ISLAMABAD: German Ambassador Cyrill Nunn, during a talk at the Institute of Strategic Studies ‘(ISSI) Ambassador’s Platform on Tuesday, said while Germany and Pakistan have similar beliefs, a conflict of opinion occurs where the death penalty is considered. As an ambassador it was his duty to highlight that, he mentioned.
Over 150 convicts, majority of them sentenced for non-terrorism related cases, have been hanged following the lifting of an unofficial death penalty moratorium after terrorists attacked an army school in Peshawar last December.
“Pakistan and Germany have always had close relations, which is precisely the reason of a strong diplomatic presence of Germany in Pakistan. However, even though trade relations are good, there is room for improvement,” said ISSI Director-General Ambassador Masood Khan, while opening the event.
Nunn discussed Pakistan-German bilateral relations, the euro zone crisis and the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN).
Pakistan is one of the very few countries that have a trade surplus in Germany, however market shares can still be utilised if taxes are applied effectively, informed the envoy.
“Pakistan and Germany have shared strong diplomatic relations since 1951. While Sir Allama Iqbal has been a great ambassador of Pakistan in Germany, Annemarie Schimmel has represented Germany in Pakistan and received immense respect and recognition for it,” said Nunn. He also mentioned that Germany is committed to provide stability and visibility to project willingness in promoting things further.
While speaking about bilateral relations, the German envoy said Pakistan needs to send more parliamentarians to Germany.
Highlighting the positive aspects of Pakistan-German relations, he mentioned the vocational training practices in Germany for Pakistani students so as to promote sustainable economic development. “Student exchanges are another significant factor in the positivity of Pakistan-German relations. Currently, there are 3,000 Pakistani students studying in Pakistan while the number was a few hundred three years ago,” he added. He also acknowledged the brilliance of Pakistani students by mentioning that they are intelligent and quick learners studying engineering and sciences in Germany.
He emphasised that fighting terrorism is extremely important for both countries. “While we have the same commitment in academia and business, we also have a common interest in a stable Afghanistan,” he added.
“We also strongly believe in equality, therefore Shia and Sunni are the same to us Germans,” said Nunn while highlighting the importance of equality.
Speaking about the Euro Zone crisis, Nunn said that the government of Germany and the entire European Union (EU) are committed to ensure that the union remains intact. “Our second aim is to ensure that the EU functions properly. As of now, all countries agree that further efforts are necessary for that except for Greece. We are hoping Greek voters will realise the significance of the EU and decide to stay a part of it,” said Nunn.
“As far as the UN is concerned, Germany strongly believes in its authority. In fact, it is rather difficult for Germany to make decisions in areas where the UN is not involved,” the ambassador said.
Concluding the event, Khan mentioned that Germany should help Pakistan in overcoming the energy crisis.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.