LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has stressed the need for developing strong regional linkages not only economic but embracing the whole gamut of connection between the countries, political, cultural and people to people. He said that Dubai and Pakistan have ever unifying bonds of Islam and culture and their connections are both multiple and multi faceted. Hence, by working together they can enhance each others strengths to ensure mutual benefits as well as guard against possible negative effects of the global economic crisis, he added. According to a handout, he was addressing UAE Investors Conference in Dubai Monday, which was participated by delegates from more than 20 countries and leading investors from UAE. The Chief Minister said that Dubai has successfully established itself on the world map as a regional hub for logistics and financial services and the same pattern of specialist economic hubs is emerging across the world. He said that the common feature in all these hubs is strong linkages with other regional centres. He said that Dubai and Pakistan are located in the same region and there is a significant Pakistani investment in property in Dubai and many Pakistanis regard Dubai as their second home. He said that Pakistan and Dubai are part of the same 'greater regional economy. He said that Pakistan and Dubai have different competencies, specialization and economic advantages. He said that Pakistans strength is its rich national resource base, its large population and its low cost production. He said that Dubais strength is its value addition, its understanding of markets and its established regional distribution networks. He said that these are complimentary strengths and by working together they can gain much benefit. He said that there is a need to approach economic collaboration between Dubai and Pakistan. He said that Pakistan and Dubai should understand and appreciate each others individual strengths and weaknesses and thereby identify optimal areas and mechanisms for working together. He said that it is time to marry Pakistans natural resources and low-cost production centers with Dubais world brands and distribution networks which will help in the generation of employment opportunities and increased revenue in Pakistan and enhance competitive advantages as a regional hub to Dubai. The Chief Minister underlined the sectors of mining, iron-ore, agriculture, livestock, energy, real estate as well as others which will result in tangible and plentiful gains to both. The Chief Minister further said that Punjab which is the largest province of Pakistan has a population of 92 million people and has the second largest land mass in the country. He said that the strategic location of Punjab gives it links to Central Asia, the Gulf, India, China and the Far East. He said that Punjab has a vast wealth of natural resources and it has maintained average growth rate of 7.5% for many years. The Chief Minister further said that he is a firm believer in the role of private sector as a driver of economic growth as it is what generates jobs, promotes competitiveness and stimulates growth. He said that Punjab government is making its best efforts to facilitate the private sector and create an enabling environment in the province. He said that the policies of Punjab government are geared towards promoting investment and strengthening private sector. He said that the government is endeavouring to cut red-tape, reduce regulation, promote liberalization, develop trade links and do everything necessary to enable the private sector to flourish. He said that all sectors in Punjab are open to foreign direct investment. He said that provincial government has established a wide network of export processing zones and industrial estates and is working to provide 2lst century infrastructure and facilities.