LAHORE - British Minister for International Development Priti Patel called on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday and discussed the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in education, health and skill development.

The meeting also decided to enhance cooperation to eliminate child labour. The UK minister also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said the UK and Pakistan are important partners in the journey of development and progress in Pakistan. He told the British that various programmes in the fields of education, health and skill development are running successfully in Punjab with the cooperation of DFID.

According to the CM, enrollment in primary schools has reached 90 per cent and a programme has been running successfully with the cooperation of DFID for the provision of missing facilities in schools and training of teachers.

Shehbaz said that the Punjab government has eliminated child labour from brick-kilns and 8,700 children working on kilns have been enrolled while in the second phase, child labour will be eliminated from hotels, workshops, and petrol pumps.

The UK minister lauded the CM’s wonderful job by ending child labour and bringing reforms in the social sectors.

Shehbaz also told the visiting dignitary about the sacrifices Pakistan made in war on terrorism, saying: “Pakistan is a peaceful country and we want peaceful ties with neighbouring countries.”

Patel said that Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism are respected in the United Kingdom.

The CM also shared with the UK minister his government’s steps to empower women, saying that the Punjab government has taken exemplary steps for the empowerment of women and in official boards the quota of women has been fixed at 33 per cent. He said women are being provided with interest-free loans for self-employment and sharing financial burden of their families. UK High Commissioner Thomas Drew and other high-ups also joined in.

Notice over Kite-Flying accident

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has taken strict notice of incidents of kite-flying in Rawalpindi and sought a report from the administration and the police.

He expressed profound grief and sorrow over the death of a person due to kite string, conveying his sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family.

The CM expressed his anger over the incidents of kite-flying despite ban and directed the authorities to discharge their duties with responsibility.

He ordered strict implementation of ban on kite-flying and warned that strict action be taken as per law against those responsible of negligence and laxity in this regard. “Indiscriminate action should be taken against the violators,” the CM added.