Greater Manchester Pakistan Forum established to forge links
Greater Manchester leaders have announced plans to strengthen existing connections with Pakistan and formally recognised the relationship between the region and the country.
Mayor, Andy Burnham, and city council leader, Cllr Bev Craig, have announced the formation of the Pakistan Forum.
Last Thursday (February 9) they welcomed a delegation of vice-chancellors and senior representatives from the Higher Education Commission and British Council in Pakistan, to Greater Manchester.
They were joined by representatives from the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, Manchester Museum, the University of Bolton, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, The Department for International Trade (DIT) and Manchester Airport Group to discuss Greater Manchester’s ambitions to develop and enhance economic, educational, cultural, and social relations with industries and leaders in Pakistan.
Greater Manchester’s towns and cities are home to many people of Pakistani origin and heritage, and the country is one of several areas identified in Greater Manchester’s International Strategy as a growing market for international talent and an emerging economy with a young and growing population of around 200 million.
Andy Burnham said: “I am delighted to have welcomed representatives from the Higher Education Commission and British Council in Pakistan to Greater Manchester, with support from some of our own world leading universities and institutions, our mission is to bring together partners from our city region and Pakistan to deepen collaboration in education, trade, and culture.
“Many of our residents came here from across Pakistan to help build Greater Manchester into what it is today. The contributions that they and their families have made to our communities, our culture, and our economy cannot be understated, and the Forum is about strengthening those bonds between our places and exploring new opportunities to work together.”
Cllr Craig, leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester portfolio lead for economy, business and international, said: “We are really pleased to announce that we are setting up a Greater Manchester-Pakistan Forum with key Greater Manchester partners to formally recognise our relationship and to strengthen our existing connections.
“We hope that through this Forum we will continue to build and strengthen our existing collaborations as well as exploring new ones, through trade, culture, education and lastly, people to people links
“We’re really excited for the work of the Forum to get started, it will be initially chaired by Afzal Khan MP, and we know from the interest that was generated that the work of the Forum will be very valuable.”
Consulate General of Pakistan in Manchester, Mr Tariq Wazir, said: “The Consulate General in Manchester welcomes the announcement of the Greater Manchester Pakistan Forum. Pakistan offers great business potential, which still remains untapped.
“The Forum will play a strategic role in driving the economic, educational and cultural links between both regions. As Consul General of Pakistan, I support this important initiative.”
City region diplomacy and forging links with like minded places around the world are a key part of Greater Manchester’s international strategy, presenting opportunities for collaboration on critical issues including climate change and reducing global inequalities.