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१४ सोमबार, जेठ २०८१17th April 2024, 11:33:48 am

Nepal-Pakistan Relations: A Shining Example

१० शनिबार , चैत्र २०८०२ महिना अगाडि

Nepal-Pakistan Relations:
A Shining Example

On the Occasion of the 84th National Day of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:
Nepal-Pakistan Relations: A Shining Example of Selfless Friendship
“A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed!” Nepal-Pakistan relations are truly based on this proverb! In 2015 April, Pakistan extended its support and solidarity by sending rescue teams with food items and relief materials to the badly affected people of Nepal by the Mega Earthquake. Again In 2017, Pakistan extended USD 1 million in open-hearted help for the rehabilitation of flood victims of Tarai and the Line of Credit to Nepal of USD 5.00m and more. Again, on 18 June 2021, the Nepal-Pakistan Friendship and Cultural Association in collaboration with the Embassy of Pakistan distributed relief materials to the people of Nepal hit hard by the prohibitory orders imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. On 29 June 2021, Pakistan provided financial assistance of Rs. 44.3 million to Nepal for the prevention, control, and treatment to Covid affected people. On 12 August 2021, “Made in Pakistan: medical equipment consisting of 30 Ventilators and 30 CPAP Breathing Equipment worth over 19 million Nepalese Rs. were handed over to Nepal in its fight against COVID-19. In the same way, Nepal also extended its humanitarian donation to the flood victims people of 
These prove that “A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed!  
On the above historical facts and backgrounds, I, on behalf of the Nepalese people dedicated to strengthening the friendship with the Islamic People’s Republic of Pakistan, extend our warm congratulations and best wishes for peace, development, and prosperity to the friendly people of Pakistan while marching ahead to defend its national integrity, sovereignty, and high prestige in the world community and would like to dedicate the following article of diplomatic relations and true friendship with the Nepalese people to mark the glorious 84th anniversary of the National Day of the friendly people of Pakistan.
Congratulations and Best wishes on the 84th National Day to the Government and friendly people of the Islamic People’s Republic of Pakistan.
After establishing diplomatic relations between Nepal and Pakistan on March 20, 1960, a protocol on establishing a residential Embassy was signed in 1962 and His Excellency Ambassadors were exchanged in 1963. Since then, till today, both countries have been enjoying relationships based on selfless friendship, active cooperation, mutual respect, goodwill, understanding, respect for the objectives of the UN Charter, and non-align foreign policy. Nepal and Pakistan are champions of Peace and believe in the peaceful settlement of all disputes. Besides these, there are so many elements that are playing a vital role in strengthening cordial relations between Nepal and Pakistan.
Both Nepal and Pakistan are the founding members of the SAARC and share their common interest of cooperation leading to peace, prosperity, and stability for the well-being of the people in the SAARC region.
On the occasion of the 82nd National Day of Pakistan the then Rt. Hon. Vice-President of Nepal Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun has rightly pointed out “Nepal and Pakistan belong to South Asia and share many things in common in the field of social life, culture, and civilization. Both of these nations belong to the United Nations, SAARC, Non-aligned Movement, and other regional and international forums holding similar views and approaches on many issues of common concern. Pakistan has always shown respect to the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nepal and steadfastly supported peace and development in Nepal.” 
The most important thing is that our relationships are not affected by religion and internal politics. At the time of the Hindu Kingdom in Nepal and Islam state religion in Pakistan, both people enjoyed deep friendship embracing each other and cooperating brotherly, which is continuing and friendship is deepening in the secular state, Nepal under the constitution of 2015 A.D. Pakistan has preserved Buddhism which has served as the spiritual bridge between the two nations. Lord Buddha who spread the light of knowledge and the message of peace worldwide, was born in Nepal and similarly, Nepal has respected and protected the Muslim community. Muslim people freely practice their religion and traditions in Nepal.
High-level visits between Nepal and Pakistan have added perfume to the golden relationship. Starting from the special visit of the President of Pakistan His Excellency Ayub Khan in 1963, the Prime Minister’s level visits from Pakistan to Nepal in 1994, 2014, and 2018 have always enhanced bilateral relations and close friendship.
A Foreign Secretary level Nepal-Pakistan Bilateral Political Consultation Mechanism was established to review the bilateral relations. The fourth meeting of the consultation mechanism was held on 25 February 2020 in Islamabad. The meeting reviewed the status of bilateral cooperation and agreed to further enhance the relationship between the two countries in the areas of trade, tourism, education, sports, culture, and people-to-people relations.
People-to-people relations have added one more brick to our increasing relationship. The historic success of the climbing of the second highest mountain in the world – Pakistan’s Mount K-2 (8611m,) on 16th January 2021 by the 10 Nepalese mountaineers is a golden example of our true friendship.
Both countries have kept their ties on high priority and were able to sign agreements to reciprocate the “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) status of importance for developing trade and cooperation. In 1963 Pakistan agreed to provide Nepal with free trade access and transport facilities through the port of Chittagong in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Both countries also entered into a cultural agreement in May 1970, which aimed at promoting cultural relations, establishing inter-university relations, and cooperation between Radio and Television, followed by a MoU on the implementation of the Cultural Exchange in May 1994. An Air Link Agreement also concluded in 1976. The Nepalese Consulate General Office was established in Karachi in 1975, which was another notable example of deepening friendship.
