Pakistan To Open Embassy, Cultivate Trade

Pakistan is in the process of open­­ing an embassy in Phnom Penh that will conduct relations with Cam­bo­dia that have so far been handled through the Pak­is­tani Embassy in Bang­kok.

Charge d’Affaires and future Pakistani ambassador Nisarullah Baluch said that he hoped the first Pakistani Embassy in Cambodian would officially open on March 23—Pakistan’s national day.

The opening will be marked by a trade exhibition of Pakistani surgical instruments and pharmaceutical products, Baluch said, adding that in terms of trade there was much potential for commerce to grow be­tween the two countries.

“Cambodia has a lot of potential—untapped, huge potential,” Bal­uch said in an interview Sat­urday.

The opening of the embassy in Phnom Penh is part of Pakistan’s new “Look East” policy and its new focus on building closer relations with Asean, he added.

Up to now, Pakistani trade has mostly focused westward with one fifth of its exports—estimated last year at $14 billion—going to the US, according to US Central In­tel­ligence Agency data.

On the other hand, trade with Asean amounts to approximately $7 million, most of it in exports from Pakistan, Baluch said.

Today, Pakistan is building closer relations with Asean nations both for economic and political reasons, Baluch said, noting that in the past Asean was “a part of the world we had never explored.”

“The world is now a world of friends. Those countries who will survive are countries with friends,” be they superpowers or small nations, he said.

During his visit to Cambodia in April 2004, then Pakistani prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jam­ali offered the government a $10-million long-term, low-interest loan.

Details still are being negotiated, but this line of credit should be used for irrigation projects, Baluch said.

During the visit, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Jamali signed a cooperation agreement between the two countries, which included joining forces to fight terrorism.

A career diplomat, Baluch has worked in China, Iran, Canada and Bahrain.



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