Pakistan-France Bilateral Political Consultations

Paris, May 03, 2016: The 12th round of Pakistan-France bilateral political consultations at the Foreign Secretary level was held here yesterday. The Foreign Secretary Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry led the Pakistan delegation while the French side was led by Mr. Christian Masset, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs.

A wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues were discussed during the meeting. The Foreign Secretary gave an overview of Pakistan’s internal situation including notable achievements by the Government to improve law and order, stabilize the economy and overcome the energy crisis. He briefed his French counterpart on  significant role played by Operation Zarb-e-Azb in achieving success in the fight against terrorism and wide ranging National Action Plan to address the root causes of terrorism in the country.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry also briefed the French side on Pakistan’s foreign policy priorities, particularly efforts to facilitate an intra-Afghan process of political reconciliation. France appreciated Pakistan’s positive role in peace efforts in Afghanistan. Both sides acknowledged the need to work together to address the continuing threat of terrorism and radicalization, which had affected both Pakistan and France. The Foreign Secretary emphasized that closer cooperation was required between all countries on the issue of terrorism, since it is a global problem. Recent developments in the region were also discussed. The French side highlighted the challenges confronting France and the European Union.

Both sides agreed to work actively to enhance the existing level of bilateral trade of US$ 1.5 billion per annum, which was not commensurate with the size of the two economies. The positive role played by the European Union’s GSP Plus facility in promoting trade links was also noted. The two countries would encourage their respective private sectors to take advantage of the investment opportunities on offer in both countries. During the talks, both countries also held extensive discussions to strengthen bilateral cooperation in higher education, cultural exchanges, science and technology and defense and security.

It was decided to hold the next round of bilateral political consultations in Islamabad next year.

Besides the consultations, the Foreign Secretary also held meetings with Mr. Jacques Audibert, Diplomatic Adviser to the French President and Mr. Louis Gaultier, French Secretary General for Defense and National Security.

Pakistan Day-2016

[quote style=”1″ author=”H.E. Mr. Ghalib Iqbal”]The volume of trade between Pakistan and France has increased by 13% in the last one year[/quote]

The Ambassador of Pakistan to France, Mr. Ghalib Iqbal has asked Pakistani Community in France to invest liberally in their home country by taking advantage of opportunities offered by the Government of Pakistan as well as European Union. He was addressing the flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of Independence Day of Pakistan here this morning. He said that due to the improvement of bilateral investment and trade environment, the efforts of the Mission and participation of Pakistani Community in France, the volume of trade between Pakistan and France has increased by 13% in the last one year. A Special guest Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti, Member of Punjab Provincial Assembly also spoke on the occasion.

[textblock style=”1″]People of Pakistan have become a symbol of resistance against terrorism by virtue of their bravery, persistence and resilience which they exhibited during years of their struggle. [/textblock]

Speaking about Pakistan’s war on terror the Ambassador said that people of Pakistan have become a symbol of resistance against terrorism by virtue of their bravery, persistence and resilience which they exhibited during years of their struggle. He asked Pakistani Community to become part of mainstream life of their host country so that they could put themselves in a vantage position to represent Pakistan in a meaningful way. He appreciated the community for their cooperation with the Mission in all circumstances and assured that the Mission will stand by them in any difficulty.

[quote style=”1″]Foreign Remittances sent home by Pakistani expatriates have been providing much needed relief to the Country[/quote]

Raja Shaukat Aziz Bhatti, MPA Punjab Assembly said in his speech that Foreign Remittances sent home by Pakistani expatriates have been providing much needed relief to the foreign exchange reserves at home. At many difficult moments in our economic history, these remittances have played the role of oxygen to the country, therefore the Government places them at very high place and feels itself committed to solve their problems on top priority. He said that the present Government was giving high priority to protect the rights of women and giving them equal opportunities in all walks of life. He further said that the Government was going all out for the completion of CPEC, which is the future of Pakistan and will prove to be a game changer for the whole region.

Earlier, the Ambassador hoisted the National Flag while National Anthem was played. Mr. Ammar Amin, Head of Chancellery read out the messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the people of Pakistan issued on this occasion.

The members of Pakistani Community in large numbers and the officers and the staff of the embassy attended the ceremony.

On this occasion, a nine member delegation of disabled persons from Pakistan arrived in Paris and participated in the ceremony. This delegation is in France to attend a four yearly skill competition held in French city of Bordeaux. The delegation met the ambassador and the members of the community.

Members of Disabled Team Group Photo with the Ambassador

Members of Disabled Team Group Photo with the Ambassador

Later in the evening, the Ambassador host a reception for diplomatic community. Senator Pascal Allizard, chairman Pak-France Friendship Group in French Senate was the Chief Guest, who cut the cake along with the Ambassador to mark the occasion. Apart from him, Senators Cyril Pellevat and Jacky Deromedi, the members of Pak-France Friendship Group in French Senate also attended the reception and cake cutting ceremony. The

reception was also attended by Diplomats, Intellectuals, Researchers, Members of French Media, Scholars and Others, apart from Pakistani Origin French Nationals.

