Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar (left) and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron. — APP/Reuters
Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar (left) and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron. — APP/Reuters
  • FM Dar underscores need to enhance cooperation in diverse fields.
  • PIA flights faced suspension in UK, other countries in July 2020.
  • Dar, Cameron discuss Afghanistan, Gaza situation in telephone call.

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar has eyed early resumption of the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights to the United Kingdom (UK).

In a telephone call today, the foreign minister talked to British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in which he emphasised early conclusion of Enhanced Strategic Partnership agreement between the two countries to further strengthen the bilateral ties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

Reiterating the importance of Pakistan-UK relations, Dar said both countries have longstanding, historic relations with multifaceted cooperation.

Screenshot of tweet posted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and his British counterpart David Cameron’s conversation. — X/ForeignOfficePk
Screenshot of tweet posted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar and his British counterpart David Cameron’s conversation. — X/ForeignOfficePk

During his conversation with his British counterpart, he also underscored the need to further enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and people-to-people contacts and climate.

Dar called for early resumption of PIA flights between Pakistan and the UK to further boost linkages, particularly in view of the large Pakistani diaspora in the Britain.

The PIA flight operations had been suspended by several countries, including the UK, in July 2020 owing to concerns over pilots’ licencing authenticity.

They also discussed important regional issues including Afghanistan and the situation in Gaza. The foreign minister invited Lord Cameron to visit Pakistan.

He thanked the British foreign secretary for his message of felicitations on his appointment as the foreign minister and said he looked forward to working closely with the UK leadership to further strengthen bilateral ties.

Suspension of PIA’s international operations

Prior to this development, Dar took up the same issue during his high-level engagements in London with UK Minister of State for South Asia and Commonwealth Lord Tariq Ahmad and Minister of State for Development Andrew Mitchell at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office a few days ago.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was keen to resume PIA flight operations in the Britain, the foreign minister said in a press conference on Saturday, adding that Islamabad has taken effective steps to remove hurdles in the national flag carrier’s international flight operations by completing concerned inspections, and updating the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) law in accordance with the global requirements.

The country’s aviation authority expressed hope last week that the state-owned airline’s flights to the UK is expected to resume in May as all inspections have been concluded.



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