Britain wants to promote its trade and economic ties with Pakistan: William Hague

Lahore, July 18, 2013 (PPI-OT): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that Britain is an important friend of Pakistan and is extending commendable cooperation in education sector. He said that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Britain and Pakistan Muslim League-N government wants to further promote economic ties with Britain.

He said that Pakistan is facing various challenges and it has to deal with energy crisis and terrorism simultaneously. He said that PML-N government is determined to resolve all problems being faced by the country and is making strenuous efforts to overcome energy crisis.

He said that government is making rapid progress towards generation of power and a number of foreign investors are visiting Pakistan. He said that there are vast reserves of coal in Thar which can be utilized for controlling shortage of energy. He said that power generation projects from bigasse, biomass, biogas and solar power can be launched in Punjab and Britain can extend cooperation to Pakistan for this purpose.

These views were expressed by Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif while talking to British Foreign Secretary William Hague during a meeting at Chief Minister’s Office here today. Matters of mutual interest, bilateral relations and cooperation in different sectors were discussed.

Members of Punjab cabinet and prominent businessmen also met the British Foreign Secretary. Provincial Ministers Sher Ali Khan, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan and Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chairman Planning and Development and other concerned officers were present.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that Pakistan is facing serious problem of terrorism and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is convening All Parties Conference to cope with this challenge. He said that counter terrorism policy will be announced with the consultation of all stakeholders. He said that PML-N government is making serious efforts for elimination of terrorism as well as resolving energy crisis.

He said that government is taking all possible steps to make Pakistan a peaceful country. He said that Punjab government has launched a crackdown against the elements involved in gas and electricity theft while reforms are being introduced in energy sector so that people could be rid of load-shedding. He said that Punjab government has imposed tax on agri income during the current budget while large houses have also been brought under tax net.

He said that new vehicles have not been purchased by the provincial government for the chief minister, ministers and secretaries during the last five years and this ban will remain intact. He said that forensic science laboratory has detected a number of heinous crimes and Punjab is the first province where a state of the art forensic lab has been set up.

The Chief Minister said that Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) is rendering invaluable services in education sector and due to its efforts not only rate of literacy has improved in Punjab but ratio of enrolment has also enhanced. The Chief Minister said that Britain can help Pakistan in countering terrorism and resolving energy crisis.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Britain wants to promote its trade and economic ties with Pakistan. He said that Britain is aware of energy crisis in Pakistan which has rendered innumerable sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

He said that Britain will extend all out cooperation to Pakistan in overcoming energy crisis. He said that Britain is spending a huge amount on the promotion of education in Pakistan and Punjab has made substantial progress in education sector.

He said that terrorism is the biggest hurdle in foreign investment in Pakistan and Britain will continue to cooperate with Pakistan in dealing with this problem. He expressed the hope that relations between Pakistan and Britain will further improve during the tenure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

British Foreign Secretary said that time has come for Pakistan and Britain to move forward in economic and trade sectors and increase the volume of trade between the two counties to three billion pounds till 2015. He said that Britain welcomes formation of the government of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan and it is hoped that cooperation in trade and investment sectors between the two countries will further increase in future.

He said that Britain has expertise in renewable energy and wind energy and can help Pakistan in these sectors. He stressed that government should formulate special policies for the promotion of business and introduce reforms in the system as it is time to do something and Britain is ready to help Pakistan. He said it is a good omen that there has been a peaceful transition of power in Pakistan from one democratic government to the other.

A documentary on Punjab Forensic Science Agency was also shown to the British Foreign Secretary and his delegation which was highly appreciated by the distinguished guests who observed it showed that Punjab is making rapid progress.

Earlier, the British Foreign Secretary was received by Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif at the Chief Minister’s Office. British Foreign Secretary also inspected crime scene unit at Chief Minister’s Office. Giving a briefing to the British Foreign Secretary on crime scene unit, the Chief Minister Punjab said that fourteen crime scene unit vans have been prepared by Punjab Forensic Science Agency and collect evidence from any incident of heinous crime. Later, the Chief Minister hosted a dinner in honour of British Foreign Secretary and his delegation.

For more information, contact:
Chief Minister of Punjab
Chief Minister Secretariat
7-Club Road
GOR-I, Lahore
Telephone: 042-99204906-14, 042-99203222-3
Fax: 042-99204915, 042-99203224

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