By Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Ambassador of Pakistan in Germany
In a world of converging interests, it has become essential for states to harness synergies for the benefit of their peoples. This interdependence, irrespective of the level of development of countries, has become the need of the hour, as the world comes together to address and ameliorate the social and economic chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is in the spirit of convergence and interdependence that both Pakistan and Germany accord heightened significance to the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. A flurry of activities has been planned to commemorate this special year.
These activities formally kickstarted with the visit of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, to Berlin from 11-13 April 2021 and was reciprocated soon after by the German Foreign Minister on 28-29 April 2021. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan’s visit to Berlin took place after nine years and was an effort to re-energize the longstanding bilateral ties, while turning a new page with diversified and meaningful cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, technology transfer, education, health, legal migration, climate, energy, and culture.
Germany has emerged as an attractive destination for students from Pakistan, especially those interested in higher studies. Currently more than 5,000 Pakistani students are studying in various educational institutions throughout Germany. Since 2004, the cooperation between Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has translated into more than 300 young Pakistani academics gaining doctorates at German universities.
These PhDs are now bringing expertise to teaching and research across various universities in Pakistan, enriching its educational environment and bringing diversity to the university life in Germany. Global dynamics have undergone a major transformation in recent years, necessitating candid exchange of views and discussions between German and Pakistani leadership on regional and international events that continue to impact and shape our future.
The vital role of Germany in the European Union is universally acknowledged as is its visibly proactive role at the global level. The recent visits by the two Foreign Ministers and the previous visits of the German Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in January 2020 and of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in March 2019 are testimony to the breadth and depth of our relationship.
Simultaneously Pakistan is playing a constructive and responsible role, especially in its challenging neighborhood, to ensure peace and prosperity. This role acknowledged and appreciated by the international community has been especially instrumental in facilitating the Afghanistan peace process. In sync with its constructive engagement on regional and international issues, deepening economic collaboration through increased trade and investment is a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The recent visit of the Foreign Minister and other upcoming engagements and interactions for the year have this objective at their core. Germany is Pakistan’s fourth largest trading partner globally, there is however a need to diversify this cooperation for the benefit of both Germany and Pakistan.
Cooperation in the fields of energy & power, vaccines, transfer of technology, agriculture, technical training exchanges, legal migration etc. are some of the areas that would provide opportunities for substantive engagement on both sides. It is hoped that recent high-level visits and exchanges in near future would set in motion a series of substantive activities leading to the visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Germany. It is important that while we make efforts to bolster our cooperation in recent times, we should not forget that Pakistan’s relations with Germany are augmented by historical linkages, as our revered national poet, Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, lived and studied philosophy in Heidelberg and Munich.
Iqbal’s deep admiration for Germany, its people and its literary culture resonate in his poetry and also amongst the people of Pakistan. His work reflects the German influence, especially the poem dedicated to river Neckar, Heidelberg. There is an Iqbal-Ufer (Iqbal Embankment) in Heidelberg and a plaque in Munich to commemorate Allama Iqbal, the poet of the east. There is an Allama Iqbal Fellowship at South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, which is considered extremely significant and the Institute has time and again expressed its appreciation regarding the deputation of Pakistani scholars.
Being alma mater of our national poet, the Iqbal Chair at Heidelberg University carries immense significance for Pakistan. I am hopeful that my Mission’s efforts would be instrumental in providing the much-needed impetus to deepen and strengthen the existing ties for the benefit of both the countries through substantive economic, educational, scientific and cultural exchanges.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the Federal Republic of Germany: https://pakemb.de
Photography by Embassy of Pakistan in Germany