Pakistan Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Brussels

[info]Copy of Original Press Release which can be located at http://mofa.gov.pk/pr-details.php?mm=MzU3Mg,, [/info]

We are deeply saddened to learn about the bomb explosions in Brussels at Zaventem Airport and Maalbeek Metro Station, which have caused loss of precious lives and injured scores of people. Pakistan sympathizes and offers its condolences to the bereaved families and the Belgian Government and prays for the speedy recovery of those injured in the terrorist attack.

Pakistan condemns this terrorist act in the strongest terms and expresses solidarity with the Government and the people of Belgium. Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation.

Islamabad
22 March 2016

 

‘Christmas Gala’ and Launch of Churches of Pakistan

 

[quote style=”1″] Holding of this Christmas Dinner is not only a gesture of solidarity with our French friends, but also with Pakistani Christians living in France.[/quote]

A grand Christmas Gala and book launching was held by the Embassy here this evening. It was first ever Christmas related event that was held by the Embassy of Pakistan here in Paris. Senator Jean-Claude Boulard was the Chief Guest of the event. Speaking on the occasion, the ambassador of Pakistan in France Mr. Ghalib Iqbal said that holding of this Christmas Dinner is not only a gesture of solidarity with our French friends, but also with Pakistani Christians living in France.

[notice]Minorities are free to go to their mosques or temples. Religion of a citizen has nothing to do with the affairs of the state. [/notice]

During his speech the ambassador highlighted the basic principles of the rights given to Pakistani minorities by its constitution. He quoted from Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who unequivocally declared that minorities are free to go to their mosques or temples. Religion of a citizen has nothing to do with the affairs of the state. He said that by holding this event we are sending a message across that we share the moments of joy and festivity with our Christian brethren. He said that Pakistan has been fighting terrorism and extremism with all its commitment and might. He reminded that Pakistan has lost thousands of lives and has suffered losses of billions to its economy in this war.

On this occasion, at ambassador’s announcement, one-minute silence was observed to express solidarity with the victims of recent terror attacks in Paris.

The leaders of Pakistani Christians community in France also spoke on the occasion. They appreciated and expressed their gratitude of the embassy for holding this event. Variety of Pakistani foods was served to the guests. National anthems of Pakistan and France were played. Christmas songs were presented by the children, women and elders together. Senator Jean-Claude Boulard also spoke on the occasion. He appreciated the holding of this dinner. He acknowledged the sacrifices of Pakistan in eliminating terrorism and extremism. He also spoke about strong bilateral relations between France and Pakistan and expressed his confidence that they will continue to grow further in coming days.

[notice]This beautiful book containing the photographs of some majestic and historic churches of Pakistan is our gift to the whole Christian World. [/notice]

Later, the French version of “Churches of Pakistan”, a book about the churches of Pakistan was launched. Originally, this book was published in English. Senator Jean-Claude Boulard, Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal, Bishop Cardinal Pascal Gallnisch and Francois Piccard of France 24 TV cut the inaugural tape. The ambassador said that this beautiful book containing the photographs of some majestic and historic churches of Pakistan is our gift to the whole Christian World. The Senator and other guests were over-joyed by the presentation of the book. The event was largely attended by members of Christian community living in France, notables from various walks of French life, media and officers and staff of the embassy.    ​

The President of Pakistan condemned Paris Terror Attacks

[quote style=”1″] The Terrorists are enemies of humanity and they have no religion.[/quote]

President of Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in France and expressed solidarity with the people and Government of France. The President stated that terrorists are enemies of humanity and they have no religion. The President said that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He stated that Pakistan has also been a victim of terrorism and it can understand the pain of people affected by terrorism in any part of the world. The President extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and prayed for speedy recovery of the injured in terrorist attacks in Paris. The President said that international community would have to adopt a joint and effective strategy to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Condolence Remarks by PM at French Embassy

[quote style=”1″]I am really sad to hear about the terror attacks in France. The brutal attack by the terrorist is tragedy. [/quote]

November 17, 2015: The Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif visited the Embassy of Republic of France in Islamabad today. He was received by the French Ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Mrs. Martine DORANCE. 

