Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to host this celebration for the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Germany.
Pakistan-Germany ties have come a long way since establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1951.
Pakistan was among the first Asian countries to establish diplomatic relations with Germany. Like all good long term friendships, ours has never been transactional. There was a time when Germany, coming out of the war, needed a hand and found Pakistan sharing its resources as part of the London Agreement and subsequently, cancelled all debt.
Indeed our ties are underpinned by shared values of democracy, pluralism, diversity, peace and security.
The warmth in our relationship has been aptly reflected by Foreign Minister Maas and Ambassador Schlagheck.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Pakistan-Germany high-level interaction, parliamentary exchanges and people-to-people contacts have been growing.
Our Strategic Dialogue was held last year.
I had the privilege of visiting Germany this year.
This was my first visit to a European country amidst the Covid pandemic.
Foreign Minister Maas visited Pakistan twice this year in April and August.
This reflected our resolve to work together to bind our bilateral relations and to collaborate closely for regional and global peace and security.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Pakistan’s shift of focus from geopolitics to geo-economics, improved security environment, and enhanced ranking of Pakistan in the Ease of Doing Business index, offer attractive opportunities for German investors.
I am happy to note that Germany is one of the major trading partners of Pakistan.
A number of German companies are active in Pakistan in areas, ranging from pharmaceuticals to automotive sectors and I am pleased to see many of these companies represented here today.
Further, Pakistan-Germany cultural ties predate the establishment of our formal relations.
Our national poet Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal studied in Heidelberg and Munich over a century ago.
Iqbal had admiration and respect for German culture and people.
Iqbal’s “Message from the East (Payam e Mashriq)” was written as a tribute and friendly response to Goethe’s West-ostlicher Divan.
The message of our two great poets serves as a solid basis for the initiation of East-West dialogue and promotion of interfaith harmony. Pakistan will in fact be issuing postage stamps to celebrate our two great heroes, Iqbal and Goethe in commemoration of our 70 years of diplomatic relations.
Culturally, Goethe Institute Karachi and its affiliated Annemarie Schimmel Haus in Lahore have made commendable efforts in propagating the message of our cultural icons and bringing the two countries closer.
The humanitarian work of Dr. Ruth Pfau, a Pakistani-German for combating leprosy attests to the fact that humanity transcends boundaries.
Our Pakistani Diaspora in Germany has been consistently and positively contributing to the economic development of Germany in various fields.
Germany is also one of the top higher education destinations for Pakistani students.
I am in fact pleased to mention some of the great women and men of Pakistani origin in Germany who have made strong strides in their fields, contributing positively to the growth and development of the country. Dr. Asifa Akhtar for instance, is the first international woman Vice President of the Biology and Medicine Section in the Max Planck Society, recipient of the prestigious Leibniz Prize. Asad Yar Khan, an architect at Germany’s Comta Fertigbau, was instrumental in planning and developing residences for senior citizens for the government. And more recently Misbah Khan, a party candidate for the German federal parliament.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This evening is a reflection of the strong bonds between Pakistan and Germany.
I am pleased to share Pakistan will soon be issuing a commemorative coin to cement this historic 70 year landmark.
I thank you all for joining us this evening. Special thanks to the students of PASCH School from the Millennium Education, a subsidiary of Roots International School for rendering the National Anthems of Pakistan and Germany in an impressive manner.
I would also like to commend the wonderful musical performances by students of Leif Larsen Music Centre from the renowned Hunza School of Music.
I would also like to share my gratitude to Mr. Bashir Ali Mohammad, Chairman of the Gul Ahmed group, for partnering with the foreign office for the event today and working closely with us to present the true face of Pakistan.
Lastly, I thank Germany for gifting the Foreign Service Academy with solar panels. This gesture is a testimonial to Germany’s pro-environment credentials and is indeed aligned with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan for a prosperous green future.
I thank you.