Britain to work with Pakistan on its ‘priorities’

Updated October 03, 2018

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British Home Secretary Sajid Javed. ─ Reuters/File
British Home Secretary Sajid Javed. ─ Reuters/File

LONDON: British Home Secre­tary Sajid Javid has said he is looking forward to working with Pakis­tani authorities on their priorities.

He was responding to a journalist’s question about the possible handing over of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London chief Altaf Huss­ain and sons of former prime mini­ster Nawaz Sharif, who, accor­ding to the questioner, are wanted in their country and living in the UK.

“I had an excellent visit to Pakistan. It was really a good opportunity to strengthen our ties together. Britain has fantastic relations with Pakistan. With a new government there, we are looking forward to working with them (on all issues) including on their priorities. That is exactly what we are doing. We are working very hard on this,” Mr Javid said.

He said Brexit would provide the two countries a chance to streng­then their ties. “After Brexit we are going to be working with Pakis­tan like so many other countries. Britain is going to remain a globally outward-looking country, our friendly relations with Pakistan are going to be even stronger, in terms of trade, in terms of people, in so many ways,” he said.

In his speech to the party conference, he dwelt on his Pakistani heritage and narrated the story of his father’s arrival in Britain. “Let me tell you about another story. A story that started in the 1960s. Abdul-Ghani Javid left Pakistan and landed in Heathrow. He spent what little he had on a coach ticket…had his first night here in Birmingham, then continued up north to Lancashire to find work in a cotton mill.

“After standing outside the mill for weeks, he got that first job, and started a family. Eventually, there were seven of us living in a two-bedroom flat…on what the papers called ‘Britain’s most dangerous street’.

“That’s my story. And if you’d have told me back then what I’d be doing now…I’d have told you that it was less believable than any TV drama,” he said.

Mr Javid announced a change of policy on the issue of forced marriages and said that women and girls, who were coerced into marriages by their families, would be allowed to give evidence in secret so that they could object to their foreign spouses’ visas without fear of repercussions.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2018