By M. Sarwar

LONDON: Terming his recent visit to Pakistan as highly successful, informative and meaningful, the Chairman of Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis has said that he availed a much waiting opportunity to talk and to understand the Pakistani leadership in depth. “We discussed various issues of our mutual interest in detail and found commonness in our thoughts and ideas”.

Summarising his visit at a press conference along with Zameer Choudrey CBE at CCHQ here on Thursday, he said that we held detailed and frank discussion on our future cooperation, bilateral and regional issues. “We fully understand the stance of Pakistani leadership, appreciate it and consider it in right direction aimed to make the country prosper, economically self-reliance and stable”, he emphasised.

Zameer Choudrey CBE, SI-Pk Chairman of Conservative Friend of Pakistan arranged this visit to familiarise Tory Chairman about Pakistan, its government system, culture and  geographical importance.

Brandon Lewis said that relations between Pakistan and Britain are based on the mutual interest and greater understanding and we are fully satisfied. Overall situation and atmosphere in Pakistan is very conducive for safe investment and potential profit business projects.

“We ourselves witness this positive and encouraging situation during our recent visit.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan is very beautiful country with natural beauty and scenic views. Both countries are already bonded in political, commercial and cultural fields, doing very good size of business. Following the Brexit, more opportunities will open more and new vistas for Pakistan”, he was convinced in stating.

Responding to a volley of questions related to Brexit, Islamophobia, representation of ethinic communities, CPEC and other issues, Brandon Lewis said that post-Brexit UK-Pak trade relations would be bright and vivacious  and both countries would avail beneficial opportunities.

Regarding Islamophobia, he said that Conservative Government believes zero-tolerance and strictly following policy of treating all on equal basis and no discrimination would be allowed in the society. “As far as CPEC is concerned, we are familiar of its benefits and Pakistan considers it as ‘game changer’ but we have not decided yet to participate in this huge project. This is today’s position and may be changed in future”, he added.

Chairman Conservative Party said that Pakistan and Britain friendship presented huge opportunities for investment and trade. The talks mainly revolved around working out different ways and introducing policies to increase bilateral trade. They discussed incentives that can be given to increase investment in Pakistan economy and development projects.

Mr. Lewis also took time to visit Faisal Mosque, the Pakistan Monument, and had a working lunch with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Mr. Lewis discussed the UK’s longstanding relationship with Pakistan based on shared values and a commitment to economic development and mutual prosperity.

The thriving partnership between our two nations focuses primarily on trade and investment, the importance of which has been reinforced in the meetings Mr Lewis has had during his visit. 

Mr. Lewis said that the Pakistani diaspora in the UK is a powerful economic force and a valued part of the fabric of British society. Mr. Lewis said that that irrespective of the UK’s exit from the European Union, there is excellent potential to strengthen established trade and investment ties between our two countries.

The UK and Pakistan have a long and proud shared history and I believe there is a great opportunity to build on this established foundation politically, socially and economically. It is my first visit to Pakistan and I have been astounded by the beauty of the country and the kindness and generosity of its people, I very much look forward to returning in the future.”

On this occasion, Zameer Choudrey briefed the media persons about the visit of Brandon Lewis, Pak-UK relations, Brexit, Conservative Party’s policies on ethnic minorities especially the negative trend of Islamophobia. He said the government believes zero-tolerance in regards of Islamophobia and considers it the worst trend in the society which is condemnable.

Details of the press conference would be published in next edition.