Mark Pawsey, Member of Parliament for Rugby, has just returned from a fact finding visit of Westminster politicians to Pakistan.
The party visited the principal cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi as well as travelling to the disputed area of Kashmir. A briefing was held at the British High Commission in Islamabad, and meetings with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Ministerial Advisors, Provincial Chief Ministers, Provincial Governors, Chambers of Commerce and Further Educational establishments.
The opportunity was also taken to visit the walled city in Lahore, the Pakistan Monument & Heritage Museum in Islamabad and the Mohatta Palace in Karachi. Whilst in Karachi, the MPs laid a wreath at Mazar-e-Quaid, the final resting place of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
Mark also was able to meet with Kashif Khawaja, captain of the Pakistani National Rugby Team to talk about the opportunities for growth and development of the game.
In addition, Mark and the delegation were able to meet with the Rt. Rev. Sadiq Daniel, Bishop of Karachi and Deputy Moderator of the Church of Pakistan, and Archbishop Joseph Coutts, Catholic Archbishop of Karachi, who were accompanied by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who was Bishop of Rochester until 2009, to talk about religious freedom in Pakistan.
Speaking after the delegation, Mark said:
“There are 1.2 million people of Pakistani heritage in the UK and I was interested to visit and learn more about their country of origin. What I saw was a country which has faced many challenges in the field of security in recent years, and is working extremely hard to provide an environment that is safe for everyone.”
“With the UK negotiating to leave the European Union, I was also interested to consider the trade opportunities that exist between our two countries. With the Pakistani economy growing at around 5% per annum, with expected growth up to 7%, there are real opportunities for UK companies.”
“The party of MPs also visited the Kashmir region, part of which remains in dispute between Pakistan and India. This is a matter that can only be solved by the two countries resuming a dialogue and we all hope that this might happen in the near future.”
“Finally, it was great to meet up with Kashif Khawaja, Captain of Pakistan’s national Rugby team, to speak to him about how the game he plays was developed in our town and talk about the many opportunities for growth and development of the game of Rugby, which was founded in my constituency, in a country of 200 million people.”