LAHORE - British High Commissioner Philip Barton met Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday. Matters of mutual interest, bilateral relations and promotion of cooperation in health, education and other social sectors were discussed in the meeting.

The British high commissioner condemned the Peshawar tragedy and expressed deep sense of sorrow and grief over the martyrdom of innocent children and their teachers.

The chief minister said that the terrorists who killed innocent children displayed worst kind of savagery and this act of barbarism had been strongly condemned across the globe. He said that the time of accountability of the brutal murderers had come and they would be punished for every drop of blood of the martyrs.

“Terrorists will be completely eliminated with the force of unity and solidarity and awarded exemplary punishment. Menace of terrorism is a big hurdle in the way of national progress and prosperity and war against terrorism will continue till complete eradication of terrorists from the country. Pakistani nation has become united to root out terrorism and extremism and all political and religious parties have shown exemplary unity and unanimously agreed on National Action Plan against terrorism,” the CM held.

“Education is an effective weapon against extremism and terrorism, therefore, Punjab government is paying special attention to the uplift of education sector. State-of-the-art Daanish schools have been set up in backward districts of the province where modern educational facilities are being provided. Daanish schools are playing an important role in controlling the trend of extremism,” the CM maintained.

Shahbaz Sharif said that terrorists and their facilitators would be completely eliminated from the country and Pak Army was taking vigorous action against terrorists. He said that more than 40 thousand Pakistanis had sacrificed their lives in the war against terrorism and these include officers and jawans of armed forces, police officials and common citizens.

The chief minister said that the supreme sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war against terrorism were unprecedented and this war which was for the survival of future generations would have to be won at any cost. He said that terrorism would be completely eradicated and Pakistan would be made a haven of peace in the real sense.

Shahbaz Sharif stressed the need for promotion of trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Britain and said that Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with Britain. He said that various programmes were continuing successfully in Punjab in education, health and skill development sectors with the cooperation of British Department for International Development (DFID).

The chief minister said that employment opportunities had been provided to youth though skills development programme and the scope of this programme was being expanded. He further said that thousands of youth had been enabled to stand on their feet through imparting them various skills. Similarly, he said, a programme is being successfully implemented with the cooperation of DFID regarding public health especially mother and childcare. He said that Punjab government wants to expand cooperation with Britain for the uplift of social sectors.

British High Commissioner Philip Barton said that he was deeply grieved at the death of innocent children and teachers in Peshawar and people of Britain equally share the grief of Pakistani citizens. He said that cooperation would be continued with Pakistan in different sectors. He said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken practical and commendable steps for the progress and prosperity of the people of the province.