Afzal Khan MP, Chair of the APPG on Britain-Pakistan Trade and Tourism, marked Pakistan National Day on Tuesday 23rd March, bringing together Ambassadors, Parliamentarians and Ministers. Speakers included, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Co-Chair of the APPG, Foreign Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad, Pakistani High Commissioner, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Shadow Foreign Minister, Stephen Kinnock, British Council Country Director in Pakistan, Mark Crossey and the CEO of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Jon Davies.
Speakers highlighted the strong bilateral relationship, which has only been reinforced by recent developments including the reinstatement of British Airways flights and Virgin Atlantic starting brand new flights from the UK to Pakistan, marking a new route from Manchester to Islamabad.
Parliamentarians of Pakistani heritage from the UK and Europe, also joined including, Yasmin Qureshi MP and Khalid Mahmood MP. Other parliamentarians in attendance included Lord Sheikh, Tony Lloyd MP and Andrew Gwynne MP.
Speakers highlighted the immense potential for tourism and trade in Pakistan, with Condé Nast listing Pakistan as the number one travel destination in 2020.
Afzal Khan MP said: “The bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Britain is an important one, with the UK being home to the largest Pakistani community in Europe. The diaspora has made significant contributions to British society and this has never been more evident, than during the pandemic. Whilst we can’t celebrate National Day in person, I wanted to bring people together virtually to mark this auspicious occasion”.
Baroness Warsi expressed: “There are so many exciting things happening in the relationship between Pakistan and the UK, especially in relation to both trade and tourism. Initiatives and developments such as those taking place in Gwadar and Kartarpur are just two examples of fantastic work that is being done in Pakistan. I am proud of the work of the APPG and I look forward to strengthening British-Pakistani relations”.
Minister Lord Ahmad concluded his remarks with a quote from the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah: “My message to you all is of hope, of courage and of confidence”.
Video highlights of the event can be found here.