Ever growing bilateral ties

Danial Norjidi

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.

High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Brunei Darussalam Major General (Rtd) Abdul Aziz Tariq said this in a message delivered on the occasion of the 80th National Day of Pakistan.

“On March 23, 2020 Pakistanis within and outside Pakistan are celebrating the 80th National Day of Pakistan, which is in commemoration of passing of the resolution of March 23, 1940 for the establishment of a separate homeland for Muslims in the sub-continent,” said the high commissioner.

“On this auspicious day, I on behalf of the Government of Pakistan and on my own behalf wish to convey my felicitations and warm compliments to all Pakistanis, friends of Pakistan and shares our rejoicings with the friendly and brotherly people of Brunei Darussalam.

“This day reminds us of the persistent struggle of our founding leaders, which they undertook for the eventual religious, economic, and socio-cultural independence of Muslims living in the Indo–Pakistan sub-continent.

The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan
High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Brunei Darussalam Major General (Rtd) Abdul Aziz Tariq. PHOTO: HIGH COMMISSION OF PAKISTAN TO BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

“By the grace of Allah the Almighty, the determined dedication of Quaid–e–Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, our founding father and combined hard work of those who believed in the philosophy of Pakistan, we were successful in achieving independence and established a sovereign state, Pakistan on August 14, 1947, which also happened to be 27th of Ramzan 1366 Hijrah.”

The high commissioner shared that the name Pakistan means “land of the pure” in Urdu and Persian.

He said Pakistan faced many challenges since its independence. “At the gateway to Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East and even East Asia, our geographical location, which on one hand is a source of tremendous strength to us but on the other, has also been the reason for facing many tumultuous times. But despite all odds and difficult times, Pakistan has come a long way, thanks to the resilient nation of 211 million people, and is now on the rising curve to growth and prosperity.”

The high commissioner noted that 2020 is seen as the year of change. “Democratic government is building new Pakistan on the Islamic principles of equality. All people are equal in the eyes of law.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction that the present democratic government has been addressing various issues of the polity including security, economy, energy, good governance and corruption.”

In the field of economy, he shared that the present government’s reform initiative and commitment to a calibrated fiscal and monetary management, has helped the stabilisation of the overall macroeconomic situation of the country.

He added that remarkable improvements in worker’s remittances, foreign exchange reserve, tax collection and containment of fiscal deficit are being made.

“The progress on Pakistan-China Economic Corridor has revolutionised economic development of the country. International analysts believe that the speed and progress in sectors attached to the China-Pakistan economic corridor are on track.

“The economic turnaround is further evidenced by the fact that Pak-Brunei Investment Company, initiated in 2005 with USD50 million recorded significant gains and crossed the USD400 million in its worth. It is among the top performing Joint Investment Companies set by Pakistan and Brunei and shows the strength of our bilateral ties.

“By the blessings of Allah the Almighty and with the committed efforts of the government, Pakistan now offers great investment potential. Its geo-strategic location makes it Asia’s premier trade, energy and transport corridor for Central Asia, Middle East, South East Asia and Far Eastern regions. The consumer market in Pakistan is growing at a very fast pace as reflected by tele-density of over 80 per cent.”

He affirmed that Pakistan’s economy has shown resilience based on strong structural reform programmes, noting that the country’s investment policy trends have been consistent with liberalisation, de-regulation and privatisation. He said the legal framework is in place for Special Economic Zones to meet the global challenges of competitiveness and to attract FDIs.

In addition, various sectors of Pakistan’s economy offer investment potential in agriculture, livestock, poultry, fisheries, energy, infrastructure development, construction, information technology, telecommunication, textile, retail, automotive industry, and pharmaceutical industry.

In the field of energy, the government of Pakistan plans to bring 20,000 Megawatts (MW) by end of 2020. An IMF report certified the improved energy situation in the country. Beyond June 2021, other projects such as Dasu, Diamer – Bhasha, Karachi Civil Nuclear Energy and many others will also be completed.

“In the field of foreign policy, this government received acceptance and support from the friendly countries across the globe,” said the high commissioner, noting that many world leaders made visits to Pakistan during the last six months. He also noted that Pakistan’s pivotal role in regional and world peace has won approval.

On the ties between Pakistan and Brunei, the high commissioner said, “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,” he continued. “Pakistan’s every head of state or government has visited Brunei.”

“Our Ex-President 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 signed a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements with Brunei and there are numerous 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. In fact Brunei-Pakistan relations are not measured through economic or trade volume rather the human values.

“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, governments and the people. We are grateful to the Government of His Majesty for hosting Pakistanis in Brunei Darussalam in various fields including health, education, commercel and defence related fields.

“His Majesty is the honorary Colonel of the Regiment of our elite, Special Services Group (famously known as SSG),” shared the high commissioner.

“I would also like to avail this occasion to reiterate to my fellow countrymen in Brunei Darussalam to work hard with total dedication and sincerity in their respective areas of specialisation in this abode of peace and be very useful and productive members of Bruneian society,” he continued. “I once again take this opportunity to felicitate the Pakistani community and friends of Pakistan in Brunei Darussalam on the occasion of 80th National Day of Pakistan, and convey my very best wishes and assurances for the continued enhancement of Pakistan-Brunei relations.

“I would like to conclude by appreciating and specially mentioning about the vision, leadership and benevolence of His Majesty for ensuring peace, security, prosperity, development, harmony and contentment in Brunei Darussalam.

“Long live His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. Long live Brunei – Pakistan friendship. Long live Pakistan,” added the high commissioner.