LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has invited the world to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector and export industries.

“In the changing international economic scenario, Pakistan’s importance is increasing with the passage of time and the developed countries should benefit from it,” the chief minister told the UK-Pakistan Energy and Infrastructure Forum, which he co-hosted with UK Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Maude on Friday.

The meeting, organised by the British government in London, brought together key political and business policy makers to discuss high value investment and export opportunities between the UK and Pakistan. Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan has emerged from the global economic crisis and the Pakistani nation expects to see a better performance in the years ahead.

Economic relations between UK and Britain have substantially improved over the last one year, Shahbaz said while expressing the hope in the next five years the volume of trade between the two countries would reach one billion pounds.

Prominent investors and businessmen from Pakistan, China and Britain participated in the conference. UK’s Minister Lord Maude, in his address, described Pakistan as an important partner for Britain and said there has never been a better time for British businesses to invest in Pakistan.

He was confident that the Forum would build partnerships to create jobs and economic growth in both countries.

Over 100 British businesses currently operate in Pakistan whose growing economy is a key target market for Britain’s government, which is committed to increasing British exports. London recently launched a Prosperity Fund of £1.3 billion over the next five years to promote the economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries, including Pakistan.

Meanwhile, CM Shahbaz also made clear that the elimination of terrorism is a part of the national agenda. He said billions of rupees are being spent in the war against terrorism from limited resources of the government.

“Terrorism and extremism have various forms so different strategies need to adopted to curb this menace,” the CM told the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

He also met Interior Secretary Theresa May and British Minister for International Development Justine Greening and other senior officials at meetings in London on Tuesday. “Pak Army, government and the people are on one page for rooting out terrorism.”

He said Pakistan was fighting war against terrorism not only with guns but through education, training and welfare measures as well.