Adam Thomson

British High Commissioner to Pakistan

Part of UK in Pakistan

19th January 2012 Islamabad, Pakistan

“I think I have the best job in the British High Commission.”

Guest blogger, Susan Hyland, joins Adam Thomson’s blog to share a few impressions from her first weeks as Political Counsellor at the British High Commission in Pakistan.
Faisal Mosque in Islamabad
Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan

Six weeks ago, one of my colleagues met me at the airport when I arrived in Islamabad for the first time.  As I write this,  I am again at Benazir Bhutto airport, waiting for another new colleague to arrive.  As I sit in the busy arrivals hall, I reflect on my first few weeks.  Pakistan already feels like home.  People have been so friendly and welcoming.  And as Political Counsellor, working with Pakistan on international issues and explaining Pakistani politics to a British audience, I think I have the best job in the British High Commission.  Pakistanis never tire of discussing politics, and neither do I.  When can I find the time to sleep?

The highlight of the past week was a visit by Trade Minister Lord Green and Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Warsi.  We met Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh in Islamabad.  Baroness Warsi visited the Elections Commission to hear about the challenges of updating voter lists and boundaries.  Lord Green talked to British businesses investing here.  From his perspective, he told foreign journalists, he saw real opportunities to do business and risks no greater than in other emerging markets.
I was struck by the depth of UK’s relationship with Pakistan and also some similarities.  In the back of the car with Baroness Warsi, I caught up on British politics.  We, too, have an economy to turn round and important elections coming up (local, including London’s Mayor).
I have learnt so much in six weeks, and I have met so many interesting people.  I’m discovering Pakistani novels, and buying beautiful Pakistani pottery and textiles to decorate my house.  But I haven’t even left Islamabad yet, so I’m looking forward to visiting Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar in the next month.  People assure me that it takes a lifetime to understand the intricacies of Pakistani politics, but that doesn’t stop me having views already.  Maybe that’s the reason I feel at home here

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