APP123-21 LONDON: March 21 – FCO Senior Official, Ms Lesley Craig delivering UK Government message during a function to mark Pakistan National Day at Pakistan House. APP

LONDON, Mar 21 (APP):Pakistan’s High Commissioner to United Kingdom (UK) Mohammad Nafees Zakaria has said that Pakistan’s strategic and economic importance by virtue of its geographic location at the confluence of South Asia,Central Asia,North Western China and West Asia made it a natural economic hub and energy corridor for the region.
He stated this while addressing the participants of a reception ,he hosted in connection with Pakistan Day celebrations at Pakistan House London on Wednesday night.
The reception was attended by Leslog Craig, Head of Pakistan department ,Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO), British Lords, MPs ,Councillors, Diplomats of friendly
countries, and a large number of British-Pakistani diaspora men, women and children, journalists and staff of Pakistan High Commission.
Speaking on the occasion, the High Commissioner said that today “we have gathered here to commemorate Pakistan day, which we celebrate on March 23, every
year”.
He said “This year’s happy occasion has come on the heels of a very sad incident when 50 innocent people of Islamic faith lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks on two Mosques in Christchurch,New Zealand,on March 15.Let me convey on your behalf and and my own behalf that we remember them and their grief-
stricken families”.
Nafees Zakaria said that nine among them were Pakistani origin.
He said that Naeem Rashid,one of the 9 Pakistani victims ,showed extraordinary courage and laid down his life while trying to save others.
“He made us proud”, Nafees remarked.”Let us pray for them, the bereaved families and those critically injured for their speedy recovery”, he said.
The Pakistan’s High Commissioner on the occasion expressed solidarity with the people and the Government of New Zealand .
He lauded that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acted extraordinary and remarkably in the aftermath.Highlighting the importance of Pakistan day, Nafees Zakaria said “2019 marks the 79th National day of Pakistan.On March 23 ,1940 the Muslims of the Sub –
Continent adopted Pakistan Resolution for an independent state under the visionary leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah ,a great leader of his time and our
visionary National poet, renowned as the Poet of the East ,Allama, Dr.Muhammad Iqbal .
He added that seven years after its adoption ,the dream of a sovereign state materialized in the emergence of Pakistan on the world map.”Alhamdulliah!,but it did not come without ultimate sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of our forefathers .Every year on Pakistan day we pay homage to the Founding fathers and heros of Pakistan movement”, he said.
Highlighting the Pakistan’s progress , Nafees Zakaria informed that Pakistan with its constantly strengthening democratic institutions, growing economy ,and 210 million strong population , half of which was under the age of 30 years , was poised to make impact as a sought-after economy.
He said that measures to boost Pakistan’s economy towards higher growth and development and reduce cost of doing business have been initiated and they are starting to take effect.
This, he said was reflected in the increased investor’s confidence ,as more and more foreign companies have shown their interest to invest in Pakistan .
He added that the recent investment interests and inflows from China, UAE, Saudi Arabi ,Qatar, Turkey, United Kingdom and Malaysia were among many in this
regard.
Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan’s common membership of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Commonwealth made it a unique in acting as a bridge for
connectivity between members of the two organizations.
“With the global economic gravity shifting to Asia ,Pakistan is ideally located to significantly contribute to the role to be played by Asia as an engine
of global growth”, he remarked.
He said “The mentioned opportunities are coming at the most conducive times in terms of safety and security in Pakistan”.
He said that manifestations of the assertions was the foreign investments coming to Pakistan, high level visits from friendly countries including many from the
United Kingdom and numerous international sports being held in Pakistan successfully.Highlighting Pakistan and United Kingdom relations,
the High Commissioner said that Pakistan and UK enjoy historical relations,marked by traditional warmth and cordiality.
Nafees Zakaria added that the strong political goodwill that exists between the two countries ,coupled with the presence of 1.4 million affluent and influential
Pakistani Diaspora in the UK , served as a solid foundation to build mutually beneficial relations in diverse fields .
“Amidst challenges faced by the countries in the contemporary times, there are enormous opportunities , particularly , economic that need to be exploited to the
mutual advantage of both the countries”, he remarked.He informed that the UK is Pakistan’s leading development and investment partner and there are over 120
UK companies doing profitable businesses in Pakistan almost for six decades.
“British Airways has also announced resumption of its flights from June this year in Pakistan”, he added.
He said that Government and people of Pakistan firmly believe that peace in the region was key to unfolding the unlimited economic opportunities the region
possessed ,which has the largest concentration of impoverished people.
Pakistan, he said would continue to endeavour to that end.
Speaking on the occasion , Leslog Craig Head of Pakistan department FCO congratulated Pakistan government and its people on Pakistan day.
She said that Pakistan and UK enjoy cordial relations and called for further strengthening these relations.
She announced that after Brexit the relations between Pakistan and United Kingdom would be further deepened in various fields including business and
education.
She specially mentioned the Education gateway programme announced by the UK for the promotion of education in Pakistan.
Later cake cutting ceremony was also held and the guests were also served with traditional Pakistani food .