KARACHI: London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is visiting Pakistan as part of his 'London Is Open' campaign, found Karachi a great and amazing city to be and advised the city planners to prepare for jobs as it is an important investment for the future.
The Mayor of London was visiting Karachi for a trade mission to strengthen cultural and business ties with India and Pakistan. In the third installment of his visit to Pakistan where he toured Lahore and Islamabad, the mayor spoke with the students, donors, and leading businesspersons at the Habib University.
Mayor of London was asked about his impression of the host city: To that he replied, “Karachi is great… There is a great buzz, the cultural life is amazing, and some of the things you do, you do really well – whether it is music, culture, and of course the food is second to none.”
Sadiq Khan, born to Pakistani parents in London and elected Mayor of London with outstanding support in May 2016, opened his speech with a comparison: “As you know, I am a proud Londoner. What has been remarkable on this visit is that it reminds us that we have so much in common, and there are far more things that we have in common than things that divide us.”
He said that on his business trip, there are three words he wants the world to know: “London is open. Open to trade, business, education, cultural programs, sports, and of course for the cricket world cup in 2019.”
Sadiq Khan shared that in preparation for the trip, he had read Jinnah’s speeches, in which Pakistan’s founder spoke “about the importance of religious freedom, democracy and women’s rights – which are some of the things that this university [Habib University] is teaching its students.” He asserted that Pakistan has a great future ahead, because of the people who make the future of the country and the culture that acts as glue.
In response to a question on his life journey which led to him 'shattering the glass ceiling', Khan said that 'when you work hard and have a helping hand, you can achieve anything.' In his case, education played a pivotal role. “My part of the job as the Mayor of London is to put up a helping hand. And the job of leaders is to put up ladders, and Habib family for example has done so in education.”
The mayor specifically commended Habib University’s gender diversity as well as the quality of students’ questions.
Replying to questions on political challenges and urban planning, he emphasised that 'we have to give the public the confidence' of living in a multicultural city, of planning for the future, and of working with other cities around the world for the benefit of both. He stated that growth is not a problem, but the lack of planning for growth is specially in Karachi, and that preparing for jobs in the future is an important investment.
Encouraging the students to play active part in politics, Sadiq Khan said, "You are not a consumer, you are a citizen. You have to get involved in your community, in your city, in your country."
Earlier, Habib University President Wasif Rizvi said in his opening remarks: "It is indeed a great honour for me, in our short history of four years, to welcome an inspiration, a hero to all of us, and especially for Habib University students, to welcome the Mayor of many firsts - to the first Liberal Arts and Sciences university in the country.”
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