LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif stated on Sunday he was leaving India with many hopes and expectations and he was confident that his visit would pave the way for cooperation between India and Punjab in the energy, agriculture, livestock and other sectors.
Interacting with newsmen before his departure for Pakistan, the chief minister said the basic purpose of his visit was to benefit from experience of India in the sector of power generation and acquire its cooperation.
According to an official handout released here Sunday, Shahbaz visited several coal and solar energy power generation plants in various Indian cities, and said there was no doubt that India had made extraordinary progress in the energy sector and had abundant electricity. He also said there was no reason why Pakistan could not benefit from experience of India to give the people relief from power loadshedding.
Similarly, he said, Pakistan should import such agricultural machinery from India instead of overseas countries as was not produced in Pakistan.
The chief minister said he met with Indian prime minister as well as commerce minister and delivered a message of peace and goodwill from the prime minister of Pakistan. He also said it was hoped that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would soon visit Pakistan.
He said although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had some reservations but he was assured by him that Pakistan was ready to remove all his doubts as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had already made an offer of an independent investigation by a third party into the incidents at the Line of Control. He said India should accept this offer so that facts could be brought to the light.
Shahbaz said he also made it clear to Indian leadership that the two countries had no other option except to follow the path of peace, but it did not mean that issues like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek should be disregarded. “A lasting peace could not be guaranteed in the region without addressing these issues.”
Replying to a question about his meeting with Indian commerce minister, Shahbaz said the commerce secretaries of both India and Pakistan would soon meet in Delhi or Islamabad.
To another question, the chief minister said promotion of Pakistan-India ties would benefit both the countries as industry would flourish, more job opportunities would be available to the common man, trade would be expanded, and living standard of the people would improve while an era of progress and prosperity would usher in the region. Earlier, the chief minister visited power plants based on coal and biomass in various cities of Indian Punjab. Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan was accompanying the CM.