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Pak expats celebrate I-Day with zeal
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 08 - 2013

Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia celebrated their country's Independence Day on Wednesday with zeal and fervor. Simple ceremonies were held in different parts of the country to mark the occasion.
The day started with flag-hoisting ceremonies held simultaneously at the Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah.
Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan unfurled the national flag at a largely attended ceremony held at the embassy building in Riyadh.
Addressing the community, Khan said Pakistan continues to play its important role in the global community. “Our efforts for the maintenance of peace and security in the world are appreciated worldwide. We are also one of the largest contributors to the United Nations' peacekeeping forces around the globe.” He expressed pride in his country's special relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“Based on the solid foundations of Islamic identity, a shared heritage, commonality of perceptions on international issues and mutual goodwill at the public level, these relations continue to gain strength with each passing day,” Khan said.
“The relationship is also nurtured by the special love and reverence that the people of Pakistan have for Saudi Arabia, the holy land. The government and people of Pakistan also have profound love and respect for Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, the royal family and the government and people of Saudi Arabia,” he added.
In Jeddah, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and Consul General Aftab Ahmed Khokher jointly unfurled the flag.
“The Pakistan National Day reminds us of the commitment our forefathers made to make Pakistan a strong, prosperous and progressive country,” Khokher said.
He said as ambassadors of the country, all expatriates have to keep the Pakistani flag high for they love the country more compared to Pakistanis back home.
He urged the Pakistani community to be united and disciplined and work hard for the development of both the Kingdom and Pakistan.
Several Pakistanis living in Jeddah, Makkah, Taif and adjacent cities attended the ceremony.
Minister Iqbal congratulated all Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia on the auspicious occasion. He said Pakistanis are a patriotic people who are “not only resilient but hardworking and intelligent. Our forefathers gave us Pakistan as a homeland and the government in the country will give a bright and promising future to the new generation.”
The minister said every Pakistani has to work day and night for the economic transformation of the country. “Unfortunately, for the last 14 years no sustained efforts were made for economic planning. As a result, we failed to develop our economic relations, even with those countries with whom we have excellent political and diplomatic relations.”
Quoting Saudi officials, he said Pakistan has unparalleled historical and political relations with the Kingdom but the economic relations are not commensurate with this reality. Exports from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia stand at $400 million, which are very low. These exports are only 5 percent of the exports from India, he added.
Iqbal said the new government was taking steps to market “Made in Pakistan” and expect to achieve the benchmark of $3-4 billion worth of exports in next two to three years.
He said the government would launch by Dec. 31 its Vision 2025 program, which will provide a solid roadmap to development in socioeconomic sectors.
The minister said the new government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was “all set to lead the country on a path to progress, development and prosperity by taking proper decisions, not populist decisions as the present situation warrants.”
Earlier, the national anthem was played and messages of the President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif were read out by the consul general. Patriotic songs were also played.
Several Saudi newspapers published special supplements on the occasion.

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