turk Ambassador Baber Gurgin, senior Turk authorities, Member National Assembly Pervaiz Malik, Provincial Minister Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Kh Ahmad Hasaan and head of Turkish Cell in Punjab Investment Board Shaukat Haroon were also present on the occasion.

Separately, a delegation of senators led by President Pakistan France Friendship Group in the French Parliament Senator Pascal Allizard met Shehbaz Sharif, and shared views on the matters regarding promotion of cooperation in education, health, energy especially generation of power through alternative sources, water supply, sanitation and other sectors.

The chief minister appreciated the friendly relations between Pakistan and France, saying that France has extended commendable cooperation in strengthening of Pakistan’s economy. He also condemned the incidents of terrorism in France.

“Pakistani nation including political and military leadership is fighting against the menace of terrorism with full force,” Shehbaz said, stressing the need for global efforts for rooting out terrorism.

Senator Pascal Allizard expressed sorrow and grief over Gulshan Iqbal Park tragedy and said that the elements targeting innocent children and women deserve no leniency. He acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

“France wants to promote cooperation with Pakistan especially Punjab in different sectors and a close contact will be maintained with the provincial government in this regard,” he added.

French Ambassador in Pakistan Mrs Martine Dorance, Senators Ms Francoise Carton, Ms Patricia Morhet Richard, Pierre Michel Vauthelin and others attended the meeting. Provincial Minister for Finance Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chairman Planning & Development and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.