Efforts afoot to increase volume of trade between Pakistan and UK: Sharif

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Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif met British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London on Tuesday. Security situation in the region besides matters relating to education, health, energy and other sectors were discussed in the meeting. Provincial Minister for Finance Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Member National Assembly Khusro Bakhtiar and Advisor to Chief Minister Azmul Haq were also present on the occasion.

Talking to British Foreign Secretary, Sharif said that relations between Pakistan and Britain have strengthened during the tenure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various sectors as well as volume of trade has also increased between Britain and Pakistan. He said efforts are being made to increase the volume of trade between Britain and Pakistan to billion dollars annually. The chief minister said that terrorism is the common issue of all nations and this problem can be resolved only through collective efforts. He said that all affected nations will have to join hands against terrorism. He said incidents of terrorism in Pakistan are coming to an end. He said Pak Army and the people have made supreme sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

Sharif said Pakistan is making serious effort for a durable peace in the region and has assured Afghanistan that its enemy cannot be the friend of Pakistan. The chief minister thanked the British government for its commendable cooperation in education and health sectors in Punjab. The British Foreign Secretary commended the sacrifices and efforts of Pakistan for the elimination of terrorism and extremism. He appreciated the public welfare programmes and the projects started in different sectors in Punjab and said that the province is moving in the right direction.

Later, agreements were signed between Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) and two institutions of Britain. TEVTA Chairperson Irfan Qaiser Sheikh signed the document on behalf of Punjab. Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood was also present on the occasion. The chief minister in his speech said that 60 percent population of Punjab comprises youth and their training is essential to make them a part of development process. He said the Punjab government wants that the youth of province should become useful citizens of the country. He said a massive programme for the vocational training of youth has been evolved for the first time in the province. He said youth are being imparted such skills as are needed by Pakistani industry and trade. He said special funds have also been allocated for the vocational training of girls.

Govt spending billions of rupees on health, education: Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the government wants to remove the gap between the rich and the poor through comprehensive reforms in education and health sectors.

Addressing a high-level meeting arranged by Department for International Development (DFID), the chief minister said the Punjab government is spending billions of rupees on health and education so that the difference of facilities available to the rich and the poor in education and health sector could be eliminated through comprehensive reforms.

Sharif said that information technology is being used through smart phone for monitoring the performance of staff in health and education sectors in Punjab. He said that more than 10,000 people facing financial constraints are serving the country as doctors, engineers and professional experts after getting higher education due to the endowment fund of the Punjab government.

Sharif said quality educational facilities are available to 18,00,000 students in private schools through voucher scheme of the Punjab government. Representative of Department for International Development for Punjab Sir Michael Barbar while addressing the meeting said that reforms programme of the Punjab government in education and health sectors is due to the vision, hard work and direct monitoring of Sharif. He said due to the personal interest taken by Sharif, cooperation of Punjab and DFID has become exemplary.