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British Council: Pakistan

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when it was decided to close the Library of the British Council in Lahore, Pakistan; what assessment was made of the contribution it made to understanding of the UK and the West in Pakistan; and if he will bring forward plans to reopen the Library. (244465)

As a result of the events of 11 September 2001, and due to the deteriorating security situation, all public-access British Council premises in Pakistan were closed in 2002.

The library in Lahore was an essential part of the British Council Pakistan's offer to young people helping them to establish a relationship with the UK at a time when the internet was non-existent. The British Council has continued to engage with local customers by increasing the availability of on-line and phone services while at the same time reducing the vulnerability of its staff and customers.

The security environment in Pakistan, coupled with the British Council's emphasis on partnerships and online working mean they have no plans to reopen any libraries in Pakistan.