Sunday December 10, 2023

Pakistan safe, welcoming country: German envoy

By Our Correspondent
January 30, 2023

LAHORE:Educationist and analyst Syed Abidi recently met with new German Ambassador to Pakistan Alfred Grannas in Islamabad.

Talking to Syed Abidi, the ambassador said he was thrilled to be in Pakistan and found it very safe, and welcoming people as he had a chance to get around in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, and Ziarat in this short span of time. He said he was really impressed with the welcoming attitude, and feel very easy to settle down and adapt just like his home, and of course, he enjoyed Pakistani food and cuisine as well.

Answering a question on the ongoing bilateral relations between the two countries, Alfred Grannas said that a number of business and trade delegations had visited each other and the relations were growing well. We are hoping to build upon a huge development corporation portfolio which is also expanding in the direction and focus at climate change, risk management, and disaster management, that will further our 70 years of bilateral relations, the ambassador said.

To a question about Pakistani youth and students, the ambassador said he was very impressed with the determination and ambition he found among students which he considered as a real wealth that Pakistan should really count on. He agreed that there is a huge talent among the youth and Germany is open to welcoming those talented people if they wish to come to Germany, for which a process is available.

Abidi asked about the student mobility from Pakistan towards Germany, in comparison with the UK, USA, and other countries, stating that this could be further grown through increasing language and cultural centres. The ambassador, first of all, showed his satisfaction over the number of Pakistani students applying to study in Germany and said it had increased significantly over the years, mainly because of zero cost of tuition and high-quality education offered by German universities and more and more courses offered in the English language at each level.

Germany remains among the top countries that offers one of the most diversified and huge landscape that offers research, training and education with generous funding available for anyone across the world who wishes to study in Germany.

The ambassador said that he was pleased to see the common use of English language among Pakistani youth, and remarked that while German may be slightly difficult as compared to English, but not as difficult or inaccessible for people who could speak English. It is pertinent here to say that learning German is not compulsory, or a barrier particularly for postgraduate and research programmes, which are all offered in English language.

The ambassador said he was happy to see German students in an exchange programme that visited Pakistan, and added they would be ambassadors of Pakistan when they return to Germany–spreading the word that it is fully possible to come here and spend time at universities that are enriching and it’s so safe to be here.

Answering a question on student visa appointments, and delays that they experience in peak times, when they have completed the admission process, and are struggling to get in-time appointments, the ambassador said that he was fully aware of this. He added that this system had now been revamped, and all such students shall be prioritised on a case to case basis for their visa processing. He said they would ensure that they all receive their visas and travel in time to arrive at their respective universities. He said infrastructure was in place to meet such requirements and he agreed that ‘we need to adapt procedures to tackle the increasing number of applications than we used to in the past.’

To a question regarding the demand of high skilled workers that Germany needs, and particularly from non-EU countries, the ambassador said Germany needed skilled labour and Pakistan could be a possible source of that skilled labour. He added there were negotiations underway to streamline the facilities that make this migration process easier.

However, he was also mindful that this should not result as a big brain drain from countries that would need that talent themselves, and perhaps they should come back to their home countries after receiving training and international experience to contribute to the development of their respective countries.