Former Prime Minister of Pakistan visits Sajjad Karim MEP

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, made an exclusive visit to Sajjad’s home to personally thank him for his work in strengthening relations between the EU, the UK and Pakistan.

GilaniThe two men discussed further ways of boosting Pakistan's ties with Europe.

Sajjad joins ranks with the British Queen and Nelson Mandela in being awarded the Sitara-i-Qaid-i-Azam in August this year - Pakistan's highest national civil award - to honour his work in EU, UK and Pakistani relations.

Saj has been one of the most prominent British politicians to advocate Pakistan’s case within the EU and the UK has been at the forefront in supporting Pakistan. Links have developed significantly over the past decade through the efforts of Sajjad and the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan group which he founded in 2004.

Sajjad has been instrumental in championing Pakistan in Europe, most notably for leading an eight year campaign for the EU to support the GSP+ trade deal which allows Pakistani textiles to flow easily into Europe.

The GSP+ trade deal is estimated to create one million jobs in the country's ailing textile industry and the EU and UK are keen to combat terrorism by supporting stability and security in the region. Sajjad’s work has received wide praise, including from Prime Minister David Cameron who congratulated him on his work saying "You are a great ambassador for the party, the region and the United Kingdom.”

Former Prime Minister Gilani echoed Prime Minister David Cameron,  thanking Sajjad Karim MEP for his work over many years, to improve EU/Pakistan relations culminating in the concessionary trade deal to EU countries from this January.

Commenting Mr Gilani said " It is very befitting and you are a very deserving of the Sitara-i-Qaid-i-Azam. I worked with Sajjad over several years as Prime Minister and ultimately with Prime Minister David Cameron's leadership at EU level, we secured GSP+ market access to the EU for Pakistan."

Gilani 1 "Sajjad's role is testament to the strength and closeness of relations between Britain and Pakistan and today I wish to formally recognise that."

Sajjad was also conferred a special honorary doctorate on November 30th 2013 from the prestigious University of Management and Technology, Lahore.

Today, speaking from his home in the UK, he said:

"I am delighted to welcome Pakistan's former Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, into my home and truly honoured by his kind words. My work in the UK and the European Parliament is for the betterment of Pakistan and Europe. There is great potential for both sides to flourish, this is only the beginning."

Mr Yousaf Raza Gilani's visit comes on the back of the current Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, meeting with David Cameron at Number 10 on Friday (5 December 2014).