Imran Khan Prince Charles
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a phone call with Britain’s Prince Charles reaffirmed the close relationship between Pakistan and the UK. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Britain’s Prince Charles endorsed the close relationship between Pakistan and the UK and discussed potential to enhance bilateral ties in a phone call, PM Office said.

“They reaffirmed the close and unique bonds between the two commonwealth nations” and the “best of international friendship” that Pakistan and the UK share, according to a statement by British High Commission Islamabad. Imran Khan also extended invitation to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to visit Pakistan.

COVID-19 pandemic discussed

During the phone call, the two leaders specifically discussed their country’s response to COVID-19. Pakistani premier expressed condolences on the loss of lives in the UK due to coronavirus and emphasised that “international cooperation was pivotal for success in fight against the pandemic”. Pakistan has been able to mitigate the deleterious impact of COVID-19 on health and economy through national coordinated efforts, smart lockdowns and implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), the premier said. Prince Charles also conveyed his condolences for the lives lost in Pakistan due to the pandemic and said that the UK is providing “essential support to some of the most vulnerable in Pakistan” during the coronavirus.

Britain has become the first Western country to approve coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, paving the way for mass vaccination. Meanwhile, Pakistan has authorised a grant of $150 million to buy the coronavirus vaccine and announced to provide the vaccine to its citizens free of charge by the second quarter of 2021.

Climate change and clean energy

PM Imran Khan and HRH The Prince of Wales agreed on the need for greater global collaboration to deal with shared global challenges especially on climate change and protecting the environment and rich biodiversity. The UK is hosting COP26 (UN Climate Conference) next year and Prince Charles welcomed Pakistan’s resolve on tackling the threat of climate change, reaffirming the UK’s support for Pakistan’s renewable energy sector.

Pakistani premier said that Pakistan was committed to work with the global community to tackle climate change. Khan briefed the Prince of Wales on the steps taken by Pakistan government to address the challenges of climate change, highlighting the launch of Ecosystem Restoration Initiative, 10 billion trees plantation project as well as establishment of new national parks under the Protected Areas Initiative.

Pak-UK ties

Pakistan and UK have a growing bilateral relationship and increasing cooperation in diverse areas including trade and investment, climate change, health, defence and security, as well as culture and education. In October 2019, Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton visited Pakistan to further strengthen the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan and build “a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan.” It was the first royal visit from Britain to Pakistan in 13 years.