Pak- UK 70 years of friendship; British Council hosts photography exhibition at SU

JAMSHORO Sep 28: The British Council and the University of Sindh have jointly hosted photography exhibition at SU’s Institute of Art & Design to celebrate 70 years of friendship between Pakistan and the United Kingdom here on Tuesday.

The acting British Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi Steve Crossman, the British Council director for Sindh & Baluchistan Christopher Hunt, the speaker provincial Assembly of Sindh Agha Siraj Durrani and the vice chancellor University of Sindh Prof. Dr. Fatah Muhammad Burfat jointly inaugurated the exhibition.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the acting British Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi Steve Crossman said that 2017 was a historic year as both the countries [The United Kingdom and Pakistan] celebrated 70 years of friendship adding that they were delighted to bring their photography exhibition to Jamshoro after hosting the same in London, Lahore and Peshawar.

“The photographs that are displayed in this exhibition showcase our cooperation in trade, sports, politics, development, defence, education, infrastructure and culture over the last 70 years and look towards deepening our friendship over the next 70 years”, he said.

He said that education played an important part in both countries’ friendship as these two countries looked to progress together adding that Pakistan was the recipient of the biggest department for international development (DFID) education programme anywhere in the world. The diplomat further said that many Sindhi scholars won Chevening scholarships to study in the United Kingdom while these scholarships he said, served to deepen the warmth and understanding between the two countries, whilst attracting the brightest and the best to study in the UK.

“The scheme is seeking applications now for 2018-19 intake; the students of SU must apply”, he maintained and announced to launch a great debate competition for students nationwide from the next month in Karachi.

“We encourage the students of Sindh University to participate in the said competition”, he said. The Director of the British Council for Sindh & Baluchistan Christopher Hunt said the British Council first started its work in Karachi in 1947 and it had been working in Pakistan ever since. “Today, we work in all the provinces of Pakistan and engage with millions of Pakistanis every year”, he maintained.

He said the council had helped nearly 45,000 boys and girls enroll and stay in schools in Sindh over the past two years adding that they had supported tens of thousands of students in Sindh gain internationally recognized qualifications and work towards a promising future.

British Council Pakistan will continue to create opportunities for the people of the two countries; helping people in Pakistan benefit from the UK’s skills and experience whilst supporting people in Pakistan share their expertise with the United Kingdom, he said.

Addressing the seminar and talking to media, Speaker of Provincial Assembly of Sindh Agha Siraj Durrani said that the British government had started a number of development projects in Sindh but it had yet to do more to help steer the province to the path of progress.

Referring the mega projects completed almost a century ago, he said Sukkur barrage, Railways networks in Pakistan and many other things were the gifts of the British adding that like past, the present team of the British Council was competent which was doing development works in the province in befitting manner.

“We expect more from the British government for the development and progress of the province”, he said and added that he was personally of the opinion that the dream of a prosperous Sindh could not come true unless the quality education was not being imparted.

He said Sindh University got a permanent vice chancellor after long time and expressed hope that being diligent and hard-working; Dr. Burfat will lead the varsity to the new avenues of success.

“If the university administration sends any proposal for the growth of Sindh Varsity, the Sindh Assembly would be happy to ensure legislation accordingly”, he said.

In reply to a question, he said the prevailing NAB laws were introduced and enforced by the then dictator Parvez Musharaf, as a result many politicians including him were sent to jails and he underwent the cases over 10 years due to the laws.

He said the legislation at Sindh Assembly was their right and no one could stop them exercising it adding that they did legislation in order to introduce a fair accountability body and get rid of the Federal National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of 18th amendment.

He said Musharaf violated the laws and dishonored the constitution adding that he had no courage to return Pakistan and face the cases registered against him.

The Speaker Sindh assembly further said that Musharaf leveled baseless allegations regarding the killing of Ms. Benazir Bhutto. If he possessed evidences, he must make them public.

He termed the recent statement of Musharaf as an attempt to stay alive in media and said such stupid statements were given when someone did not possess any issues to talk over.

SU vice chancellor Prof. Dr. fateh Muhammad Burfat said that Sindh and the UK were enjoying the friendship of 175 years adding that the first school in Karachi was established in 1835 with the help of the British government.

Terming the quality education panacea of every evil including terrorism and extremism, he said the British council must come forward to supporting Sindh University as a vast majority of students studying on the campus belonged to the downtrodden families who could not afford the exorbitant cost of higher education in and outside the country.

Among others, the incharge director of SU’s Institute of Art & Design Prof. Naimatullah Khilji, Program Coordinator and renowned artist Prof. Saeed Ahmed Mangi, Dr. Sarfraz Hussain Solangi, Dr. Imdad Ali Ismaili, Dr. Saleha Parveen, Dr. Ghulam Mustafa Mastoi, Ghulam Murtaza Siyal and Dr. Abdul Fatah Daudpoto were also present on the occasion.