Theresa May, Rehman Malik stress on trade, economic stability, cultural cooperation

Pakistanis in the UK can look forward to better UK relationships with their homeland, with Home Secretary Theresa May and Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik stressing on commitment between the two countries in co-operating on issues such as trade, economic stability, development and cultural co-operation.

The assertion came during the Home Secretary’s visit to Pakistan yesterday.

The Home Office said the two ministers stressed the commitment of the UK and Pakistan in co-operating on their shared interests, including trade, economic stability and development, cultural co-operation, security, tackling illegal immigration and education. The Enhanced Strategic Dialogue launched during the UK Prime Minister David Cameron visit in April this year allows both countries to explore areas of mutual interest in a spirit of understanding, confidence and respect.  The breadth and depth of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue reflects the longstanding ties between the people of Pakistan and the UK.

Theresa May recognised that Pakistan has made greater sacrifices in fighting terrorism than any other country. She confirmed that the UK would stand with Pakistan to combat terrorism and in this context reaffirmed the UK Prime Minister made earlier this year that “Pakistan’s enemy is our enemy”.

The two interior ministers also reconfirmed their commitment to tackle the shared challenge of extremism. It is in the interest of both countries to sustain a broad based strategic relationship founded on mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual benefit.

Our intensive diplomatic efforts, bilaterally, multilaterally, and in concert with key partners, are complemented by a growing programme of counter-terrorism liaison.  This includes UK support to military and policing, and supporting the development of strong institutions and machinery of Government.

Home Secretary Theresa May welcomed the commitment that Interior Minister, Rehman Malik and the Government of Pakistan have shown to adopting a zero tolerance approach to illegal migration.

Theresa May and Rehman Malik confirmed the value of shared efforts to protect the safety of passengers flying between the UK and Pakistan. The UK is committed to helping Pakistan meet the new EU aviation security regulations which will be implemented next year. The UK is already gifting 18 explosive trace detectors to Pakistan and will look to extend that assistance in the near future.

May added: “The UK is investing for Pakistan’s future, not just its history. The UK and Pakistan have a long history and strong cultural and family connections bind our people together. We want to see Pakistan become more prosperous. We are serious about building a long-term partnership with Pakistan for generations ahead. We have consistently pledged our public support, regardless of the political backdrop. There is an unbreakable partnership – we now have to build on it.

“At the start of this my second visit to Pakistan as Home Secretary the ties between our countries feel stronger than ever. I also know that our close cooperation has never been more important.

“The lives of our citizens are connected through travel and trade, family and culture. There is constant and meaningful contact between our governments, institutions and civil society organisations as well. This is the bedrock of our partnership.

“We also share a powerful interest in fighting the extremism and terrorism that threatens people in both countries. Pakistan is on the front line and you have made tremendous sacrifices in striving for a more stable region and a world free from extremism and terrorism.

“I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm the UK's commitment to your fight against extremism. Just as our histories are woven together so too will be our future.”

Theresa May arrived in Pakistan today to begin her second visit to the country as Home Secretary.

Speaking at the start of the trip, the Home Secretary highlighted the connections of 'travel and trade, family and culture' linking the UK and Pakistan, which she described as 'the bedrock of our partnership'.

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