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National Day Message by H. E. Ms. Mariam Aftab, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Bulgaria

Dear friends and compatriots,

On the occasion of Pakistan Day on 23 March, I extend my heartiest felicitations to all Pakistanis, especially the Pakistani Diaspora living in Bulgaria, North Macedonia and the European Union. This year our celebrations take on a special significance as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our independence.

Pakistan Day is a time for us to remember and pay tribute to our forefathers whose boundless sacrifices resulted in the creation of our precious homeland, Pakistan, an independent state for the Muslims of the sub-continent. Pakistan came into existence on 14 August 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 that was expressed in the historic Pakistan Resolution adopted on 23 March 1940 in Lahore. On this day, we also pay tribute to those sons of the soil who sacrificed their lives while protecting the motherland and kept aloft the banner of its freedom.

Pakistan, which literally means "the land of pure", is a new country, rooted in ancient civilizations like Indus Valley and Gandhara. It is ethnically and linguistically diverse, with a population of around 215 million. It has a vibrant culture expressed in its colourful arts and crafts, evocative music, and a rich literature in Urdu, the national language, as well as all the regional languages. Pakistan is also home to unparalleled natural landscapes ranging from some of the highest mountains in the world, to the fabled deserts of Thar and Rohi, and pristine sand beaches in Sind and Baluchistan. The country is fast emerging as one of the most attractive tourist destinations, especially for those who want to experience natural beauty and explore unique historical and archeological sites.

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 and Bulgaria enjoy friendly relations. Diplomatic ties were established in 1965. The two countries hold a 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 state 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: H. E. Ms. Mariam Aftab, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Republic of Bulgaria