Outreach initiatives and building relations between UK and Pakistan
London: Syed Ibne Abbas, the High Commissioner, paid a farewell visit to Scotland from June over the weekend during which he interacted with the Pakistani community and met prominent British personalities of Pakistani origin.
In a ceremony at the Consulate in Glasgow, attended by expatriates from all walks of life, including Scottish Councillors of Pakistani origin, prominent businesspersons, professionals, students and media persons, the High Commissioner, in his farewell address to the community, briefed the participants about the initiatives the High Commission and its Consulates had taken in order to not only strengthen Pak-UK bilateral relations but to project and promote Pakistan’s interests in the fields of business, investment, culture, tourism and education, including efforts to highlight Kashmir dispute as an international flashpoint. He also updated the community of Mission’s outreach programme to connect with the diaspora.
The High Commissioner urged the community to contribute constructively towards their local community, and citing the rise of British Pakistanis to high profile political posts like the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London, emphasized that British Pakistanis doing good in their endeavours was a source of strength for Pakistan. Recognising the important role of Councillors as a grassroots tier of Westminster democracy, he urged the 350 Councillors of Pakistan origin across the UK to play their part in helping Pakistan face future challenges.
Giving an overview of Pakistan, the High Commissioner said that next month General Elections would see yet another peaceful transition of civilian power – a stabilising and good omen for democracy in Pakistan. On the economic front, he added, the outlook was bright and on an upward trajectory, especially the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which was going to be a game changer that would establish Pakistan as a regional economic hub. He expressed the hope that Pakistan’s emergence as a regional economic player would inspire a reverse migratory trend towards Pakistan among talented expatriates.
Later, the High Commissioner interacted with prominent British Pakistanis, including Mr. Ghulam Rabbani Malik, Bailie Hanif Raja (Scottish Labour/ Glasgow), Councillor Shahid Farooq (SNP/ North Lanarkshire), Councillor Tauqeer Malik (Scottish Labour/ Aberdeen), Councillor Danish Ashraf (SNP/ North Lanarkshire), Prof. Dr. Azra & Peter Meadows, Mr. Muhammad Ameen Mirza, Mr. Ahmed Ali Sufi, Mr. Tanvir Gillani, Mr. Saleem Irshad &Mr. Farooq Ahmad (Pakistan Association of Edinburgh), Mr. Nasir Jafferi, Mr. Arif Mir, Dr. Muhammad Idrees, Convener Muslim Council of Scotland, Mr. Javed H. Gill, Mr. Shahid Khan (Dundee), and Dr. Shaukat Sultan.
On this occasion, the High Commissioner presented the Consul with a booklet entitled “Emerging Pakistan: Celebrating 70 Years of Independence”, a pictorial depiction of the unprecedented yearlong celebrations organised by the High Commission in 2017 to mark and celebrate Pakistan’s 70 years as a Nation on the Rise. The Community and media persons expressed appreciation for the role and achievements of the High Commission and its Consulates, and bid farewell to the High Commissioner with praise, best wishes and prayers.
Later, a farewell dinner was hosted for the High Commissioner which was attended by Mr. Humza Yousaf, the newly-appointed Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice from the ruling Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Ms. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, former MP and SNP Spokesperson on Trade & Investment, Ambassador Rab Nawaz Khan, Councillor Hanzala Malik (Scottish Labour/ Glasgow), Mr. Aamer Anwar, Rector of the University of Glasgow, and Mr. Akmal Khushi, a prominent British Pakistani businessman and Director of Trespass International. The High Commissioner congratulated Mr. Yousaf on his recent elevation to the Cabinet, and expressed the hope that British Pakistanis would not only continue to achieve even greater personal and professional milestones in various fields but would also play their part in strengthening the links between Pakistan and the UK.