South Africa: “Pakistan and South Africa enjoy close, friendly relations which have further been strengthened over the last three years under the guidance of the outgoing High Commissioner of Pakistan to South Africa. The two countries have greatly benefited through pro-active initiatives taken by High Commissioner Najm us Saqib which would go a long way in bringing the two countries even closer”, Ambassador D Malcomson, Acting Deputy Director General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of the Republic of South Africa observed during the farewell ceremony organised in Pretoria today in honour of High Commissioner Najm us Saqib.
On behalf of the Government of South Africa, Ambassador Malcomson paid rich tributes to “the most seasoned and senior diplomat from Pakistan” while mentioning a number of milestones achieved in Pakistan-South Africa relations in various fields under the “dynamic” leadership of High Commissioner Najm us Saqib, from January 2014 to May 2017. Ambassador Malcomson noted with satisfaction the steady pace of increasing bilateral political, economic, trade and defence relations especially during the past three years. “South Africa greatly values the contributions of High Commissioner Saqib, as he as “a professional diplomat” and “man of letters”, has brought two countries even closer”, Ambassador Malcomson stated while felicitating the High Commissioner on his appointment as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Brazil.
Speaking as the Guest of Honour, the High Commissioner stated that Pakistan and South Africa “are partners in ensuring the welfare of peoples of both countries while we strive for deepening relations in all fields”. Cooperation between Islamabad and Pretoria has seen an upward trajectory with the finalization of many new agreements. Bilateral trade has seen an increase of around ten percent and South Africa is now Pakistan’s largest trading partner in Africa. Official Ministerial visits have taken place in the past three years to and from South Africa. South African multibillion dollar companies like Grindrod, Sasol, Morvest and Glencore have shown interest in investing in Pakistan. The strong Pakistani Community is positively contributing in the South African economy under the banner of Pakistan-South Africa Association. The High Commissioner stated that the 5th Joint Commission between Pakistan and South Africa will take place in Islamabad later this year “at the raised level of Deputy Foreign Minister”.
The farewell ceremony was attended by Ambassador Ms. Bonge Qwabe, Chief Director of African Union, Ms. Andrea Kuhn, Director South & Central Asia and Mr. Brian Ritter, Deputy Director, South Asia Division of DIRCO. The High Commissioner was accompanied by Mrs. Madiha Saqib, Deputy High Commissioner, Defence Adviser and Counsellor (P&C).