The Australian connection

April 10, 2018
By Mubashir Ahmed

Australia established a High Commission in Karachi in 1948 after Pakistan got independence in 1947.

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Australia established a High Commission in Karachi in 1948 after Pakistan got independence in 1947. But the actual friendship between both the nations was evolved after 2005 when the former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, extended a visit to Pakistan, following the Kashmir earthquake which had immensely targeted the northern areas of Pakistan. He also announced 500 new scholarships for students in Pakistan to study in Australia.

In the continuation of Pakistan-Australia friendly bond, Australia’s High Commissioner, Margaret Adamson, recently launched an exhibition in Karachi, marking the 70th anniversary of the opening of Australia’s resident diplomatic mission in the city in order to mark Australia Spring Day. The photographic exhibition was also held in Islamabad and Lahore as part of the Australia Spring Day 2018 which saw a number of attendees coming in and showing interest.

At the Karachi event as well, people gathered in crowds to see the exhibition.

On the occasion, the High Commissioner Adamson explained what the exhibition was all about and stated, “The photos in this exhibition tell the story of how the relationship between the two countries has developed since 1948. The images are drawn from a wide range of Australia-Pakistan engagement spanning development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, defence, education, sport, trade and cultural ties, as well as our people-to-people linkages.”

Australia is a popular education destination for Pakistani students, with more than 12,000 people studying there currently. Thousands of alumni in Pakistan are contributing to their nation’s development, and their active connections to Australia, are an asset to both countries. One of such example is of Umer Iftikhar, who also performed at the launch. Regarding Iftikhar, who has studied from Australia and now pursuing his career as a singer in Pakistan, Adamson commented, “As an Australian graduate, Umer has performed today and he is a great example of how education can build bridges between nations and across cultures.”

Interestingly in September 2017, ‘Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was welcomed in Lahore - the first stop in South Asia on its 388 kilometre journey from London to Australia’s Gold Coast. The event is currently on-going and will conclude on the 15th of April. The Relay highlighted the rich heritage of a chunk of the world regarded as the cradle of civilization, and of course, it doubled as an occasion to celebrate national sporting pride. “Being two sports-loving nations, I know Australian and Pakistani athletes and sports fans alike will enjoy the competition and spectacle of the Commonwealth Games in April this year too,” High Commissioner Adamson enthused.

While concluding the event on a positive note, Margaret Adamson also said that as a friend and a partner of 70 years standing, Australia will continue to support Pakistan in the future through its development partnership, security cooperation combating terrorism, violent extremism and transnational organised crime, and through growing trade and investment.

-Mubashir Ahmed