The Prime Minister shared his views on the sad terrorist incident, passed heartfelt condolences and expressed solidarity with the Government and People of France. While recording his statement in the Condolence Book placed at the French Embassy the Prime Minister wrote:-

[quote style=”1″ author=”signed”]I am really sad to hear about the terror attacks in France. The brutal attack by the terrorist is tragedy. We are raising voice against this incident. We had been victim of similar attacks in our country.However by the grace of God we gradually got rid of this menace. We have launched comprehensive and successful operation against terrorist. We always condemn all kind of terrorism wherever it happens and we are ready to play our role and to provide whatever we can so that the whole mankind could be saved from this menace. [/quote]

 

Pakistan Elected to UNESCO’s Executive Board

Paris: November 11, 2015: Pakistan has been elected as  member of UNESCO Executive Board here this evening.

[info]Out of total of 183 votes Pakistan secured 135 votes.[/info] 

The Victory is seen as a recognition by the World of the principled stand taken by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Government on various International issues.
The Embassy of Pakistan, Paris undertook an extensive lobbying campaign for this election. As result of its election to UNESCO Executive Board member, Pakistan will get unique and exclusive opportunities to influence its policies towards Educational, Cultural and Social uplift, Safety of Journalists and Freedom of Expression around the Globe.

All Member Countries to Contribute Towards future UNESCO Agenda of Social Development

Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Trainings MR. Mohammad Baleegh ur Rehman has asked UNESCO to ensure that an effective oversight is kept on those countries which are to contribute towards financing of 2030 Education Agenda Framework for Action. He said this while making a statement at UNESCO forum of the said agenda. He said that all members being the inhabitants of planet earth have embarked on an ambitious and visionary journey of hope, aspirations and good wishes, which is expected to change the world for better. He said that most important among all goals is to ensure equitable quality Education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities.

He acknowledged that he goal is ambitious which talks of opportunities for learning, equity, quality and inclusiveness. In short, it talks of providing a balanced, a level playing field to all children and humans, at least in educating them, in equipping them with tool of knowledge and skills, enabling them to lead a better life and stay protected from menaces of extremism, crimes, poverty and other evils, he further said. He pointed out that Pakistan as a member state and as Chair of E-9 countries, has played an active role in finalizing EDUCATION 2030 – FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION. This framework is a forward looking and pragmatic document and do-able plan, he said.

He hoped and expected that while United Nations and UNESCO have an effective oversight on governments around the globe in seeing to its true implementation, an effective oversight is also kept on those countries who are to contribute as all of us know that without that adequate financing, it would not be possible to achieve the goals, unless Overseas Development Assistance, as envisaged and designed is realized.

EDUCATION 2030 – FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION is new UNESCO agenda for social development.

Earlier, he had a meeting with Director General UNESCO Irina Bokova. Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Ghalib Iqbal was also present during the meeting.

Sustainable Development Goals 2030 are Pakistan’s Top Priority

[quote style=”1″]Education is at the top of these goals as being perused by us at national level, Mr. Baligh ur Rehman[/quote]

Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Trainings Mr. Baligh ur Rehman has said that Pakistan stands fully committed to the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 of UNESCO so much so that we have declared and adopted these goals as our national development goals 2030.

[quote style=”1″]Provincial governments have been asked since 2013-14 to spend at least 25% of their budgets on education and that the Federal Government has increased its spending on education almost up to 50% from previous year.[/quote]

Education is at the top of these goals as being perused by us at national level, he remarked. He unequivocally declared that Pakistan strongly supports continued efforts of UNESCO in critically vital and important social sectors including education, culture and science. He paid glowing tributes to the UNESCO for shaping and finalizing education agenda for SDGs 2030. He further stated that provincial governments have been asked since 2013-14 to spend at least 25% of their budgets on education and that the Federal Government has increased its spending on education almost up to 50% from previous year. He reminded that Pakistan by donating US$ 10 Million to create UNESCO Malala Fund has contributed towards cause of girl’s education. He also pointed out that ending extremism has been one of the top four priorities of the government and that extremists and terrorists are losing while Malala mind-set in wining. He was making Pakistan’s National Statements at 38th Session of General Conference of UNESCO here this morning. Following is the full text of Pakistan’s National Statement as delivered on the floor of UNESCO at 38th Sessions of General Conference:
[quote style=”1″]It is indeed a privilege and a great honour to contribute to the discussion at the 38th session of the General Conference.[/quote]

While UNESCO celebrates its 70th anniversary, Pakistan admires, acknowledges and strongly supports the continued effort of UNESCO in the critically vital important sectors of education, culture and science, UNESCO’s role in shaping up and finalizing the education agenda for SDGs 2030 is truly commendable. A dynamic and strong organization has to be ever-evolving and should be reforming itself from within.
Pakistan wants to see UNESCO grow stronger and more effective. After finalizing the education agenda and adopting framework for action for SDGs 2030, now UNESCO has to prove its relevance and effectiveness through demonstrating results in its strategic areas of intervention, by not only keeping an oversight and mapping the progress towards achieving the relevant goals but has to be very effective in ensuring “financing for development” and O.D.A. targets, without which all of us know that it will remain a shattered dream.

