ISLAMABAD - A meeting was held to discuss the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to United Kingdom from May 8-13, 2012, with the PM in the chair.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Khar, Special Assistant to PM  Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Chairman BOI Saleem H Mandviwala and  secretaries of ministries concerned.

The prime minister will attend state opening of UK Parliament by Queen Elizabeth on May 9, 2012. Later on, he will participate in the reception in the honour of Parliamentarians at the House of Commons.

During the visit, the prime minister will participate in the First Round of Annual Review of Pak-UK Enhanced Strategic Dialogue. The Enhanced Strategic Dialogue encompasses five areas of trade and business relations; financial and development cooperation; education and health; defence,security and cultural cooperation.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and the British Prime Minister Cameron will review the progress being made in the above areas as a follow-up of their commitment in April 2011 to enter into a deeper and broader dialogue between the two countries aimed at strengthening friendship and promoting mutual prosperity and security.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar apprised the prime minister of the progress made in the five priority areas under the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue and outlined proposals to provide momentum to enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and the UK.

The prime minister said that Pakistan and the UK enjoyed excellent relations and his visit will further boost cooperation between the two countries. He further said that Pakistan offered tremendous trade and investment opportunities and hoped that the British companies would take advantage of these opportunities.

The prime minister expressed his satisfaction over the work being undertaken by the two countries on shared national security challenges including the area of counter-terrorism. The prime minister said that the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue would intensify cooperation on shared interests including trade, economic growth and development, cultural cooperation, security and education.

The Leader of British opposition, Edmund Milliband, will also call on the prime minister. The prime minister will go to the Buckingham Palace and meet the Duke of York. Besides, the British Foreign Secretary, Secretary for Trade and Investment, Secretary DFID will meet him and discuss areas of bilateral interest. In Birmingham, the Prime Minister will address the Pakistani community.

Meanwhile, sources in the coalition government informed TheNation that prime minister was taking a big entourage with him on five-day UK visit which also included a lot of people whose expenses would be borne by the Pakistan High Commission in the UK putting an extra burden on the already under financial crunch national exchequer. Sources further informed that well over 70 members delegation included people who were not relevant to the visit and were just a burden on the national exchequer.