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UK reaffirms commitment to work with Pakistan

September 21, 2018

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LONDON: Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid has reaffirmed the strong partnership reached between the UK and Pakistan during his two-day visit to Islamabad earlier this week.

A statement issued by the British government said that Mr Javid stressed the importance of the historic and unique relationship as he ended his visit.

In the first visit to Pakistan by a UK minister since the July 25 elections, Mr Javid called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He also met government ministers, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Afridi, and discussed with them cooperation to tackle organised crime, terrorism and corruption.

During the visit, the government announced a new UK-Pakistan partnership on accountability to tackle illicit finance, a priority for the new government.

The home secretary, whose parents were born in Pakistan, also had the opportunity to visit a girls school in Islamabad to see how UK funding had helped support educational programmes in the country.

Over 9.5 million children in primary schools, including 4.6m girls, have benefited from the UK-sponsored programmes since 2011, the statement added.

He also attended a forced marriage roundtable hosted by the high commission and attended by operational partners.

The visit by the home secretary to Pakistan concluded with a tour of Allama Iqbal’s tomb in Lahore and the Badshahi Mosque with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar where they discussed continued partnership in the province on security, health and education.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Javid said: “Pakistan has a special place in my heart and our two countries have a historic bond underpinned by the strong links between our peoples. It is vital that our deep and enduring relationship continues and we cooperate further to tackle the shared threats we face. I discussed this on my visit and made clear Britain is committed to Pakistan’s long-term stability and prosperity”.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2018