Pakistan High Commissioner Syed Ibne Abbas writes on the occasion of his country’s 70th anniversary of Independence
It is with great pleasure that on the auspicious occasion of Pakistan’s 70th anniversary of Independence, I share my thoughts through the courtesy of Diplomat magazine, which plays an important role in highlighting the history and culture of countries represented in the UK.
2017 is a momentous year, not only for being Pakistan’s 70th independence anniversary but also the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the UK.
Pakistan, realising the vision of its epoch making leaders – philosopher and poet Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal and iconic statesman and founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – became an independent nation on 14 August 1947. Pakistan’s reality only became possible through relentless struggle, perseverance and the extraordinary sacrifice of thousands of Muslims on the subcontinent.
The UK was one of the first countries with which Pakistan established diplomatic relations. This historic relationship has nurtured into a strong partnership. We take great satisfaction that these mutually beneficial relations, rooted in history, have become truly multi-dimensional, covering fields of politics, economics, defence, security, culture, education and people-to-people contacts.
The presence of a 1.2 million vibrant and strong Pakistani diaspora acts as a bridge between Pakistan and the UK. Through their exemplary hard work, the British-Pakistani community has made an invaluable contribution to the British cultural mosaic and its society.
To commemorate the 70th Independence anniversary and celebrate the successes of the diaspora, the Pakistan High Commission in London has chalked out a montage of cultural, literary and social events to showcase our rich cultural heritage, and the strong links that exist between our two countries and people.
Since independence and despite several challenges, Pakistan has steadily moved down the path of progress and development. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s government, cognizant of our enormous national potential, has fast-tracked the country’s journey to prosperity through an elaborate social and economic development agenda.
It is gratifying to note that within three short years, Pakistan’s socio-economic indicators have shown significant improvement. International financial institutions and publications acknowledge that Pakistan’s economy is on an upward trajectory. With a growth rate of 5.2 per cent in 2017, Morgan Stanley Capital International has classified Pakistan as an Emerging Market. Furthermore, in its annual ‘Doing Business 2017’ report, The World Bank concluded that Pakistan is among the ‘10 most improved’ economies out of the 190 that they reviewed.
The launch of the game-changing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in April 2015 has played a pivotal role in shaping a new narrative about Pakistan. The CPEC, a project of energy generation, roads, railways, infrastructure and designated economic zones, will bring more than US$54 billion of Chinese investment into the country, providing impetus to Pakistan’s long-term growth. The CPEC will act as a catalyst for economic connectivity and integration in central south Asia, the Middle East and beyond. The CPEC is a game-changer not only for Pakistan, but also for the entire region.
I wish to invite UK investors to involve themselves in the unfolding silent revolution in Pakistan. It is an ideal opportunity for UK entrepreneurs to explore new vistas of cooperation between our two countries.
I would conclude by again commending the endeavours of Diplomat magazine for its enviable efforts in bringing peoples closer through its collage of cultural and social coverage.