LAHORE - A representative delegation of German parliament called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, on Thursday.

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The delegation was headed by Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Economic Cooperation & Development Dagmar G Wohrl, German Ambassador Cyrill Nunn was also present on the occasion.

Matters of mutual interest, strengthening of bilateral relations and promotion of cooperation between the two countries in various sectors were discussed in the meeting.

The chief minister offered German delegation to make investment in a 1000 megawatts solar power project in Punjab. The delegation expressed keen interest in the project.

The chief minister said that there were strong friendly and trade relations between Pakistan and Germany and Germany is a big trade partner of Pakistan. He said that Germany played an important role in the grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan which has led to increase in Pakistan’s exports in textile and garments sector. However, he said, there is a need for promotion of economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Germany has made tremendous progress in every sector especially in the field of technology. He said that Punjab government has completed a 100 megawatts solar power project with its own resources at Quaid-a-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur in a record period and it has started energy production.

He said that services of a German consultant were acquired for the solar project while solar panels had been provided by China. He said that a project of setting up gas-based power houses of 3600 megawatts electricity has been evolved and services of a German company have been acquired for this purpose. He said that 1200 megawatts gas-based power project is being set up by Punjab government with its resources while federal government will establish 2400 megawatts energy projects.

Referring to the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war against terrorism, the chief minister said that besides energy crisis, Pakistan is also facing the challenge of terrorism and extremism. He said that officers and jawans of armed forces, police, common citizens and people of all segments of the society have rendered supreme sacrifices in the war against terrorism and more than 50 thousand Pakistanis have lost their lives in this war.

He said that Pak army is achieving glorious successes in the Operation Zarb-e-Azb and political and military leadership as well as the whole nation is united to eliminate the menace of terrorism. He said that besides use of force, social and economic measures are essential for rooting out terrorism and extremism.

Shahbaz Sharif said that youth are being empowered to curb the trend of terrorism and extremism and a solid strategy has been evolved to impart various skills to lakhs of youth annually in Punjab. He said that thousands of youth have also been imparted skills in accordance with market needs under Skill Development Progreamme which is continuing successfully and its scope is being extended to the whole province.

The chief minister said that Germany should consider cooperation with Punjab in various programmes of empowerment of youth. He further said that government is following the policy of peaceful relations with neighboring countries. He said that effective measures are being adopted to eliminate child labour from the province and a target of six months has been given for eliminating child labour from brick kilns.

He further said that all citizens of the country have equal rights and besides Christians, members of other communities living in Pakistan are also very patriotic. He said that Christian community has played a commendable role in the progress and prosperity of the country especially in education, health and other social sectors.

Chairperson of the German delegation Dagmar G Wohrl said that cooperation with Pakistan especially Punjab in skill development and other sectors will be promoted. She said that measures taken for social development in Punjab are commendable. Provincial Ministers Col (r) Shuja Khanzada, Begum Zakia Shahnwaz, Member Provincial Assembly Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chairman Planning & Development, Additional Chief Secretary Energy, concerned secretaries and senior officials were also present on the occasion.