Contributed by (Abdul Wahid Abbasi) – Charge d’ Affaires (a.i) Islamic Republic of Pakistan
14th August has a special significance for the people of Pakistan. On this day in 1947, the world saw a new country “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” on the world map as an independent country. The emergence of a sovereign Muslim state on the map of the world under the inspiring leadership of our founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was, indeed, an unprecedented feat, characterized by his astute political acumen. It is indeed a glorious tribute to the supreme sacrifices of the Muslims of the sub-continent and their unshakeable faith in their destiny. The creation of Pakistan epitomized the successful culmination of a long and arduous struggle against heavy odds under the inspiring leadership of Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Pakistan is a land of much grandeur and magnificence. The scenery changes northward from coastal beaches, lagoons and mangrove swamps in the south to sandy deserts, desolate plateaus, fertile plains, dissected upland in the middle and high mountains with beautiful valleys, snow-covered peaks and eternal glaciers in the north. The variety of landscape divides Pakistan into six major regions, the North High Mountainous Regions, the Western Low Mountainous Region, The Balochistan Plateau, the Potohar Uplands, the Punjab and the Sindh Plains. Pakistan lies along River Indus stretching over 2000 kilometers from the freezing heights of Pamirs in the north to the palmy beaches of Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan neighbours include China in the north, Afghanistan in the northwest, Iran in the west and India in the east. Pakistan is the seventh most populous country in the world with nearly 170 million people and land area of over 800,000 square kilometers.
Our land is home to rivers, mountains, deserts and fertile plains. We have an abundance of natural resources. The land of Pakistan has been a cradle of ancient civilizations. The people of Pakistan are dynamic and hardworking and they are committed to make Pakistan a strong and prosperous country. Pakistan’s unique geography lends it a distinct strategic importance. Pakistan is situated at the crossroads of South, Central and West Asia and the Middle East. It is ideally placed to be a force for peace in these regions and has the potential to become an inter-regional trading hub in the region. The liberal economic and business environment also make it as an attractive country for foreign traders to venture into the trading activity.
The historic origins of the land stretch far back into time. Some of the earliest relics of Stone Age man have been unearthed. Mehragarh civilization (Neolithic – 7000-3200 BC) on the kachi plain alongside Bolan river of Balochistan, is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming (wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep and goats) in South Asia. Similarly, the Indus valley civilization flourished around the twin cities of Harappa and Moenjodaro. The Indus Valley Civilization was a contemporary of the Nile, Mesopotamian and Yellow River civilization. Its establishment was the culmination of the struggle by Muslims of the south-Asian subcontinent for a separate homeland of their own and its foundation was laid when Muhammad bin Qasim subdued Sindh in 711 A.D. with the advent of Islam in the region. Islam further strengthened the historical individuality in the areas now constituting Pakistan and further beyond its boundaries. Pakistan’s Islamic heritage goes back to over a thousand years, and combines traditions of Arab, Central Asia and West Asia in its architecture, poetry and literature.
Pakistan is mainly an agricultural country. Almost half of Pakistan’s labour force is employed in the field of agriculture. Pakistan emphasizes high-yield grains to keep pace with a growing population. Main products include rice, cotton, wheat, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables. The government while pursuing the policy of rapid industrial growth has adopted a rational approach, which ensures equitable distribution of the benefits of industrialization process. Present government is implementing various economic reform programs that include privatization, liberalization of trade, and a reduction in the bureaucratic rules and procedures governing business. Textiles and food processing dominate the Industry. Other areas of industrial activity include chemicals, production of construction materials, carpets and rugs, leather and leather goods, sports and surgical goods. Cotton (raw and in fabric and yarn form), garments, rice, carpets, leather goods are the principle exports.
The guiding principles of our foreign policy are based on the internationally recognized norms of interstate, i.e. sovereign equality of all countries; non-interference in the internal affairs of other States; respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States; non-aggression and peaceful settlement of disputes. Pakistan’s foreign policy remains focused on promoting peace and security at the regional and global level and to build our relations in the bilateral and multinational framework especially in the interest of our socio-economic development.
With new government in Pakistan, various initiatives have been undertaken including promotion of tourism and new visa regime. With improved security and law and order, Pakistan is becoming an attractive destination for tourists and investors. Completion of massive infrastructural and energy projects as part of CPEC has made Pakistan a conduit of interconnectivity between Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia and African countries.
Pakistan – Sudan relations are close, cordial and fraternal. The relations are deep rooted in our common history, religion, culture and shared perceptions on major regional and international issues. High level contacts and exchange of visits translate these cordial ties into tangible political will and understanding between the leadership of our two nations. Both countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Group of 77. Pakistan and Sudan engage in collaborative dialogue at OIC summits to improve political stability in the Middle East and the Islamic World. Both the countries have signed a number of agreements which provide institutional basis for economic / commercial activities.
Pakistan continued to extend technical assistance to Sudan in the form of short courses in diplomacy and education fields at Foreign Service Academy and also reserved seats at various Pakistani Universities for Sudanese students. Sudanese students continued to seek admission in Pakistani Universities. During the last year, more than 100 students got admission in our medical/pharmaceutical and engineering colleges on self-finance basis. The contacts between the businessmen of the two countries are on rise and would certainly boost bilateral trade. Around 2000 Pakistanis are residing in Sudan and doing small-scale business and working in the UN, Banks and small foam/steel industry.