Standing L-R: Rizvi, Toor, Asghar, Mrs. and Mr. Gondal. Sitting L-R: Mrs. Khan, Mrs. Shokat, Mohamed Shokat, Abdul Salik Khan, Sharif, and Rizvi. — Courtesy photo
JEDDAH — Mohammed Shokat, the British Consul General, said in a meeting with the Pakistan Executive Group (PEG) that the United Kingdom is committed to a relationship with Pakistan that is deep, long term and strategic.
“We value its many distinctive characteristics such as the close personal connections between our citizens, our crucial partnership against terrorism, our important trade ties and our unswerving commitment to Pakistan’s development and to its democratic future. Pakistan’s future matters greatly to us and so we will be an enduring friend to the government and the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Following the bi-annual review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue in February 2012, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and the UK Minister for Trade and Investment agreed to implement a jointly-owned Pakistan-UK Trade and Investment Roadmap.
The roadmap envisages actively pursuing joint activities on trade and investment promotion and improving government-to-government and business-to-business interaction.
• The main objective is to achieve the target set by the two Prime Ministers for increasing bilateral trade to £2.5 billion by 2015.
• The UK is Pakistan’s fourth largest trading partner among OECD countries. There are over 100 British companies operating in Pakistan. Last year, UK exports of goods to Pakistan were £509 million (up 16 percent on the previous year), and Pakistan exports to the UK were £853million (up 14 percent on the previous year).
• Key sectors for UK investment in Pakistan are financial services, oil & gas exploration, petroleum refining, electricity generation, pharmaceutical, publishing, and industrial chemicals.
• UK aid over the next four years will support over four million Pakistani children in school, recruit and train 90,000 new teachers and provide six million text books. Pakistan could become the UK’s largest recipient of aid, averaging up to £350 million a year until 2015. However this increase is dependent on securing value for money and results, and will be linked to the Government of Pakistan’s own progress on reform, at both the federal and provincial levels, including taking tangible steps to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the tax base, and tackle corruption.
• Nearly one million British citizens claim Pakistani heritage, and 1.4 million journeys between Pakistan and the UK is made every year.
• UK is the second largest bilateral overseas investor in Pakistan, with over 100 UK companies now operating there.
• The number of Pakistani students studying in the UK has increased tremendously over the past few years. There are proportionally more Pakistanis studying in the UK than Indians, Americans or Chinese. — SG