National Day Message by Mr. Omer Manzoor Malik, Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Bulgaria 

Dear friends and compatriots,

Pakistan would be celebrating its 75th Independence Day on 14 August 2021. On this occasion, I extend my heartiest felicitations to all Pakistanis, especially the Pakistani Diaspora living in Bulgaria, North Macedonia and the European Union.

This day is of utmost significance toall of us as it reminds us of the unparalleled sacrifices rendered by our forefathers, in protecting and safeguarding our religious, cultural and social identities, through realization of the dream of a separate homeland. The day also reminds us of the very basic objectives that led to creation of an independent Muslim state.

Pakistan came into existence on this day in 1947 as a result of continuous and persistent struggle by great leaders like Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and vision of legendary poets like Allama Iqbal. On this day, wealso pay tribute to those sons of the soil who sacrificed their lives while protecting ideological and geographical boundaries of the motherland and kept aloft the banner of its freedom.

Pakistan, which literally means "the land of pure", is a country situated in South Asia. It has been home to several important civilizations like Indus Valley and Gandhara. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a population of around 215 million. It has sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is a nuclear power, being the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have this status.

Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector, and a growing services sector. Its economy is the 22nd largest in the world in terms of purchasing power and the 45th largest in terms of nominal GDP. It has been consistently ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle classes.

Pakistan has also been in highlights for its fast developing tourism market for quite some time now. In 2019, one of the most famous travel magazine of the US "Traveler by Condè Nast" listed Pakistan as one of the top tourist destinations for 2020. The magazine cited several reasons from scenic and mesmerizing tourist attractions to presence of taller peaks (more than 22,965 ft) in Pakistan than China and Nepal combined.

Pakistan and Bulgaria enjoy friendly relations, which were established in 1965. The two countries enjoy commonality of views on important regional and international issues and continue to support each other’s candidatures in the UN and other multilateral fora. The focus of our bilateral relations these days, in addition to cultural and educational cooperation, is on strengthening of our economic and trade relations. In this regard, I am happy to report that Pakistan’s export to Bulgaria registered an impressive increase of 46.21% in 2020-21. Similarly, Bulgaria’s export to Pakistan is also witnessing a steady rise.

The Embassy of Pakistan, in collaboration with Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and relevant organizations in Pakistan, is working on a number of proposals to further enhance this relationship by establishing B-2-B linkages, including by activation of Pakistan-Bulgaria Joint Business Council and establishment of Pakistani Products Display Centre in World Trade Centre Interpred in Sofia. I would like to encourage the business community in Bulgaria to look towards Pakistan, which enjoys GSP+ status in the European Union (allowing duty-free imports in the EU). The Embassy remains available to them for any possible assistance.

There are approximately 200+ students studying in different universities of Bulgaria, especially in the medical field. They, along-with Pakistanis working in Bulgaria, continue to play a very proactive role in strengthen our educational, cultural and people-to-people contacts.

The photo is provided by the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Bulgaria. On it: Mr. Omer Manzoor Malik, Charge d'Affaires a.i. of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Bulgaria