GLASGOW: Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, called on Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland, at her official residence, Bute House.
Appreciating the Scottish Government’s Pakistan Engagement Plan, Mr. Zakaria apprised her on the significant development in and around Pakistan and the conducive environment for business and investment in Pakistan. He urged that it was propitious time for friends like Scotland to avail of the enormous economic opportunities. He identified prospective sectors such as Education, Tourism related infrastructure development, tech and other industries in Special Economic Zones, oil & gas exploration, power generation, halal product industries, surgical instruments, pharmaceutical industry, sports goods industries, and dairy product industries.
The High Commissioner also briefed the First Minister on CPEC and economic opportunities associated to it for friendly countries to explore. Mr. Zakaria underlined that use of Scottish expertise and technological advancements in education, industrial sector and other identified areas could benefit both. He extended invitation to her to visit Pakistan.
The First Minister thanked the High Commissioner for the invitation, and underscored the need for further cooperation to strengthen the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Scotland. She expressed keen interest in promoting economic partnership with Pakistan and assured full cooperation. She specifically acknowledged contributions of the Pakistani community to the Scottish society, economy and culture.
Earlier, in his meetings with the Scottish Government officials and a Round Table with key stakeholders, the High Commissioner made a presentation on the identified areas of economic interest in greater details. The High Commissioner especially elaborated on the investment opportunities and policy for the 9 Special Economic Zones (SEZs), being set up by the Government of Pakistan. He assured all possible assistance to the interested business people / investors in terms of information on the processes and procedures, locating potential partners, and setting up meetings with key players in the public and private sectors within Pakistan.
Besides the High Commissioner, Consul Muhammad Rumman Ahmad, Mr. Geoff Pope, Team Leader, and Mr. Mark Cooney, Desk Officer for Pakistan, of the Scottish Government’s International Division, Mr. Julian Barnes, Chairman of Pakistan Scotland and Pakistan Britain Business Councils (PSBC & PBBC), Mr. Rashid Iqbal, CEO/ Executive Secretary (PSBC/ PBBC), Mr. Zeeshan Hussain (PSBC/ PBBC), Mr. Alain Van Weert, Clyde & Escaut, Ms. Vanessa O’Brien, Senior Associate Director CBI Scotland, Mr. Matt Lancashire, Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).
During his fully packed visit to Scotland, the High Commissioner also interacted with Pakistani Community, including Parliamentarians, Councillors of Pakistan Origin at the Consulate of Pakistan in Glasgow. The notables of the Pakistani community Baroness Nosheena Mobarik CBE, Mr. Anas Sarwar MSP, Councillor Hanzala Malik, Councillor Saqib Ahmed, and Councillor Shahid Farooq attended the event. Scotland-based representatives of ethnic media were also present on this occasion.
The High Commissioner briefed the community on the significant developments and enormous business and investment opportunities which he urged that the community should avail.
Responding to a query, he briefed on the grave human rights situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and the concrete steps taken by the government to highlight the plight of Kashmiri brothers and sisters.
Besides, the High Commissioner addressed a number of issues raised by the participants.