Pakistan and Russia, in new phase of their relationship, have already built a substantially strong base for defense cooperation, and are now busy looking for avenues in building economic relationship on sounder lines. This was evident from the speeches made by the Russian consul general Aleksandr G Khozin and Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair at the reception held to celebrate the Day of Russia and 70 years of diplomatic relations with Pakistan earlier this week.
It was a grand evening, esteemed guests crowding the vast banquet hall of local 5-star hotel, and turned brilliant and shining by the presence of a powerful trade team from the Russian Federation’s cultural capital Saint-Peterburg Sergey N Movchan, who is also vice governor of the country’s second biggest city after Moscow. Welcoming the guest, a humble and highly courteous Aleksandr spoke of the yesteryears when ties in 70s were at the peak of popular aspirations, but suffered serious jolts in the 80s, but now again has begun to turn mutually beneficial.
Futile to recall that Pakistan’s air power, strengthened by the JF-Thunder 17 combat aircraft, had Russian engines, and built jointly by Chinese and Pakistani technologists, and today forms main strength for PAF, after F-16. ‘The Day of Russian, the national holiday reflects not only the major democratic and economic transformation that began over 25 years ago, but also the entire historical path of the Russian state which has already existed for over eleven centuries’, said Alkesandr. ‘The holiday takes our mind to major values of citizenship, true patriotism and selfless service to our Motherland that binds our multinational people and are handed on from generation to generation.
We should continue the national and spiritual traditions, understand their significance for resolving current problems’ emphasized the consul general, reminding the world that today’s Russia is deeply committed to peace and progress, not only of his own country, but of the world. Referring to ups and downs in bilateral ties, he frankly admitted that ‘we can not wipe gloomy pages off the history of our relations’ he said in the context of USSR invasion of Afghanistan and the resulting tension between Moscow and Islamabad.
Appreciating the Pakistani efforts of the military and political leadership to combat terrorism, he said that the current level of US dollars 541 million bilateral trade, must rise. Traders and business leaders of the two countries must make greater endeavour to help achieve that laudable objective The presence of the Saint-Petersburg delegation in Karachi was a pointer in that direction. Sergey Movchan , taking the podium next, spoke of much greater efforts to build trade and economic ties, hoping that similar delegation from Pakistan will visit his city, and help realize the dream of stronger economic ties.
Governor Zubair, spoke briefly but hoped that tension ridden history of the past will not be repeated again and the two countries will march ahead hand in hand to be closer friends, built on sounder lines of economic and cultural relationship that transcends the barrier from official to peoples level. A dance and orchestra team from saint Petersburg flown especially for the occasion presented glimpses of rich Russian cultural heritage to the great delight of the guests, who included business elite, and consul generals of Bahrien, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Switzerland, France, deputy head of mission of England, Japan, and China. Both Alekssandr and his lovely wife Valentina took great pains in looking after the guests, going from person to person to see that they were well looked after.