Thank you Saira. It is a real honour to be here to represent the Deputy High Commission (UK). I have often been to opera events in the UK and since I arrived here six months ago, I’ve listened to Sufi music on a number of occasions at different events but I never heard the two combined and I am really excited by this collaboration that Saira is proposing and I look forward to hearing more about it.

I think it a great opportunity to promote, as you said, some of the cultural and artistic values that both Britain and Pakistan share. That’s a lot of the work that we do here by the British Government, not only at the Deputy High Commission but also the British Council who are our cultural partner and in Pakistan, in Islamabad and Karachi. So really looking forward to learning more about this collaboration and, hopefully, working with you to promote what you are trying to do.

I was really intrigued by what you were saying about the National Anthem. Citizenship ceremonies are now a really important part of the lives of many people as they move from a number of regions of the world to the UK to become British Citizens and obviously a lot of Pakistani nationals are involved in that and there’s a great heritage between the two countries with lots of dual nationals already and obviously, as more people becoming British, we will have more dual nationals being created and I know that Citizenship Ceremonies are a really important part of that so to hear about what you are doing on the south coast is really interesting. I look forward, hopefully, to other counties taking on similar initiatives using your excellent voice.

You mentioned your CD. I look forward to hearing more about that as well, and listening to the excellent music, but for now, I wish you every success and won’t stand in the way of the next stage of this ceremony. Thank you very much for your invitation.

with Mark Rakestraw Deputy Head of Mission Deputy High Commission (UK) Karachi
Mark Rakestraw Deputy Head of Mission Deputy High Commission (UK) Karachi

4 September  2018

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