Wednesday, September 30, 2015
From Print Edition
LONDON: British Minister for Pakistan Tobias Ellwood has said its clear that operation by the Rangers against criminals in Karachi is “having its mark” and security situation in Pakistan has improved a great deal as compared to what it was like a year ago.
In an interview with this correspondent after visiting Karachi and Islamabad last week, the minister for Pakistan, who became the first British minister to visit Karachi after 2012, has said that in Karachi as well as in Pakistan militant attacks are down from five a day to one per day or even less which shows that the operation against militants is going on the right path.
The minister’s remarks show that the international community – especially important countries like Britain – view positively the drive against hardcore criminal elements in Karachi who had taken the city hostage for years, blocking its progress and peace.
The British minister told Geo News that the fact he was able to visit Karachi himself was a testimony that the security situation had improved “and its a testimony of how things are changing.”
The minister said that the UK government fully supported Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to “make Pakistan a safe place and improve its governance, security and infrastructure.”
Ellwood said that Karachi was gateway to Asia and the UK was very interested in playing its role in developing the city so that its ambitions and potential could be realised. He said that there was desire in Britain to be of assistance in the development plans of “bustling and thriving mega city.”
He said that cities as big as Karachi faced many challenges but for their vision to prosper its important that there should be safety around and there should be employments for everyone. He compared Karachi with London and said that London was able to give lots of people safety and security and showed that “we don’t implode with sheer weight of ourselves and we are welcoming more people to be with us and not get congested and disorganised.”
He said that he would speak to London Mayor Boris Johnson about Karachi and see what are the success stories that can be shared with Karachi. The minister said that by the end of this year a large delegation of British businesses would visit Pakistan to explore the opportunities that the country offers. He said that UK and Pakistan were tied in great bilateral relations and this was valued deeply and reflected through the close connections the two countries have at many levels. When asked about Pakistan’s allegation that the British soil has been used by the MQM leader Altaf Hussain to incite violence in Pakistan and what he made of the latest hate speech inquiry by the Scotland Yard, he said that the police were carrying out their investigations independently and the political government didn’t have any influence over the policing matters. The minister said that British army has “growing relations with Pakistan’s military”. He appreciated the drive against militancy by Pakistan Army and said that it was encouraging that through education programmes, young people were being stopped from becoming extremists.