LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that terrorism and extremism have been largely eliminated from Pakistan.

Talking to Ambassador of Netherlands Ardi Stoios-Braken, who called on him here on Tuesday, the chief minister said that officers and jawans of the Pakistan Army, police and civilians had sacrificed their lives in the war against terrorism. Due to these sacrifices, he said, Pakistan had become a peaceful country and foreign investment had increased.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, including promotion of bilateral relations and increase in cooperation in different sectors, came under discussion. On the occasion, the chief minister said that Pakistan and Netherlands enjoyed good cordial relations and added that Netherlands has exclusive expertise in livestock, agriculture, dairy farming and water management sectors. He said that Punjab was an agrarian province and promotion of agricultural economy was the priority of the government. “There is a tremendous potential to increase mutual cooperation in agriculture sector between the two countries. We are desirous of enhancing cooperation with Netherlands in the energy sector as well and both countries need to expand their economic corporation,” he added. He said the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had completed energy projects of thousands of megawatts capacity in a record period of time and loadshedding had been eliminated due to completion of these projects. He said the Punjab government had installed 400 megawatts solar power plant and work was in progress on 300 megawatts power plants.

Thousands of megawatts electricity has been generated from gas-based power projects, he said. He said the menace of terrorism and fanaticism had been eliminated to a large extent, as Pakistan rendered immortal sacrifices in the war against terrorism. He said that vast opportunities for investment were available in different sectors in Punjab and foreign investors had been provided special facilities for investment.

On the occasion, Ambassador of Netherlands Ardi Stoios-Braken said that many opportunities of cooperation were available in the agriculture sector of Punjab and added that her country was desirous of promoting cooperation with Punjab in livestock and dairy development sectors. Pakistan is a peaceful country and steps would be adopted to enhance cooperation with the Punjab government in different sectors, she said.

Provincial Minister for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, P&D secretary, Lahore Solid Waste Management Company managing director and other officials were present on the occasion.

Earlier, a high level meeting was held here on Tuesday with Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair. The meeting reviewed the pace of progress in the construction of additional classrooms under Khadim-e-Punjab Schools Programme.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that construction of 36,000 additional classrooms at thousands of schools in the province was in progress and added that students will get best educational facilities after construction of additional classrooms at their schools. He said that all sorts of resources were available for students and added that billions of rupees were being spent by the Punjab government on construction of additional classrooms. He said that no compromise would be made on quality of classrooms and added that these rooms would be handed over to the Schools Education Department and the concerned deputy commissioners after their third-party validation.

He said the programme of construction of additional classrooms was very important therefore work on this project should be accelerated.Provincial Minister for Schools Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Schools Secretary Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik, secretaries of various departments and other officers attended the meeting from Model Town through video link. The chief secretary and ACS (C&W) participated in the meeting from Civil Secretariat through video link.