LONDON: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Thursday attended the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 held at Buckingham Palace where he joined the leaders of Commonwealth (CW).
United Kingdom’s (UK) Queen Elizabeth-II declared the summit of the 53-member CHOGM open and in her remarks wished and believed that they would be able to hand over a safer and prosperous world to the future generation.
She hoped that the exchange of views and ideas by leaders at CHOGM 2018, which was first in London in 40 years, would help augment the multi-sectoral cooperation among the 53 member countries whose combined population of over 2.2 billion makes up a major part of the world.
The opening ceremony was also addressed by Prince of Wales Charles Philip, British Prime Minister Theresa May and CW Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC.
Prince Charles, in his opening remarks, expressed his belief that CHOGM 2018 would help revitalise the bonds among member countries with their renewed commitment to finding solutions for the problems faced by the CW countries.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, in her remarks, highlighted the various problems faced by the CW countries and said that there was a need to have enhanced cooperation among the member states in the areas of trade, economy, employment, healthcare, cybercrime, etc.
A musical performance was also held by vocalists from the six continents of CW countries.
Earlier, PM Abbasi was presented the guard of honour upon his arrival at the Buckingham Palace.
Later, PM Abbasi proceeded to the Friary Court where he was welcomed by the British prime minister and the CW secretary general ahead of the start of the executive sessions at Lancaster House.
PM MEETS PRINCE CHARLES:
PM Abbasi on Thursday met Prince Charles at Clarence House where he felicitated him on UK’s successful holding of CHOGM 2018.
He said that Pakistan, as a founding member, greatly valued the CW.
He appreciated UK’s royal family’s patronage of global charities.
Prince Charles thanked Pakistan for its high-level participation in CHOGM 2018.
He also commended Pakistan’s valuable contribution to the CW.
PM SAYS GOVT COMMITTED TO ELIMINATION OF PREVENTABLE BLINDNESS:
PM Abbasi expressed his government’s clear commitment to the elimination of preventable blindness from the country.
Peek Vision is a world leader in using smartphone technology and training healthcare workforces in developing countries to eliminate preventable blindness and poor vision, while CBM has an international non-governmental development organisation which has been working in the field of disability for over 100 years with a major focus on eye care.
During the meeting with PM Abbasi, Peek Vision was represented by Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Dr Andrew Bastawrous while CBM was represented by its Inclusive Eye Health Director Dr Babar Qureshi.
The discussion centered on the major challenge of eliminating preventable blindness from Pakistan where, according to estimation, there were more than eight million citizens suffering from preventable visual loss.
Peek Vision and CBM were prepared to deploy their partnership to deliver the most advanced solutions for the identification, diagnosis and treatment for Pakistani citizens using the country’s existing health infrastructure and staff.
PM Abbasi invited Peek Vision to Pakistan and assured of government’s full support for a national programme to eliminate preventable blindness.
Peek Vision and CBM agreed to follow up and work with the government.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Ali Jehangir Siddiqui and Pakistani High Commissioner to United Kingdom Syed Ibne Abbas were also present during the meeting.