Islamabad, Today marked a significant stride in fortifying relations between Pakistan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Jalil Abbas Jilani, took the lead by inaugurating the ‘ASEAN Corner’ at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). This move was seen by ASEAN envoys as a landmark in the evolving relationship between Pakistan and ASEAN.
According to a news release by the Institute of Strategic Studies of Islamabad, the event’s highlights included a plaque unveiling and a roundtable discussion themed, “Forging Partnership: Exploring the Future Prospects of Pakistan-ASEAN Relations.” Prominent diplomats, scholars, students, media representatives, and businesspersons attended the event, emphasizing ASEAN’s global position and role and reinforcing the bond between Pakistan and ASEAN.
DG ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, in his opening remarks, expressed gratitude to the attendees and specifically thanked the Foreign Minister and ASEAN Heads of Missions. He shed light on the essence of the ‘ASEAN Corner’ – a concept first discussed during the ISSI-ACI meeting in January 2023. The initiative underscores the age-old historical and cultural bond between Pakistan and the ASEAN region and mirrors Pakistan’s objectives and eagerness in strengthening ties on multiple fronts, including trade, investment, connectivity, and strategic partnerships.
H.E. Mohammad Azhar Mazlan, the High Commissioner of Malaysia and ACI Chairman, reflected on the deepening association between Pakistan and ASEAN. He also highlighted the significance of further enhancing the bond across the spheres of political-security, trade-economic, and socio-cultural.
Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani emphasized Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to its ties with ASEAN member states. He drew parallels between ASEAN’s success and the potential lying ahead for Pakistan, accentuating the role of initiatives like ‘ASEAN Corner’ in buttressing collaboration. Furthermore, the Foreign Minister underscored Pakistan’s engagement with ASEAN in multiple domains, like finance and banking courses.
Following the inauguration, a Roundtable Discussion, facilitated by Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director CPSC, ISSI, delved deep into the economic and security partnerships shared between Pakistan and ASEAN. Various envoys and scholars echoed the sentiment of collaboration, exploring mutual benefits across areas like economy, technology, sustainable goals, and academic and policy synergies.
The event concluded with Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BoG, ISSI, expressing optimism about the future collaboration between Pakistan and ASEAN. He emphasized the prospects of cooperation in various areas, particularly economic collaboration, connectivity, and cultural exchanges, drawing attention to the Gandhara civilization.