Islamabad: Pakistan High Commission in London held a reception at the Inter-continental Hotel yesterday to celebrate Pakistan Day, an annual feature in the repertoire of the High Commission which attracts a large number of Lords, MPs, the British friends and the Pakistani Diaspora in the UK. says a press release received here today from London.
This time Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State, DFID and Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford, Minister of State for International Energy Policy and Commonwealth were the guests of honour.
Alan Duncan, in his address said that he had visited Pakistan over 40 times and what struck him most was enormous potential of Pakistan. It is this potential that should be front and centre of our minds as we celebrate the National Day of Pakistan, he said. He assured that UK would stand by Pakistan as a firm and enduring friend as both the countries have a unique relationship, based on a shared history, family and business ties.
Alan Duncan mentioned that the year ahead was important as there would be ever first transition from one democratically elected Government to another and the UK looked forward to continuing its support to the next Government as it faces the challenges of lasting economic growth, providing jobs for a rising population, and delivering basic services to meet the needs of the entire country.
He gave a comprehensive account of the UK aid to Pakistan and said that Pakistan could become the UK’s largest aid recipient by 2014 with a special focus on education, health and women empowerment.
While speaking on the occasion, Rt Hon Lord Howell said that the Government and the people of the UK looked forward to continuing and strengthening their relationship with Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan successfully faces the challenges ahead. He acknowledged the critical importance of Pakistan’s role in ensuring global security and stability. Lord Howell urged the expansion of the networks of professionals, businessmen and the people of the two countries for their mutual benefit. He said that his Government was looking forward to receiving Prime Minister of Pakistan in the UK in May this year.
In his welcome address Pakistan High Commissioner for UK Mr Wajid Shamsul Hasan paid glowing tributes to the determination of the Muslims of South Asia under the dynamic leadership of our founding father, Quaid-e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to achieve a homeland of their own. He said that the democratic government of Pakistan under President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had, by pursuing the Quaid’s vision, restored the supremacy of the Constitution and sovereignty of the Parliament.
Speaking on Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism, the High Commissioner said that the sacrifices of Pakistan’s security forces and those of civilians are a testimony to Pakistan’s resilience to eliminate this scourge.
He said that he was happy to that Pakistan-UK bilateral ties were very strong as reflected in the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue between the two countries. That is why there had been substantial increase in co-operation particularly in the areas of trade, culture, security, health and education, he added.
Dr. Asim Hussain, Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources also spoke on the occasion and termed Pakistan-UK relations as exemplary and enduring. He said that the Government of Pakistan was doing its best to overcome the challenges faced by the country.
Later, on behalf of the President of Pakistan, the High Commissioner conferred civil awards on Dr Jawad Sarwar Naqvi Syed (Tamgha-i-Imtiaz) and Councillor Rabia Bhatti (Tamgha-i-Pakistan) for their services to Pakistan.
The renowned Pakistani Surgeon Dr Muhammad Jawad on whose work the Oscar Award winning film “Saving Faces” was made by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy also addressed the gathering and highlighted his efforts to improve the image of Pakistan. Mr Junge the co-producer of that remarkable film also spoke on the occasion.
This very well attended reception, conducted by Deputy High Commissioner Syed Zulfiqar Gardezi was a living example of the strong and cordial relations between the UK and Pakistan.
Earlier in the morning the flag hoisting ceremonies were held at Pakistan High Commission in London and it’s all the four Consulates at Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Bradford. Baroness Warsi attended the Glasgow ceremony.
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