Political Consultations Forum constituted to enhance ties with Denmark

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Fawad addresses rally in Copenhagen, condemns Indian forces for worst atrocities in IHK
Zubair Qureshi
Copenhagen
Federal Minister for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry on the eve of Independence Day led and addressed a rally of around 5,000 Pakistanis here in Denmark who had gathered to express solidarity with the Kashmiri men, women and children in the backdrop of recent Draconian legislation by the Indian parliament aimed at changing the status of Jammu & Kashmir. While addressing the Pakistani community, Fawad Chaudhry said Indian control over the valley could not last long as there was a growing realization in the world that Kashmiri people were being deprived of their civic and democratic rights.
The occupying Indian forces are not only denying the Kashmiris fundamental human rights but their connection to Internet and other sources of information is also severed, he said.
Later, in an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Fawad Chaudhry said he had arrived in Copenhagen on the invitation of the Pakistani diaspora (around 30,000 Pakistanis live in Denmark) to participate in the Independence Day celebrations and to condemn India on its Independence Day that was being observed by the Pakistani community as Black Day because of Aug 5 unilateral change in status of Jammu & Kashmir.
Our government is pretty clear in its stance and Prime Minister Imran Khan too in his address to the Kashmir Legislative Assembly made it clear that ‘every brick will be countered with stone.’
Fawad Chaudhry urged Pakistani community living in Denmark to end differences and adopt a unified stance. “Our differences weaken our stand and provide the enemy to take advantage of it,” he said.
While praising the efforts of the Pakistani ambassador in Denmark Syed Zulfiqar Gardezi, Fawad Chaudhry said he had taken a number of initiatives to bring the Pakistani community on one platform besides expediting trade, culture, business-to-business and people-to-people relations between Denmark and Pakistan.
About Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of a welfare state, Fawad Chaudhry said in order to accomplish it we needed to learn from Denmark’s taxation system. “If you want to see Pakistan a welfare state, you will have to act responsibly. In a population of 220 million, only 1.4 million are paying taxes and in that too, 0.7 million are paying direct tax,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s economic team is taking a number of steps to enhance tax net and if in the next five years, we have 10 million taxpayers, most of our issues will be resolved,” said Fawad Chaudhry.
Later, Ambassador Zulfiqar Gardezi while giving an overview of Denmark-Pakistan relations said trade balance between the two countries was in Pakistan’s favour. The total trade volume between Pakistan and Denmark hovers around US$300 million and share of Pakistan’s exports was around US$ 163 million while our imports from Denmark are around US$137 million. Last year we saw an increase of around 10 million in Pak exports’ value owing largely to change in dollar value against rupee.
Ambassador Gardezi’s ‘mango diplomacy’ (Pakistan’s mango festival earlier this month) outside the City Hall has paid off and Danish people are taking interest in Pakistan’s food and culture. Earlier, the Pakistani embassy also held Qawwali Festival to attract the Danes towards Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage.
To a question, Ambassador Gardezi said they were regularly observing Kashmir Solidarity Day and Kashmir Days. In 2017 only two months after taking over the responsibility as head of the Pakistani mission in Denmark, we organized an International Kashmir Conference in the Danish Parliament’s building that was addressed by President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan, said Ambassador Gardezi.
Pakistani community is making great contributions in the Danish society and for the first time a Pakistan origin Danish Sikandar Siddique is elected to the Parliament of Denmark, he said. Another Pakistani Abbas Rizvi who lost only by 500 or so votes is nominated as alternate MP while Nadeem Farooq is a Member of the European Parliament, he told.
Another big achievement of the ambassador and his team is approval of dual nationality for the Pakistani community. Denmark is the 18th country to allow dual nationality to the Pakistanis.
Pakistan embassy in Copenhagen is also examining room for new engagements and enhancing the old ones like establishment of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) Forum last year and various exchange prorgrammes, he said. Gardezi has also held meetings with Danish leaders in political and trade sectors to win respectively support for Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and to attract investment.