British PM likely to arrive tomorrow

Updated 28 Jun 2013

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British Prime Minister David Cameron. — Photo Reuters
British Prime Minister David Cameron. — Photo Reuters

ISLAMABAD, June 27: British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Pakistan over the weekend to meet the country’s new leadership.

Prime Minister Cameron is likely to reach here on Saturday.

His schedule is being kept a tightly guarded secret by the Foreign Office due to security concerns. Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry when asked about the British leader’s visit said: “I am not in a position to confirm the visit.”

This would be Mr Cameron’s second visit to Pakistan. He will be the first foreign leader to visit Islamabad after the PML-N government’s formation.

During the visit, Mr Cameron and Mr Sharif would get a chance to assess the progress achieved in the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue the two countries have been holding since 2011. The dialogue covers five areas of bilateral cooperation, including trade and business, finance and development assistance, education and health and culture, and defence and security.

In addition to the bilateral relationship, the two sides will exchange notes on Afghan reconciliation process – an issue of strong interest for both countries.

Despite the apparently strong political ties, visa issue has remained a major irritant in relationship. The UK government this week announced that it was including Pakistan in a pilot project involving six countries, whose nationals may be required to furnish a bond of up to £3000.

The Pakistan’s Foreign Office has protested against the bond requirement.

The United Kingdom is one of Pakistan’s major development partners. It is also Pakistan’s second largest trading partner in Europe and an important source of foreign investment and remittances.

Over one million Britons of Pakistani origin have contributed significantly to the deepening of bilateral relations.