14 July 2008

Zimbabwe: Pakistan Pledges Continued Support to Country

Harare — Pakistan will stand by Zimbabwe in its challenging times and continue to render assistance in every way possible in an effort to cement the already cordial relations between the two countries.

Speaking at a function to mark the first anniversary of the Pakistan-Zimbabwe Friendship Association and inauguration of the association's executive in Harare on Friday, Pakistani Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mrs Rifat Iqbal said the formation of the friendship association was a symbol of continuing solidarity between the two countries.

She said the friendship between Pakistan and Zimbabwe dates back to the war of liberation during which Pakistan extended moral and material support to Zimbabwean freedom fighters.

"The establishment of the Pakistan-Zimbabwe Friendship Association is a step in the right direction and will contribute to the cementing of the relationship between our two countries," Mrs Iqbal said.

She said the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations marked by mutual respect and commonality of views on important issues.

"In the field of education and training, Pakistan continues to allocate scholarships and training programmes for capacity building to Zimbabwe in the spirit of South-to-South co-operation," Mrs Iqbal said.

The chairman of Pakistan-Zimbabwe Friendship Association Mr Munawer Husain Butt said Pakistan has over the years identified with Zimbabwe as both countries have suffered under the yoke of colonialism for many years, which denied their people the right to self-determination.

He said that despite the economic hardships in Zimbabwe, Pakistani investors continue to explore for investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.

The Minister of Policy Implementation - who is the patron of the Pakistan-Zimbabwe Friendship Association - Cde Webster Shamu said the support the Pakistani community continues to give to the country was a sign that

they believe in the rights and freedom of the people of Zimbabwe.

He said Zimbabwe also respects the sovereignty of other countries and expressed Government's commitment to ensuring the cordial relations between the countries continue to grow.

Last year, the association donated computers and printers, among other equipment, to the Zimbabwe Republic Police's Harare Central District to aid the force in maintaining law and order.

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