The Foreign Secretary of the UK, Boris Johnson’s first visit to Pakistan is one that was at least symbolically important in the post-Brexit world. One of Brexit’s biggest proponents, the former mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s presence, although not entirely constructive, looked to establish the foundation of the relationship between the two governments going forward. The UK, try as it might, cannot extricate itself from the globalised world, and must start over on issues of foreign policy after undergoing such a tremendous change.

Pakistan’s relationship going forward must reflect its strategic importance to the western world, in which UK’s foreign policy is deeply invested. For Pakistan, any bilateral partnership must be centred around trade, because interdependence in the modern world can only be predicated around economic gain. Perhaps inviting UK businessmen on the next trip – as is done with other countries – would prove to be fruitful.

As far as Mr Johnson’s maiden visit to Pakistan was concerned, it passed by rather uneventfully. Pleasantries were exchanged, Mr Johnson issued a diplomatic statement for resolution of Kashmir – diplomatically worded to not antagonise India – acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism and reiterated the UK’s commitment to focus on priority areas such as trade, investment culture and education in the bilateral partnership.

But still, there are questions that remain unanswered. The discussion should have been centred around the changes, if any, in the UK-Pak relationship after their exit of the European Union. For instance, there were reports of the UK mulling an agreement similar to the EU granting Pakistan the GSP-Plus status. Does Pakistan get the same preferential treatment under the new arrangement? A lot has yet to be analysed, and while this visit was only a means to break the ice, it is hoped that the diplomatic missions of both countries will work towards sorting out the details in the near future.

Pakistan will always be centre-stage when it comes to the foreign policy of the US, the EU or the UK. Whether it is peace in the Middle East, relations with India, or with China, all roads pass through Pakistan. The fact must never be far from the mind of western policy makers, as much they want to deny it. Maybe with Boris Johnson’s visit, the UK seems cognisant of that, even if the visit did not lead to any concrete plan for the future.