LONDON: The Pakistan High Commission (PHC) in London organized the third “Councilors Convention-2018” the other day where the Pakistani diaspora including lords, mayors, lady mayors, councilors vowed to play their role in the socio-economic development of their country of origin.
They also reaffirmed to make efforts for fostering bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom to take them to the new heights in diverse fields. The convention was organized by the High Commission after receiving positive feedback from such events in the past.
Previously, similar councilor conventions were organized at Bradford and Birmingham Consulates of Pakistan.
The purpose of the initiative was to further strengthen the bond with the Pakistani community in the United Kingdom and to celebrate their success in various fields of life.
Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK Syed Ibn-e-Abbas was the chief guest while the concluding session was also attended by the visiting Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan.
Besides the inaugural session, there were two sessions of the convention in which threadbare discussions took place on the themes of diaspora’s role in furthering Pakistan-UK relationship and youth engagement and women empowerment initiatives that can be taken.
The speakers were a mix of MPs, councilors, mayors and experts from various walks of life.
Those who spoke during various sessions included Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Syed Ibne Abbas, AJK President Sardar Masood Khan, Lord Nazir Ahmed, Hamza Malik, Dr Aysha Raza, Julian Martin Hamilton Barn, Asghar Butt, MP Paul Scully, Yasmin Dar, Sabia Hussain, Pasha Bocaria, Ruth Cadbury, Keith Allen Bennet, Shahid Younus, Saba Nasreen, Sara Khan and Zara Shah.
In his remarks, Pakistan High Commissioner highlighted the objectives of the convention. He thanked President AJK Sardar Masood Khan, Lord Nazir Ahmed and other participants of the convention for gracing the occasion.
He termed Lord Nazir Ahmed an ‘icon’ and a model for Pakistani diaspora in the UK. The High Commissioner told the participants that Pakistani diaspora in the UK could play an important role in strengthening the bilateral relations between Pakistan and United Kingdom. He added that the High Commission is thus making efforts for engagement and dialogue with Pakistani community in the UK in this regard.
He apprised that this year, the High Commission is focusing on youth and women empowerment. Highlighting Pak-UK relations, he said that relations between both the countries are robust, adding that last year Pakistan’s merchandise exports to the UK increased by 8 percent.
He further said that post-Brexit Pakistan would be a desirable destination for entrepreneurship as Pakistan’s economy according to the World Bank report is growing at about 5.5 percent year.
He said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a game changer with an investment of over $60 billion for the great benefit of Pakistan and even the region.
He urged the British Pakistani community to be good citizens of the country as their success in the UK would be the success of Pakistan.
He went on to announce that next Councilor Convention would be held at Manchester to facilitate the Pakistani community there. An announcement to send six British Pakistani children on a visit to Pakistan so that they could see by themselves the progress made by the country of their origin was also made.
The High Commissioner said that Kashmir was an international case and India is constantly involved in gross human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He regretted that UK was a stand bearer of human rights but did not mention Kashmir issue in its last year’s human rights report it did not mention violations of human rights in IOK.
The High Commissioner said that India has indulged in provocation at the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary which has unfortunately claimed as many as 391 violations were made by India.
In the concluding session, Masood Khan appreciated Pakistan High Commission for holding the Councilors’ conference. He said that Kashmir is in shambles due to Indian brutalities.
He said that India is constantly denying the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir and killing innocent Kashmiri people to silence their voice.
He called upon the Pakistani British community to raise voice for their Kashmiri brothers and sisters and more specifically against the human rights violations committed by India.
He added that Pakistan would continue to extend political, moral and diplomatic support to the people of occupied Kashmir till realization of their birthright to self-determination.
He also highlighted the steps taken by the AJK government for the socio-economic development of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The other speakers also appreciated Pakistan High Commission for organizing this event and for providing an opportunity to share their thoughts and suggestions for the betterment of Pakistani diaspora in the UK.
They also suggested launching of “Diaspora Bonds” so that they could play an important role in the development of Pakistan being their identity and birth of origin. They also suggested exchange expertise in education and health sectors.