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March 13, 2017

Lebanon seeks to deepen relations with Pakistan: Ambassador Mona

National

March 13, 2017

Islamabad: Ambassador of Lebanon Mona el Tannir has said bilateral relations between Pakistan and Lebanon are consolidating over time. “The OIC standing committee on scientific cooperation (COMSTECH) shows the level of importance that Lebanon attaches to its relations with Pakistan being a very important country.”

The Lebanese ambassador expressed these views in an exclusive interview with this agency. She further said that there is a reciprocal support for the candidatures of both countries in different UN bodies and organisations. In addition, there is military cooperation between the two countries. Pakistan offers on gratis vacancies to the Lebanese Army for various training courses of the Pakistan Army in different training institutions and universities. Of particular mention is the National Defence University and Command and Staff College.  In addition, four officers are participating in short courses of the air force.

To a question, she said,General Michel Aoun has assumed charge of the presidency in Lebanon, after which the tourism industry of the country has flourished greatly, attracting a very large number of tourists.

More eyes are now focused on the beauty of the nature in Lebanon, which is an indication of the stability that prevails in the country. Ambassador of Lebanon said that Pakistani people have also started to undertake leisure trips to Lebanon to discover the heaven on earth.

Snow covered mountains, lavish green valleys, natural water streams and waterfalls, with distinct four seasons are a great tourist attraction. Additionally, hotels and restaurants of international standards that offer competitive rates and the hygienic Lebanese cuisines are well known the world over.

The Embassy in Islamabad is issuing scores of tourism visas to visit Lebanon and get firsthand information about the tourism there. “We are striving to cooperate with Pakistan in the field of tourism as it has the expertise and resources that can be utilised in promoting this sector in Pakistan,” she added.

In the field of education, she said, Lebanon has requested Pakistan for deputing Lebanese teaching staff to different universities of Pakistan who can make worthwhile contribution in the field of education. Lebanese teachers are very professional and have a vast experience of world’s education systems. “We hope to receive a positive response to our request,” she added.

Lebanon is also seeking to be enlisted in Pakistan Technical Assistance Programme offered by the Economics Affairs Division of the Ministry of Finance every year for awarding scholarships to Lebanese students in professional education (medical, engineering & pharmacy) as Pakistan offers qualitative education of international standard. We believe that coming days will witness more cooperation in this field.

To a question about cultural cooperation, she said, cultural relations between the two countries are not satisfactory, but the participation of our embassy in different cultural programs indicates our interest to increase these relations.

“We can enhance the cooperation between the universities so that educational and scientific relations are improved.  We can extend invitation to Lebanese cultural organizations to participate in Pakistani programs so that cultural relations see an improvement. Lebanon’s society is well aware of the Indus civilization; there are other areas of common ties between the both countries which can be enhanced through exchange of increased visits”.

Ambassador Mona said before she reached Pakistan she was very afraid and apprehensive because of what I heard and read, as is probably the usual case for most foreigners.

“Thankfully, after my arrival my impressions were totally changed because there was a vast difference from what I had heard and what I actually saw. I hope that the Pakistani media works hard to change these wrong perceptions and they must portray a positive and brilliant side of Pakistan instead of constantly highlighting a negative image. I feel honoured and proud to have been appointed as the Lebanon Ambassador to Pakistan. It is a country full of colours and vibrant culture, with superb food, handicrafts, music and especially the language. It is my fourth year here, and I have realized that the international media has been very unfair and wrongly portrayed Pakistan,” she said.

When I interacted with the people I sensed their genuine respect and affection towards me. They freely allowed me to mix in their culture and festivities, and extended their very warm hospitality to me, as result I felt at ease with everyone. In my view, it is impossible to feel like a foreigner in Pakistan, she added.

She said media can play a leading in developing positive impression among the general masses and change the views of foreigner about its land. I also request Pakistan government to take actions to change the negative picture portrayed by the international media and focus on promoting the beauty of the Pakistani land, she concluded.

 

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