Imran Ejaz: Building Stronger Bridges Between Pakistan and Ukraine09.01.2020
What is going on in the relationship between Ukraine and Pakistan? What brings our countries together and closer to Europe? Who and why is looking for more cooperation and how can it be improved? On this and more the Newssky has talked to Mr. Imran Ejaz, the founder of Ukrainian House in Pakistan (Lahore).
How did the idea to create Ukrainian House in Pakistan come around?
I’m Pakistani with permanent residency of Ukraine. I’ve been observing the relationship between our countries very closely since 2012. Diplomats of both countries are working hard, but, sadly, no government officials high-level visit has taken place during this time.I would like to serve as a bridge between our countries to strengthen our mutual communication. This would help government officials develop good relationship among our peoples.
Who are the stakeholders?
Currently I work on my own by involving representatives of
Ukraine and Pakistan. But I guess this situation should change as we bring more people in.
What are the interests common to both Pakistan and Ukraine?
Military-to-military relationship and arms trade are at a good level.
But the purpose of this project is to get benefits/expertise of both countries to
enhance trading status between us, to develop links in education, tourism, sports and
culture. Currently many Ukrainian tourists are visiting Pakistan and many
Pakistani students attend Ukrainian universities. Sunflower is one of the main Ukrainian agricultural products. We are looking for market of sunflower oil in Pakistan, and such for other Ukrainian healthy food product lines.
To your opinion, is our current interaction sufficient?
It’s kind of in the middle of the road, but for the rest of that road, a lot remains to be done.
Which priorities do you see – cultural exchange, education,
some large business?
All these aspects are important for us. But our main focus is to establish
bilateral trade agreements.
Are there many Pakistanis residing in Ukraine and vice versa?
Yes, Ukrainians are residing in Pakistan, Pakistanis – in Ukraine. This is the 2nd
generation of Pakistanis in Ukraine.
How or why did you personally get interested in such cooperation?
As I’ve already said, I’m a permanent resident of Ukraine born in Pakistan.
My dream is to establish a dynamic working relationship between our countries. As I see it, public service and social dimension interaction can bring our nations very close.
What, in your opinion, are the perspectives?
Both countries should at some point exchange top-level official visits and medium business delegations. There should be free access for people to mutually visit our two countries. All pending projects between Pakistan and Ukraine should be addressed at respective platforms.
At present, students, business & tourism contribute to exchange expansion in both
countries, but not at sufficient scale.
I think we can expand it through, at first, cultural and identity dialog.
In that regard, let me tell also you that Muhammad Asad, who was an Austro-Hungarian-born Muslim journalist, traveler, writer, linguist, political scientist, diplomat and Islamic
scholar. Asad was one of the most influential European Muslims of the 20th century. He was born July 2, 1900 in Lviv, Ukraine and was both Pakistani and an Austrian citizen. Another person of cultural interest is Muhammad Iqbal, widely known as Allama Iqbal, was a poet, philosopher and politician, as well as an academic, barrister and scholar in
British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is called the “Spiritual Father” of Pakistan. Muhammad Asad and Allama Muhammad Iqbal together worked for the independence of Pakistan. We are in connection with the above L’viv Cultural Center and our wish is to arrange some conference on Muhammad Asad in Ukrainian House in Pakistan as well.