London Mayor Sadiq Khan, arrived in Pakistan earlier in the day through the Wagah border near Punjab capital Lahore to introduce for his LondonIsOpen business and investment campaign.
The delegation was received by the city’s Mayor Colonel (retd) Mubashir.
British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, London Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agarwal and a large number of British officials and investors attended the lunch hosted by Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Khan expressed gratitude for the warm welcome accorded to the visitors, saying London and Lahore enjoyed very good ties.
He said he was happy to visit the country of his ancestors, and proud that his father was a Pakistani.
“Pakistan has a bright future in international market… it can cement its place in London and other international economies,” he said.
Shahbaz appreciated British cooperation, and said accomplishments were achieved in education, health and skill development in Punjab.
The Chief Minister has invited British investors to take full advantage of investment opportunities arising through the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
There is now over £2.5 billion worth of trade between the two countries; More than 1.2 million Pakistanis and Britons of Pakistan origin live in UK with the highest number living in London, suburbs and peripheral cities; Pakistan last fiscal year received more than $4.2 billion in remittances from the UK who have one of the highest disposal income among the Pakistani diaspora
“The CPEC has opened doors for foreign investment in Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying during the lunch hosted to honor the London Mayor.
“It was a pleasure to host Mayor of London @SadiqKhan (who speaks Urdu really well) & his delegation in Lahore. Had a thorough discussion on promoting trade and investment between our two countries. The UK-Pakistan partnership continues to deepen with passage of time,” CM Sharif tweeted.
Shehbaz said the Punjab government wanted to extend cooperation in public transport, sanitation and traffic departments with Britain so people of the two sides were benefited.
Khan also plans to visit Karachi and Islamabad and meet Pakistani business community in these major cities to woo them to do business and invest in London. He has launched his signature campaign “London Open For Business.”
Khan has said that his trip seeks to “strengthen the links that exist between London and these great cities of Pakistan”.
“I see my visit as an exciting opportunity to build on the ties that bind our cities and countries together for the mutual benefit of everyone — Brits and Pakistanis, Londoners and Lahoris, EastEnders and Karachiites alike,” Khan wrote in Dawn on Wednesday.
“By working together and sharing best practice, I believe London and Pakistan’s cities can speed up innovation, boost economic growth and development, and tackle some of the major challenges we both face — from air pollution and climate change, to good growth and jobs.”
Khan said, “I want more Pakistanis to be able to follow in the footsteps of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and countless others who have had the opportunity to study at Britain’s world-renowned universities. I believe the UK government has got it badly wrong on post-study work visas so I’m talking to British ministers and others to look at how we can implement a flexible migration system that works for Pakistani students, skilled workers and entrepreneurs alike.”
Khan is the first ever mayor of London to make an official visit to Pakistan.
He arrived in Lahore after a three-day visit to India.