Shehbaz and Boris agree to strengthen bilateral relations

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had a phone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday.

Johnson reiterated his congratulations to his Pakistani counterpart on his election and assumption of office and underlined the UK’s desire to further strengthen bilateral relations with Pakistan. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sent his congratulations to the UK on the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation. The two leaders stressed the importance of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the UK in an appropriate manner.

The prime minister said Pakistan attached great importance to its relationship with the UK, which was based on historical ties and converging interests on a wide range of issues. The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to strengthen its ties with the UK in various areas, with particular emphasis on enhanced trade and investment partnership.

Underlining the long-standing ties between Pakistan and the UK, the Prime Minister appreciated the positive role played by 1.6 million Pakistani diaspora in forging closer ties and building bridges between the two countries . He further underlined the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of legal migration to realize the full potential.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) between Pakistan and the UK and suggested developing a 10-year roadmap to move the relationship forward in various areas. He stressed that the ESD should deepen mutual commitment and bilateral high-level partnership.

The Prime Minister also appreciated the work undertaken by the UK to promote education, health and other social sectors in Pakistan. In the regional context, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the need to intensify efforts to avert humanitarian crisis. He added that the constructive diplomatic and political engagement of the international community with the Afghan interim government was vital for lasting peace and stability. He also stressed the importance of releasing Afghanistan’s frozen assets to bring stability to the nascent Afghan economy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his government’s deep appreciation for Pakistan’s cooperation with his country, particularly regarding evacuations following developments in Afghanistan after August 15, 2021.

The Prime Minister highlighted the serious human rights abuses in the illegally occupied Indian Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to promoting peace in the region, he stressed the importance of a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir conflict. He also stressed the need to maintain strategic balance in the South Asian region.

The two Prime Ministers also exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine and other issues of common interest. Prime Minister Shehbaz has invited his British counterpart to visit Pakistan on mutually agreed dates. The two leaders agreed to stay in close contact.

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