In September we were delighted to host two special events at Central Library and Longsight Library to launch photography exhibitions celebrating ‘70 years of UK and Pakistan Relations: Shared History, Shared Future’. 2017 is a landmark year for Pakistan, the nation turned 70 and the British High Commission marked this anniversary by showcasing important milestones, human stories, and the bonds which exist between the two countries.

The exhibitions were curated by the British High Commission in Islamabad – the UK’s representative in Pakistan – and in partnership with the Pakistani High Commission in the UK and its consulate-general in Manchester. The British High Commission tasked photojournalist, Sara Farid, to travel across Pakistan, taking pictures as part of this campaign. The digital format of the exhibition at Central Library and the physical format of the same exhibition at Longsight Library contains her work, along with the winning photograph, runner up and others from the 70thAnniversary Photo Competition, which ran nationwide in Pakistan.

On Thursday 14 September at Central Library guests, including the Lord Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Shadab Qumer, gathered round the Virtual Archive to hear launch speeches from the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Eddy Newman, and the Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for the Department for International Development and Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth office. Later that day, guests joined us at Longsight Library to hear speeches from Cllr Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure and Sam Heath, Press Director for the Foreign Office based in Pakistan, followed by a delicious buffet lunch provided by the Women’s Voices group who are based in the Pakistani Community Centre.

There are more than 1.5 million people of Pakistani descent in the UK, and there are particularly strong links between Manchester and Pakistan. The country has made a real impression on Manchester, with art, culture and of course, mouth-watering food. Pakistan’s artisan culture, can do attitude, and entrepreneurial spirit, can be seen in people of Pakistani descent, working hard in Manchester. But Manchester has made a difference in Pakistan too. Many people from our city live and work in Pakistan, and the shared history between Manchester and the Faislabad – which is a major industrial and trading city in the Punjab – means that city is best known as the “Manchester of Pakistan”.

Both exhibitions run until 5th January 2018 on the Central Library Virtual Archive screen on the Ground Floor and on the new exhibition panels at Longsight Library.

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