ISLAMABAD: Hungarian Ambassador to Pakistan Bela Fazekas has announced that the number of annual educational scholarships for Pakistani students has been doubled to 400 and expressed confidence that bilateral coordination and people-to-people contact would continue to increase between the two countries.

Hungary used to give 200 scholarships to Pakistani students every year and this number has now been increased to 400.

Mr Fazekas was speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the 66th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for freedom and liberty.

“The movement for free speech and personal freedom was initiated by the students of Budapest in October 1956, and soon this uprising spread to various quarters and cities of Hungary,” he said, adding that, “but to quell this movement, Russian troops entered Hungary, leading to death and destruction and around 200,000 people were forced to leave the country”.

He said the people of Hungary recall the tragic times this year as Ukraine a neighbour of Hungary was facing a similar situation at the hands of Russian troops and more than 700,000 people of Ukraine had taken refuge in his country.

“We will continue to host these men, women and children who have suffered at the hands of Russian aggression,” Mr Fazekas said, adding that Pakistan and Hungary have long standing relations in many fields but the most prominent of them was in the education sector.

“The University of Punjab, Lahore was established by a Hungarian professor,” he said and highlighted that several projects were initiated by educationists of Hungary in Lahore.

He was referring to Dr GW Leitner, who played an instrumental role in the establishment of Punjab University in 1882 and he was also the first registrar of the university.

Currently, Pakistani students study in various fields under the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme, started in 2015.

During 2016 to 2021, around 772 students, including 565 undergraduate, 161 master’s, and 46 PhD students, studied in Hungary. While, 111 undergraduate, 28 master’s and nine PhD students have been enrolled in Hungarian institutes in 2022 and this number has been enhanced to 400, starting from next year.

MOL Pakistan, a Hungarian oil and gas giant is the third largest oil and gas producer in Pakistan, and Minister for Board of Investment (BOI) Chaudhry Salik Hussain has asked the Hungarian embassy to extend support for developing the tourism and agriculture sectors of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2022

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