LONDON: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistani community is well-integrated with British system and is playing an active role in the political sphere and contributing significantly to the country's economic growth.
Addressing a dinner hosted by British-Pakistan Foundation (BPF) in his honour Thursday night, Gilani said the over one million strong Pakistani community was the largest settled Pakistani community overseas and was rendering services for the British society.
The event was attended by Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and a large number of Pakistanis.
He said the Pakistani community at present had its seven elected representatives in the House of Commons, five in the House of Lords, two in the Scottish Parliament, one each in the Wales National Assembly and in the European Parliament, and over three hundred Mayors and Councillors in the local bodies.
He said such contributions would make any community proud. The Prime Minister said it was also equally heartening to note that a number of British Pakistanis were recognized each year for their outstanding work with the Queen's awards and medals as well as by the President of Pakistan.
Three distinguished British Pakistanis Dr. Farqad Alamgir, Dr. Jawad, and Councillor Rabia Bhatti have been conferred Civil Awards by the President of Pakistan this year and termed them "shining stars and role models for other community members."
The event also attended by members of the British Parliament, Lords and a large number of the Foundation. Prime Minister Gilani said the visit of British Prime Minister Cameron to Pakistan in April 2011 opened a new chapter in friendship when both the countries decided to transform their relationship into an Enhanced Strategic Partnership, covering trade and commerce, economic development, defence and security, culture, education and health.
Gilani recalled the first summit review of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue and said he had detailed and comprehensive discussions with Prime Minister Cameron following the first annual review and noted progress in all areas.
He said one of the most important outcome of deliberations has been the launch of the Trade and Investment Promotion Roadmap and expressed the hope that it would provide the desired impetus towards attaining the target of 2.5 billion pound sterling bilateral trade by the year 2015 and enhancing investment opportunities.
He said the two countries also launched a Roadmap to advance educational and cultural relations and said the joint statement issued after the ESD meeting reflects the scope of discussions and some of the areas identified for future cooperation.
Gilani also mentioned the inauguration of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan by Baroness Syeeda Warsi, also attended by Prime Minister David Cameron.
"This is indeed an important initiative and I am optimistic that it would provide yet another political platform to our community to launch itself into British politics. Besides, it would serve as an important bridge between Pakistan and the United Kingdom," he added.
Gilani noted that despite being a relatively new organization, the British Pakistan Foundation (BPF) had to its credit quite a number of philanthropic activities, aimed at improving the social and economic condition of their compatriots in Pakistan.
He appreciated the leadership of the BPF and commended the British Pakistan Foundation for its excellent work in projecting the positive image of the British Pakistani community in British society.
He said the organization through its exemplary efforts has earned respect, recognition and admiration in the UK as well as Pakistan. He said, "I am certain that the BPF would continue its proactive role in energizing the Pakistani community to raise awareness and mobilize funding for charitable projects."
"Your efforts not only change lives but bring hope to those most in need," Gilani added. The Prime Minister termed the Pakistan-UK relationship as unique, warm and cordial and said it was based on shared values, history, culture and strong people-to-people contacts.
"Both our countries share commonality of views on many issues, and collaborate with each other in various international fora," he added.
Gilani referred to the over a dozen high-level visits from both sides in the last two years and said there was an excellent understanding at the highest political level.
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the Government of the United Kingdom and its people for their unwavering and unflinching support to Pakistan and its people in difficult times.
Gilani wished the British Pakistan Foundation success in all their future endeavours and also assured them of his government's full support and cooperation. Asif Rangoonwala, Chairman British Pakistan Foundation said the key objectives of the British Pakistan Foundation was to play a key role in social economic development of Pakistan and to supplement the efforts of UK based Pakistani NGOs and Pakistani NGOs.
He said the objective of his organization was to build bridges and strong ties between the two countries. The Foundation formed on the pattern of the American Pakistan Foundation and said the objective was to portray Pakistan and its people as a great nation. He urged all Pakistanis to put aside their differences and to work for a better Pakistan.