H.E. Mr. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri
Message from High Commissioner for Pakistan H.E. Mr. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri on the National Day of the Commonwealth of Australia
I would like to extend heartfelt felicitations to the Government and the people of Australia on the joyous occasion of the National Day of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Pakistan and Australia have close and historic relations dating back to the late 19th century. Over the years, our friendly ties have evolved into a multifaceted relationship underpinned by mutual respect, shared understanding, membership of the Commonwealth, Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, passion for Cricket, and a large presence of Pakistani students and Diaspora in Australia.
Today, the 100,000 strong Pakistani Diaspora is significantly contributing to the cultural diversity of Australia, while actively participating in and enhancing its socioeconomic development. Pakistani Diaspora also serves as a living bridge between our two countries.
The two countries maintain regular high-level contacts to enhance and explore new avenues of cooperation. In 2022, the largest-ever Australia-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group was established in the 47th Parliament of Australia. The Group's composition, with representation from both Houses, underpins the importance of parliamentary cooperation between the two countries.
Over the years, our bilateral trade and investment have been on an upward trajectory, with the trade in goods and services reaching US$ 805 million (Jan-Sep) in 2023. The potential for growth in trade and investment is vast, especially in agriculture, renewable energy, mining, science and technology, food processing, and IT sectors. The complementarities of our economies present ample opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration.
We have several Australian companies in Pakistan including Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) with interests in infrastructure development projects like dams and highways; Prior Lite involved in producing electrical switches; Gloria Jeans which manages coffee retailing outlets in Pakistan and Sustainability which provides management consultancy services. Some smaller Australian companies have also invested in the dairy and meat processing sectors in Pakistan. We hope that more Australian companies will invest in Pakistan in the coming years and benefit from our large consumer base and growing economy.
Australia's appeal as an educational destination is evident with over 20,000 Pakistani students enrolled in various universities across Australia. We aim to strengthen cooperation through university-to-university collaborations, student and faculty exchanges, vocational training, and joint research partnerships.
Our defence relations, dating back to 1910, have flourished over the years, marked by regular exchanges, training programs, and high-level dialogues. These interactions contribute to the shared goal of regional and global peace and security.
Cricket, a shared passion, continues to be a strong cultural link. The recent cricket test series and exchanges between our national teams reflect the enduring spirit of sportsmanship that unites our nations.
Pakistan values its friendly ties with Australia and remains committed to enhancing cooperation across all areas of mutual interest. As we celebrate Australia Day, may the Government and the people of the Commonwealth of Australia continue to prosper, and may our enduring friendship thrive for years to come.
Long live Pakistan-Australia friendship!