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April 16, 2019

British minister agrees Pakistan, UK have potential for investment ties

Top Story

April 16, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said Pakistan and Britain should enhance the existing relations into long-term and multi-faceted strategic partnership, especially post-Brexit.

He said this during a meeting with Chairman of the UK Conservative Party, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP, and Minister, who called on him here at the Prime Minister’s Office. He was accompanied by Chairman Bestway Group Sir Anwar Pervez OBE and CEO Bestway Group, Zameer Choudrey CBE.

Welcoming the delegation, the prime minister said that Pakistan and the UK had longstanding relationship, based on historical linkages and shared perceptions on a broad range of regional and international issues.

“Pakistan considered the UK a major development and trade and investment partner in Europe,” the prime minister said and emphasised that the two countries should enhance the existing relations into long-term and multifaceted strategic partnership especially post-Brexit.

Terming Pakistani diaspora as connecting bridge between the two countries, the prime minister expressed satisfaction that British Pakistanis were contributing positively to the British society.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also gave an overview of the regional situation, including India and Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan wanted peaceful relations with all its neighbours and resolve all issues through dialogue. On this occasion, he also highlighted the grave human rights violations committed by the Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir on daily basis.

The chairman of the Conservative Party agreed with the prime minister that irrespective of Brexit, both Pakistan and the UK had great potential to strengthen trade and investment relations.

He appreciated the leadership of the prime minister in handling the post-Pulwama situation. He reiterated the invitation by British Prime Minister Theresa May to Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit the UK at a mutually convenient date.

Later, the visiting chairman of the Conservative Party took out time to visit the Faisal Mosque and the Pakistan Monument at Zero Point, along with Sir Anwar Pervez and Zameer Choudhrey. He showed keen interest in the mosque, situated in the foothills of the lush green Margallah Hills.

In a brief chat with the media, Brandon Lewis said he was visiting Pakistan for the first time and would like to come to the country again and again. He found the mosque very amazing; more than his imagination.

He said Pakistan was a very beautiful and safe country and he was delighted to be in Pakistan, as he had heard a lot about the country and its people. The chairman of the Conservative Party said that in the new era, he could foresee new initiatives by both Britain and Pakistan for strengthening of economic relations and boosting investment.

After leaving the European Union, Britain was looking to expand relations with the world and his visit to Pakistan was part of that. One of these, he pointed out, was that the British Airways was resuming flights to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Pakistan is open for investment and tourism as visa policy has been revamped, terrorism checked in its tracks and the security situation in the country has improved a lot. This he said during a meeting with the British delegation that called on him. He was accompanied by Zameer Chaudhry, CEO, Bestway Group.

He said that Pakistan enjoyed cordial and longstanding relationship with the United Kingdom and would like to further strengthen these bilateral relations in areas mutually-beneficial for the people of both countries.

The minister noted that Pakistan had huge potential for religious and mountainous tourism besides having rich and diverse culture. "We welcome film makers and tourists from all over the world to come to Pakistan and explore the scenic beauty of the country, particularly of its northern areas," he said.

The minister said that the PTI government accorded top priority to the promotion of culture through films, as these were a vital medium to project values of any society. He said that efforts were underway to revive the film and entertainment industry of Pakistan which once was the third largest film producing entity in the world.

Responding to the question from British cabinet minister regarding growing importance of social media in comparison to broadcast media, Fawad said that the government aimed at solidifying digital wings of Information Ministry and was working on the project of digital service for Associated Press of Pakistan, which is the state-owned news agency.

The information minister also emphasised the need for global efforts to counter hate speech on social media. Brandon Lewis acknowledged the fact there was potential for the UK companies to invest in Pakistan.

It is pertinent that the British Airways announced in December, 2018 that it would resume flights to Pakistan from next June after a 10-year break and would be operating three flights a week between Islamabad and London’s Heathrow Airport.

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