ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew on Thursday said that education remains critical for a vibrant and thriving Pakistan, and the United Kingdom would assist Pakistan in achieving its public policy goals.
The British envoy expressed these views while addressing the audience at the launching of a Public Diplomacy Initiative by the Serena Hotels. The event, held under the banner of Raabta, also had a panel discussion titled ‘Pakistan of Tomorrow’.
“The 70th anniversary of independence is an occasion to remember the founding spirit and ideals of Pakistan which were set out so eloquently by those two giants of the Independence Movement: Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Muhammad Iqbal,” said Mr Drew, who was the keynote speaker for the event. He also shared his perspective of present day economic and development trends, the role of public diplomacy and the impact of dialogue and inclusion in building a shared sustainable future.
He stressed to celebrate the extraordinary links between the United Kingdom and Pakistan, links that Jinnah and Iqbal benefitted from.
“Jinnah himself said two days before the Independence in 1947, ‘Our object should be of peace within, with our immediate neighbours and the world at large’,” he added.
The British trade minister would visit Pakistan next week to discuss bilateral trade and issues relating to UK investment in the country, said Drew.
He said that the UK was extending the best possible facilities in the field of education and vocational training which would certainly give a quantum jump to economic activities in Pakistan.
He said that his country was cooperating with the Punjab government in the field of education to bring about a positive socio-economic change in the province.
He said that many UK-based companies were already working in Pakistan and many were planning to make new investment particularly in the wake of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The panellists for the discussion hailed from diverse sectors bringing unique experiences to the table.
Serena Hotels CEO Aziz Boolani, on the occasion, said: “Raabta is the culmination of the value that Serena Hotels can bring to society. The convening power of Serena allows us to bring together experts, policy makers and the interested citizenry to inform and engage individuals and organisations in advancing debate, creating knowledge and developing a wider appreciation of the complexity of socio-economic subjects.”
Sidra Iqbal, an internationally acclaimed journalist elaborated: “Public diplomacy is about relationships, and Raabta is inspired to build relationships of value. We are seeking the ‘win-win’ scenario through inclusive and informed discourse on timely subjects and to create a culture of understanding through informed and diverse opinions.”
The event was well attended by a large number of diplomats, government officials, corporate heads and prominent figures from all segments of society.