LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said Pakistan is rich in natural and agricultural resources which can not only improve Pakistan economy but can also bring the agricultural product at par with international standard to fetch huge foreign exchange to the country through their exports.

Addressing “Pakistan Agri Expo 2012” at Expo Centre, here Friday, Shahbaz Sharif said Punjab government placed 21 different Pakistani agri items in the international agriculture exhibition “Green Week” held in Germany which were highly appreciated at international level. He said Pakistan had 70 per cent rural based population which could strengthen the national economy if provided facilities to them. He said necessary facilities and resources to them also necessary to control population pressure on big cities. He said 54 per cent labour force was associated with agriculture and due to the hard work of farmers Pakistan is at 20th place in the world with regard to its agriculture production.

He said if we want to improve our economy than we would have to streamline our agriculture sector on modern lines, construct agro based industrial complex and provide modern agricultural machinery to the farmers. He said Pakistan is rich in natural resources and is the 4th largest milk producing country of the world. Similarly, Pakistan is at 3rd place regarding production of mango, 4th in cotton and sugarcane, 8th in rice production and 10th in Kinno production at international level. He said we could attain economic independence by improving our economy and in this way will get rid of economic slavery of others.

Shahbaz Sharif further said that Pakistani nation can achieve prominent position in the comity of nation through hard work and honesty. However, we would have to get rid of terrorism for marching forward and tolerate difference of opinion. Chief of Agro Corporation Asad Umar, Fazal Abbas Mekan, Muhammad Abad Khan, Ehsanuddin Ghias, Zahoor Ahmad Malik, representative of UNIDO, Ian Golding and others also spoke on this occasion. Provincial Minister for Agriculture Ahmad Ali Aulakh also attended the conference.

Later, the chief minister inspected agri expo and evinced keen interest in the stalls of various organisations.

Meanwhile, presiding over a meeting at Arfa Software Technology Park on Friday, Shahbaz Sharif ordered for providing laptops to 22 students of Lahore College for Women University who earlier failed to the same under the government scheme. He said Special Assistant on Higher Education Zaeem Qadri and Secretary Higher Education should visit all districts of the province so that the problems being faced by the students regarding provision of laptops could immediately be resolved. He further directed that the commissioners should dispose of all necessary matters relating to provision of laptops to educational institutions of their respective divisions within a week and submit a report in this regard.

Provincial Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Special Assistant on Higher Education Zaeem Qadri, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Higher Education, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board, Commissioner Lahore Division, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qureshi and students of Lahore College for Women University attended the meeting.