Nafees Zakaria briefs Birmingham mayor, KPMG, community members on Pakistan affairs

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BIRMINGHAM: Continuing his ‘reach out’ campaign, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria during his visit to Birmingham on Thursday held meetings with British-Pakistani community including MP Khalid Mahmood, Councillors, businessmen, Lord Mayor Cllr Yvonne Mosquito, ‘All Parties International Contact Committee on Kashmir’, and Pakistan origin Councillors.

In his meeting with MP and the accompanying delegates, the High Commissioner briefed them on the developments in Pakistan, the smooth democratic transition, opportunities for business and investment. Matters pertaining to Pakistani Community were also discussed. Women’s role in the promotional activities was also emphasised.

During the interaction with the Lord Mayor Yvonne Mosquito, she appreciated the active role being played by Pakistani Community in the development of Birmingham and the UK. Mr. Zakaria underlined that the Community was one of the strongest links between the two countries and could be instrumental in furthering bilateral relations in tangible terms.

British-Pakistani Councillors highlighted a number of issues faced by the Diaspora members in their meeting with the High Commissioner, who undertook to address them through measures at the High Commission level and also by suggesting policy initiatives to the Government.

The High Commissioner held a two-hour interactive session with members of Pakistani community at the Birmingham City Council which was full to the capacity.  

The High Commissioner stated that Pakistan and UK enjoyed strong bilateral relations. He underscored the historic role played by the Pakistani Diaspora in further strengthening the ties between the two countries. Mr. Zakaria briefed the Community about the important developments taking place in Pakistan and conducive environment for business and investment opportunities to benefit from.

He identified areas with economic benefits such as tourism related infrastructure development, Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Education Sector, Halal industrial products, Food Processing, Surgical Goods, Pharmaceutical, IT, etc.

He underlined that negative media reflection about Pakistan and Pakistani Community abroad should be discarded being malicious. Community’s contributions to the British economy and society have been widely acknowledged by the British Government and people alike with deep appreciation.

Admiring the UK for an enabling environment that made scores of Pakistani Diaspora members big achievers, Mr. Zakaria underscored that they should pay back for a stronger Great Britain.

He urged the community to invest more in the next generation which is their future and a solid bridge for further strengthening the historically strong relations between the two countries. In an interactive session, he responded to a number of queries raised by the community members.

At a KPMG arranged interactive meeting, Mr. Zakaria presented a broad picture before a number of British business leaders on the trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan. He also highlighted the exploration presently going on in Pakistan in Oil & Gas sector and the incentives for the investors.

Mr. Zakaria underlined present government’s liberal economic and investment policy. He informed about the SEZs announced by the government, offering opportunities for investors in the development of the SEZs and for setting up of an enterprise/industry. He also touched upon the investment/business opportunities associated with ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC), which is the flagship project of the ‘Belt & Road Initiative of China’.

The High Commissioner also highlighted prospects for investments in the higher education sector in Pakistan, particularly in setting up Universities for emerging technologies, and technology parks.

The meeting at KPMG was attended by Geoff Layer, Vice Chancellor Wolverhampton University, Andy Argyle and Mothi Sayeeram from KPMG LLP, Nasir Awan MBE, Awan Marketing, Adam Parker, Birmingham Airport, James Wong, Southside BID, Nik Hardy, Burton Chambers, Ifraz Ahmed, The Asian Today, Mahmood Ahmed, British General Council, Arsalan Sultan, Supertouch Workwear and Ashiq Ellahi, Sakhawat Commercial Brokers. The High Commissioner thanked Councillor Waseem Zaffar, for coordination and facilitation for the engagements in Birmingham.

In their meeting with the High Commissioner, representatives of ‘All Parties International Contact Committee on Kashmir’ (APICCK) highlighted the human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces in ‘IoK’ and condemned Indian atrocities.

Nafees Zakaria insisted the members of the Committee to continue their efforts for the oppressed Kashmiri people in their struggle of right for self-determination and assure  them that Pakistan will never abandon them aloof and will continue their support in highlighting their grievances.