The following is a message by Pakistani Ambassdor to the Republic of Korea Murad Ali on the occasion of the National Day of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which falls on March 23, this year. - Ed.
I feel honored to greet the Pakistani nationals in South Korea on Pakistan Day. It was on March 23, 1940 that Muslims of South Asia resolved to carve out an independent Muslim state, under the dynamic leadership of our founder, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The struggle of independence resulted in the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947.
The land of Pakistan has been a cradle of ancient civilizations. With well developed cities, Indus Valley Civilization was contemporary to the Nile, Mesopotamia and Yellow River Civilizations. Over 2,000 years ago, Gandhara Buddhist Civilization flourished in northern Pakistan, with Taxila as a seat of Buddhist learning. Rev. Maranantha, famous Buddhist Monk, came from Pakistan in the 4th century and introduced Buddhism to the Korean Kingdom of Baekje. In the 8th century, the venerable Buddhist Monk Hyecho from Korea`s Silla Kingdom traveled to Pakistan and left a travelogue.
Pakistan and Korea established ambassadorial level relations in 1983. These relations have flourished with each passing year. The people of Pakistan greatly value these ties, and the leadership has paid visits to this Land of Morning Calm.
The landmark infrastructure projects completed with the help of South Korean renowned companies will always testify lasting relationship between Pakistan and the Republic of Korea. Thousands of Pakistani workers are contributing to the economic prosperity of Korea and providing lasting plank of friendship and cooperation between the two friendly countries.
The people of Pakistan gratefully acknowledge the humanitarian aid and relief assistance offered by the government and people of South Korea after the devastating October 2005 earthquake that hit northern areas of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir and the assistance rendered in the wake of Baluchistan earthquake in October 2008. South Korea is also part of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP), a forum to help to overcome its economic and fiscal crisis. President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-bak attended first Summit of FODP in New York in last September. This clearly reflects the bonds of fraternity which the two people cherish so much.
Pakistan and Korea closely coordinate and consult each other on various issues and support each other in various international organizations. In order to have sustained institutional contacts, the two countries are holding regular consultations to further explore the avenues of bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, commerce, culture and education.
Our bilateral relations have the strength of 28 bilateral agreements and MOUs. The two-way trade marked $l.11 billion during 2009. Recently Pakistan and South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in February in Seoul regarding traffic rights under the 1996 Air Services Agreement. Under the MOU, the designated airlines of the two sides will operate direct flights between Pakistan and South Korea. With the start of direct flight, I am sure that the people to people contacts as well as trade and economic relations between the two countries will further prosper in the coming years.
Over the past years, we have seen increasing Korean investment in the areas of energy, infrastructure development, mining, oil and gas exploration, telecommunication and food processing etc. Therefore, I am confident that the abiding ties of friendship that so happily exist between Pakistan and Korea will continue to grow, to the mutual benefit of our two peoples.
On this happy occasion, let me also wish the Korean people continued happiness, prosperity and success in the years to come.
Long Live Pakistan-Korea Friendship.