Brussels – The process of Brexit has revived the possibility of Britain restoring closer ties to its former colonial domains, of which one of the largest, Pakistan is seeking closer ties due to recently strained relations with the United States.
The Lahore Chamber of Commerce has emphasized what it sees as the necessity for Pakistan to vigorously pursue closer relations with the United Kingdom once the country leaves the European Union, citing the potential for dramatically increased trade and enhanced security ties, going so far as to advocate it being the future "cornerstone" of Pakistan's foreign policy.
The body's meeting on April 12 featured speeches from high-ranking businesspeople and current and former politicians who advocated the increased exchange of economic and business delegations between the two countries in order to create conditions for more active economic relations. Britain is currently the third largest export market for Pakistan and the sixteenth largest source of imports to the country.
Britons of Pakistani origin also account for one of the largest minorities in the United Kingdom, numbering around 1.2 million, who maintain strong bonds to their homeland. Significant political and cultural ties between Pakistan and Britain are longstanding, with the latter having been the colonial power in South Asia until the Partition of 1947 that created the Republics of Pakistan and India.
Ties between Pakistan and its main Western ally, the United States have become strained since Donald Trump assumed the presidency and cut off around US$2 billion worth of military and security assistance to the country, accusing it of not doing enough to combat extremism and the Taliban in Afghanistan.