BARELY a day ago, Indonesia, world’s fourth largest state, biggest Islamic country, and third biggest democracy in the world, provided hints as to how a country, comprising 17000 islands, and having serious ethnic divide, can still maintain exemplary peace, and continue to march ahead on the road to progress. Its ambassador in Pakistan Iwan Suyudhle Amri in an eloquent speech at a luncheon meeting here, leaned heavily on facts and figures to prove that point.
My own visit to Indonesia about two years ago, convinced me beyond any shadow of doubt that different sects and religious communities, are assured of their rights, and are living in perfect harmony, and peace with each other. announced that from 11 to 15 October an exposition is being organized in Jakarta for which an impressive delegation of Pakistani businessmen, interested in bilateral trade or investment abroad, will be leaving here for Indonesian capital in the first week of next month.
The lunch, organized by consul general Dempo Awang Yuddie, was attended by eminent businessmen and industrialists, like Majyd Aziz, Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, and many others. The consul general in brief remarks Existence of South East Asia’ biggest mosque, masjid-e-istiqlal, capable of accommodating 1,50,000 devoted at main congregations of Friday or two eids, and across the road, just opposite to that a huge church instead of evoking religious fanaticism, remain living reminders as to how civilized people conduct themselves to be role model for those fighting on petty issues, or indulge in fanaticism to resort to killings or desecrating places of worship.
But these issues apart, Indonesia is well on road to glory. It does have problems, and serious ones, yet its president, an ordinary man, has initiated tremendous plans for investing in youth and preparing the younger generation for taking care of their country in days ahead. A huge programme of youth development is on for the last couple of years, whose result would soon be forthcoming.
In Pakistan for a little less than a year and a half Iwan, an articulate individual, mastering the art of diplomacy with remarkable perfection, in presentation, reminded the select audience that he had been to Karachi for five times during this short period. His job and that of his consul general in Karachi was to promote bilateral relations to pristine heights. In Fact he reminded his audience that Indonesia was among the first few countries to recognize Pakistan after its independence in 1947, and since then top level contacts at political and other levels have kept growing.
Their present trade volume at 1.1 billion US dollars, does not reflect the real potential, and should grow to 2.5 billion dollars annually. Pakistani imports are principally palm oil, but Indonesia has acquired a place of prominence and a meeting of joint committee was held in Jakarta on 11th July this year to promote bilateral economic ties. He said recently, the two countries have signed four different agreements for Kinnoon exports. Mangoes are yet another item to encourage exports from Pakistan, Unfortunately, a MOU signed with Pakistan in 2015 remained unimplemented. An Indonesian delegation is due in Karachi next month. These fast track exchanges do reflect the political will of the two countries to develop ties to satisfactory levels.
About Indoesian economy, he said that it is placed at number 9 in world ranking. The good luck about the country is that more than 50 percent of its population is less than or nearly 30 years of age. That hold bright future for the country. The future builders are being groomed to take over responsibilities in times to come. He felt happy that Pakistan has recovered from problems, recording 4.5 percent growth, likely to reach to over percent next year. Security situation has improved vastly which should encourage foreign investors including from Indonesia for investment in Pakistan, He said Pakistan can increase exports of its broken rice to Indonesia.