Message from Brigadier (Rtd)

Muhammad Zareef Malik High Commissioner for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Brunei Darussalam

Today all Pakistanis, both within and outside Pakistan are commemorating the 69thIndependence Day of Pakistan. On this auspicious occasion I wish to convey on my own behalf and on behalf of the Government of Pakistan my heartfelt felicitations to all Pakistanis residing in Brunei Darussalam.

This day not only reminds us of the untiring efforts of our forefathers, which they undertook for the ultimate religious, economic, and socio-cultural independence of the generations to come, but also gives us the inspiration to reintegrate our effort on upholding and strengthening our polity of sovereignty and independence. We acknowledge and revere the united efforts of the Muslims led by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, whose foresight made Pakistan a reality on August 14, 1947.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that the present democratic government has achieved remarkable successes in addressing various issues of the polity including security, economy, and energy. The Armed Forces of Pakistan have successfully completed one year of operations against militants in tribal areas in Pakistan in June this year with significant achievements. Strongholds, communication infrastructures and sanctuaries of militants have been cleared. During the operation, around 2,763 terrorists have been killed; 837 hideouts have been destroyed; and 253 tonnes of explosives recovered. Through 9,000 Intelligence-based operations, thousands of terrorists and their abettors have been apprehended. Around 218 hardcore terrorists have been killed in cities. In North Waziristan Agency alone, 18,087 weapons including heavy machine guns, light machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, AK-47s have been found in terrorist hideouts. The nation salutes to the 347 officers and soldiers of the armed forces, who embraced shahadat during the operation. With the strong support of the civilian leadership and commitment of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, the operation will continue until the elimination of the terrorist elements.

In the field of economy, present government’s reform initiative and commitment to a calibrated fiscal and monetary management, the overall macroeconomic situation of the country has improved. The major economic achievements include: picking up in economic growth, inflation contained at 4.8 per cent during July-April 2015, which is the lowest level of inflation since 2003. The Government of Pakistan has also succeeded to pass on more benefits of decline in international oil prices to general public as compared to other regional countries, which has provided a relief to the common man, remarkable improvements in worker’s remittances, build foreign exchange reserve buffer well around four months of imports, successful launching of Euro Bond and Sukuk Bond after nine years, improvement in tax collection, containment of fiscal deficit, stock market created new history, and the launching of Pak-China Economic Corridor which will create new history in economic development of the country. The international analysts and observers are all praise for our performance and potential for future growth.

In the field of energy, Cabinet Committee on Energy headed by the Prime Minister oversees development in this sector. The Government plans to bring 7,000 Megawatts (MW) on streams besides setting up 3,600 MW LNG-based projects. By December 2017, the Government will bring 10,600 MW in the system. Beyond December 2017, other projects such as Dasu, Diamer-Bhasha, Karachi Civil Nuclear Energy and many more projects will be completed.

In the field of foreign policy, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) took a unanimous decision recently to admit Pakistan into the organisation. After formalities are completed, Pakistan will become a full member of the SCO. Similarly, on July 31, 2015, Pakistan attained the status of Associate Member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. This makes Pakistan the first non-european country to achieve this status, which is a tribute to the dedicated scientists, technicians and engineers of Pakistan as well as its diplomats who have made this possible.

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, Gulf and Far Eastern regions. The consumer market in Pakistan is growing at a very fast pace as reflected by tele-density which has now reached 125 million. Pakistan’s economy has shown resilience and World Bank Report of 2013 confirms that Pakistan ranks ahead of many countries.

Furthermore in the reports of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Pakistan has ranked at 107 out of 185 countries. Pakistan is poised to grow at 6 per cent in the next 2-3 years 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, which has been made to meet the global challenges of competitiveness to attract FDI. Various sectors of Pakistan’s economy, which offer investment potential, include agriculture, livestock, poultry, fisheries, energy, infrastructure and construction, information technology and telecommunication, textile, retail, automotive industry, and pharmaceutical industry.

Pakistan values its relations with Brunei Darussalam, which encompass various fields including defence, education, manpower and investment. The Government of Pakistan has deep desire to not only further deepen these ties but also diversify these to other areas. We are grateful to the Government of 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 for hosting 400-500 Pakistanis in Brunei Darussalam in various areas including medical, teaching and commercial fields.

I also avail this occasion to lay emphasis on my fellow countrymen in Brunei Darussalam to work hard in their respective areas of specialisation in this abode of peace to glorify theirs and their country’s name.

I once again take this opportunity to felicitate the Pakistani community and friends of Pakistan in Brunei Darussalam on the occasion of the Independence Day, and convey my best wishes and assurances for the continued enhancement of Pakistan-Brunei relations.

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