| Acting High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Brunei Darussalam Ahmed Ali Sirohey |
TODAY, August 14, all Pakistanis, within and outside the country, are commemorating the 73rd Independence Day of Pakistan.
On this auspicious day, I, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, wish to convey my felicitations and warm greetings to all Pakistanis and friends of Pakistan.
The freedom was not made overnight but after a long and continuous struggle that was originally started with the movement of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. That movement was to ensure that the Muslims did not lag behind in the field of education. The movement was successful and schools and colleges were opened across the sub-continent for Muslims. In 1906, it was staunch members of Sir Syed’s movement who made the Muslim League. The educated Muslims were the force behind the freedom struggle. Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined this struggle. He was called the Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.
Pakistan faced all odds with determination and keeps developing. But despite all odds and difficult times, Pakistan has come a long way, thanks to resilient nation of over 211 million people, and is now on the rising curve to growth and prosperity.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the newly elected democratic government has promised to address various issues of the polity including security, economy, energy and good governance while ensuring austerity, simplicity and accountability.
The economic turnaround is further evidenced by the fact that Pakistan Investment Company, initiated in 2005 with USD50 million, has recorded best gains in 2018 and crossed USD350 million in its worth. It is among the top performing Joint Investment Companies set up by Pakistan and Brunei and shows the strength of our bilateral ties.
Pakistan offers great investment potential. Its geo-strategic location makes it Asia’s premier trade, energy and transport corridor for Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Far East regions.
The consumer market in Pakistan is growing at a very fast pace as reflected by tele-density of around 79 per cent.
Pakistan’s economy has shown resilience based on strong structural reform programmes. Pakistan’s investment policy trends have been consistent with liberalisation, de-regulation, privatisation and facilitation being its foremost cornerstones.
The legal framework is in place for Special Economic Zones to meet the global challenges of competitiveness and is attracting FDIs. Various sectors of Pakistan’s economy, which offer investment potential, include agriculture, livestock, poultry, fisheries, energy, infrastructure development, construction, information techno-logy, telecommunication, textile, retail, automotive industry, and pharmaceutical industry, among others.
Pakistan has been listed among the next 11 countries that along with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS countries) have a high potential of becoming among the world’s largest economies in the 21st century.
The world’s youngest certified Microsoft Experts are from Pakistan. The seventh largest pool of scientists and engineers come from Pakistan. The fourth largest broadband Internet system of the world is in Pakistan.
Recently a Pakistani student, Shaheer Niazi at the age of just 16 was formally declared as the youngest scientist of the world. His research paper has been published in the journal of Royal Society Open Science.
Newton’s research paper was published in the same science journal at the age of 17 where as research paper of this young Pakistani has been formally accepted and published at the age of 16.
Pakistan is the first and only Islamic country to attain nuclear power. It is also notable for having some of the best-trained air force pilots in the world. Now we even have women fighter pilots in our Air Force.
The country’s missile technology which is mostly indigenously developed, is one of the best in the world. It also boasts of having the sixth largest military force in the world.
In cooperation with China, Pakistan has produced the JF-17 Thunder aircraft, a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex.
The JF-17 Thunder Aircraft can be used for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception. Its designation ‘JF-17’ by Pakistan is short form for ‘Joint Fighter-17’. Pakistan has also constructed the world’s largest warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province. Tarbela Dam is the world’s largest earth-filled dam and second largest dam overall.
The Karakoram Highway, connecting China and Pakistan, is the highest paved international road in the world.
The Khewra Salt Mine, the second largest salt mine in the world is in operation in the Punjab region of Pakistan.
The world’s largest irrigation network is present in Pakistan. It serves 202,000 sq km of cultivated land. The irrigation system is fed by water from the famous Indus River Basin.
Pakistan is one of the biggest exporters of surgical instruments in the world. About 70 per cent of the world’s footballs are made in Pakistan.
Among its natural wonders, Pakistan has the highest mountain ranges. The world’s second highest and the ninth highest mountains, K2 and Nanga Parbat, are in Pakistan.
The Thar Desert is among the world’s largest sub-tropical deserts, which is the only fertile desert in the world.
The world’s highest polo ground is at Shandur Top in Pakistan at a height of 3,700 metres, where polo players and its fans, from near and far come every year to play and enjoy the game.
The largest fort in the world Ranikot is in Sindh,Pakistan. The largest necropolis in the world is situated in Makli sindh,Pakistan.
Lonely Planet, a global tourist guide, has listed Pakistan as being tourism’s “next big thing for more years than we care to remember”.
As regards our relations with Brunei, Pakistan greatly values its relations with Brunei Darussalam, which encompass various fields including defence, education, health, manpower and people-to-people contact, trade and investment. The people of Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam are bound together by fraternal relations rooted in a common faith, shared values and cultural affinities.
Five of Pakistan’s Heads of State or Government have visited Brunei. Our ex-president the late General Muhammad Zia ul Haq visited Brunei and participated in the first Independence Day celebrations of Brunei Darussalam in 1984.
Pakistan had the honour of hosting His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam twice in Pakistan.
We have signed a number of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and agreements with Brunei and there are a number of bilateral forums and exchange programmes.
The Government of Pakistan has deep desire not only to further deepen these ties but also diversify these to other areas. Both nations are bound in a unique blood-bond relation since the dawn of Islam.
Our modern-day relations are deeply embedded in the commonality of strategic vision between our leaders, government and the people. We are grateful to the Government of His Majesty for hosting Pakistanis in Brunei Darussalam in various fields including health, education and commercial fields.
Brunei and Pakistan regularly maintain contact at the highest level. The Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces visited Pakistan in April 2019.
His Majesty is the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment of our elite Special Services Group (famously known as SSG).
Our SSG has been declared the best special force in the world, ahead of units such as the US Navy SEALs and the British Special Air Service Group.
In 2018, Pakistan’s Army team again earned the Gold Medal among 131 teams from around the world in the UK and were given the title of bravest and toughest army in the world.
Despite the commitment of our troops on our borders, we are one of the largest contributors of troops for UN peace keeping missions in the world.
I would like to conclude by specially mentioning the vision, leadership and benevolence of His Majesty for ensuring the peace, prosperity, development, harmony and happiness in this abode of peace Brunei Darussalam.