Building links with Pakistan
Scottish Government makes its first visit to the country.
External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf is in Pakistan to build and strengthen business, diplomatic and cultural links with the country.
Mr Yousaf is leading the first official visit any Scottish minister has made to Pakistan. While there he is meeting with representatives of government, business and industry.
During an intensive two-day programme, the Minister is capitalising on interest in the Commonwealth Games 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay, which is also in Pakistan this week, and presents an unrivalled opportunity to showcase Scotland as a great place to live, work, study, invest or visit.
Mr Yousaf is also learning how the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund is having an impact on some of the country’s poorest communities.
The Minister travelled to Pakistan from India, where he undertook a range of business, trade and investment engagements over six days to strengthen Scottish connections with that country. Both India and Pakistan are priority nations for the Scottish Government’s overseas engagement.
Mr Yousaf said:
“The first visit by the Scottish Government to Pakistan is hugely significant.
“It demonstrates Scotland’s commitment to strengthening our relationship with this key country – with which we already enjoy many links.
“Scotland’s Pakistani diaspora have contributed immeasurably to our way of life. We have a vibrant and diverse Pakistani community and many Scots, like myself, have strong family, business or other connections with Pakistan.
“The Scottish Government’s ambition is to build on and strengthen the historic and modern links between our nations. Pakistan is the world's 15th largest economy, the world's third largest English-speaking nation and has a population of 172 million – of which two thirds are under the age of 25.
“Developing a closer relationship between our countries will create the potential for Scotland to secure new inward investment, encourage more students to enrol at our universities, and entice more tourists to visit Scotland.
“The whole country is gearing up for 2014 – when Scotland welcomes the world to what will be the greatest Games ever. The Scottish Government is determined to capitalise on the economic opportunities of the Games to leave a lasting legacy for Scotland.
“Next summer Glasgow takes centre stage and by capitalising on the excitement and momentum around the Games and through events such as the Queen’s Baton Relay, we can showcase to the Commonwealth why Scotland is a great country in which to live, study, work, invest and also to visit.”
“I am proud to be part of the Scottish Government’s first visit to Pakistan and convinced this will be the start of many positive exchanges between our two nations.”
Pakistan is one of the Scottish Government’s priority countries as outlined in its Pakistan Plan.
While in Pakistan, Mr Yousaf has met with the Governor of Punjab Mohammad Sarwar and an image is attached. Mr Yousaf and the Governor jointly hosted a working dinner with a range of business representatives from Pakistan.
During his two day visit, Mr Yousaf has also met with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan at the Punjabi Parliament; and held a meeting with Mr Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab.
The Minister has recorded an audio clip on his Pakistan visit which is available at: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1669371-minister-for-external-affairs-humza-yousaf-pakistan-visit
There are currently a number of business and trade links between Scotland and Pakistan. In 2011 exports to Pakistan were worth £25 million. There are currently around 5,000 visitors to Scotland from Pakistan each year with expenditure of around £2 million - £4 million. There are links between schools in Glasgow and Pakistan through the British Council's Connecting Classrooms programme. In 2008/09, around 640 students from Pakistan were studying at Scottish universities and colleges. Direct university to university and college to college links exist including through the Commonwealth Scholars & Fellows programme.
Humza Yousaf is the first Muslim Minister to be appointed to the Scottish Government. His father was born in Mian Channu, Pakistan in 1956 and came to Scotland in 1964. His father’s parents were born in Pathankot, India, but moved to Mian Channu, Pakistan post-partition. His mother’s parents were born in Ludhiana, India before moving to Faisalabad, Pakistan post-partition. His paternal grandfather was a tailor in Pakistan and worked in the Singer sewing factory in Clydebank when he came to Scotland.
Glasgow 2014’s Queen’s Baton Relay will visit all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over 288 days. From India to Singapore; Australia to Rwanda and Barbados to the Bahamas, the baton will move across a record 190,000km. This will be the first baton ever to visit Rwanda. It carries and innovatively displays and illuminates a personal message from Her Majesty The Queen calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to Glasgow for the start of the Games.
For more detail of the Scottish Government’s support for South Asia through the International Development Fund, visit: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/International/int-dev/Maps/SouthAsia