THEY are already linked by a remarkable common history and tens of thousands of citizens.

Glasgow and Lahore have been forging bonds since the first waves of Pakistani immigrants made their way up the Clyde in the 1950s.

Now, half a century later, the two cities are to be twinned.

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Glasgow councillors will next week be asked to approve a formal twinning arrangement, the city's sixth, with Lahore.

If all goes well the deal will be sealed by Liz Cameron, the lord provost, when the mayor of Lahore visits Glasgow this summer.

The deal is about more than the usual pomp, ceremony and freebie visits for councillors, says the council. Officials say the relationship can also deliver new jobs and business too.

Hanzala Malik, the councillor who has led the twinning drive, sums up the strong links between Scotland and Pakistan.

Glasgow-born Mr Malik has lived in both countries and speaks English and Punjabi. His father was Pakistani, his mother Scots. He said: "Things with Lahore are really taking off. We've been big in the local media and getting a lot of praise. I think Glasgow will be Lahore's first twin.

"There are a lot of historical links. There were lots of Scots in Lahore during the Indian Raj - they were the ones in kilts at the Khyber Pass.

"Now several Pakistani regiments wear kilts and play the bagpipes. Last year we sponsored the Lahore pipe band to come over and play at the world pipe band championships at Glasgow Green.

"We Scots were the real groundbreakers during the Raj. We did all the hard work, all the fighting and established many institutions.

"There are lots of Victorian buildings in Lahore that look like Glasgow."

There are now around 30,000 people of Pakistani birth or origin who live in and around Glasgow. Most have their roots in the Punjab, the northern region of which Lahore is the capital.

Business between the two cities is already thriving.

Last year new twice-weekly flights from Glasgow to Lahore and Islamabad, via Dubai, were launched with support from the city council. This year Pakistan International Airlines has decided to run two direct services a week to Lahore.

Glasgow already has five full twins - Nuremberg in Germany; Rostov in Russia; Dalian in China; Havana in Cuba; and Turin in Italy - and less formal relationships with several other towns and cities.

Several Glasgow institutions are interested in the links with Lahore. The Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill has been having exchanges with its counterpart in Lahore.

Several Glasgow colleges have signed up deals with some of the big centres of learning in Lahore. A delegation from city colleges are currently in Lahore.

There is, however, one small snag for the twinning. "There are still people, if you were to ask the man in the street in Lahore, who think that Glasgow is an English city rather than a Scottish city, " Mr Malik said.

"So there needs to be a bit of an education."

Tie ups

Lahore is one of the world's biggest cities with a population of at least 6.5 million, making it 10 times the size of Glasgow.

It is the capital of the Punjab and, like its new twin, widely regarded as a major cultural centre.

The city was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and has some of south Asia's most magnificent buildings. It also has several Victorian landmarks left over from the Raj that would not look out of place in Glasgow.

Like Glasgow, Lahore is bigger than its national capital, Islamabad.

City fathers in Lahore are increasingly interested in Glasgow's regeneration efforts. Pakistan's economy is growing by nearly 8per cent a year.

Glasgow's twin cities The city already has five full twins: Nuremberg, Germany; Rostov on Don, Russia; Dalian, China; Turin, Italy; and Havana, Cuba.

It also has less formal relationships with a series of other towns and cities. Last month it signed an entente cordiale with Marseilles, France's second city. Glasgow has a long-standing friendship agreement with Bethlehem in the Holy Land.