What do you think of the state and prospects of the development of Pakistan, its society, economy, etc.?
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is an important factor of international cooperation in South Asia. The favorable geographic location that provides the IRP with the part of a "bridge" between the Middle East, Central and South Asia, creats good prospects for Pakistan's economic development. In this context, continuation of implementing the comprehensive program of development and modernization of the country, improvement of the existing and creation of a new infrastructure becomes significant.
The fact that the general elections held in Pakistan in June 2013 for the first time in the history of Pakistan's political system marked the end of the full electoral cycle adds optimism.
The great and priceless potential of Pakistan is its citizens who love their country andÂ do everything possible for its prosperity with their painstaking day-to-day work.
I would like to stress that Ukraine has always been and will remain an open, sincere and reliable partner for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, ready to consider offers, programs and projects of the Pakistan side that will help to deepen the bilateral cooperation and to work together on their implementation to the benefit of both countries.
Is there the Ukrainian expatriate community in Pakistan? To what extent it is united, is there the Association of Ukrainians in Pakistan?
There are 33 citizens of Ukraine in the consular register at the Embassy, who are provided with assistance and support of all kinds in accordance with the functions of the Embassy and the resources available. For objective reasons, primarily because of the small number, there are no organized centers of Ukrainian expatriate community in Pakistan. Our citizens in Pakistan do not constitute a cohesive territorial community, based on the ethnic principle, that would have lived in different regions of the country. Ukrainians in Pakistan represent different social groups, they are engaged in a variety of professional activities, including social, political, journalistic, international and business occupations. There are a lot of Ukrainian ladies who have chosen Islam as guidance, have created families with Pakistanis and found a second home here. Most often Ukrainians live in big cities.
Our diplomatic mission in Pakistan encourages Ukrainians to unite and to promote consolidated national, cultural and political activity. After the deliberate acts of Russian aggression upon Ukraine, indifferent Pakistani Ukrainians have been turning more and more frequently. They want to uphold our Independence and territorial integrity not only with words, but also with actions.
The Embassy is especially grateful to our compatriots who, moreover, help to unite the Ukrainian community in Pakistan. We hope that soon we will get certain results of working together, and the first official association of Ukrainians in Pakistan will be created at last.
How deep is the economic cooperation between Ukraine and Pakistan? Which sectors of the Ukrainian economy are involved?
According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, in 2013 the trade turnover between Ukraine and Pakistan amounted to 327 million USD, reaching a maximum in the history of the bilateral relations. The exports of Ukrainian goods to Pakistan amounted to 234,1 million USD (an increase by 105.2% compared to last year), the imports of goods was 92.9 million USD (it decreased by 23.6%), the Ukraine's surplus was 144.2 million USD.
According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, in 2012 the exports of goods to Pakistan decreased by 37.9% and the imports increased by 78.3%, the increase in service exports was 83.6%, and the imports of services decreased by 19.2%, the negative balance was 6.3 million USD. The total trade volume amounted to 239.8 million USD.
Pakistan supplies to our country, mainly, textile products, citrus cultures, rice, plastic and polymer materials, surgical instruments and sports goods.
In Ukrainian exports dominate grains and oilseeds, iron and steel products together with mechanical production.
What do Pakistanis know about our country? What is the image of Ukraine in Pakistan?
In the Pakistani media, political and business circles and among the general public the positive image of Ukraine dominates. Our state is positioned as a friendly country, which is engaged into mutually beneficial trade, economic and military-technical cooperation.
The Embassy set regular informing of interested government agencies, associations of business community of Pakistan, and the media on current events in Ukraine and important events of political, economic and cultural nature. Such information is also distributed through the webpage of the Embassy and the Ukrainian-Pakistani information centers in Islamabad and Karachi.
Positive information about Ukraine is also distributed with the help of the activities the Embassy conducts in Pakistani provinces such as the "Days of Ukraine" in the cities of Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin of the province Punjab. These events took place between January 31 and February 1, 2013 and included the meetings of the Ukrainian Ambassador and the diplomats of the Embassy with the local business community, graduates of Ukrainian educational institutions, teachers and students. During these meetings reports and presentations on the Ukrainian- Pakistani relations, history and culture of our country (since Trypillia up to modern times) were conducted, as well as the image materials produced by the Embassy were distributed.
In general, the activities in Pakistani hinterland testify to the great interest of ordinary Pakistanis to the history and culture of our state, and of representatives of the business community - to the full development of trade and economic relations and establishment of the direct contacts with businessmen and industrialists of Ukraine.
This is especially noticeable after the start of Russia's military and terrorist actions against Ukraine, which caused a "flurry" of emotions among ordinary Pakistanis. In letters to the Embassy, through phone calls and electronic means of communication they condemned Moscow's aggressive actions, comparing them to the invasion of the Soviet troops to Afghanistan, and expressed their sympathy for Ukraine.
One of the priority topics of our magazine is international education. How many Pakistani students wish to study in Ukrainian universities?
Cooperation in the field of international education is one of the priority and promising areas of the bilateral Ukrainian-Pakistani cooperation. Currently hundreds of Pakistanis have been educated in Ukraine, including National Aviation University, Kharkov State University of Engineering, National Ukrainian Academy of Arts, Vinnitsa National Medical University, Crimean State Medical University and Kharkiv National Medical University. In this regard, Pakistanis, who studied in our country, decided to establish their own association, and on June 27, 2012 created the Pakistani Alumni Association of Ukrainian universities. The First All-Pakistani Congress of the Association was held on September 26, 2013 in Islamabad. As the President of the Association a graduate of the Kharkov Medical University Ghulam Sarwar was elected.
Currently about 250 Pakistanis are being educated in the universities of Ukraine, most of them study in medical and technical institutions, particularly in the medical universities of Crimea and Luhansk and in the Donetsk Academy of Motor Transport and the East Ukraine Volodymyr Dahl National University.
In general, the number of Pakistani nationals who go to study in Ukrainian universities annually varies on average of 50-60 people. It's not a small figure, and it should be noted that the demand for Ukrainian education is increasing in Pakistan.Â This is a positive trend, and we expect that the next few years the annual number of graduates will increase by several times. The most popular among Pakistani youth are medical, technical, engineering, natural and philological faculties that belong to the leading national universities and institutes. Pakistanis study in the universities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and other cities of Ukraine.
The Embassy encourages Pakistani citizens to pursue higher education in Ukraine. The offers of Ukrainian educational institutions are consistently placed in the Bulletin of commercial information, which is published by our institution and is distributed among more than two hundred recipients (government structures, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, businesses, organizations and individual businessmen).
What would you wish to the readers of "Viva Ukraine"?
The topics of "Viva Ukraine" aim to distribute unbiased information about the life of our country and its people and touches upon interesting, but sometimes very difficult questions, that is why its main audience is well-trained professionals and educated elite members of society.
This is the audience that forms the administrative structure of the state, its present and future, so I would like to wish them to love Ukraine and be willing to sacrifice everything for its sake. These words may be taken as pretentious, but the time, in which we live, and the global events, especially the unprecedented since the Second World War aggressive international behavior of the "Putin" Russia requires precisely this kind of attitude to Ukraine from its citizens, as the country has become the target of Kremlin aggressors.
In my opinion, an important initiative will be the publication of the English version of the magazine and its distribution beyond Ukraine. I believe that in this way the magazine will find its audience in Pakistan as well, will meet the needs of the readers of this country, primarily Ukraine's numerous friends who support the enduring interest in the information about our country, its history, traditions, cultural heritage, and also that it will promote the development of contacts between the business communities of both countries.