A British delegation led by London’s first Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan on Wednesday showed interest in investing on projects related to multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during its meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The meeting that took place in Punjab’s provincial capital was preceded by a one-on-one interaction between Shehbaz and Sadiq, who earlier arrived in Lahore via Wagah after concluding his visit to India.
Sadiq, who won London’s mayoral elections in May last year after defeating multi-billionaire Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith, is on a goodwill visit to promote his ‘London is Open’ campaign and is also scheduled to visit Islamabad and Karachi.
Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz said the CPEC had opened new avenues of investment in Pakistan and the British investors should take full benefit of the golden opportunity. “The British investors will be welcomed as this [CPEC] has given them an opportunity to come forward,” he said.
He said a culture of transparency was promoted by Punjab and laid stress on further promoting mutual cooperation with London in public transport, sanitation and traffic sectors.
Talking on the occasion, Sadiq Khan said the cities of London and Lahore enjoy good relations and expressed the desire to enhance cooperation and investment with Lahore in different sectors.
He thanked Shehbaz for his ‘wholehearted welcome’ and vowed that collective work will be done to enhance investments. The CM later hosted a luncheon in honour of the delegation.
British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal along with a large number of British investors and officials were present on the occasion.
The provincial ministers, Turkish Consul General Serder Deniz, US Consul General Elizabeth Kennedy and Pakistani investors were also present on the occasion.
Earlier, Sadiq held a one-on-one meeting with Shehbaz to discuss matters of mutual interest, including promotion of bilateral relations and expansion of cooperation in different sectors. The CM said this visit will further promote the friendly relations between the two countries
On his arrival in Pakistan, he was received by Lahore Lord Mayor Col (retd) Mubashir Javed and senior government officials. Talking to media on the occasion, he said Pakistani-British men and women had made great contributions in making London the greatest city in the world.
“London is open for partnership, business and trade. It is the city that welcomes you in many ways,” he added. For Sadiq, the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore had arranged a special tour of Badshahi Mosque and other historical places. He was also presented a guard of honour at Iqbal’s mausoleum.
He also attended an event in Alhamrah Art Council to promote his campaign. Addressing the participants, Sadiq said Pakistan has a bright future ahead and a lot of scope for growing its economy.
Son of a Pakistani bus driver, Sadiq is the first Muslim mayor of London to visit both India and Pakistan.