LAHORE - A representative delegation of European parliament called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday where matters of mutual interest, strengthening of economic and trade relations and promotion of cooperation in education, health, skill development and other sectors were discussed.

“Pakistan has strong and friendly relations with the countries of European Union. And we highly value the cooperation of European Union for the development of education, health, infrastructure and other social sectors in our country,” he said in the meeting. Punjab government was implementing various programmes with the cooperation of England in education, health and skill development sectors, he added.

Shahbaz further told the EU delegates that Pakistan’s textile exports had increased by one billion dollars after the country was granted GSP Plus status, which has left a positive impact on national economy. He said that the Danish company had found out potential of generating of generation of 1000mw electricity in Punjab through wind. “Besides challenges of terrorism and extremism, Pakistan is also facing shortage of electricity,” he said, adding, “however, the government is making serious efforts for elimination of terrorism as well as solution of energy problem.”

He said that political, military and religious leadership was on one page in the war against terrorism and victory was the only option in this war. He added that a fully trained Counter Terrorism Force had been established in the province and necessary amendments had made in the laws for making sentences more stringent, in order to cope up with the problems of extremism and sectarianism.

 “There is no discrimination of good or bad terrorists,” he reaffirmed.

Shahbaz Sharif further said that education and health facilities, social equality and justice were also required for rooting out the scourge of terrorism and extremism, adding that elimination of poverty and unemployment could also help control extremist trends.

After the discovery and certification of precious mineral reserves in Chiniot-Rajwa, identification of wind corridors in Punjab was another big success, he added.

The members of the delegation, while expressing their views, acknowledged that Punjab government was taking steps for the implementation of GSP Plus conventions, expeditiously. They assured that cooperation with Pakistan would be further promoted.

The delegation included Ambassador of European Union Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Consular Johan Sorensen, Chair Greens/ Member European Parliament European Free-Alliance UK Jean Lambert, Richard Owitt of First Vice Chair UK, Michael Galher of European Peoples Party Germany, Sajjad Karim of British Member European Parliament, Ann Vanhout and Philip Kamaris.

Provincial Ministers Muhammad Shafiq, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretaries Home, Secretary Industries, Chief Executive Officer Punjab Investment Board and Commissioner Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punja