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ISLAMABAD: British Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad, on Wednesday, concluded his two-day visit to Pakistan after holding talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and other key ministers, focusing on Pakistan-UK friendship to build back greener to protect the world against climate change and issues of mutual interest.

Lord Ahmad, who is also British Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and other government ministers and provincial leaders, including Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, and Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, said a statement issued here by the British High Commissioner.

“The visit covered Islamabad and Lahore and was focused on the UK and Pakistan’s friendship to build back greener to protect our world against climate change, build back better with more prosperity for both countries, build back safer to protect communities from Covid-19, and to build back for all ensuring that girls get the education they deserve,” it added.

Speaking about his visit, Lord Ahmad said the visit had reinforced just how important it was to work together to tackle the threat of climate change, to prevent a pandemic like Covid-19 from happening again, and to help children catch up with lost learning, especially girls.

“No country can work in isolation. Global challenges do not respect borders. I look forward to even more ambition in our relationship in the future, including on commitments to tackle climate change and ensuring that we leave no one behind as we build back from the pandemic,” he added.

During his visit, the statement added that Lord Ahmad launched a new programme in Lahore to promote cleaner brick production practices, which would help improve air quality, reduce smog and fight climate change.

It added that the UK would support a targeted training programme on Zig Zag Technology for the brick industry to substitute coal and reduce emissions.

The programme would be implemented in collaboration with Government of Punjab, Brick Kiln Owners Association of Pakistan (BKAOP), and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), it added.

Lord Ahmad and Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Climate Change Amin Aslam planted a tree at the British High Commission residence garden in Islamabad to make the UK and Pakistan’s joint commitment to tackling climate change, and recognise Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ambitious Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.

The minister also met young climate action leaders and discussed the importance of high ambition by global leaders at COP26 to protect our environment for future generations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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