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Mr. Mohammad Imran Mirza, Ambassador of Pakistan based in Dakar (Senegal) and concurrently accrediting to the Republic of Sierra Leone has presented his Letter of Credence to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone H.E. Dr. Earnest Bai Koroma in a very elaborate ceremony, held at the Presidential State House in Freetown on 11 November 2016. The Vice President and fifteen Cabinet Ministers along with senior officials of the government were in attendance. A detachment of the Presidential Guard paid salutation on his arrival at the State House.

After exchange of pleasantries with the President, the Foreign Minister introduced him to the Cabinet Ministers and senior officials. As part of their tradition, the Ambassador had to make brief remarks at the ceremony. After conveying best wishes on behalf o the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, he expressed satisfaction over the cordial and friendly relations which so happily existed between Pakistan and Sierra Leone, based on the shared commonwealth tradition and struggle against colonization. Welcoming the restoration of peace and stability in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Mirza commended the sagacity and vision of the leadership which had made it possible.

President Koroma warmly responded by acknowledging Pakistan’s overwhelming support by deploying 5000 military personnel as part of the UN peacekeeping contingent during the civil war in Sierra Leone. The President also appreciated the role of Pakistani soldiers in reconstruction and rehabilitation projects, especially by building numerous schools and roads. He also thanked Pakistan for offering diplomatic courses, and hoped that the number would increase in future.

The Ambassador appreciated the President’s kind acknowledgment regarding Pakistan’s effective support as part of the UN peacekeeping, and availed this opportunity to raise the issue of Indian atrocities against the innocent and unarmed Kashmiris, including children and women. Ambassador Mirza informed the President that the Prime Minister of Pakistan had called upon the international community to raise their voice against these blatant human rights violations against the innocent Kashmiris, only recently causing over 120 casualties and 12000 seriously injured, mostly inflicted with severe eye injuries due to pellet guns. He also mentioned the frequent violations of ceasefire across the Line of Control from the Indian side. President Koroma expressed his deep sympathies with the Kashmiris of Indian Occupied Kashmir, and hoped for an early normalization of the tension in the region.

In a meeting with the Foreign Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, a day earlier, the Ambassador had a detailed discussion over the Indian brutality in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. He also requested for Sierra Leone’s support for the candidatures of Pakistan for HRC and Dr. Sania Nishtar for the post of Director General (WHO). He assured to work out a formula soon, based on some reciprocal arrangements which he said, would be conveyed shortly. The Foreign Minister also expressed Sierra Leone’s interest in having a “technical cooperation agreement with Pakistan, draft of which will be soon prepared by their side.

Pakistan has an Honorary Consul Mr. Ibrahim Dakhalala Antar in Sierra Leone. During the visit, the Ambassador observed that he was very well connected with the host government and also kept close liaison with the Pakistanis residing in Sierra Leone. After Ambassador’s official engagements, the Honorary Consul arranged a small gathering of Pakistani community at a local hotel. The Ambassador welcomed the community members and assured them that Pakistan Embassy and the Honorary Consul would provide necessary facilities as and when requested by them. He also shared with them the recent Indian atrocities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. They prayed for the Kashmiri brothers and sisters and hoped that Muslim Ummah and the international community would come forward to their rescue.

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