Sustainable Development Goals 2030 are human centric targets. They talk of every child, every human being and our planet earth, without any discrimination. Pakistan fully stands committed to these goals so much so that we have declared and adopted these goals as our national development goals 2030. We have established cells at Foreign Office, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education for SDGs which are fully functional now while remaining relevant Ministries are in the process to do the same. Our vision, strategy and plans are being aligned with or around these ambitious goals.
The current federal and provincial governments of Pakistan inherited huge problems in education with millions of children who are out of school, high dropout rate, gender disparity and low literacy rate. Within first year of the governments i.e. in 2013-2014 we saw that all the provincial government were spending around quarter of their entire budgets, yes, around 25% towards education while Federal Government revised its spending by almost 50% than previous year. The results were impressive. The number of out of school children dropped by 10%, net enrolment went up by 7% literacy rate went up by 3.5%.
Honourable Director General in her opening address made an appeal for advancing education of every child especially girls. Girl child education is very close to our hearts. Pakistan has seen those terrible times when schools especially girl schools were being blown up by terrorists. All of us know the story of Malala Yousafzai, a noble laureate now, is a towering figure and is recognized throughout the globe as icon for education especially girls education. Pakistan by donating US$ 10 million has helped create a UNESCO MALALA FUND to be utilized globally for the cause of girls education that all nations should however small your contribution is, but it should be there. All of us must be supportive of the right cause.
Here, I must also share with you that beside education, ending extremism has been one of the top four priorities of the government. Now, alhumdulillah, after impressive ongoing military operation, legislation and other measures, the extremist elements have either been taken out or are on the run. Incidents of terrorism and bomb blasts have been reduced to almost zero. The areas where schools were being blown up or evacuated is now witnessing that new schools are being built.
Extremists and terrorists have lost and Malala mind-set has won. Yesterday I witnessed the impressive ceremony for the award of UNESCO AVICENNA PRIZE FOR ETHICS IN SCIENCE. I congratulate UNESCO for duly recognizing and highlighting importance of ethics in science which is much needed. I would also like to thank the government of Islamic Republic of Iran for co-sponsoring the prize. Here I would like to congratulate the winner of the prize, DR. ZABTA KHAN SHINWARI who is an accomplished Pakistani scientist, for making us all proud of him and his achievements which are now being recognized globally.
I would also like to draw to attention to the International Convention (1970) on the protection of cultural heritage, and many of our cultural heritage items have been illegally sold abroad.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, in the end, let me emphasize that the very purpose of this august gathering is to streamline international cooperation, bring about solidarity, promote tolerance and understand and respect others’ point of view, to share good practices and synergies.
[quote style=”1″]These goals of human development cannot be achieved, even if a single nation, or country or a human being is left behind. No one should be allowed to stay behind for lack of resources or bad governance or anything else.Let us stand united for a common goal of a better future, a better world.[/quote]

Pakistan’s Martyrs hononured at Arc de Triomphe

 

[textblock style=”2″]It was for the first time that this historic monument became host to honor the Pakistan’s martyrs on War Against Terrorism.[/textblock]

Paris; October 5, 2015: An emotional crowd of school children, Pakistani community residing in France, members of French community and a vast majority of tourists gathered this evening to honor the Pakistan’s martyrs of War on Terror in an impressive ceremony organized at Arc de Triomphe. It was built by Napoleon to honor the French Soldiers fighting for the supremacy of the French Empire, and is located at the center of a dodecagonal configuration of twelve radiating avenues. It was for the first time that this historic monument became host to honor the Pakistan’s martyrs on War Against Terrorism.

The Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Ghalib Iqbal laid the wreath to mark the tribute to the martyrs who laid their life for the peace of world. The ceremony marked the end of 50th Defence Day celebrations in France.

Accompanied by the French Veterans, a large gathering marched towards the venue preceded by Pakistan, France, Joint Staff and Services flags. Amid heavy rain and wind, the crowd displayed great enthusiasm. Children and women waving flags of Pakistan and France welcomed the Ambassador and the French General of Guard Ceremony at the venue. A smartly turned out French military band played to mark the beginning of the ceremony. A veteran officer, laid wreath on the grave of Unknown Soldier to pay homage to French Martyrs.

[quote style=”1″ ]Despite being a victim of Terror, Pakistan will continue its War against Terror with the help and support of friends like France.[/quote]

The selection of French national monument to honor Pakistan’s martyrs signifies the commitment of Pakistan and France to the cause of peace and freedom of the world. Military band played the National Anthems of Pakistan and France as the Ambassador rekindled the Eternal Flame at the grave of Unknown Soldier. While recording his impressions in Visitors’ Book, the Ambassador wrote that despite being a victim of Terror, Pakistan will continue its War against Terror with the help and support of friends like France.