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LAHORE: US Ambassador Donald Blome met Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and former federal minister Moonis Elahi at Chief Minister’s Office wherein it was agreed to promote partnership in population planning, alternate energy, agriculture and water management sectors.

Various matters of mutual interest were discussed. The US ambassador said that America gives great importance to its relations with Pakistan and that cooperation with the Punjab government would be further promoted. US Consul General William K Makaneole, Political and Economic Chief Ms Kathleen Gibilisco, former P&D Chairman Salman Ghani, Chief Secretary, Chairman PBIT Fazeel Asif and others were present.

The CM briefed the US diplomat about public welfare initiatives and legislation for saving campuses from drugs and thanked him for extending support to Pakistan during the coronavirus pandemic. Pakistan gives special importance to its relations with the US; he said, and noted that reforms were being introduced in different sectors. In this regard, US technical assistance would be welcomed, he said.

The CM pointed out that the education reforms programme of his last tenure was globally recognized and added that degree-level education, as well as textbooks, have been made free for the students. Meanwhile, the legislation would be enacted to rid the educational institutions of drugs and American assistance would be beneficial in this regard, he added. The CM stated that a special anti-narcotics force would be established and those giving information about the sale and purchase of drugs would be rewarded. Similarly, special courts would be set up to hold a daily trial of drug pushers.

Elahi stated that the Punjab government welcomes US collaboration with regard to the elimination of drugs and added that the water management programme was started in 2002 and was abandoned by the successive government. Now, the incumbent government has resumed the channelization of Koh-e-Suleman water. Small dams would be constructed and a plan has been devised to construct two major dams on the Chenab River.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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