A delegation led by the Head of Foreign Affairs Committee of European Parliament David McAllister along with European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Jean Farncois Cautian called on Chief Minister (CM) Punjab Shehbaz Sharif. Members of the European Parliament were also present on the occasion.
Steps required for strengthening the bilateral relations between EU and Pakistan came under discussion.
Conversing with the delegation, Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan and EU countries cherish friendly economic ties and that EU is one of Pakistan’s biggest trading partners. He said that Pakistan regards, highly, the support of EU for the country’s bid to achieve GSP plus status and that it wanted to further improve its ties with the EU. He added that Punjab government has saved 850 million dollars by ensuring transparency and merit in development projects. He said that although Pakistan has suffered the brunt of terrorism, the collaborated effort between the government and the military to counter terrorism in Pakistan was now paying off dividends.
The CM said that the whole nation is united in war against terror. He said that economic prosperity is directly linked to peace in the region which in Pakistan’s case is dependent, not only on direct confrontations and operations against the militants, but also on cleansing the minds and hearts of the people. He said that Punjab government has formed counter terrorism force which is proving effective.
The CM further stated that the Punjab government has not only formulated laws against child labor but has moved them from brick kilns, workshops, restaurants and petrol pumps to schools. 85 thousand children, he said, have been enrolled in schools after being removed from brick kilns and that the government now intends to raise this figure to a level that would ensure 100 percent school enrollment in the province.
CM said that numerous energy projects are under development and will end load-shedding on completion and that he hoped that Pakistan will produce surplus energy by 2018.
Head of Foreign Affairs Committee European Parliament, David McAllister said that Pakistan is a great country with friendly people and that he was happy to see Punjab flourish under the vibrant leadership of Shehbaz Sharif. He said that the EU wants to further promote relations with Pakistan. Provincial Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, MNA Pervaiz Malik, Chairperson Child Protection Bureau MPA Saba Sadiq, additional chief secretary home, chairman planning and development, sectaries of concerned departments and other high officials also attended the meeting.