Embassy of Pakistan
Ambassador Sadiq's Remarks
on the Occasion of Pakistan Day Lunch
( 5 April 2010 )
Pakistan 's national poet, Dr. Iqbal called Afghanistan the heart of Asia . He said if Afghanistan is in turmoil, the whole continent of Asia will be in trouble.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share deep-rooted bonds of history, culture, geography and faith. We cherish common customs, languages, literature and heroes. We also have a common vision of peace and prosperity of our peoples and the region.
The National Day of Pakistan is celebrated on 23 rd March every year to commemorate Pakistan Resolution adopted in 1940 in Lahore , which envisaged a free Muslim state in South Asia .
A sovereign Islamic republic was created on 14 th August 1947 by the heroic struggle of Muslims. Our founding fathers had resolved to create an independent democratic state, where constitutionalism and rule of law would reign supreme.
Pakistan Day celebrations this year are particularly important for the nation of Pakistan as the unanimously adopted Constitution of 1973 - which was disfigured - is being fully restored to its democratic and inclusive spirit.
Afghanistan has an important role in the historic evolution that led to the creation of a Muslim state in South Asia . Our faith, culture, languages and attire - that made us a separate nation on the continent - all came from, or through, Afghanistan .
In this historic context it is no surprise that:
- Last year, 52,000 Afghan nationals crossed the border with Pakistan everyday. This number is likely to increase by about 10 percent this year.
- For 2010, Pakistani Missions in Afghanistan have geared up to issue quarter of a million multiple entry visas to Afghan nationals. Pakistan is issuing more visas to Afghan nationals than rest of the world combined.
- Over 3 million Afghan refugees continue to stay in Pakistan for last three decades. At the peak of refugee crisis this number was 5.5 million.
- Some 28,000 Afghans were educated in Pakistani universities and colleges in last thirty years. Even today, six thousand Afghan students are enrolled in various graduate and post-graduate programmes in Pakistan .
- About half a million refugee children attend schools in Pakistan .
- Pakistan is providing 2000 fully funded scholarships for Afghan students in ten professions ranging from medicine to IT to engineering to agriculture. The first batch of students under this programme has already joined the institutions of higher learning in Pakistan early this year.
- Pakistan is by far the largest source of training for Afghan youth in disciplines which provide building blocks of a modern society. Pakistan would like to do more for capacity building in Afghanistan .
- Pakistan is also engaged in a number of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan with particular focus on building universities and healthcare facilities.
- Pakistan is Afghanistan 's largest trade partner. More than 50 percent of Afghanistan 's total exports are sold in Pakistan . However, if exports through informal channels are added to the statistics, some three-fourths of the total Afghan exports are absorbed by Pakistan .
- The government of Afghanistan earns some half of its total revenue either from levies on transit trade through Pakistan or duty on imports from Pakistan .
The destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan are intertwined. Even the two most important threats we face today are common. On one hand, we are facing terrorism that threatens the fabric of our societies and stability of our states. On the other hand, the onslaught of alien cultures is threatening our ethos and identity as Muslims, as Afghans and as Pakistanis. We need to work together to protect both our states and our value system.
A number of positives in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations are ignored because it does not suite to some to acknowledge them. They even invest resources to keep them out of all discourse. But as they say in Pashtu:
There is another Pashtu proverb:
Pakistan-Afghanistan relations can neither be suppressed nor could the two nations be separated.
Similarly, mutual misunderstandings - which at times are unwisely left unaddressed - cannot overshadow this relationship for long as it is solidly based in common people, faith, values, culture, cuisine, attire, waters, mountains and deserts.
Pakistan is deeply committed to further enhancing ties with Afghanistan . We believe our two countries can build a lasting partnership based on the principles of non-interference and respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are committed to removing misunderstandings of the past and nurture an atmosphere of trust and confidence.
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