The first steps towards building bilateral ties with the recently-formed Egyptian government began on Monday after Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar left for Cairo, the Arab world’s most populous country.
The foreign minister embarked upon a three-day official visit where she is scheduled to meet the top leadership of the newly-formed Egyptian government — Pakistan’s first ever visit to post-revolution Egypt.
During her three days in Cairo, Khar will meet President Mohammad Mursi as well as other key figures of the Egyptian government. The meetings are aimed at strengthening ties between the two Muslim countries, while cooperation in other areas will also be discussed.
Mursi was sworn in as Egypt’s first civilian and democratically-elected president this year after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising.
In his special message, President Asif Ali Zardari had congratulated Mursi over his election as the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt and had also expressed hope that relations between Cairo and Islamabad would further be strengthened under his leadership.
Pakistan and Egypt have close diplomatic and trade relations. Both countries are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and have jointly coordinated on different fronts in international organisations.
Egypt continues to support Pakistan in its war against terrorism and it was among those countries who took lead in sending relief consignment for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Pakistan.
In a recent interview with The Express Tribune, Egypt’s Ambassador to Pakistan who arrived in Islamabad after the Egyptian revolution, Said Mohamed El Said Hindam had said that: “I can assure you that Egypt is an attractive market for Pakistani investors,” noting that currently the total Pakistani investment in Egypt stands at around $500 million, which is expected to double in the next two years. Egyptian federal direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan stands at around $4 billion.
“It is true that the year 2011 witnessed a slow investment streak due to the revolution, but once stability gets back on solid economic grounds the country is expected to make a fast takeoff,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2012.