Diplomatic viaduct between Pakistan and Belgium

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Belgium was one of the first countries in the world to recognize Pakistan’s independence. It opened its Embassy in Karachi in December 1948. Since then Belgium is continuously and without interruption been engaged in Pakistan. Sometime in 1954, Belgium and Pakistan signed a general visa waiver agreement which is still in place, but is now restricted to holders of only diplomatic passports. Several companies from Belgium have quickly understood the importance of Pakistan and over the last 65 years invested heavily in the country. For instance, Belgium built the first port in Gwadar in the 1980s. Belgium has also assisted Pakistan in all its hours of need, whether its devastations of the 2005 earthquake or 2010-2013 floods. This being said, that relations between two countries are based on common sense and action, not on rhetoric. These relations are matter-of-factly and geared towards concrete results. The embassy of Pakistan in Brussels tends to play an important role in strengthening relations between the two countries.
Pakistan has made huge sacrifices in war against terrorism. The sacrifices made were not only for the security of its own citizens but to make the entire world safe from the menace of terrorism and being the  frontline state it  suffered most in terms loss of human lives and material resources. Trade between Pakistan and Belgium has been growing steadily over the years, but there is still potential to maximise the trade and economic ties. Sector-specific measures are required to enhance the two-way commerce to the desired level. In 2015, the level of bilateral trade stood at $817 million, which increased to $1.22 billion in 2016. Increasing trends were witnessed both in imports and exports over the last two years, which led to a healthy transformation in bilateral trade. This all would have not been possible without the diplomatic support and backing which is indeed the foundation for building more inclusive relations. Pakistan is also very keen about the role of Europe in the world affairs particularly with reference to Pakistan, therefore the diplomats use to elaborate at different occasions that the political and economic engagement and cooperation between Pakistan and the European Union has been on constant rise. Growing trade potential between Pakistan and the countries is another important factor. Trade has been increased at a considerable pace in the wake of grant of GSP plus status to Pakistan. However there was a need to expand export basket of Pakistan through diversification and efficient methods of production, the commitment to work and punctuality have proven to be major contributors in the progress of European countries. Once we talk about cultural diversity and exchange, sometime back Pakistani food and cultural gala week in the European Parliament was organized by the Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels. The opening ceremony of the gala was attended by more than 500 participants comprising mainly of vice presidents, members of European Parliament, senior officials of European Commission, European Council and External Action Service, ambassadors, academics, businessmen and media.  Documentaries on the socio-economic development of Pakistan introduced the bright face of emerging Pakistan to the participants of the event. It is also very positive aspect that Pakistani Women diplomats are steadily gaining prominence in key world capitals, most notably in the European bloc where they hold key positions in leading EU member states. All of them are known for their competence and commitment. It is on merit that these senior women diplomats are where they are today, a fact their colleagues acknowledge unequivocally. However, the role of Pakistani women in diplomacy dates back to 1952 when Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan became the first woman to be appointed as ambassador. She served as Representative of Pakistan to the 7th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Ra’ana Liaquat was the first Asian woman to receive the United Nations Human Rights award. Hopefully this trend will further flourish in days to come in order to strengthen diplomatic ties with various countries.

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