LAHORE        -        The new British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christain Turner called on Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar here at his office on Monday.

The Chief Minister congratulated Dr Christain Turner on assuming this responsibility and expressed good wishes for him. The British High Commissioner thanked the chief minister for extending wonderful hospitality to the British royal couple in Lahore.  Both agreed to enhance cooperation in health, education, skills development, tourism, and industries sectors.

Talking on this occasion, Usman Buzdar said that Pakistan and England are partners in the journey of development and added that the provincial government appreciates England’s cooperation for improving health, education and other sectors in the province. He added that ten special economic zones are being established in Punjab and the foundation stone of special economic zone in Lahore will be laid soon. He said that SEZs have tremendous investment opportunities and British investors are invited to invest in these special economic zones where they will be provided with every required facility. He said that investors are provided with different facilities and a lot of work has also been done for the promotion of tourism. Punjab has a lot of potential for religious tourism, he added.

Usman Buzdar said that development of backward areas is the priority of the government adding that reforms have been introduced in the health sector. Nine thousand beds have been increased in government hospitals while new hospitals are also being built along with improving the emergency services in health institutions. He said that 35 percent non-transferable funds have been allocated for the improvement of southern Punjab areas.

The result-oriented strategy has been evolved for the durable development of social sectors. Punjab government is interested to further promote cooperation with England, he added. Dr Christian Turner said that best relations exist between Pakistan and the UK and there is a lot of potential to enhance the bilateral cooperation. We want to further promote economic ties with Pakistan, he added. He said that the establishment of SEZs is a wonderful project and the option of extending cooperation in this regard would be examined. Pakistan has a wonderful historical heritage and assistance will be provided to Punjab government in the tourism sector as well. Meanwhile, assistance to Punjab government will continue for the betterment of social sectors, he added. It is my first visit to Lahore which is a wonderful city and I desire that England cricket team should tour Pakistan soon, he said.

He also invited the chief minister to attend birthday ceremony of Queen of England. Head of DFID Lahore Mr Jinal Shah, Advisor Dr Salman Shah, Mussarat Jamshed Cheema MPA, Chairman P&D and others were also present on this occasion.