LAHORE - - A five-member delegation of British Parliament met Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, on Thursday, which discussed matters of mutual interest, promotion of relations between Pakistan and Britain, cooperation in education, health particularly skill development sector and agreed to further enhance cooperation in skill development and higher education sectors.

Talking to the delegation, the chief minister said that Pakistan and Britain enjoy highly cordial relations. He appreciated the programmes launched in education, health and skill development sectors with the cooperation of Britain. He said that Punjab government is taking revolutionary steps for empowering youth.

He said that besides enrolment in schools, special attention is being paid to the training of teachers for promotion of quality education. The chief minister vowed that the achievement of targets fixed with regard to quality education will be ensured by 2017-18.

Similarly, the programme started with the cooperation of DFID for improving public health facilities is yielding best results, he added. He said that thousands of youth have been made skillful in the province with the cooperation of DFID and Punjab Skill Development Company during the last few years, however, there is a need to march forward with more speed in this regard.

Referring to the steps regarding elimination of terrorism and extremism, Shahbaz Sharif said that the entire nation is united for eliminating terrorism and extremism. He said that Punjab government has made punishments deterrent by making amendments in the laws for eradication of terrorism. He said that the fully trained anti-terrorist force has been set up in the province.

He said that these great sacrifices reflect the determination of Pakistan for eliminating terrorism. He said that Pak army has hit hard to terrorists in operation zarb-e-azb. He said that the steps taken for eradication of terrorism under National Action Plan are becoming fruitful and punishments have been made severe through necessary amendments in the laws in the province.

Shahbaz Sharif said that besides bullet of gun, tablets of education, health and employment are essential for eliminating terrorism and extremism. That is why, government has focused on provision of education, health and employment, he added. He said that thousands of deserving and talented male and female students have been given admission in prestigious educational institutions through Punjab Educational Endowment Fund and Punjab government is bearing educational expenses of these students through this fund.

He said that every segment has to play its positive role for the promotion of sentiments of tolerance, forbearance and brotherhood in the society.

He said that every citizen has equal rights under the constitution in Pakistan.

Shahbaz Sharif said that we want to benefit from the experience and expertise of British Council for reforms in universities in Punjab. He said that British Council should evolve a comprehensive roadmap for reforms in universities so that immediate steps could be taken. Country Director British Council Peter Upton assured all possible cooperation to Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in this regard.

Member Parliament from Scotland Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh offered assistance to Punjab government in skill development sector and said that all possible cooperation will be extended to Punjab government for the promotion of skill development.

Welcoming cooperation in skill development sector by parliament member of Scotland, the chief minister said that the Punjab government would take immediate steps in this regard and a delegation of Punjab government would soon visit Scotland.

Members British Parliament who met Chief Minister included Hannah Bardell, Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, Rehman Chishti, Katherine West and Yasmin Qureshi.