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Brexit can Open up Trade & Employment Opportunities for Pakistan: Ambassador Nafees Zakaria

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Mr. Nafees Zakaria believes that Brexit will open up extensive opportunities for Pakistan to increase the trade volume with the UK, and obtain advantages in securing overseas employment.

Brexit

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Nafees Zakaria said that Brexit can open up scores of opportunities to Pakistan in terms of overseas employment and trade.

Speaking in an interview, Nafees Zakaria said that the Pakistani diplomatic mission to the UK is examining the opportunities that can allow Pakistan to gain advantage from Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Ambassador Zakaria’s remarks come in the wake of the heightened calls for a no-deal Brexit, pushed by the new UK government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It basically means that the United Kingdom will no longer remain a member of the European Union, and will not be bound by any trade agreements. If the campaign led by Boris Johnson succeeds, it can leave a detrimental impact on the trade relationship between the EU and the UK.

Brexit: Opportunities for Pakistan

Mr. Nafees Zakaria said that there is need for a “proper market study” to examine the demands and gaps in the United Kingdom after Brexit in order to examine the opportunities that Pakistan can seize in order to boost trade and increase overseas employment. He said, “We are looking what is available in Pakistan that could be useful here.”

Nasir Butt had approached the Pakistani High Commission to obtain attestation for a forensic report, which he claims will absolve him off the accusations levelled in the video controversy involving NAB judge Arshad Malik.

Citing the examples of Pakistan’s extensive human resources, Mr. Zakaria said that professionals and workers from Pakistan can fill up jobs across the United Kingdom. He said, “It’s not just specific to any one particular segment. The jobs could be for doctors, nurses, IT professionals etc.”

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK noted that Pakistani products and commodities have become increasingly popular in the UK as the demand of competitively priced products continues to increase.

Analysts across the UK fear that as a result of Brexit, the prices of imported goods sold across the shops in the UK are likely to increase, and many of the British-manufactured products are likely to be rejected by the European Union due to certification requirements. Manufacturers are likely to relocate their operations to the EU in order to avoid delays in the arrival of commodities from across the border.

UK’s Response to the Kashmir Issue

The Pakistani High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria expressed satisfaction over the response exhibited by MP in the UK to Pakistan’s efforts of highlighting the Kashmiri struggle for freedom. The Pakistani High Commissioner said, “If you look at the level of concern that has been raised by parliamentarians across parties, it is unprecedented.”

Zakaria said that more than 100 UK MPs have written to the British leadership, leaders in the United Nations, and the Modi Administration in New Delhi, voicing their concerns over the heightened abuse and human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

He said, “They have not stopped at writing letters, they have talked about it on social media as well.”

Read more: Legal Dimensions of India’s Actions in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Nafees Zakaria said that the mammoth gatherings of protestors at the rallies called to pledge support with the Kashmiri cause across the UK is a testament to the solidarity of the British community, and its response to the ongoing plight.

Controversy of Nasir Butt

Responding to a question about the controversy with regards to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Nasir Butt, the Ambassador stated that the consular facility does not exercise any political discrimination.

The PML-N leader was denied entry into the Pakistan High Commission a week ago. Ambassador Zakaria said, “We have a set procedure, anyone who wants a consular facility has to set up an online appointment. He did not have an online appointment, so he was politely asked to get an appointment.”

The Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK added, “We don’t discriminate on the basis of political affiliation.” Zakaria stated that the consular officer who was handling Nasir Butt also had to determine if a person who has an arrest warrant against him can be provided with consular access.

Read more: Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid appointed UK finance minister

Nasir Butt had approached the Pakistani High Commission to obtain attestation for a forensic report, which he claims will absolve him off the accusations levelled in the video controversy involving NAB judge Arshad Malik. Butt had fled Pakistan before the authorities conducted a raid at his residence, and an arrest warrant was issued against him.

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