ISLAMABAD: British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner Saturday said that Pakistan had been declared as ‘family station’ for the British diplomats and citizens.
Talking to Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser at a meeting, the British envoy said that the decision had been taken under the new travel advisory issued by United Kingdom about Pakistan.
He added that the travel advisory was upgraded in wake of the improved security situation of Pakistan and the bilateral relations would now improve drastically.
Lauding the decision, Asad Qaisar said that the armed forces as well as the citizens of Pakistan have paid a heavy price for attaining peace and security in the country.
“The world should recognize the sacrifices Pakistan has embraced during the war on terror. Pakistan has relaxed its visa regime for attracting tourists from across the globe and a visa portal has also been established for issuance of online visas to the international tourists,” he added.
Qaiser further said that the United Kingdom should also relax its visa regime for the Pakistani nationals. He said the visa center for Pakistan which is currently based in the United Arab Emirates should be moved to Pakistan. He further added that presently the visa fee was too high and thus there was a need to reconsider the high visa fees.
Referring to the Brexit, the speaker said that it was a challenge for the British government as well as an opportunity, at the same time, for enhancing trade and commercial ties with the friendly countries like Pakistan.
Qaiser proposed that the relevant committees in the two parliaments dealing with commerce and trade may collaborate with each other for devising mutually beneficent strategies for promoting trade and commerce between the two countries.
The speaker also informed that British high commissioner that government and relevant agencies of Pakistan have taken numerous steps for countering of terrorism as well as barring financing for the menace. Therefore, he added, the friendly countries like the UK should play their due role in moving Pakistan from the grey-list of the FATF.
Seizing the opportunity, the speaker also highlighted the Indian atrocities in their Occupied territory of Jammu & Kashmir and stated that the world has seen the cruel face of India and the growing fascism in the “so called” largest democracy of the world. Under the slogan of “Hindutva”, the Indian leadership was spreading hatred among its public and resultantly the minorities particularly Muslims in India were threatened.
He also lauded the ongoing projects of the United Kingdom in Pakistan for parliamentary development and said that there was still a need to further expand the scope of the projects for the capacity building of parliamentarians as well as parliamentary officials so that they could be able to cope with the challenges faced in enacting legislation on contemporary issues. He also outlined the need for initiating such parliamentary development projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so that the capacity of the legislators in that province could also be built for bringing them at par with their counterparts elsewhere.
The youth of Pakistan had keen interest in studying in the United Kingdom, the Speaker added. He said that there was a huge potential in the youth of Pakistan and as such the need was to provide them ample opportunities to utilize their skills for their academic and professional development. The Speaker proposed that the British Council may also establish its Institutions in Pakistan so that the students, not able to study in the United Kingdom, could also receive quality and specialized education from Pakistan.