Pakistan and Britain agreed on Wednesday to strengthen bilateral coordination with a view to improve the ability of their law-enforcement and criminal justice systems and decided to work together and support each other in the efforts aimed at tackling transnational crimes.
During a meeting between Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and UK’s Minister of State for South Asia Lord Tariq Ahmad, the two sides also agreed to enhance coordination in realising agreements of an extradition treaty between the two countries.
Lord Ahmad and Sheikh Rashid discussed matters related to promoting relations, including matters pertaining to British-Pakistanis, enhancing people-to-people contacts and the cooperation in the field of security, trade and culture.
“Both sides agreed to strengthen coordination between the interior ministry and the UK’s Home Office to improve the ability of the law-enforcement and criminal justice systems in both the countries to work together,” said a statement issued by the interior ministry after the meeting.
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“They stressed to work together and support each other in their joint efforts in tackling transnational crimes,” it added. “Both the ministers agreed to enhance coordination in realising agreements of Pakistan-UK Returns Arrangements and the Extradition Treaty between the two countries.”
During the meeting, according to interior ministry statement, both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress on the signing of the Pakistan-UK Returns Arrangement. It said that the draft of the agreement was ready to be placed on the agenda of the federal cabinet for approval.
On the occasion, Lord Ahmad presented a letter of intent from the UK government, seeking further cooperation in various areas of mutual interest. He said that the UK was looking forward to the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to UK.
The Interior minister also raised the issue of placing Pakistan on the UK’s list of countries barred from entering the country because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rashid told the UK minister that Pakistan had one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 infections in the world.
Rashid said that Pakistan enjoyed extradition treaties with a number of countries and was keen to get it signed with the UK at the earliest. “Efforts should be geared up from both sides to get the extradition treaty finalised soon, as this would improve the processes to extradite criminals from UK to Pakistan.
Rashid said that the presence of 1.6 million British-Pakistanis in the UK cemented the bilateral relationship. “Pakistan values the services of these British-Pakistanis living in the UK and their philanthropic work in various regions of Pakistan,” he added.
Lord Ahmad reiterated the deep-rooted relations between Pakistan and the UK, based on shared history and experiences and reinforced by strong people-to-people contacts. He stressed the need for a strong bilateral partnership to promote and sustain peace, security and stability in the wider region.
United fight against Islamophobia
In a separate meeting with Lord Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted the rising trend of Islamophobia and underscored the importance of promoting inter-faith dialogue and combating defamation of religions.
He stressed that “both sides should collaborate closely in this regard”.
According to an official statement, FM Qureshi also focused on the policies of Pakistan, its shift from geo-politics to geo-economics, and the steps being taken to create a just and tolerant society.
The two leaders underlined the need to work closely for furthering Pakistan-UK relations and agreed to remain in close contact.
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