Prime Minister Gilani has completed a very successful and productive visit to the UK from the 8th of May to the 13th of May 2012. Last year, during his trip to Pakistan, Prime Minister Cameron referred to the relationship as being unbreakable. Pakistan is equally committed to the relationship with the UK.

The primary purpose of the visit was to reaffirm the partnership and take it to the next level by conducting the first Summit-level annual review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) between Pakistan and the UK.

The ESD constitutes the five key areas of the Pakistan-UK relationship, namely trade & investment, economic growth & development, security, education and cultural cooperation.

Prime Minister Gilani had extensive and constructive discussions with Prime Minister David Cameron around these core issues. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Prime Minster Gilani also had useful interactions with a range of other British leaders, including the Opposition Leader Edward Miliband as well as UK Cabinet members including the Ministers for

i. Foreign Affairs,
ii. Defence,
iii. Trade and Investment,
iv. Development,
v. Interior,
vi. and Energy.

The most substantive outcomes of the summit-level annual review of the ESD was the joint launching of two roadmaps by Prime Minister Gilani and Prime Minister Cameron.

i. “Trade and Investment Roadmap” and
ii. the Roadmap on Cultural and educational exchange.

The Trade and Investment Roadmap envisages increasing bilateral trade to £ 2.5 billion by 2015. To kick-start the Roadmap, Prime Minister Gilani met with select businessmen and investors both at the London Stock Exchange and at the Standard Chartered Bank.

The Cultural & Educational exchange roadmap seeks to deepen and advance the people to people relationship between the two countries. Over one million Britons are of Pakistani origin or descent. They represent a tremendous asset to their own country, the UK as well as to the country of their origin.

The UK’s development assistance is among the better harmonized and aligned in Pakistan. It tends to reflect the development priorities of Pakistan. The UK has committed almost £ 1.4 billion over four years (2011-2015), with a large share of this investment in primary education in Pakistan.

One of the foundations of the Pakistan UK relationships is our shared commitment to democracy and democratic institutions. The visit also afforded a good opportunity for parliamentary contacts. Prime Minister Gilani addressed parliamentarians from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. He also met members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Prime Minister David Cameron joined Prime Minister Gilani at the launch of the “Conservative Party Friends of Pakistan” – a welcome initiative by Baroness Saeeda Warsi to enhance existing parliamentary ties.

The Prime Minister also met with the Pakistani community – which is as large and vibrant a Pakistani diaspora as any in the world. He addressed the British Pakistan Foundation, laid the Foundation stone of the Consular Hall at our High Commission and met with members of the Pakistani media, as well as British media that focus on the Pakistani community.

To enhance linkages between institutions of higher education, the Prime Minister addressed a Roundtable with Vice Chancellors of British Universities.

The Prime Minister also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Cameron to visit Pakistan next year for the second Summit level review.

It is hard for us to overstate the value and importance that we place on our ties with the United Kingdom. We tend to agree with Prime Minister Cameron’s description of our relationship as being “unbreakable”. For reasons of mutual interest, mutual benefit, mutual history and a mutual future, the Pakistan-UK relationship is indeed unbreakable. The visit to the UK, helped reaffirm its strength and vitality.

I look forward to your questions

14 May 2012

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