The following are details of an interview with newly accredited Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah Khan of Pakistan to the Republic of Korea.--Ed.
Question: Please introduce yourself in detail, including your career, family and hobbies, because many of our readers would wish to know more about Your Excellency as the New Ambassador of Pakistan to Korea?
Answer: I am a career diplomat with an experience of more than 20 years. I have served in several countries including Switzerland, England, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I have served at several posts including my last posting as Director General of the Middle East.
I am happily married and have one daughter. She is studying for her Master Program in Economics in Pakistan.
My hobbies are reading and playing golf, tennis and bridge. I am looking forward to a very productive and rewarding tenure in Korea.
Q: What is your view of the relationship between Korea and your country and its outlook?
Q: Do you have any specific plans to further expand the range of cooperation and exchange between your country and Korea?
A: My mission is to broaden and raise the level of our political interaction with Korea. The Government of Pakistan attaches immense importance to its relationship with Korea. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is keen to receive President Park Geun- hye in Islamabad.
One of my top priorities would also be to support the activities of Korean companies in Pakistan. A good number of Korean companies both large and small are playing an extremely important role in Pakistan. My objective would be to increase and expand the presence of Korean companies in Pakistan and to establish the market of our value added goods in Korea like sports goods, surgical instruments and textiles. This would be to the mutual benefit of Pakistani exporters and Korean consumers.
Eventually on completion of my tenure, I would hope to have increased people-to-people interaction between our two very friendly countries.
Q: Please introduce your Head of Government, including his major achievements.A: The Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was elected for the third time as the 27th Prime Minister of Pakistan in June 2013. He was earlier elected as Prime Minister in 1990 and 1997. During his previous tenure mega development projects were undertaken including South West Asia’s first 367km motorway, linking the capital Islamabad with the historical city of Lahore.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his third tenure has vision of creating a prosperous, stable and peaceful Pakistan by pursuing dynamic economic policy and a mature foreign policy that seeks to create peace within the region and friendly relations globally.
Q: What are the major tourist destinations of your country? are Korean visitors increasing?A: Pakistan is a land of great geographical diversity and enchanting high adventure and nature. Tourists can enjoy a variety of activities which include trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting mountain and desert jeep safaris, trout fishing and bird watching etc.
Pakistan has 5 peaks over 8000 m tall including the second highest mountain in the world, K-2. Northern areas of Pakistan are a great attraction for foreigners including the Koreans who go to enjoy the cherry blossom season.
Pakistan has been the cradle of great civilization and cultures including Indus valley of the Gandhara civilization. These sites are enriched with Buddha’s statues and stupas which date back to the 6th century.
Q: What was the volume of the bilateral trade last year? What is the outlook for this year and what are the most promising areas of investment by Korean companies in your country and vice versa?A: Pakistan-Korea economic relations have grown steadily in the last few years. Bilateral trade has increased progressively and was US$1.623 billion in 2012. This indicates a great potential for trade between the two countries.
Pakistan is producer and exporter of world class value added textiles (Garments, Knitwear & Home Textiles), leather garments, carpets, surgical goods & medical instruments, sports goods, furniture and gems & jewellery. We would like to introduce high quality value added products from Pakistan in the Korean market.
Pakistan produces & exports a number of agri products including fruits and vegetables to various parts of the world. Pakistani mango was introduced in the Korean market for the first time in 2012. Though we face number of tariff and non-tariff barriers in exporting our agri products to Korea but it is my priority to introduce products from this sector in Korea.
Pakistan’s investment policies have created an investor friendly environment backed by a sound regulatory framework and comprehensive tax and tariff incentives package. Pakistan offers immense opportunities for investment in energy (power generation), infrastructure, textiles, mining & quarrying, agriculture, manufacturing, retail business, transportation, education, tourism and health sectors. It is my priority to encourage Korean conglomerates and SMEs to avail investment opportunities in Pakistan.
Q: Who are the small-medium Korean business companies as well as the big ones actively engaged in business and economic cooperation with your country? Introducing them adequately by The Korea Post, especially how they benefit from your esteemed country, would encourage other Korean companies, big and small, to also want to enter your country for investment and / or import / export activities.
A: Big Companies operating in Pakistan: Lotte Group, Lotte Chemical, Lotte Confectionery and Lotte E & C; Sambu Construction; K-Water; Daewoo E&C; KOMIPO (Korea Midland Power Company); KOSEP (Korea Southern Electric Company); Samsung C&T; Ssangyong E&C; Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction; Deokjae Construction; POSCO; KORAIL + STX; Hyundai Engineering; and Sammi Daeoo.
Small and medium enterprises doing business with/operating in Pakistan: WISDOM; Sambo Engineering; ELCANT; Ganuemter; CK Solar; PAKOR Global; Jeil C&P; Hongjung Corporation; ACE Trading; TEN2U Nail; C&M Research; V2R; Yunhap Seafood; Ohyoung Industry; Dongin Textile; Alfadur Consolidated Group; Dongin Medical; and Red Mango International.
Q: Please explain about your country or present any additional details, which were not covered by the above questions?
A: Pakistan is a very open and liberal country. Our geographical diversity is matched by our cultural diversity. The people of Pakistan are very humble and hospitable. Foreigners who travel to Pakistan always have a very pleasant and memorable experience. The outstanding Korean Ambassador in Islamabad, Dr. Song Jong- Hwan, told me that diplomats are very unhappy when they have to leave Pakistan on completion of their tenure.