UK interested in joining CPEC, Johnson tells Ahsan

  • Interior minister raises problems of Pakistani students, business people in getting British visas

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that the United Kingdom is hugely interested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and would like to benefit from opportunities arising from the initiative.

He was talking to Minister for Interior Affairs Ahsan Iqbal, who called on him here in London and discussed a wide range of issues of common interest. The minister is on an official visit to the United Kingdom,

Ahsan briefed Johnson that Pakistan was undergoing a remarkable transformation as a result of the improved security situation, impressive economic growth, and consolidation of democratic institutions.

He said that Pakistan greatly appreciated UK’s role as its important trade and investment partner. He informed the foreign secretary in detail about Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism from the country.

Johnson commended Pakistan’s economic reforms agenda, saying the country had great potential for economic growth. He particularly appreciated Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts to bring about peace in the region and the world at large.

He said the UK greatly valued its friendship with Pakistan and was looking forward to further strengthening the ties. Ahsan also held a meeting with UK’s Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes, during which he specifically raised the problems being faced by the Pakistani students and business people in getting British visas.

Caroline assured the visiting minister that she would look into the matter and all possible facilitation would be extended to the Pakistani students and business people. The two sides agreed that in order to enhance people-to-people and business-to-business linkages, visa bottlenecks would be removed.

The minister also met Economic Secretary to Treasury John Glen and held a detailed discussion on bilateral cooperation in areas of economy and finance. Earlier, the minister gave a talk at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.

The talk – ‘Pakistan’s vision for the future’ – was attended by a select gathering of think tank notables, academia, policy influential, political analysts and members of the diplomatic community. In his talk, Ahsan Iqbal dwelt upon Pakistan’s economic turnaround, improvement in security and regional situation.

He also addressed a press conference at the Pakistan High Commission in the evening, during which he highlighted the achievements of the government during the last four and a half years. Due to the prudent policies, the government had put the country on the path of economic development, he said.

He said that the government not only revived the dormant and dead development projects, including Lowari Tunnel in Chitral area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kachi Canal in Balochistan, new airport in Islamabad, Lyari Expressway in Karachi and N-85 Motorway by allocating billions of rupees, but also launched new development and energy projects.

He said that the vision of the government was to improve the quality of the life of the people, besides making Pakistan as one of the fastest growing and progressing economies in the world. The minister termed his two-day visit to UK highly successful and productive. He also gave interviews to London-based media outlets.


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