LONDON: Pakistan and the United Kingdom Tuesday agreed to form a Joint Working Group to formulate a strategy for strengthening bilateral ties in multiple spheres including trade and investment.
The bilateral ties were discussed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women and Equality Elizabeth Truss wherein the former put forward a proposal for formation of a joint working group.
Following the meeting, the foreign minister told media that the Secretary of State accepted his proposal for joint working group so that the two countries could mutually assist each other in strengthening bilateral ties.
He said by next years, the two countries would complete 75 years of diplomatic ties so both the sides stressed the need to further strengthen the ties including trade.
Qureshi also invited his British counterpart to visit Pakistan which she accepted to attend the Fifth Round of Pakistan-UK Strategic Dialogue.
He said both the sides discussed bilateral ties, Afghanistan as well as the situation in J&K besides the bilateral cooperation. The foreign minister thanked UK for continuing GSP Plus facility for Pakistan which resulted into improvement of bilateral trade by 32% last year despite COVID pandemic.
Qureshi also suggested to exploit the potential of 1.6 million Pakistani diaspora in UK to enhance trade and investment. He said last year, Pakistan had received record remittances of $4 billion from UK for what he thanked the British Pakistani community as well as the UK government for its positive role.
The foreign minister also handed over a copy of “well researched” dossier to Secretary of State in which Pakistan had documented over 3000 cases of human rights abuses in J&K what he said fell in the category of war crimes.
He said the Indian actions in the occupied territory were also the violation of Fourth Geneva Convention as the country was carrying out a demographic re-engineering to convert the Muslim majority state into a Muslim minority territory.
Lauding the UK’s advocacy for human rights, Qureshi said its application should not be selected or in one part of the world as the human rights abuses were being overlooked in J&K.
The foreign minister told media that the two sides also mulled over the ways to attract British Pakistani investment in Pakistan. He also briefed media about his meetings with the MPs of conservative party as well as the leaders of Pakistani community during the visit.