Russian ambassador speaks at conference
Ambassador Alexey Y. Dedov said at a conference that he was quite satisfied with the volume of trade between Russia and Pakistan, which was $732 million last year. He said there is a need to settle an old financial dispute between the countries so that trade can be normalised and bank correspondence can be direct.
He listed a number of fields of current and future trade, with gas and energy taking the lead, but other fields, too, such as agriculture, medicines and military equipment, can play a greater role.
The ambassador was a key speaker at a conference where a number of Russian researchers attended, along with Pakistani colleagues, and diplomats from the two countries. The conference was opened by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and chaired by Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema of the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI).
In addition to trade, Russia plays an important role in counterterrorism actions, in finding durable solutions in Afghanistan, and also in Syria and Iran. It was noted that there is close cooperation with China, and also India.
It was furthermore noted that Eurasia and Central Asian countries have a growing importance; Russia’s territory stretches all the way from the Baltic Sea in Western Europe to the Far East, including borders with North Korea and the East Sea of Japan. Yet, the growth is more in the central and western parts of the vast land than the more sparsely populated land to the far east of the Ural Mountains.
The audience included invited diplomats, researchers, graduate students and others.
“The one-day event was indeed well-attended throughout, and I am glad I set aside a full day for it; we need substantive meetings like this, not only shorter speeches on foreign affairs,” said a Pakistani university teacher.
Independence Day of Bangladesh observed
Bangladesh High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan and his wife Mahajabeen Ahsan welcomed guests to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the country’s independence and national day on March 26.
The chief guest on the occasion was Imtiaz Ahmed Khan, special secretary on foreign affairs. Other guests of the current and former administrations attended, among them Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.
The large and festive event included dance performances by cultural dancers, one of them around a famous song about water, a life line of Bangladesh. It was noted that the word for water, paani, is the same in Urdu and Bengali.
In his speech, Mr Ahsan first stressed the role of women’s equality in Bangladesh’s development, before he moved to education and overall economic growth, which is now more than 7pc. He also mentioned the importance Bangladesh places on development of a culture of peace, and he said that assistance to migrants and refugees is important.
Mr Ahsan said that Bangladesh is the 10th largest destination of exports from Pakistan. A group of students from Bangladesh attended the event, and the high commissioner stressed the importance of it, indeed in medical education, and also exchange in culture, sports, and military fields.
Mauritius celebrates Independence Day
High Commissioner Rashidally Soobadar and honorary consul Shahid Sethi in Lahore welcomed guests to celebrate the 51st Independence Day of the Republic of Mauritius.
The chief guest at the event was Minister of Water Resources Mohammad Faisal Vawda, who spoke about cooperation between Pakistan and Mauritius.
In an elaborate and often humorous speech, High Commissioner Soobadar said the people of Mauritius enjoy unity in diversity, with several religions and ethnicities living peacefully side by side.
He also underlined the importance of water in Mauritius’ existence. He drew attention to several other important aspects of the land, noting its fast economic growth over the half century of independence, now having a GDP per capita of over $10,000. Tourism is a key reason of the country’s success, and 1.2 million Mauritians now host over 1.5 million tourists annually. High Commissioner Soobadar offered assistance to Pakistan in its development of tourism.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2019