UK minister for South Asia Lord Ahmad arrives on two-day visit


Environment, HR, trade form top agenda of bilateral dialogue

Zubair Qureshi

The UK government’s Minister of State (MoS) for South Asia and the Commonwealth and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon has arrived on a two-day visit.

His visit, covering two cities, will further enhance the friendship between the UK and Pakistan, says a press statement issued Tuesday.

During his stay in Pakistan, Lord Ahmad is expected to meet a number of government Ministers and Provincial (Punjab) leaders, including the Human Rights (HR) Minister Shireen Mazari, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar and Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar.

During his wide ranging discussions, Lord Ahmad will take up the importance of maximizing both countries’ unique bilateral partnerships to tackle global challenges including climate change (with the UK hosting COP26 later this year) and the response to COVID-19; and how we can boost the trading potential between the UK and Pakistan.

The Minister will also promote the UK’s role as a force for good by meeting faith leaders (including from minority groups).

Lord Ahmad’s visit is the first in-person visit by a UK Minister to Pakistan since the start of the pandemic, and follows the recent video message from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for World Environment Day and the recent phone call between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

While commenting on his visit, Lord Ahmad said, “The world has changed a great deal since I last visited Pakistan, a country close to my heart and roots. Loss and separation due to COVID-19 has impacted us all.

But the pandemic has brought us closer too. More than ever before must stand shoulder to shoulder as we tackle global challenges”.

He said he looked forward to discussing how the UK and Pakistan could work together using the best of our international “dosti” to build back greener to protect our world against climate change, build back better with more prosperity for both our great nations, build back safer to protect all our people from COVID-19, and build back for all ensuring that girls get the education they deserve and by making a stand against hate and prejudice.”

High Commissioner of the UK, Dr Christian Turner later in the day shared a tweet by Lor Ahmad in which the British MoS could be seen visiting a brick kiln.

We are working with the government of the Punjab to provide training for cleaner brick production technology, which will reduce emissions and smog in Punjab, said Lord Ahmad in his tweet adding, the new Brick Kiln Programme showed the best of the UK-Pak dosti & joint progress towards tackling climate change.

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