ISLAMABAD - New British High Commissioner to Islamabad Philip Barton has expressed his resolve that he would leave no stone unturned to reinvigorate the already deep and multifaceted relationship between Pakistan and Britain.
He was making a brief statement during his first interaction with print and electronic media at the British High Commission on Friday. He said the Great Britain was working closely with Pakistan by forging cooperation in the field of trade, investment, energy, education and security. “The two prime ministers agreed to working on attaining bilateral volume of three billion pounds by the year 2015,” he said. Britain would continue assisting Pakistan in this sector and UK and European markets are open for Pakistan, particularly after getting GSP+ status,” he added.Barton was all praise for Pakistani journalists for playing a robust role in a very difficult time even after threats to their lives. “You shine, you hold people to account,” he said, adding he would welcome media spotlight. When his colleagues had asked him what had changed in Pakistan, he told them that media had changed “unrecognisably” as it had become vibrant and that was good thing to happen in this country.
It was his first informal interaction with the media after assuming his new challenging assignment in Islamabad just two weeks back. Barton has long family links with Pakistan so he said he is keen to serve in Islamabad. He had an informal exchange of views with journalists on various issues of interest to both countries. He has succeeded Adam Thomson, who left Islamabad last month.
On his appointment to represent his country in Pakistan, Barton had said the UK cared deeply about Pakistan, its people and its future. “The one million people of Pakistani origin in the UK are a bridge between our two countries. I look forward to advancing our shared agenda and common interests over the years ahead.”
Barton joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1986. His last posting was as deputy head of mission in Washington. He has held a number of positions dealing with South Asian issues, including Director of Foreign Policy and Afghanistan/Pakistan Coordinator in the Cabinet Office as part of the Secretariat supporting the National Security Council; Additional Director for South Asia in the FCO; and a posting in New Delhi. He had served as private secretary to prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair.