Pakistan and Thailand to strengthen bilateral relations: Prime Minister – Princess Maha Chakri thrilled by artefacts of Ghandhra Civilization

Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan was looking forward to broaden its relations with Thailand. He said that immense potential existed between the both countries in the areas of education, trade; investment, culture and the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirndhora would further cement the bilateral ties.

The Prime Minister expressed these views while talking to Princess Maha Chakri Sirndhora who met him at the PM House today.

The Prime Minister recalled his meeting with his Thai counterpart in Devos in which both leaders agreed to strengthen their bilateral ties. Referring to Pakistan’s relations with China, he said that China was corner-stone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. He said that “Sino-Pakistan relations were higher than Himalaya, sweeter than honey and stronger than steel” and were a factor of stability in the region.

The Prime Minister said that bright prospects of trilateral cooperation existed among Pakistan, China and Thailand.

Speaking on the occasion, Princess Maha Charki said that bilateral relations between Thailand and China were on the upward trajectory. She appreciated the proposal of establishing trilateral cooperative framework to boost multilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Princess Maha Chakri said that she was hugely impressed by Ghandara art exhibition. She asked the Prime Minister to hold similar exhibition in Thailand as well, as the country was home to a large number of the Buddhist population.

The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of National Heritage to meet the required formalities and other details with its Thai counterpart Ministry to hold the exhibition at an appropriate time.

The Prime Minister appreciated the Princess for her services in the fields of education, health and for the welfare of children and women. He said that the government was focusing on the empowerment of women and has introduced various reforms in legal, political, administrative and economic domains.

He particularly mentioned Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) as a flagship program meant to empower women economically. He said that the women were the special focus of the program and six million families were benefiting from the direct cash assistance scheme as the assistance was being given to the women of these families. BISP has been acknowledged as a success story as the largest social safety net in Asia, the Prime Minister added.

Later on the Prime Minister hosted a luncheon in the honour of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirndhora, which was attended by Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fahmida Mirza, Federal Ministers, Parliamentarians, members of civil society, and media.

Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s speech at the luncheon.

“It is with profound pleasure that I welcome our honoured guest, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

This visit carries forward the long-standing tradition of royal visits from Thailand to Pakistan.

The people of Pakistan fondly recall the state visit of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit in March 1962.

Your Royal Highness’s present visit is a happy commemoration of that Royal visit, as we celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

I also extend our warm felicitations on the 84th birthday and 7th cycle birthday anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The people of Thailand have made remarkable progress under His Majesty’s wise guidance for over 6 decades now.

I also take this opportunity to reaffirm our strong support for the people of Thailand as they suffered enormously from the devastating floods last year.

As I conveyed to Prime Minister Yingluck at the time, we were confident that the Thai nation will face and overcome this natural disaster with its characteristic resilience.

We extend our best wishes in the present rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

Pakistan and Thailand share long-standing friendship.

We are commemorating the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

But our cultural connection goes back more than two millennia to the Buddhist Gandhara period.

Pakistan is proud to have preserved and promoted this rich heritage, which is indeed the common cultural heritage of the world, including Thailand.

We deeply appreciate Your Royal Highness’s interest in this heritage and hope that our two countries can work together for its further promotion.

We follow with great admiration the life-long efforts of Your Royal Highness for the development and well-being of the disadvantaged people, particularly children and women.

Your Royal Highness’s contribution to the promotion of international goodwill and cooperation is equally profound.

The contribution to Pakistan-Thailand relations is also gratefully acknowledged.

The compassion with which Your Royal Highness mobilized support for the victims of the floods in Pakistan in 2010 was deeply touching and will be long remembered.

On the basis of solid friendship, Pakistan and Thailand continue to make headway in forging a substantive partnership.

Our cooperation across diverse areas of human endeavour continues to grow.

This royal visit adds a new milestone in our journey of friendship.

I conclude by wishing continued progress and prosperity to the people of Thailand and deeper ties of friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and Thailand in the years to come.”

In her luncheon speech, Princess Maha Chakri expressed the hope that bilateral relations would further improve between Pakistan and Thailand as they shared centuries-old cultural bond, which was reflected from the ancient Ghandhara civilization having its roots in Pakistan.

The Princess said that she vividly recalled the visits of her parents to Pakistan fifty years ago and was fascinated to see the pictures of the visit. She further said that she would like to come to the country as often as she could.

Mentioning her visit to Taxila museum yesterday, the Princess said that she was enthralled to see the artefacts of the Ghandhara civilization, beauty and perfection of craftsmanship and their aesthetic taste.

The Princess emphasized the need of boosting cooperation in the fields of education, archeology, information technology, adding that the universities of both countries could play a meaningful role in enhancing people-to-people contacts.

The Princess thanked the government and people of Pakistan for presenting her a goat of Burberry breed, which is bred in Dera Ghazi Khan area of Pakistan. The Prime Minister also presented her a photograph of the Burberry goat.

The Princess said that she would like to raise the breed in the mountainous areas of her country as a source of supplementing incomes of the poor people. She also thanked the government and people of Pakistan for extending her and the members of her delegation warm welcome and excellent hospitality.

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