NDU delegation visits Pakistan High Commission, Nafees Zakaria briefs them on Pak-UK relations

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LONDON: A group comprising faculty members and course participants of the National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad, led by Major General Asif Ali, HI (M), DG ISSRA visited the Pakistan High Commission London on Tuesday April 23). The thirty-four member delegation comprised the officers from Pakistan’s civil and armed services as well as officers from the friendly countries. The delegation is currently on Foreign Study Tour to the UK.

Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, High Commissioner, welcomed the delegation at the High Commission. Deputy High Commissioner, Muhammad Ayub gave a briefing to the delegation on socio-economic as well as political developments taking place in the UK. He also briefed the delegates on various aspects of the Pakistan-UK bilateral relations and the post Brexit scenario and opportunities for Pakistan.

Mr Ayub informed the participants that under the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD), the bilateral relations have become institutionalized and more inclusive, and are on an upward trajectory.  Speaking about the changing dynamics of diplomacy in the present age, he updated the participants on the functioning and responsibilities of the Mission.  

At the conclusion, the High Commissioner conducted the Q&A session and responded to the questions of the course participants. During the Q&A session, Mr Zakaria further elaborated the scope and potential of enhancing bilateral trade with the UK in the wake of significant developments taking place in the two regions, particularly CPEC and Brexit. He stated that developing economic relations is the high priority area for the Mission and efforts are being directed towards attracting British investments to Pakistan. Mr Zakaria underlined the need to introduce new technologies for value addition to our export products and focus on niche markets like dairy products, halal products, gems and jewellery, surgical equipment, sports goods and other sectors in which the country has competitive edge.

Responding to a question about perception of Pakistan in the international media and think tanks, the High Commissioner said Pakistan is seen through geo-strategic lens. Pakistan is rich in terms of cultural diversity, a destination of the some of the most beautiful places on earth and by virtue of its strategic location at the confluence of four regions of Asia, the country is a natural economic hub for the region and energy corridor with its 220 million consumer market, he added. Mr Zakaria concluded that reality on ground defeats those who seek to create misperception about the country.

During their stay, the NDU delegation is scheduled to visit various government departments and training institutes for familiarisation and experience.