Nepal and Pakistan concluded a trade agreement on 19th October 1962 and formed a Nepal-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission which contributed to the promotion of cooperation in trade and industry, agriculture, tourism, civil aviation, and technical assistance. They signed another extensive trade agreement in July 1982. Both countries are committed to SAFTA and SAEU. The total volume of trade between the two countries stands to be around US$ 4.8 m. Pakistan’s total exports to Nepal are worth US$1.631m while Nepal’s exports to Pakistan tally US$3.166m. Nepal’s exports to Pakistan include primarily raw hides and leather, gum, turpentine oils, contact lenses, textile items, and medical and surgical instruments. Nepal’s import from Pakistan consists of edible fruits and nuts, dates, ginger, saffron, turmeric, thyme, bay leaves, curry and other spices, electro-medical instruments and appliances, etc. Both countries have recently stepped up efforts to promote bilateral trade, especially in textiles, oilseeds, extraction of oil, and tourism. The Joint Business Council (JBC) formed in November 1996 and is composed of the Federation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) are doing their best to increase the volume of trade and transit. Similarly in 2005, the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) made agreements with Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore Chambers of Commerce and Industries. The Trade Agreement of 19th October 1962 for a grant of the “Most Favored Nation” treatment by one country to the other in matters of commerce was renewed in 1982, 1984, and 2018, a milestone in deepening the economic relations.
Both countries concluded an important agreement in February 2009 in the field of Tourism. The result is that 5000 plus Pakistani tourists visit Nepal every year and people-to-people ties are increasing day by day. 
It is a very encouraging fact that Pakistan increased scholarship quotas for Nepal also in 2018 through the PTAP- Pakistan Technical Assistance Program. Pakistan under the PTAP provides annual scholarships to Nepal in Medicine, pharmacy, and Engineering. 500 Nepali students are undertaking higher studies in the fields of medical science, engineering, pharmacy information technology, social science, management, and mass communication in Pakistan. Pakistan also provides long and short-term training to the government officials of Nepal and the Nepalese Army officers. Pakistan has been extending support to Nepal in the fields of economy, education, and technology. It provides stipends to 15 to 25 Nepali students annually to pursue medical education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and engineering under PTAP which has greatly helped enhance the health sector of Nepal. Besides, some Nepalese students have been studying in the areas of humanities and business administration on a self-finance basis. Some courses to the Nepalese Army have been provided in MBBS. Around 1800 Nepali doctors have so far graduated from Pakistan. The Nepalese doctors who completed their degree in Pakistan and serving in Nepal, in fulfilling their moral and social responsibilities to the country, have been providing free health services at the time free health camps with free medicines organized by the Nepal-Pakistan Friendship and Cultural Association every year and from time to time. 
It is also notable that on 5th April 2021, the 9th Annual Ambassador of Pakistan Scholarship Program, some 550 Nepali students were awarded NRs. 10,000/- each to deserving bright students of government schools from across Nepal, which has enhanced people-to-people contact between the two countries especially in the field of education. Nepal-Pakistan Friendship T20 Cricket Tournament-2023; International Friendly Football match between Nepal and Pakistan on 16 November 2022; Pakistan’s National Table Tennis Team participating in the South Asian Championship-2022 in Kathmandu; 17th and 18th Free Medical Camp-2023 by Nepalese doctors graduated from Pakistan and inauguration of “Pakistan-Nepal Friendship Park” in Kathmandu are some memorable events to increase and strengthen the already existed cordial friendship between Nepal and Pakistan.
Nepal-Pakistan Friendship and Cultural Association in Kathmandu since its foundation in December 1961 and the Nepal Friendship Group in Islamabad established around the same time are playing a vital role in deepening the friendship between our two peoples. Pakistan also with pleasure took part in the International Conference on Nepal’s construction and pledged support to Nepal.
I cannot conclude the article without mentioning the message of His Excellency Mr. Abrar H. Hashmi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic People’s Republic of Pakistan to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal –”Our two countries share the highest peaks in the world and hence have stakes in protecting delicate ecology of the Himalayas (Karakoram and Hindu Kush). Nepal and Pakistan enjoy a unique tapestry from geography to religious and civilization linkages. A rich heritage of Buddhism (and other religions) and cultural similarities have bound two people. We are glad to support Nepal in the fields of education, climate change, defense, banking, development, and other technical sectors. Pakistan wants to ensure its continued support to strengthen the cooperation in the days to come.”
Experiencing the past, Nepal and Pakistan have to do more ahead for cooperation, everlasting friendship, mutual trust, and respect at the regional and international levels for peace, development, and prosperity of the people. 
We the people of Nepal join hands with the friendly people of the Islamic People’s Republic of Pakistan to celebrate the 84th National Day, the national holiday of Pakistan, and extend our warm congratulations to the Government and the people of Pakistan with the best wishes to achieve fresh success in the days to come!

Sources: Interview and Message of H.E. Mr. Abrar H. Hashmi; 
Articles By: Prof. Dr. Mohan Lohani, Dr. Bishnu Hari Nepal, Mr. Sharad K. Shrestha.

-PR Pant, Journalist 
prpanta@yahoo.com