Australian envoy says bilateral ties with Pakistan growing

Islamabad: Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson Monday said Australia’s bilateral ties with Pakistan were growing.

Addressing a gathering of think tanks and members of media at the Pakistan Institute of Development Studies, as her posting in Islamabad comes to an end, she reflected on Pakistan’s future, her experiences and Australia’s relationship with Pakistan High Commissioner Adamson said, “Our people-to-people links continue to grow with more than 60,000 Pakistani Australians who make a wonderful contribution to our vibrant and diverse culture. Pakistani Australians make up the largest of Australia’s Muslim communities. Our cricketing ties have always been a unifying passion for our two countries.”

Ms Adamson reiterated that Pakistan will celebrate its centenary in 2047 and the people and governments of Pakistan will need to make some major – and sometimes difficult – decisions to achieve this goal.

“I am confident that Pakistan has the capacity to reach that milestone as a prosperous, open, tolerant and inclusive upper middle-income country. The country’s youth bulge can be a demographic dividend that drives economic transformation. But achieving that requires a diverse set of reforms including improvements to the business environment and investment in first class infrastructure and education,” she added.

Talking about Australia’s strategic aid priorities in Pakistan, Ms Adamson shared, “Australia is helping Pakistan in efficient water management to improve agricultural productivity and climate change resilience. Our aid project in Pakistan focus on women’s economic empowerment which strengthens economic growth and increases the well-being of families and communities. Australia and Pakistan are also working together on human rights challenges as current members of the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

Ms Adamson said she is pleased to see more and more Australian and Pakistani companies doing business with each other with education leading Australia’s services trade in Pakistan.

“More than 13,000 Pakistanis are studying in Australia, acquiring skills and qualifications to pursue their dreams and contribute to Pakistan’s development. We have an active alumni network comprising private as well as thousands of scholarship awardees who have since the 1950s benefitted from Australia’s longstanding support programs for building up Pakistan’s human capital.”

High Commissioner reassured her successor Dr Geoffrey Shaw will continue to build on the multifaceted partnership and understanding between the two countries.

Ms Adamson is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, having served previously as Ambassador to Poland and Ambassador to Cambodia, before her appointment as the High Commissioner to Pakistan in 2015.