LAHORE - British Prime Minister Teresa May is expected to visit Pakistan this year, said High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew during a meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, here yesterday.

The two leaders, during the meeting, also discussed the matters of mutual interest, promotion of bilateral relations and situation in occupied Kashmir.

British High Commissioner expressed concern of the UK government over the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan and desired the same should be over at the earliest. He condemned human rights violation anywhere and praised the role Pakistan had played in the current tense situation.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan was a peaceful country and wanted peace in the region for which he laid stress on the resolution of Kashmir issue. The chief minister wanted the Britain to play its role in solving the Kashmir issue in the light of UN resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people. He said that Pakistan was a peaceful country and wanted durable peace in the region.

British High Commissioner lauded the rapid progress being made by the Punjab government and effective steps by CM Shehbaz for the welfare of the people and uplift of social sectors. He said that education, health and other sectors were improving in Punjab and that British Prime Minister Theresa May had also lauded speedy progress made by Punjab province. The British High Commissioner said that Shehbaz was the first foreign leader who telephoned Teresa May on her nomination as prime minister and expressed good wishes for her. He said that like other countries, Britain also wanted easing of tension between Pakistan and India and Britain was concerned over the present situation. He said that Britain was against violation of human rights anywhere in the world and Pakistan’s political leadership was showing a responsible attitude in the current situation.

Shehbaz said that Pakistan and Britain were partners in progress and development. He said that cooperation of Britain in development of education, health and other sectors in Punjab was commendable and the relations between the two countries were strengthening with the passage of time. He said that Skills Development Programme was successfully running in Punjab with the cooperation of British Department for International Development (DFID). He said that schools reforms roadmap being implemented with the cooperation of DFID was also yielding encouraging results while a big programme of provision of quality public health facilities was also being implemented. The chief minister said that Pakistan government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was introducing far-reaching reforms in economic sector and the confidence of foreign investors had restored due to solid measures taken by the government. Shehbaz stressed the need for promotion of trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Britain and said that exchange of trade delegations was of vital importance for this purpose. Provincial representative of DFID Ben French and new representative of DFID Ms. Ruth Graham were also present on the occasion.