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Cohesion Minister Sadiq Khan spends a second day in Pakistan

Published 8 April 2009

On the second day of his visit to Pakistan, Cohesion Minister Sadiq Khan met with the country's Prime Minister, held a debate with university students and went to visit a project funded by donations from the British Public.

In the meeting with the Prime Minister the issues discussed ranged from how the UK and Pakistan can work together to prevent violent extremism right through to trade and education.

Commenting after the meeting Sadiq Khan said:

"Pakistan and the UK face some common challenges. The Prime Minister confirmed his commitment to working with us to prevent violent extremism, some of which has roots in Pakistan."

Sadiq then went on to meet with 600 university students in Islamabad at the Mohi-ud-Din Islamic University where he hosted a question and answer session.

Speaking after the debate Sadiq said:

"The full and frank discussion that I had with the students was very important. There were a number of grievances that were expressed by the students - although I was able to dispel some of the inaccuracies in the understanding the students had of British foreign policy. It is really important to engage with students and I was pleased by the positive comments I received about the way we are open to having an honest and candid discussion."

The Minister then visited the Muslim Hands School of Excellence in Islamabad - a mixed primary school which is paid for through donations form the UK public. Muslim Hands undertakes educational work in a number of areas, tackling illiteracy and a lack of local school provision, funding students from poor backgrounds and providing vocational training for older people who are beyond school age. There are over 12,000 individuals from the world's poorest countries benefiting from the education provided by Muslim Hands. 

Sadiq said:

"Many of the children who go to this school are orphans and others live in extreme poverty. Thanks to the generosity of British citizens, children who would otherwise receive no education at all are learning to read and write and obtain the skills to enable them to become active in mainstream society."

The Minister also met the director general of the Pakistan Cricket Board, former cricketer and captain Jarved Miandad.

After the meeting he said:

"Cricket is the most popular sport in Pakistan. It was an honour to meet one of Pakistan's all time great cricketers. More importantly, Jarved has agreed to look into how we can use the popularity of cricket in Pakistan to encourage young people to get involved in other constructive activities."

Photos of the visit are available - please contact the Communities and Local Government Press Office on 0207 944 4042.

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