LAHORE: London Mayor Sadiq Khan reached Pakistan on Wednesday on a goodwill visit to promote his ‘London is Open’ campaign. He entered Pakistan from India via the Wagah Border Crossing.
Khan was received on the Pakistani side of the border by Mayor Lahore Col (retd) Mubashar and senior government officials. Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif tweeted out a welcome to the mayor as well.
“We welcome Mayor SadiqKhan from the historic city of London to the historic city of Lahore ,” the chief minister posted. Later, Khan called on Shehbaz at his Model Town office. Senior provincial government officials, as well as members of the business community, were present in the meeting.
British High Commissioner Thomas Drew was also present in the meeting.
According to sources, Shehbaz and Sadiq discussed bilateral ties. Welcoming the London mayor, Shehbaz reportedly said the visit will enhance business activities between the two countries.
Sadiq Khan was earlier in India for around three days where he held meetings with government officials, members of the civil society and entertainment industry.
Speaking to LBC senior reporter Vincent McAviney before the trip, Khan said, “It’s really important for me as the Mayor of a global city to be going to both countries. We’ve got huge links with India and Pakistan, trade links, big links in relation to culture, big links in education but here are also many Londoner’s whose country of origin is India, whose country of origin is Pakistan. They want to see their Mayor making good links and contacts with India and Pakistan and hopefully some good business for our city.”
“I know India and Pakistan fairly well, for cultural reasons – I love Bollywood, sports, I’ve got family in both countries as well,” he added, according to the LBC report. The mayor visited Mumbai, Delhi and Amritsar in India, before heading to Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.
The report stated further that in Pakistan, the London mayor would meet senior politicians as well key figures from the Pakistani cultural and financial sectors. Bilateral trade between the UK and Pakistan is valued at £2.5bn and only two cities in the world provide more investment in Pakistan than London.
The mayor was expected to be accompanied to Pakistan by senior business executives from London who are looking for trade deals or investment opportunities.