LAHORE - Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif stated on Friday that putting an end to terrorism and energy crisis was top priority of the government.
The government, Shahbaz told Ambassador of Holland in Pakistan Marcel De Wink, was determined to uproot the scourge of terrorism; and steps were being taken on a war-footing basis to bring an end to electricity loadshedding and generate energy from alternative sources.
The chief minister pointed out that access of Pakistan to European markets and acquiring of GSP Plus status, would result in poverty alleviation, overcoming unemployment, creating new job opportunities, as well as eradication of terrorism in the country.
He said vast possibilities of investment existed in Punjab in the vital sectors of livestock, dairy farming, agriculture and energy. The Netherlands ought to extend cooperation in the development of these sectors, as Pakistan did not need aid, but trade, as it wanted to promote industrial and economic relations with the friendly state.
Shahbaz said Pakistan did not want aid but trade and benefit from the experience and skills of Holland which had a prominent place in the livestock and agriculture sectors at the global level. He also informed the diplomat that a veterinary university was being established in Bahawalpur.
Talking about challenges being faced by Pakistan, the chief minister said the country was facing an acute energy crisis which had registered a negative impact on its economy; however, concrete steps were being taken to overcome the ongoing energy shortfall.
He pointed out that Pakistan was facing scourge of terrorism, while more than 40,000 Pakistanis had laid down their lives in the war against terrorism. He stressed that the government had been taking solid steps to counter this challenge, for which an anti-terrorism policy was being formulated at the national level with complete consensus.
The chief minister said comprehensive steps were also being taken to ensure law and order, as maintenance of a peaceful atmosphere was highly significant for promotion of investment in the country.
Shahbaz also said that access to European markets and acquisition of GSP Plus status, would not only result in greater exports from Pakistan but also help reduce poverty, generate employment opportunities and eradicate terrorism. He said Holland ought to play its due role in this regard.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador De Wink said that Holland was interested in forging greater cooperation with Pakistan in the various development sectors, along with further enhancing friendly ties between the two countries.
He pointed out that Holland was the fifth biggest country in terms of investment in Pakistan, and assured the chief minister that he would play his due role in bringing both the countries even closer.
Expressing his desire for further cooperation between the two countries in different development sectors in Punjab, the Dutch ambassador said that an effective strategy would be adopted for this purpose.
The ambassador deeply appreciated various steps taken by the Punjab chief minister for improvement of different development sectors of Punjab, especially development of infrastructure.
He said that he had himself visited Metro Bus, which was a splendid development project of international standard.
Provincial Minister for Agriculture, Dr Farrukh Javed, Chairman Planning & Development, Vice-Chairman Investment Board, secretaries Agriculture and Livestock and Consul General of Holland Tariq Rehman were also present.